On May 2, 2023, the Michigan Supreme Court issued a decision in Christie v. Wayne State University, case no. 162706. The Supreme Court’s 7-0 decision holds that in order to file a lawsuit against the State of Michigan or any of its departments, commissions, boards, institutions, arms, or agencies, it is necessary to comply with the requirements found in M.C.L. 600.6431(1), regardless of whether the lawsuit is filed in the circuit court or the Court of Claims.
The Michigan Legislature has abrogated its sovereign immunity and consented for the state to be sued under the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act and Persons with Disabilities Civil Rights Act. These statutes prohibit discrimination based on religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, height, weight, familial status, or marital status, in housing, education, public services, and employment. The circuit courts and Court of Claims share concurrent jurisdiction over claims filed against the State under these statutes. The Court of Claims Act, M.C.L. 600.6431, requires claims or written notice of intention to file claims to be filed in the Court of Claims within one year. Prior to the Supreme Court’s Christie decision, this one-year limitation period did not apply to these types of civil rights claims filed in the circuit court. Now, however, all claims against the state – including employment and other claims arising out of harassment, retaliation, and discrimination – must comply with this requirement.
Normally, the statute of limitations for claims under the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act and Persons with Disabilities Civil Rights Act in Michigan is three years. But the Supreme Court’s decision in Christie effectively shortens that period to one year for civil rights claims against the State of Michigan.
If your claim against the State, or a written notice of intention to file the claim, is not filed in the Court of Claims within one year, it will likely be subject to dismissal.
This limitation applies to lawsuits against the State of Michigan and its departments, commissions, boards, institutions, arms, and agencies. This includes, for example, entities such as the Michigan State Police, Michigan Department of Corrections, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Wayne State University, and other public universities.
If you believe you may have a claim against the State of Michigan or any of its departments or entities, your time is limited. Do not hesitate to contact us at NachtLaw, P.C. Our experienced attorneys are equipped to handle discrimination, harassment, retaliation, whistleblower, and civil rights claims against the State of Michigan.