Supreme Court Orders End of Mandatory Case Evaluation Effective Jan. 1, 2022
The Michigan Supreme Court has amended the Michigan Court Rules to eliminate the requirement that all civil cases go through the Case Evaluation process. Instead, the parties will now be able to stipulate to an alternative process to resolve the case – facilitation or mediation. Additionally, the amendments remove the sanctions provisions from the Case Evaluation process.
These changes are effective January 1, 2022 and will impact every medical malpractice lawsuit that is filed throughout the state. Our firm’s health care clients have sought to avoid what had been the mandatory Case Evaluation process for years. This change in the court rules eliminate this highly inefficient, costly, and remarkably ineffective process and will allow the parties to seek resolution through private mediation – something we have already been doing on most cases.
Medical malpractice defendants will now rightly have more control over the manner in which they would like to attempt to resolve their lawsuits. Whereas Case Evaluation panels were assigned randomly, parties get to select a facilitator they know and trust, so long as the other party is agreeable.
The Supreme Court’s alterations to the court rules still allow for the parties to go through the Case Evaluation process if they agree to do so. For those who choose Case Evaluation, the sanctions provision has been eliminated. There is now no liability for the opposing party’s costs even if a party rejects the Case Evaluation Panel award and goes on to not prevail at trial or by way of motion.
FBMJ attorneys represent medical professionals and health care facilities in the defense of malpractice claims, as well as other healthcare-related matters. For more information, please contact Randy Juip or Daniel O. Cortez at 734-742-1800.