In this article for the Summer 2020 Edition of Crossroads, the Quarterly Journal of the County Road Association of Michigan, Lex Fori PLLC attorney Carson J. Tucker discusses several legal issues that could potentially expand liability of governmental entities defending suits under the highway exception to governmental immunity. The article addresses an important case being prosecuted by Mr. Tucker in the Michigan Supreme Court.
Attorney Carson J. Tucker has developed a particular expertise in prosecuting and defending appeals in state and federal courts, including the United States Supreme Court. Mr. Tucker is also a frequent author of amicus curiae (friend of the court) briefs in the United States Supreme Court and state and federal courts on behalf of various governmental and non-governmental entities, not-for-profit corporations, and individuals.
A significant portion of his practice is focused on appellate matters in which his efforts are directed at changing the law for a wide swath of interested parties and stakeholders. In addition to being licensed to practice in Michigan, Mr. Tucker is admitted to practice in the Eastern and Western District Federal Courts in Michigan, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and the United States Supreme Court.
Mr. Tucker has also presented for the International Municipal Lawyers Association (IMLA) on the latest legal issues in municipal liability law under the U.S. Constitution and federal legislation under the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Title 42 United States Code, §§ 1981, et seq., covering his familiarity and expertise on the many diverse questions that arise in this ever-changing and dynamic area of the law.
Carson J. Tucker has participated in and argued some of the most significant governmental immunity cases in Michigan during the past decade.
Mr. Tucker presented direct representation to the governmental defendants and prosecuted the entire appeal, including all appellate briefings and oral arguments before the Court of Appeals and Supreme Court in the following cases:
- Menard v Everson, et al. incl. Macomb Department of Roads, Unpublished Opinion of the Michigan Court of Appeals, issued September 6, 2018, 2018 Mich. App. LEXIS 3108 (Docket No. 336220), remanded, appeal pending.
- Estate of Truett v. Wayne County, Unpublished Opinion of the Michigan Court of Appeals, dated May 6, 2014 (Docket No. 313638), briefed and argued by Carson J. Tucker for Wayne County
- Atkins v. SMART, 492 Mich. 707 (August 20, 2012), application granted, and briefed and argued by Carson J. Tucker in the Supreme Court
- Gentry v. Wayne County Deputy Sheriff Daniel Carmona, unpublished opinion of hte Michigan Court of Appeals, dated October 11, 2011 (Docket No. 296580), briefed and argued by Carson J. Tucker in the Court of Appeals
- Hamed v. Wayne County, 490 Mich. 1 (July 29, 2011), briefed and argued by Carson J. Tucker in the Court of Appeals and Supreme Court
- Odom v. Wayne County, 482 Mich. 459 (December 30, 2008), application for leave to appeal granted, and briefed and argued by Carson J. Tucker in the Supreme Court
In addition, Mr. Tucker has provided direct support to governmental entities in filing “friend of the court”, i.e., amicus curiae briefs in support of the governmental defendants in the following cases:
- Yono v. MDOT, 499 Mich. 636; 885 N.W.2d 445 (2016), amicus curiae brief for Macomb Department of Roads, Road Commission for Oakland County and Wayne County
- Yono v. MDOT, 306 Mich. App. 671 (2014), after remand order, amicus curiae brief filed for Michigan Municipal League and Michigan Townships Association on June 16, 2014, after remand by Carson J. Tucker
- State Farm v. MMRMA, amicus curiae in Supreme Court for Oakland County, Wayne County, Macomb County, and Wayne County in support of MMRMA’s application, by Carson J. Tucker
- Hannay v MDOT, 497 Mich. 45; 860 N.W.2d 67 (2014), application granted and consolidated with Hunter v. Sisco, amicus curiae filed for Michigan Townships Association, Macomb County, Oakland County and Wayne County, et al., by Carson J. Tucker
- Hagerty v Manistee, 493 Mich 933 (2013), amicus curiae in Michigan Supreme Court for Michigan Municipal League, et al., by Carson J. Tucker
Effective appellate representation demands different skills than those required by litigation attorneys. Appellate attorneys are adept at analyzing the intricacies of each case from an objective and critical perspective. From reviewing and preparing the lower court record, identifying errors for appeal, and developing a strategy to raise those issues that will be addressed by appellate courts, appellate attorneys are capable of handling the most complex appeals from the application stage to oral advocacy before the highest courts. Our research abilities and knowledge of current issues in nearly all major subject-matter areas of the law provide our clients with efficient and immediate assistance with complex and high-exposure cases. We are also experienced at navigating through all appellate courts to shepherd the appeal in the most expeditious fashion possible so that it can be reviewed and quickly ruled upon.