Michigan Court of Appeals affirms trial courts writ of mandamus keeping Flint hearing site open.
We blogged in October 2012 about the Flint, MI hearing site being closed by the Michigan Administrative Hearing System (MAHS). All scheduled and future cases were to be moved to Dimondale, MI. This would have forced claimants to drive over 100 miles round-trip just to have their cases heard.
This closure was allegedly being done to save money. We considered it just another attack by a hostile administration. Reducing hearing locations will undoubtedly make it more difficult for injured workers to fight disputed claims.
A lawsuit filed in Genesee County seeking to stop the planned closure was successful. Judge Geoffrey L. Neithercut ruled that at least one claim could not be moved because the law requires a hearing in the locality of injury. This was eventually expanded to all workers’ compensation claims arising in Genesee County.
The Michigan Court of Appeals has now affirmed stating: “We conclude that the trial court did not err when it determined that the Legislature limited the geographic area within which a hearing on workers compensation claims may be held and that the transfer of the hearings to Dimondale exceeded that limitation.”
This would seem to open the door for a challenge to other hearing site closures. While this is encouraging news, we do not know if the fight is over. The Michigan Supreme Court could still weigh in on the issue. It is also possible that the Legislature could get involved.
Michigan Workers Comp Lawyers never charges a fee to evaluate a case. We have represented injured and disabled workers exclusively for more than 35 years. Call (855) 221-2667 for a free consultation.