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156579 - Genesee County Drain Commissioner v Genesee County

Genesee County Drain Commissioner Jeffrey Wright,

 

Scott Fraim

 

Plaintiff-Appellee,

 

and

 

 

 

 

 

Charter Township of Fenton, Dennis Bow, Karyn Miller, Bonnie Mathis, Paula Zelenko, Marilynn Hoffman, Larry Green, Jake LaFurgey, Ray Foust, David Guigear, Robert M. Palmer, Rick Caruso, William W. Kovl, Maxine Orr, Village of Goodrich, Village of Gaines, Village of Lennon, Charter Township of Mundy, Township of Argentine, Charter Township of Flint, Charter Township of Mt. Morris, Township of Gaines, and City of Flushing,  

 

 

 

Plaintiffs,

 

v

(Appeal from Ct of Appeals)

 

 

Genesee – Neithercut, G)

 

Genesee County,

 

Mary Massaron,

 

Defendant-Appellant,

 

and

 

 

Genesee County Board of Commissioners,

Defendant.

 

Summary

Plaintiff Genesee County Drain Commissioner alleges that defendant Genesee County wrongfully retained refunds of overpaid health insurance premiums that were intended for plaintiff pursuant to a group health plan. Plaintiff and others brought an action against defendant, alleging breach of contract, fraud, and conversion. On defendant’s motion for summary disposition, the trial court held that defendant was not entitled to governmental immunity regarding plaintiffs’ intentional tort claims, and that plaintiffs’ breach of contract claim could proceed. In a published opinion, the Court of Appeals affirmed with regard to plaintiffs’ breach of contract claim, but reversed with regard to the tort claims, concluding that there is no immunity exception in the Governmental Tort Liability Act (GTLA), MCL 691.1401 et seq., for intentional torts. 309 Mich App 317 (2015) (Genesee I). On remand, plaintiff filed a second amended complaint adding a claim of unjust enrichment. Defendant moved for partial summary disposition, arguing that the unjust enrichment claim was barred under the GTLA because it involved “tort liability” pursuant to In re Bradley Estate, 494 Mich 367 (2013). The trial court denied the motion. In a published opinion, the Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that unjust enrichment is an “equitable doctrine” in which the law implies a contract, and thus “involves contract liability, not tort liability.” 321 Mich App 74 (2017) (Genesee II). The Supreme Court has directed oral argument on defendant’s application for leave to appeal to address whether the Court of Appeals erred in holding that plaintiff’s claim of unjust enrichment was not subject to governmental immunity under the GTLA, see Bradley Estate, because it was based on the equitable doctrine of implied contract at law. See Restatements of the Law 3d, Restitution and Unjust Enrichment (2011).​