News & Events

Smith Haughey Obtains Two Appellate Victories

March 03, 2021

Two recent appellate victories, along with a long history of handling successful appeals, demonstrate the strength of Smith Haughey’s appellate practice.

In one case, Smith Haughey represented a client that owns a string of retail stores in a case where an unknown party entered one of our client’s stores and secretly mixed together materials that emanated harmful fumes, creating a dangerous situation for shoppers. Once our client became aware of the situation it quickly evacuated the store and notified the authorities. The plaintiff, who was exposed to the fumes, alleged she had suffered substantial damages and that our client owed her a duty to protect her from the acts of third parties. We successfully argued that our client’s duty in responding to a criminal act was limited to taking action once the potential harm became known, and that our client had satisfied its duty, and the trial court dismissed the case. We were also successful at the appellate level, where the Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s decision. Smith Haughey attorney Kevin Even led the successful effort in this case.

In another case, Smith Haughey attorney Krista Jackson led a team representing an irrigation dealer in a case involving parties with competing security agreements, each arguing that they had priority over expensive farming equipment. We successfully argued at the trial court that the other party had not timely perfected its security interest in the equipment. Michigan case law had followed two conflicting standards regarding perfection of security interests, and we successfully argued for a “possession” standard that resulted in victory for our client. The Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed that ruling, issuing a published opinion in our client’s favor less than a week after oral argument, and solidifying our client’s priority in the equipment.

If you need assistance handling an appeal, please contact one of Smith Haughey’s appellate attorneys.

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