Grandparents' rights case before high court justices

 Grandparents seeking visiting time with the children of their deceased son had their case heard by the Michigan Supreme Court in oral arguments Wednesday.


Robert and Judith Porter, the plaintiffs in Porter v Hill, sought a court order to allow them to have grandparenting time. The children’s mother, Christina Hill, opposed them, arguing that the Porters lacked legal standing to sue for grandparenting time since their son’s parental rights were terminated before he died. A trial court judge reluctantly ruled that the Porters lacked standing, adding, “I hope the Court of Appeals reverses me on this issue.”
But in a 2-1 ruling, the Court of Appeals upheld the trial court, with the majority holding that the Porters lacked standing because their son was not the children’s legal father at the time of his death. The dissenting judge argued that the majority misread the state’s Child Custody Act and that the Legislature had intended to allow grandparents to seek grandparenting time despite termination of a son or daughter’s parental rights.

The Supreme Court will also hear State of Michigan v CVS Caremark, et al., in which a number of companies that operate pharmacies in Michigan are accused of overcharging for generic prescription drugs.

Also before the Court are two cases of alleged sexual abuse of children, People v Shaver and People v Douglas. The Court will also hear arguments in People v White, involving the 180-day or “speedy trial” rule, and IBM v Department of Treasury, a tax case. Also to be argued is Yono v Department of Transportation, in which MDOT challenges a Court of Appeals ruling allowing the plaintiff to pursue her lawsuit against MDOT. At issue is whether the parking lane where the plaintiff fell is part of the “improved portion of the roadway designed for vehicular travel” which MDOT would have a duty to maintain.

The Court will hear oral arguments on the sixth floor of the Michigan Hall of Justice today, starting at 9:30 a.m. The Court heard several cases Tuesday morning as well. The Court’s oral arguments are open to the public; the Court also live streams its hearings at www.courts.mi.gov/Courts/MichiganSupremeCourt/oral-arguments/live-streaming/Pages/live-streaming.aspx. Summaries of the cases the Supreme Court will hear are posted on the “One Court of Justice” website. See www.courts.mi.gov/Courts/MichiganSupremeCourt/oral-arguments/Pages/default.aspx for the schedule and links to case summaries.