Law of the Case Doctrine Michigan
Under the law of the case doctrine, an appellate court ruling on a particular issue binds the appellate court and all lower tribunals with regard to that issue.
The law of the case mandates that a court may not decide a legal question differently where the facts remain materially the same.
The doctrine applies to questions specifically decided in an earlier decision and to questions necessarily determined to arrive at that decision.
The rationale supporting the doctrine is the need for finality of judgment and the want of jurisdiction in an appellate court to modify its own judgments except on rehearing.
Two exceptions to the doctrine exist:
(1) when the decision would preclude the independent review of constitutional facts and;
(2) when there has been an intervening change of law. Webb v. Smith (After Second Remand), 224 Mich. App. 203, 209-210; 568 N.W.2d 378 (1997).
In Driver v. Hanley (After Remand), 226 Mich. App. 558, 565; 575 N.W.2d 31 (1997), the Court recently stated the doctrine as follows:
The law of the case doctrine provides that a ruling by an appellate court with regard to a particular issue binds the appellate court and all lower tribunals with respect to that issue. Thus, a question of law decided by an appellate court will not be decided differently on remand or in a subsequent appeal in the same case. This rule applies without regard to the correctness of the prior determination.. . ..