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Temple v. H J Heinz Co.

Michigan Court of Appeals
Sep 6, 1989
446 N.W.2d 869 (Mich. Ct. App. 1989)


Docket No. 107023.

Decided September 6, 1989.

James K. Oslund, for plaintiff.

Cholette, Perkins Buchanan (by Robert J. Riley), for defendant.

Before: DANHOF, C.J., and CYNAR and WEAVER, JJ.

Plaintiff was injured on August 6, 1984, while in the course of his employment with the defendant. Relying on the "substantial certainty" standard articulated in Beauchamp v Dow Chemical Co, 427 Mich. 1; 398 N.W.2d 882 (1986), plaintiff filed a complaint on May 7, 1987, alleging an intentional tort. On May 14, 1987, the Legislature, in 1987 PA 28, amended the exclusive remedy provision of the Workers' Disability Compensation Act, MCL 418.131; MSA 17.237 (131), which effectively reversed Beauchamp. Defendant then moved for summary disposition arguing that the amendment should be given retrospective effect, thereby eliminating plaintiff's claim. Summary disposition was granted. Plaintiff appeals as of right.

We follow our Court's previous decision in Schefsky v The Evening News Ass'n, 169 Mich. App. 223, 227-228; 425 N.W.2d 768 (1988), which held that the amendment operates retroactively since it is procedural in nature, as by its terms "[t]his subsection shall not enlarge or reduce rights under law," and was apparently prompted by the Legislature's desire to correct or clarify uncertainty regarding the original act. See also Bowden v McAndrew, 173 Mich. App. 591, 595; 434 N.W.2d 195 (1988), lv den 432 Mich. 917 (1989).

Additionally, we find the holding of Schefsky unchanged by our Supreme Court's recent plurality decision in White v General Motors Corp, 431 Mich. 387; 429 N.W.2d 576 (1988), which essentially held that 1980 PA 357, effective January 1, 1982, amending MCL 418.373; MSA 17.237(373) of the WDCA, operated prospectively only for injuries occurring on or after the effective date. The Court found that the amendment to § 373 affected substantive rights under the act by changing the standard of disability which an employee who retires and receives a nondisability pension must meet to receive workers' compensation benefits. Specifically, the amended language of that section stated in pertinent part: "This standard supersedes other applicable standards used to determine disability under either this chapter or chapter 4." [Emphasis added.]

In contrast, the above-cited amendatory language of § 131 evidences a legislative intent only to clarify the original intent of the act by correcting a perceived misinterpretation in Beauchamp, and leaving the act itself substantively unaltered.


Summaries of

Temple v. H J Heinz Co.

Michigan Court of Appeals
Sep 6, 1989
446 N.W.2d 869 (Mich. Ct. App. 1989)
Case details for

Temple v. H J Heinz Co.

Case Details


Court:Michigan Court of Appeals

Date published: Sep 6, 1989


446 N.W.2d 869 (Mich. Ct. App. 1989)
446 N.W.2d 869

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