University of Michigan Law School
The Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse - Schoolhouse
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Case Name Phillips v. Snyder VR-MI-0070
Docket / Court 2:13-cv-11370 ( E.D. Mich. )
State/Territory Michigan
Case Type(s) Election/Voting Rights
Public Accomm./Contracting
Speech and Religious Freedom
Attorney Organization Center for Constitutional Rights
Case Summary
On March 27, 2013, plaintiffs filed this lawsuit against the State of Michigan in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. Plaintiffs were a coalition of unelected citizens, public employee union members and representatives, and locally elected officials from cities in ... read more >
On March 27, 2013, plaintiffs filed this lawsuit against the State of Michigan in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. Plaintiffs were a coalition of unelected citizens, public employee union members and representatives, and locally elected officials from cities in Michigan that were currently under the authority of an Emergency Manager. Represented by a combination of private counsel and the Center for Constitutional Rights, plaintiffs alleged that the state violated their constitutional rights to equal protection, republican form of government, free speech, and ability to petition their government, when the state appointed an Emergency manager to their respective local governments pursuant to Public Act 436, MCL §§ 141.1541 et seq. ("PA 436"). Among other counts, plaintiffs asserted that their equal protection rights and protections from the Voting Rights Act had been violated because Emergency Managers were appointed to communities in a way that disproportionately impacted and diluted African American and low-income voting power. Additionally, the union plaintiffs alleged that their substantive and due process rights were violated when state officials impeded the City of Detroit's ability to finalize a tentative agreement with the coalition of public employee unions. Plaintiffs also alleged a violation of their substantive due process right to "elect representatives with general legislative power." Filing this action pursuant to 24 U.S.C. § 1983 and Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act ("VRA"), 42 U.S.C. § 1973, plaintiffs sought declaratory judgment that P.A. 436 violated the VRA and the Constitution, injunctive relief restraining the state from implementing or exercising authority and power conveyed by P.A. 436, prohibiting the state from impeding the City of Detroit in its bargaining with the public employees unions, and an award of compensatory and punitive damages.

On May 16, 2013, the State moved to dismiss all counts, alleging that plaintiffs did not have standing, and generally denying the allegations of constitutional violations. This motion is currently pending.

On June 27, 2013, the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan filed an amicus brief, arguing that by international law standards, the State of Michigan had unlawfully suspended the political rights of its citizens.

This case is currently ongoing.

Dan Osher - 07/13/2013


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Discrimination-basis
Race discrimination
General
Voting
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Race
Black
Voting
Vote dilution
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Voting Rights Act, section 2, 42 U.S.C. § 1973
Defendant(s) State of Michigan
Plaintiff Description A group of unelected citizens, union members and representatives, and locally elected officials from Michigan cities that are currently under the authority of an Emergency Manager, pursuant to Public Act 436.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Center for Constitutional Rights
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted
Prevailing Party not on record
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Form of Settlement
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Yes
Docket(s)
2:13-cv-11370 (E.D. Mich.) 07/09/2013
VR-MI-0070-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Declaratory & Injunctive Relief 03/27/2013
VR-MI-0070-0001 PDF | Detail
Motion for leave to file an amicus curiae brief for the American Civil Liberties Union Fund of Michigan 06/27/2013
VR-MI-0070-0002 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Steeh, George Caram III (E.D. Mich.)
VR-MI-0070-9000
Whalen, R. Steven (W.D. Mich.) [Magistrate]
VR-MI-0070-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Charney, Darius (New York)
VR-MI-0070-0001
Davis, Hugh M. Jr. (Michigan)
VR-MI-0070-0001 | VR-MI-0070-9000
Goodman, William (Michigan)
VR-MI-0070-0001 | VR-MI-0070-9000
Heenan, Cynthia (Michigan)
VR-MI-0070-0001 | VR-MI-0070-9000
Hurwitz, Julie H. (Michigan)
VR-MI-0070-0001 | VR-MI-0070-9000
Mack, Richard G. (Michigan)
VR-MI-0070-0001 | VR-MI-0070-9000
Paris, Anthony D. (Michigan)
VR-MI-0070-0001 | VR-MI-0070-9000
Philo, John C. (Michigan)
VR-MI-0070-0001 | VR-MI-0070-9000
Sanders, Herbert A. (Michigan)
VR-MI-0070-0001 | VR-MI-0070-9000
Schwarz, Ghita (New York)
VR-MI-0070-0001
Defendant's Lawyers Barton, Denise C. (Michigan)
VR-MI-0070-9000
Meingast, Heather S. (Michigan)
VR-MI-0070-9000
Murphy, Michael F (Michigan)
VR-MI-0070-9000
Nelson, Margaret A. (Michigan)
VR-MI-0070-9000
Sherman, Ann (Michigan)
VR-MI-0070-9000
Other Lawyers Fancher, Mark P. (Michigan)
VR-MI-0070-0002 | VR-MI-0070-9000
Moss, Kary L. (Michigan)
VR-MI-0070-0002
Steinberg, Michael J. (Michigan)
VR-MI-0070-0002

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