DELISHA M. WILLIAMS, Personal Representative of the Estate of SHARITA M. WILLIAMS, Plaintiff-Appellant,
CONSUELLA LEWIS and U.S. SECURITY ASSOCIATES, INC., d/b/a ADVANCE SECURITY, Defendants-Appellees.
Stephen J. Markman, Chief Justice Brian K. Zahra Bridget M.
McCormack David F. Viviano Richard H. Bernstein Kurtis T.
Wilder Elizabeth T. Clement, Justices
order of the Court, the application for leave to appeal the
November 21, 2017 judgment of the Court of Appeals is
considered, and it is DENIED, because we are not persuaded
that the question presented should be reviewed by this Court.
McCormack, J. (dissenting).
respectfully dissent from the Court's leave denial. I
would have granted leave to consider whether the Court of
Appeals properly analyzed the plaintiff's wrongful-death
claim in its opinion reversing the trial court's denial
of the defendant's motion for summary disposition.
Sharita Williams was shot and killed by an ex-lover and
coworker, Myron Williams, at their workplace. Sharita was a
receptionist at the Park Family Healthcare clinic. Myron was
a maintenance worker at the clinic. Sharita began a romantic
relationship with Myron in March of 2012 but eventually broke
it off. Myron responded by stalking and threatening her.
April 2013, in response to Myron's stalking and threats,
the Wayne Circuit Court issued a personal protection order
(PPO) ordering Myron, among other directives, to avoid coming
to the clinic between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Sharita
discussed the PPO and the reasons it was issued with
coworkers, including security guard Consuella Lewis. Lewis
worked for Advance Security, a company that was contracted to
protect Park Family Healthcare. Sharita asked Lewis to serve
the PPO on Myron on April 8, but she refused. Sharita told
Lewis that the PPO barred Myron from entering the clinic
between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. She also told Lewis that Myron
shared nude pictures of her with her acquaintances, broke
into her home, and stole her car, and that she had to move
into a new home because Myron was harassing her. Lewis also
knew that Myron carried a concealed pistol and always brought
it to work.
next morning, Lewis was on duty at 9:00 a.m. when Myron
entered the building. Lewis thought it was "weird"
for Myron to walk up to the building-he usually drove his
truck-but did nothing to stop him as he entered the clinic
through the employees' door. Lewis recalled there was
nothing unusual about his appearance, although another
witness said Myron looked like "trouble." A minute
later, Myron shot and killed Sharita and then himself.
estate filed a wrongful death action against Lewis and
Advance Security. The defendants filed a motion for summary
disposition under MCR 2.116(C)(10). The trial court denied
it, but the Court of Appeals reversed on an interlocutory
basis in an unpublished per curiam opinion. The panel held
that Advance Security owed no duty to Sharita because her
employer, which contracted with Advance Security, had no duty
to protect her from Myron's criminal acts.
there is no duty to protect a person from the criminal acts
of a third party. See Bailey v Schaaf, 494 Mich.
595, 604 (2013). But "a landlord has a duty to respond
by reasonably expediting police involvement where it is given
notice of a specific situation occurring on the premises that
would cause a reasonable person to recognize a risk of
imminent harm to an identifiable invitee." Id.
at 614 (cleaned up). The panel relied on this principle to
hold that, "given the comparability of the
employer-employee relationship to the landlord-tenant and
business invitor-invitee relationships, . . . the same
limited duty applies [to employer-employee
relationships]." Williams Estate v Lewis,
unpublished per curiam opinion of the Court of Appeals,
issued November 21, 2017 (Docket No. 332755), p 5. As the
quoted language suggests, the decision to liken the
employer-employee relationship to the landlord-tenant
relationship was a new doctrinal development. And maybe it is
a sound development, but I believe it warrants closer review
from this Court. There may be reasons to treat the two
addition, assuming Bailey v Schaaf is the correct
standard for evaluating this claim, I am not confident that
the Court of Appeals properly reversed the trial court's
decision to deny summary disposition. A party is only
entitled to summary disposition under MCR 2.116(C)(10) if
"there is no genuine issue regarding any material fact
and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law." West v Gen Motors Corp, 469 Mich. 177,
183 (2003). A trial court's grant of summary disposition
is reviewed de novo. Loweke v Ann Arbor Ceiling &
Partition Co, LLC, 489 Mich. 157, 162 (2011). In
Bailey, the defendant-landlord hired security guards
to protect guests in their apartment complex. A man entered
the complex with a handgun and threatened to kill someone,
and a tenant informed security. Security did not respond, and
the man shot the plaintiff in the back, paralyzing him. The
plaintiff sued both the landlord and the security company.
Bailey, 494 Mich. at 600-601. This Court held that a
landlord has a duty to reasonably expedite police involvement
when given notice of imminent harm to an identifiable
invitee, id. at 615-616, and this duty was imputed
to the security guards through their agency relationship with
the landlord, id. at 618. Because the shooter
plainly posed a danger to the plaintiff, the guards had a
duty to notify the police. Id.
there is no evidence that Myron entered the workplace
announcing his intent to kill, Lewis knew that there was a
court order preventing him from entering the workplace at the
time he did so, that the court order was entered because he
had been stalking and harassing Sharita and had committed
past crimes against her, and that he had made a habit of
carrying a firearm. Given all of this, I question whether the
trial court erred by denying the defendant's motion for
summary disposition. I do not see an error in the court's
determination that there was a question of material fact as
to whether these circumstances would cause "a reasonable
person to recognize a risk of imminent harm to an
identifiable invitee." Id. at 614.
have granted leave to give these questions ...