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Tim Smith
Tim Smith
Attorney • 231-946-0700

Car Crash Plaintiff Victimized Twice

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In 2005, Cynthia Jones was a pedestrian crossing the street. She was run over by a driver that wasn’t paying attention. The impact snapped her leg in half. The surgeon had to cut her leg open and use plates and screws to piece her leg back together. She was in the hospital for 4 days following the surgery and required in-home health aides once she was discharged home. Early on, whenever she left the home, she had to use a wheelchair or a walker and needed assistance with many of her daily activities around the home. Once she fully recovered, she was left with a permanent limp and needed to use a cane to walk. Despite this, our Michigan Court of Appeals says her injuries weren’t severe enough and threw her case against the negligent driver out of court.

How could this happen? Thank Supreme Court Justice Cliff Taylor, his fellow Justices Markman, Corrigan and Young, Appeals Court Judges Brian Zahra, Helen White, Peter O’Connell and the Michigan Senate.

Justice Cliff Taylor authored the Supreme Court decision in Kreiner v. Fischer. In this case, Taylor, Markman, Corrigan and Young essentially re-wrote the Michigan Auto No-Fault Law. They put a spin or an interpretation on it that was never intended by the Michigan legislature when they wrote it or the many courts over the last 10 years that have interpretted it. They took the law which stated that in an auto accident, an injured person could only bring a legal claim for damages against the person who injured them if they suffered a “serious impairment of an important body function”. They took the definition given to us by the legislature and raised it to the point that a woman whose leg is shattered, who requires surgery to fix it, who is in the hospital for 4 days, who needed a wheelchair and in-home care, who has a permanent limp and needs to permanently use a cane to walk CANNOT have her day in court.

Unfair? Absolutely. Especially when you consider that the Michigan House of Representatives passed legislation earlier this year to correct the problem created by Taylor, Young, Markman and Corrigan. Unfortunately, when it got to the Senate……… they buried it.

Why? Because the people that fund the campaigns and war chests of the Republican Senators and the Republican Justices on the Supreme Court want it buried. State Farm doesn’t want you to know about it. The Chamber of Commerce doesn’t want you to know about it. AAA doesn’t want you to know about it. So the solution to the problem created by Justice Taylor will stay buried in the Senate. Had the Senate acted on the bill which the House of Representatives passed many months ago, Cynthia Jones would have had her day in court. Cynthia Jones wouldn’t have been denied justice. Her case was decided by the Michigan Court of Appeals on the opening day of deer season just last week by Judges Brian Zahra, Helene White and Peter D. O’Connell who found that plaintiff’s general ability to lead her normal life wasn’t impaired. Outrageous.

Next November, Justice Cliff Taylor has to run for office as a Justice on the Michigan Supreme Court. Remember his name. Remember what he did to people like Cynthia. And this isn’t the only thing to remember. Remember what his collegues on the Michigan Supreme Court think of him.

Michigan Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Weaver, a fellow Justice to Taylor has publically accused and factually supported the following charges against Justice Taylor:

1. The majority of four – Taylor, Young, Markman and Corrigan – have suppressed any dissent by the other Justices

2. As Chief Judge of the Court, Taylor has abused his position and acted in a disorderly and unfair fashion.

3. He has failed to recuse himself when he has a direct conflict of interest.

She wrote a memorandom to the clerk of the court so that her objection to Cliff Taylor being appointed as Chief Justice would be noted. She wrote:

I cannot support Chief Justice Taylor or any member of the majority of four to serve as Chief Justice at this time. I would support either Justice Michael Cavanagh or Justice Marilyn Kelly.

This dissent to the election of Chief Justice Taylor as Chief Justice reveals only the “tip of the iceberg” of the misuse and abuse of power and the repeated disorderly, unprofessional and unfair performance and conduct of the people’s judicial business by the majority of four, Chief Justice Taylor, and Justices Corrigan, Young, and Markman.

I believe it is my duty and right to inform the public of repeated abuses and/or misconduct.16 The majority of four’s suppression of dissent, and attempts to suppress dissent, mishandling of administrative duties, and repeated disorderly, unprofessional, and unfair conduct are matters of legitimate public concern.

Over the past year and longer, the majority of four has advanced a policy toward greater secrecy and less accountability. I strongly believe that it is past time to let sunlight into the Michigan Supreme Court. An efficient and impartial judiciary is “ill served by casting a cloak of secrecy around the operations of the courts.”17

What’s an impartial judiciary? It is one that avoids conflicts of interest.

What’s a conflict of interest? How about receiving 10’s of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from DaimlerChrysler during the 2000 election campaign, then when that same donor gets hit with a $30 million dollar judgment after losing a trial, wait till their appeal makes it up to the Supreme Court [in 2002] and then wipe your donor’s $30,000,000.00 debt away…….. You donate to my campaign, I can makes your legal problems go away. That, to me, seems like a conflict of interest.

Don’t you think he should have excused himself from hearing that case? So did the other Justices on the Supreme Court. So did Rich Robinson, who testified on behalf of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network in front of the House Judiciary Committee on October 10th, 2007.

Remember this when you have to vote for a new Justice for the Michigan Supreme Court. Vote against Cliff Taylor.

Remember what your Senator did [or didn’t do] in burying the solution to the Kreiner problem.

Remember the Appeals Court Judges like Zahra, White and Peter D. O’Connell who continue to deny justice to people like Cynthia – people like you and me.

Remember these people when it comes time to vote.

For more information on this subject, please refer to the section on Car and Motorcycle Accidents.