May 13, 2017 - Lawsuit Update

posted May 13, 2017, 3:03 PM by Taxpayers for Michigan Constitutional Government   [ updated May 13, 2017, 3:06 PM ]

On May 9 the Court of Appeals denied the State’s motion to peremptorily dismiss the case by rejecting all of the State’s procedural defenses and ordered that we proceed to a full hearing on the merits. The Court’s order is attached below. 

If you recall from our last update, the State made three main arguments for dismissal: that we failed to meet the burden imposed by the Michigan court rules relating to unfunded mandate claims, that our claims were barred by the doctrine of res judicata, and that TMCG did not have standing to bring a mandamus claim. 

First, the court held that the heightened pleading standards in the court rules for unfunded mandates are inapplicable to our Art. IX, Sec. 30 claim. It is important that the court recognized the distinction between these Constitutional sections and that our argument rests on the overall funding of local governments, not on any single unfunded mandate. 

Next, the court held that our claims are not barred by the doctrine of res judicata which, as discussed in our previous update, applies when a claim or issue has already been decided by a court on the merits or if a claim or issue should have been brought forth in a previous case decided on the merits. The Court specifically noted that our case has a different identity than cases previously brought under the Headlee amendment, specifically Durant and Adair

Finally, the Court held that the Court of Appeals has the power to enforce the implementing legislation of the Headlee Amendment. The State argued that TMCG does not have standing to enforce the reporting obligations imposed by the Headlee Amendment’s associated legislation. The Court rejected this argument, holding that the implementing legislation clearly falls within their jurisdiction under Art. IX, Sec. 32. 

Although this is very good news for TMCG, there is still a long road ahead. We are over the first hurdle. Each side will now prepare motions for Summary Disposition, which make the arguments for why each side thinks that they are correct in their legal reasoning. Our legal team will meet very soon to sharpen winning arguments. 

We greatly appreciate your continued interest and support!

December 23, 2016 - Lawsuit Update

posted Dec 23, 2016, 8:25 PM by Taxpayers for Michigan Constitutional Government   [ updated Dec 23, 2016, 8:37 PM ]

Our lawsuit against the State of Michigan continues to move forward. On Nov. 1, 2016 the Attorney General filed an answer to our complaint.

After carefully reviewing the AG’s response, our legal team found that the AG’s arguments mischaracterized our claims and contained factual errors and inconsistencies with the rights provided to the People of Michigan in the State Constitution. We filed a motion for leave to file a reply brief limited to the new issues raised by the State, which the court granted, and on Dec. 21, 2016 we filed the reply brief. For your information, we’ve included a summary of the AG’s answer and our reply brief. Both documents are attached below.

Summary:

The AG’s answer raised a number of legal arguments, however, there were three that we felt we needed to address before the court reached the merits: that we have standing to bring a mandamus claim, that we did not fail to meet the burden imposed by the Michigan court rules relating to unfunded mandate claims, and that our claims are not barred by the doctrine of res judicata.

The State argues that we do not have standing to request a mandamus relief, which requires the state to perform a statutory duty. However the Michigan Constitution provides taxpayers with an explicit right to enforce the provisions of the Headlee amendment and we believe that this also includes its statutory implementing legislation. The State argued that because the production of certain reports relating to payments to local governments and unfunded mandates are owed to the legislature, they cannot be enforced by taxpayers. Our legal team determined this as inconsistent with the intent of the People when they passed Article 9, Section 25-34 of the State Constitution.

The State’s second argument attempts to mischaracterize our claims as falling under Article 9, Section 29 as opposed to Article 9, Section 30. This would impose additional pleading requirements that do not apply for Section 30 claims. We thought it imperative to make clear this distinction before the court decided any of the legal issues.

The State also argues that our claims should be barred under the doctrine of res judicata, which applies when a claim or issue has already been decided by a court on the merits or if a claim or issue should have been brought forth in a previous case decided on the merits. There have been a handful of Headlee cases over the years; however, there has not been a Section 30 case in over 30 years. We believe the State has failed to meet their burden of showing the applicability of res judicata to our claims with respect to these previous cases. In the reply brief, our legal team detailed the State’s failure to show applicability and pointed out that none of the previous cases mentioned in the State’s res judicata argument were brought under Section 30.

Have a wonderful holiday weekend and a happy New Year.

SEPTEMBER 13, 2016 — TMCG on the Radio

posted Sep 13, 2016, 11:06 AM by Taxpayers for Michigan Constitutional Government   [ updated Sep 13, 2016, 11:07 AM ]

Check out the link below to hear TMCG President Joh Mogk discuss our lawsuit against the State of Michigan on WDET 101.9. 

SEPTEMBER 9, 2016 — Lawyer Tracy Peter's to be on 910 AM Sunday, Sept. 18.

posted Sep 9, 2016, 6:54 AM by Taxpayers for Michigan Constitutional Government   [ updated Sep 16, 2016, 6:47 AM ]

TMCG Treasurer Steve Duchane, Secretary Nick Guttman and Lawyer Tracy Peters is scheduled to be on 910 AM Sunday Sept. 18, 2016 at 6 a.m. to discuss our case against the State.  

SEPTEMBER 9, 2016 — Complaint and Brief are available online

posted Sep 9, 2016, 6:53 AM by Taxpayers for Michigan Constitutional Government

The complaint and brief from our lawsuit are available on the Print Information page.

SEPTEMBER 9, 2016 — TMCG President to be on WDET

posted Sep 9, 2016, 5:49 AM by Taxpayers for Michigan Constitutional Government   [ updated Sep 9, 2016, 6:54 AM ]

TMCG President and Wayne Law Professor John Mogk will be on WDET 101.9 next Tuesday morning Sept. 13, 2016 to discuss our case against the State of Michigan. Mogk will be on the radio sometime between 9-10:30 a.m. We will update you with more details as they become available. 

SEPTEMBER 7, 2016 — Lawsuit Media Coverage

posted Sep 8, 2016, 7:00 AM by Taxpayers for Michigan Constitutional Government

Links to media coverage of our lawsuit:

SEPTEMBER 7, 2016 — TMCG files lawsuit against Michigan

posted Sep 8, 2016, 4:12 AM by Taxpayers for Michigan Constitutional Government   [ updated Sep 8, 2016, 4:12 AM ]

Taxpayers for Michigan Constitutional Government (TMCG) filed a lawsuit against the State of Michigan this morning with the Michigan Court of Appeals in Detroit. The official press release and media coverage of the lawsuit is available on the Media Page.

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