Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket #360126; Unpublished
Judges Hood, Swartzle, and Redford; Per Curiam
Official Michigan Reporter Citation: Not Applicable; Link to Opinion
Sudden Emergency Doctrine
In this unanimous, unpublished, per curiam decision, the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s summary disposition order dismissing Plaintiff Elaine Maya’s automobile negligence action against Defendant Milos Borovnjak. The trial court dismissed Maya’s action as a result of her failure to timely respond to Borovnjak’s motion for summary disposition, but, notably, the Court of Appeals also held that Maya’s action of abruptly stopping in the roadway created a sudden emergency for Borvnjak, who rear-ended Maya’s vehicle.
Elaine Maya was injured as a result of Milos Borovnjak rear-ending her vehicle with his semi-truck. A witness testified that, immediately prior to the crash, Maya stopped “abruptly” “and for no apparent reason,” which caused Borovnjak to rear-end her. In Maya’s subsequent automobile negligence action against Brovovnjak, Borovnjak moved for summary disposition, arguing that Maya created a sudden emergency for him when she abruptly stopped on the roadway, and that her claim against him was therefore barred. Maya failed to respond to Borovnjak’s motion within the time set forth in the trial court’s scheduling order, and thus the trial court dismissed her action entirely.
The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s dismissal of Maya’s claim for failing to adhere to the scheduling order, but also held that Maya’s actions did create a sudden emergency for Borovnjak, and that Maya, therefore, was primarily responsible for the crash, even though she was rear-ended. In so holding, the Court did not address Borovnjak’s apparent violation of the Michigan motor vehicle code, by failing to stop in the clear assured distance.
“The evidence established that plaintiff had stopped in the middle of the intersection, which created a sudden emergency for Borovnjak because the collision was shown to have occurred as the result of plaintiff’s braking, not Borovnjak’s actions. Id. Contrary to plaintiff’s argument, her statement to police did not rebut the witness’s testimony that she was stopped in the intersection, and there was no evidence presented to substantiate her claim that she was not comparatively negligent.”