Michigan Supreme Court to hear insurance license case in Adrian
State knew of applicant’s felony conviction, but granted insurance agent’s license; four years later, state says license was approved in error, seeks to revoke, citing insurance code; local students to hear oral argument, meet Michigan Supreme Court justices
LANSING, MI, October 11, 2010 – Can the state, after granting an insurance agent’s license to a man convicted of a felony, revoke it several years later on the basis that the state Insurance Code barred the state from granting the license in the first place? That is the question the Michigan Supreme Court will consider in a case it will hear on October 19 in Adrian as part of the “Court Community Connections” program.
The plaintiff in King v State of Michigan applied for a state license to act as a resident insurance producer, or insurance agent, in 2004. At the time, he disclosed his felony conviction in 2000 for operating a vehicle under the influence of liquor, third offense. The state Office of Financial and Insurance Services granted the license, but in 2008, OFIS sought to revoke it, contending that the staff who reviewed the plaintiff’s license application used outdated standards. OFIS stated that, under the clear terms of the Michigan Insurance Code at the time of the 2004 application, the license should never have been granted to a person convicted of a felony. But the circuit court and Court of Appeals both ruled in favor of the insurance agent, with the Court of Appeals stating that “principles of equity” prevented OFIS from revoking the license on the basis of a claimed mistake.
The Supreme Court, which normally hears oral arguments at the Michigan Hall of Justice in Lansing, will hear oral argument in King v State of Michigan at Siena Heights University as part of “Court Community Connections,” a Supreme Court program aimed principally at high school students. Students from Lenawee County high schools, Siena Heights University, Adrian College, and Jackson Community College will attend the 12:45 p.m. court session in the university’s Francoeur Theater. Students and teachers will study the case in advance with the help of local judges and attorneys. Following the argument, the students will meet with the attorneys in the case for a debriefing.
Chief Justice Marilyn Kelly explained, “The goal of Court Community Connections is to introduce the Supreme Court to students and communities throughout Michigan. About twice each year, the Court holds oral argument in locations outside Lansing.”
Kelly added, “The communities that have hosted us for these programs have been unfailingly gracious and supportive, and Lenawee County is no exception. The Court thanks Siena Heights University, Lenawee County judges, court staff, and area attorneys, the Lenawee and Monroe Intermediate School Districts, Adrian College, Jackson Community College, and community educators and students for making this event possible. My fellow justices and I are grateful for their efforts.”
Lenawee County 39th Judicial Circuit Judge Margaret M. S. Noe said, “Most citizens have some understanding of what goes on in a trial court; fewer understand the appellate courts. By inviting the Michigan Supreme Court to Lenawee County, we hope students, teachers, parents, and community alike will have a better grasp of the courts and justice system in everyday life.”
Please note: the summaries that follow are brief accounts of complicated cases and may not reflect the way that some or all of the Court’s seven justices view the cases. The attorneys may also disagree about the facts, the issues, the procedural history, or the significance of their cases. Briefs in the cases are online at www.courts.michigan.gov/supremecourt/Clerk/MSC_orals.htm. For further details about the cases, please contact the attorneys.