University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Bellant v. Snyder VR-MI-0072
Docket / Court 17-cv-13887 ( E.D. Mich. )
State/Territory Michigan
Case Type(s) Election/Voting Rights
Attorney Organization Center for Constitutional Rights
Case Summary
Plaintiffs, who are citizens of the United States and residents of the state of Michigan, filed this complaint in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan on December 1, 2017. The plaintiffs sued a number of state officials, including the governor of Michigan, under 42 ... read more >
Plaintiffs, who are citizens of the United States and residents of the state of Michigan, filed this complaint in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan on December 1, 2017. The plaintiffs sued a number of state officials, including the governor of Michigan, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The plaintiffs sought declaratory relief holding that Public Act 436 was in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. This case is assigned to United States District Judge George Caram Steeh.

Public Act 436, which was enacted by the legislature after Michigan voters rejected a similar ballot provision, gave the state legislature power to appoint "Emergency Managers" to local municipalities once a financial emergency has been declared. These Emergency Managers had powers that were previously reserved for locally elected officials, not limited to financial decisions, and were exempted from certain local laws. Under this Act, broad discretion was given to the governor to appoint individuals for these positions. Plaintiffs alleged that Public Act 436 takes voting power away from local communities. They further allege that this provision invidiously discriminates against predominantly African-American communities.

On March 12, 2018, the Defendants filed a motion to dismiss. On September 5, 2018, the motion was granted in part and denied in part, dismissing the majority of plaintiffs on grounds of mootness and lack of standing. Plaintiffs also stipulated to the dismissal of two former state treasurers, as it was found that their claims against these treasurers were barred by the Eleventh Amendment. 2018 WL 4220261. As of September 25, 2018, the case is ongoing.

Elizabeth Heise - 09/25/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Discrimination-basis
Race discrimination
General
Voting
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Race
Black
Voting
Vote dilution
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Governor of Michigan
Plaintiff Description Residents of the state of Michigan
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Center for Constitutional Rights
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Source of Relief None yet
Filing Year 2017
Case Ongoing Yes
Docket(s)
2:17-cv-13887 (E.D. Mich.)
VR-MI-0072-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/21/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Declaratory Relief [ECF# 1]
VR-MI-0072-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/01/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting in Part and Denying in Part Defendants' Motion to Dismiss [ECF NO. 11] [ECF# 27] (E.D. Mich.)
VR-MI-0072-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/05/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Steeh, George Caram III (E.D. Mich.)
VR-MI-0072-0002 | VR-MI-0072-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Arraf, Huwaida (Michigan)
VR-MI-0072-9000
Davis, Hugh M. Jr. (Michigan)
VR-MI-0072-0001
Goodman, William Harry (Michigan)
VR-MI-0072-0001 | VR-MI-0072-9000
Heenan, Cynthia (Michigan)
VR-MI-0072-0001 | VR-MI-0072-9000
Hurwitz, Julie H. (Michigan)
VR-MI-0072-0001 | VR-MI-0072-9000
Paris, Anthony D. (Michigan)
VR-MI-0072-0001
Philo, John C. (Michigan)
VR-MI-0072-0001 | VR-MI-0072-9000
Sanders, Herbert A. (Michigan)
VR-MI-0072-0001 | VR-MI-0072-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Barton, Denise C. (Michigan)
VR-MI-0072-9000
Murphy, Michael F (Michigan)
VR-MI-0072-9000
Sherman, Ann (Michigan)
VR-MI-0072-9000

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