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There is no extended discovery period, which will now be available to victims who are minors as described below.
The existing 5-year period of limitations for assault and battery claims involving spouses or individuals in dating relationships remains unchanged, but is extended to 10 years for claims for criminal sexual conduct.
The period of limitations begins to run after the claim first accrues.
It is not necessary that a criminal prosecution has been brought or that any prosecution resulted in a conviction.
For example, physicians who are now retired may no longer have access to clinical records that could document valid informed consent, the legitimacy of a medical procedure, and the presence of a chaperone during the encounter.
It remains to be seen how Senate Bill 872, in practical terms, will affect the practice of the health professions in Michigan.
As with claims by adult victims, it is not necessary for claims by minors that a criminal prosecution was brought or that any prosecution brought resulted in a conviction. It provides that an individual who, while a minor, was the victim of criminal sexual conduct after December 31, 1996, but before 2 years before the legislation’s effective date, may file suit within 90 days after the legislation’s effective date, if the person alleged to have committed the criminal sexual conduct was convicted of first degree criminal sexual conduct against any person and admitted that (i) he or she was in a position of authority over the victim as the victim's physician and used that authority to coerce the victim to submit, or (ii) the defendant engaged in purported medical treatment or examination of the victim in a manner that is, or for purposes that are, medically recognized as unethical or unacceptable.
This legislation is expected to be adopted by the Senate and enacted as law in June, 2018.
Claims for assault and battery not involving criminal sexual conduct or spousal/dating relationships remain subject to the 2-year period of limitations.
Subject to the changes made by the legislation, the existing 3-year period of limitations continues to apply to claims for death or injury to persons or property when no other period of limitations is specified by law.
Some speculate that Senate Bill 872 may cause physicians and other health professionals who treat minors to begin maintaining clinical records indefinitely, due to the discovery standard.
Michigan’s minimum required retention period for medical records is generally 7 years from the date of service, unless a longer period is required by federal law or other state law (e.g., see House Bills 57, below). These bills substantially bolster existing law by prohibiting a person furnishing medical treatment from engaging in sexual contact or sexual penetration with the patient by means of misrepresenting that contact or penetration is necessary or beneficial to the patient’s health. The legislation places the maximum terms of imprisonment for felony offenses within the sentencing guidelines chapter of the Code of Criminal Procedure.