On August 9, 2007, the Michigan Court of Appeals released an unpublished opinion reversing an order terminating parental rights. In re Engle, unpublished per curiam opinion of the Michigan Court of Appeals, released August 9, 2007 (Docket No. 275064). Since reversals of termination cases are few and far between we immediately blogged the case (see blog entry "It is Possible! COA reverses TPR case" dated August 17, 2007). But just like Michigan summers, the reversal did not last. On November 2, 2007, the Michigan Supreme Court issued an order peremptorily reversing the Court of Appeals’ decision to reverse the termination and reinstating the order of the Oakland County Circuit Court terminating the biological mother’s parental rights.
In its order, the Court cited three reasons for peremptory reversal, stating that the COA: (1) misapplied the clear error standard by substituting its own judgment for that of the trial court, (2) failed to acknowledge that the applicable statutes and court rules do not require efforts for reunification or provision of services under the circumstances of the case, and (3) rendered a decision that was contrary to the clear and convincing evidence supporting the statutory grounds for termination and the best interests of the minor children. And so the Supreme Court has restored the trend affirming TPR cases....for now.