Supreme Court Requires Advance Notice of All Claims against the State
Generally, Section 6431 of the Revised Judicature Act, MCL 600.6431, prohibits a lawsuit against the State of Michigan (or any of its departments, commissions, boards, institutions, arms, or agencies) unless, within 1 year after the claim accrues, a written claim is filed in the office of the clerk of the court of claims. In Tyrrell v. Univ of Michigan, 335 Mich App 254; 966 NW2d 219 (2020), the Court of Appeals held that Section 6431 only applied to cases filed in the Court of Claims. However, more recently, in Christie v. Wayne State University, Case No. 162706 (May 2, 2023), Michigan’s Supreme Court reversed Tyrell, holding that Section 6431 applied to all claims against the State, regardless of the court in which filed.
Christie involved an employment discrimination case filed in the Wayne County Circuit Court. The University moved to dismiss because plaintiff had not filed the notice required by Section 6431. The trial court denied the University’s motion based on Tyrrell and the Court of Appeals affirmed. On appeal, the Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals, reasoning that nothing in the plain language of Section 6431 limited its application to cases ultimately filed in the Court of Claims. Christie will likely trip up unwary plaintiffs for some time.