In a travesty of justice, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled on July 25 that the discovery rule is no longer applicable to wrongful death actions--even if it was impossible to bring the suit within three years of the death. The Court reversed decades of precedent in Trentadue v Gorton, a case that arose from the tragic and brutal murder/rape of a woman in Flint in 1986. The killer was able to evade authorities until 2002, when DNA evidence finally linked him to the crime.
Within 6 months of learning the identity of the killer (he worked for a lawn sprinkler company that was servicing the property on which the victim lived), the victim's daughter filed a wrongful death action against the lawn sprinkler company and her former landlord [note: The sprinkler company was owned by the murderer's parents and they knew he had been convicted of assaulting women. The victim had also asked her landlord to provide better security on the premises where she lived]. Even though there was no way for the victim's daughter to know who her mother's killer was until the police connected the DNA evidence to the murderer in 2002, according to the Supreme Court, she is barred from bringing an action by the statute of limitations.