Donald Brownell and Sajid Islam successfully obtained an Order from the Court of Appeals affirming the trial court’s Order granting their Motion for Summary Disposition. The underlying suit involved Plaintiff’s request for a declaratory judgment stating that “diminished value damages” were recoverable under the Michigan No-Fault Act’s mini-tort provision, MCL 500.3135(3)(e), from the Defendant insurers as a result of damage to vehicles owned by GM resulting from motor vehicle accidents caused by the Defendants’ insureds. Don and Sajid filed a motion for summary disposition and argued that there were several issues with Plaintiff’s claims, each of which required summary disposition. The circuit court granted Don and Sajid’s Motion for Summary Disposition and declined to exercise its jurisdiction to enter a declaratory judgment as permitted by MCR 2.605 in light of the multiple deficiencies in Plaintiff’s claims.
Plaintiff appealed the trial court’s decision declining to exercise its jurisdiction to enter a declaratory judgment, and asserted that the trial court abused its discretion. Don and Sajid, along with the counsel for the other Defendant insurers, filed an appellate brief arguing that the trial court did not abuse its discretion, as it extensively considered the multiple issues with Plaintiff’s claims in reaching its decision and lacked subject matter jurisdiction to enter a declaratory judgment in the first place. After oral arguments in the Court of Appeals, the Court issued an Opinion and Order finding that the trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to enter a declaratory judgment, as mini-tort claims were capped at $1,000 and district courts have exclusive jurisdiction over claims that do not exceed $25,000. As such, the Court entered an Opinion and Order affirming the trial court’s decision.