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Published: May 07, 2010

On May 7, 2010, the Michigan Supreme Court agreed with Starr Commonwealth that it cannot be held liable for an unforeseen murder that was committed by an escapee of its facility, eleven days following the escape. Starr Commonwealth, a juvenile detention facility located near Albion, Mi, was represented by G. Gus Morris of McGRAW MORRIS P.C. in Troy, Michigan. In reinstating the trial court’s dismissal of Starr Commonwealth, the Supreme Court agreed with Mr. Morris and Gilmer’s consistent argument throughout this case, that MCL 803.306a, which requires that a facility like Starr Commonwealth “immediately notify” law enforcement of an escape, “does not create an actionable [tort] duty in favor of the general public.” The Supreme Court also agreed with Messrs. Morris and Gilmer as well as the trial court in finding that, based on the facts of the case, Plaintiff cannot establish that a murder that occurred eleven days following an escape, at a location over 100 miles away from the facility, was proximately caused by the alleged delay in reporting the escape. According to Mr. Morris, “the Supreme Court’s decision today makes clear what I have argued all along: that the immediate notification requirement contained in MCL 803.306a does not create a duty to the general public; rather, the reporting requirement was created to, as the Supreme Court stated, ‘provide for public wards.'” “The Supreme Court also agreed with our position and the position of the trial court that even if there was a duty to the general public owed, and that Starr Commonwealth somehow violated that duty, Plaintiff cannot establish that any delay in contacting law enforcement – which have consistently argued did not occur – cannot be said to be the cause of a murder of a complete stranger eleven days later.” For further information, please contact either Mr. Morris at (248) 502-4000 or via email at


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