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Law School Case Brief

Newsome v. Labby - 206 Mich. App. 434, 522 N.W.2d 872 (1994)

Rule:

Mich. Comp. Laws § 722.26b provides that a guardian or limited guardian of a child has standing to bring an action for custody of the child but a limited guardian of a child does not have standing to bring an action for custody if the parent or parents of the child have substantially complied with a limited guardianship placement plan regarding the child. 

Facts:

The grandparents were appointed guardians of their grandchild when the girl's mother and father had their parental rights terminated. The grandparents petitioned the probate court for termination of the guardianship in connection with an order for reunification signed by the parties. Before the order took effect, the grandparents filed a complaint for custody. The parents filed a motion for summary disposition based on the lack of standing. The trial court granted the motion, finding that the grandparents lacked standing because the existence of the reintegration plan created an exception to the standing conferred upon guardians. The grandparents sought review. 

Issue:

Did the grandparents have standing?

Answer:

Yes

Conclusion:

The court reversed the decision of the trial court and remanded the case to the trial court for reinstatement of the grandparents' action for custody. It held that the trial court erred in determining that the existence of the reintegration plan had an effect on standing and that Mich. Comp. Laws § 722.26b clearly conferred standing upon the guardians to bring an action for custody of a child.

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