Daily Briefs

On belay: Supreme Court revives lawsuit over zip line injury


WEST BLOOMFIELD, Mich. (AP) — A dispute between siblings over a zip line injury is returning to court in suburban Detroit.

The Michigan Supreme Court on Friday revived a lawsuit by Doreen Rott, who had knee surgery after zip lining in brother Arthur Rott's yard in Oakland County.

The court said zip lines aren't covered by a Michigan recreation law that gives some legal protection to property owners if someone is injured.

A person on a zip line wears a harness and flies through the air on a cable. Doreen Rott touched the ground before the end of her ride, injuring her knee.

She argued that she was at her brother's house for a family gathering and was pressured into riding the zip line.

A state recreation law can limit liability in injuries that occur from fishing, hunting, trapping, camping, hiking, sightseeing, motorcycling, snowmobiling or "any other outdoor recreational use."

But a zip line, the court said, doesn't fit that broad phrase.

The law "was not intended to shield landowners from all liability from every form of recreation that could conceivably occur outdoors," Justice Elizabeth Welch wrote for the majority.

 

Michigan restricts use of restraints on teens in courts


LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan Supreme Court is restricting the use of handcuffs and other restraints on juveniles when they appear in court.

They can't be used unless a judge determines that a restraint would prevent harm or there's a belief that a child might dash from the courtroom, the Supreme Court said in a rule adopted 5-2.

"The court shall provide the juvenile's attorney an opportunity to be heard before the court orders the use of restraints," the Supreme Court said Wednesday. "If restraints are ordered, the court shall state on the record or in writing its findings of fact in support of the order."

Justice Megan Cavanagh noted that 31 other states have procedures governing the use of restraints in court.

"While no one seriously disputes that courtroom safety is important, studies show that shackling youth has little effect on courtroom safety and is inconsistent with the rehabilitative goals of the juvenile justice system, which are not punitive in nature," Cavanagh said.

The court's only former trial judges, David Viviano and Brian Zahra, disagreed with the new rule and said it's confusing.

"We should allow considerable flexibility for trial judges to manage their own courtrooms, including making determinations regarding the level of security that is necessary to protect the safety and security of all involved," Viviano wrote.




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