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Michigan Supreme Court rightfully decides that domestic labor has economic value

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In a 4-3 decision, the new Gang of Justice at the Michigan Supreme Court stood up to conservative Justice Robert Young and ruled that backbreaking domestic work is, in fact, work.

Michigan Supreme Court Justice Robert Young is showing us once again how little he knows about the lives of average Americans. His dissenting opinion in Thorn v Mercy Memorial Hospital shows that he thinks the day-to-day efforts of a mother and wife do not have an economic value. Not surprisingly, any mother or wife reading this right now might beg to differ. As anyone who has to pick up after kids, change diapers, fold laundry, prepare three meals, make the bed, walk the dogs, buy the groceries, vacuum the carpet, wipe the windows, clean out the fridge, mop the floors, sanitize the toilet, etc., already knows: it’s a J – O – B. Even the folks at Salary.com agreed, saying a stay-at-home mom, in 2006, would earn $134,121 a year if they were actually paid for all the work they do (a "working mom" would still rake in $85,876 a year, thanks to the Second Shift effect).

Young’s dissent really comes down to one thing. When it comes to the relatives of a deceased or injured loved one up against the corporation who hired the doctors that killed or injured the loved one, Young thinks average Americans should get no assistance from the corporation or doctor to replace all the tasks that person used to do before the malpractice. He’d like to lump it together with the idea that all that back-breaking work is just a part of the "companionship" of a spouse or relative.

Are we really back in the 1950s, that we’re discounting the actual labor people do in their homes? Is "women’s work" really a value-less activity that wives and mothers do because it’s their lot in life? Of course not, but Justice Robert Young has no other option to argue that because we all know who he really cares about – insurance companies and corporations.

Thanks to the wisdom and modern views of the majority members of the Michigan Supreme Court, if your spouse of relative is injured as a result of someone’s medical negligence, there won’t be a "cap" on how much you can recover for the loss of their labor value when it comes to all the things they did to be a "super-mom".

2 Comments

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  1. up arrow

    Great article on a decision for the people of Michigan. I live in Hawaii but I was born and raised and educated in Michigan. How did Robert Young ever become a judge? Anyway, thanks for this encouraging news about an important subject for all of us and in particular, women.

  2. SG says:
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    Great post! After reading Justice Young’s opinion, I found this part particularly alarming:

    “[T]he Court of Appeals decision, which permits plaintiff to place a dollar value on a mother’s attendance at her child’s events, seems over-broad. Thus, not only does the Court of Appeals decision threaten to defeat the purpose of the
    noneconomic loss cap, it also devalues the relationship that family members share with
    one another.”

    So, to Robert Young, allowing the family of a woman who bleeds to death to recover somehow “devalues” that family’s relationship with her? That’s illogical and troubling.