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Michigan Rules of Civil Procedure

The Michigan Rules of Civil Procedure lay down the rules that should be followed by Michigan state courts except where the limited jurisdiction of a court makes a rule inherently inapplicable or where a rule applicable to a specific court or a specific type of proceeding provides a different procedure.  The rules govern civil actions.  The rules are promulgated for the smooth and efficient functioning of state courts. 

In Michigan a civil action commences by filing of a complaint with the court.  Generally, a complaint is accompanied by an affidavit of indigency.  Party who commences the action is called the plaintiff, and the adverse party is called the defendant.  A civil action can be classified into various stages that include: pleading stage, discovery stage, trial stage, and judgment stage.  According to Rule 2.102, once a complaint is filed, the court clerk will issue the required summons to the defendant(s).

Pleadings in Michigan courts include the following: complaint, answer to complaint, counter claim, answer to counter claim, cross claim, answer to cross claim, third party complaint, answer to third party complaint and reply to an answer. 

Generally, a civil action should be filed in the name of the real party in interest.  If the party in interest is a minor or incompetent person s/he should be represented by a conservator.  If a minor or incompetent person does not have a conservator to represent as plaintiff, the court will appoint a competent and responsible person as next friend.  If the minor or incompetent person does not have a conservator to represent as defendant, the court may appoint a guardian ad litem.

Parties my obtain discovery by depositions upon oral examination or written questions; written interrogatories; production of documents or things or permission to enter upon land or other property, for inspection and other purposes; physical and mental examinations; and requests for admission.

In pretrial procedures, the court may direct the attorneys for the parties to appear for a conference by its own initiative or on request of a party.  The court issues reasonable notice for scheduling the conference and there may be more than one conference in a civil action.  The pretrial conference is aimed at:

  • simplifying the issues;
  • deciding the amount of time necessary for discovery;
  • deciding the necessity or desirability of amendments to the pleadings;
  • discussing the possibility of obtaining admissions of fact and documents to avoid unnecessary proof;
  • deciding the number of expert witnesses;
  • consolidating the actions for trial, separation of issues, and order of trial when some issues are to be tried by a jury and some by the court;
  • discussing the possibility of settlement;
  • deciding if mediation, case evaluation, or some other form of alternative dispute resolution would be appropriate for the case , and what mechanisms are available to provide such services;
  • identifying the witnesses to testify at trial;
  • estimating length of trial;
  • deciding if all claims arising out of the transaction or occurrence that is the subject matter of the action have been joined as required by MCR 2.203(A);
  • discussing other matters that may aid in the disposition of the action.

At the trial stage, a party may demand for trial by jury.  A judgment is passed after trial.  The judgment may include a decree or an order upon which an appeal is permissible.  Generally, cost of litigation is adjudged to the prevailing party.

Michigan Rules of Civil Procedure

Inside Michigan Rules of Civil Procedure