Eardley Law

New Law Allows Some Parental Waivers

July 25, 2011


A new law allows parents to waive some of their children’s right to sue for some injuries suffered in the course of participating in a recreational activity. Genie was an integral part of crafting thislegislation recently signed into law by Gov. Snyder on June 21, 2011, 2001 P.A. 61, MCL 700.5109, which was designed to provide a limited ability for waivers to be signed by parents for their children for the inherent risks of recreational

Continue reading the entire article here at Michigan Lawyers Weekly.

New Medmal Decision Makes it Harder for those Injured to Sue

July 24, 2011


Recently, Genie Eardley was featured by Brian Frasier in his MLW article discussing a Michigan Court of Appeals case involving the requirement for expert testimony in some medical malpractice cases.

A lawsuit against an emergency medical service (EMS) company alleging a delayed response time is a medical-malpractice action and should be pleaded as such, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled.

The court said the ambulance company’s standard of care, set through a local medical authority, was medically based, thus requiring expert testimony to explain it to the jury.

The requirement of an expert to explain the standard of care is what made the case a medical-malpractice action, said Matthew J. Thomas of Detroit-based Rutledge, Manion, Rabaut, Terry & Thomas, P.C.

“Basically, it comes down to whether or not the issues presented by plaintiff would have been outside the knowledge of the common jury,” he said. “If you go up to anybody on the street and say, ‘How long should it take for an ambulance to respond to a priority one call?,’ you’re probably going to get a pretty wide variety of answers. That was kind of the point that we were trying to make with the court.

“You don’t know, and that’s why there was a need for expert testimony in this case.”

But Cannonsburg solo attorney Eugenie B. Eardley said the decision is an example of the “overexpertizing” of litigation, and will drive up costs on plaintiff attorneys who will now need another expert.

Continue reading the entire article here at Michigan Lawyers Weekly.

Eardley Law Victorious in Two Landmark Michigan Supreme Court Cases!

August 24, 2010

One of Genie’s most important pro bono contributions to the law of this State is her active involvement in the Michigan Association for Justice (MAJ) Amicus committee. Amicus briefs are so called because it is the Latin term for “Friend” of the Court. These are often sought out by the Supreme Court, and Court of Appeals when legal issues of critical public importance come before the Court. It is an honor and privilege to be invited to contribute such arguments to the Court, and in this role, Genie and other appellate law specialists contribute their time and research free of charge to help shape the law for the future. In these two cases described below, Genie was acting on behalf of all interested members of the public, making policy arguments supporting the individual plaintiffs’ attorneys. She is very proud to have been part of these milestone decisions.

Woodman v Kera
(MSC opinion link)

On June 18, 2010, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled in accord with an Amicus brief Genie wrote on behalf of the Michigan Association for Justice. The high Court agreed with her arguments that parental liability waivers for children are invalid under Michigan law. The Court reversed the Court of Appeals, in a landmark decision that clarifies and affirms the common law. The waiver forms that many parents blindly sign, are not binding, as the public policy of this state is to protect children from injuries caused by negligence. Contrary to the claims of the insurance industry, there should be no “fun” crisis in Michigan “caused” by this longstanding policy. Playgrounds, football and summer camps will not disappear. This case will help protect children from death and serious injury, and make wrongdoers financially accountable for their lack of due care, rather than the child’s family or we, the taxpayers.

Brightwell v Fifth Third (MSC opinion link)

On July 30, 2010, at the end of a busy and controversial Supreme Court term, a decision was issued in this employment discrimination case that agreed with the briefing filed by Genie and other members of the Michigan Association for Justice Amicus committee, again, in an Amicus brief . The Court ruled that venue for employment lawsuits lies in the county where the discrimination occurs, not where a corporate decision maker may be present when a final management action is taken. Genie argued that when a person is treated unfairly on the basis of race, gender, or any other protected status, that individual should have his or her day in their court, where the mistreatment occurred-not in some county that may be hundreds of miles away. The Supreme Court agreed.

Ex parte, s’il vous plait?

July 26, 2010


Recently Michigan Lawyers Weekly interviewed Genie about a Michigan Supreme Court Case involving HIPPA. Genie’s work on medical malpractice litigation makes her a knowledgeable resource when difficult legal issues arise. On July 13, 2010, the Michigan Supreme Court case Holman v Rasak interpreted HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), the federal law that ensures patient medical privacy. The Court, in a divided decision, said that this law does not bar defense lawyers from speaking with treating doctor witnesses without allowing the plaintiff and his counsel present, with some limitations. As Genie was quoted in the article, the problem for plaintiff’s attorneys and her clients is that many times the defense attorney not only asks the doctor about the facts of the case, but uses a private, closed door session to get that treater to agree with their defense theories in the case-especially in medical malpractice litigation. The fair way to handle it is in a deposition, where everyone is on the record. This is a tough issue that different state supreme courts have reached opposite conclusions upon, and likely to continue to be unsettled until the United States Supreme Court rules. The Holman case may become that test case.

Click here to read the full Michigan Lawyers Weekly article.