May 13, 2017 - Lawsuit Update
Post date: May 13, 2017 10:3:30 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!