Michigan Supreme Court declines to grant governmental immunity to teacher in high school shop class injury case

Court of Appeals opinion stands; gross negligence lawsuit against Michigan public school teacher may proceed to a jury trial

Media contact: Barbara Fornasiero, EAFocus Communications, 248.260.8466; barbara@eafocus.com

Southfield, Mich. —Nov. 2, 2017— A. Vince Colella, a civil rights and personal injury attorney at Moss & Colella, P.C., announced the Michigan Supreme Court has declined to grant governmental immunity to a Mid-Michigan public school teacher in the governmental gross negligence case, Bellinger v Kram.  The Michigan Supreme Court decision means the Michigan Court of Appeals ruling from May 2017, allowing the firm to proceed with a lawsuit on behalf of the student, stands.

The Michigan Court of Appeals decision, in denying governmental immunity to the teacher, found there was substantial evidence from which a jury could find in favor of the student, including testimony from the student that she was pressured to use the saw by her teacher, that she had requested assistance from the teacher but had been rejected, and that the teacher had advised her that the saw guards were optional and only necessary for insurance inspections.

“Typically, the defense of government immunity excludes most claims from trial or litigation and bars a large number of claims, so this is a huge win for the young victim in this case,” Colella said. “This decision by the Michigan Supreme Court will allow the student to pursue her claims at trial, where a jury will rightly decide the issue of liability.”

The jury trial in Bellinger v Kram is expected to take place in spring 2018.

About Moss & Colella

Established in 1997, Moss & Colella represents the victims of personal injury, civil rights violations, discrimination and wrongful death.   The firm is recognized as a leader in complex tort litigation, including excess and deadly force, jail death, sexual abuse and harassment, auto and truck accidents, and other serious injury and wrongful death claims.   To learn more about the firm and its diverse areas of practice, visit the Moss & Colella website.

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