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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
This is a case about Michigan's emergency manager law, Public Act 436. The Act gave the state legislature power to appoint "Emergency Managers" for municipalities in financial emergencies. Emergency Managers had powers that were previously reserved for locally elected officials, not limited to ... read more >
This is a case about Michigan's emergency manager law, Public Act 436. The Act gave the state legislature power to appoint "Emergency Managers" for municipalities in financial emergencies. 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. The Michigan legislature enacted Public Act 436 after Michigan voters rejected a similar ballot provision.

In response, Michigan residents filed this complaint in the U.S. 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. Represented by the National Lawyers Guild, the Center for Constitutional Rights, and private counsel, the plaintiffs sought declaratory relief holding that Public Act 436 was in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Plaintiffs alleged that the Act unlawfully took voting power away from local communities. They further alleged that the Act invidiously discriminated against predominantly African-American communities. The case was assigned to Judge George Caram Steeh.

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. The court dismissed claims by the majority of the plaintiffs on grounds of mootness and lack of standing. Plaintiffs also stipulated to the dismissal of two former state treasurers after they acknowledged that their claims against these treasurers were barred by the Eleventh Amendment. 338 F.Supp.3d 651.

Shortly after beginning discovery, the parties agreed to voluntarily dismiss the case without prejudice, meaning that the plaintiff could bring the case at a later time. The court dismissed the case on December 11, 2018, and the case is now closed.

Elizabeth Heise - 09/25/2018
Hope Brinn - 05/13/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Discrimination-basis
Race discrimination
General
Funding
Voting
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Race
Black
Voting
Vote dilution
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
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 Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Filed 12/01/2017
Case Closing Year 2018
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
Docket(s)
2:17-cv-13887 (E.D. Mich.)
VR-MI-0072-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/11/2018
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]
Stipulated Order of Dismissal Without Prejudice [ECF# 34] (E.D. Mich.)
VR-MI-0072-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/19/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
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Judges Steeh, George Caram III (E.D. Mich.) show/hide docs
VR-MI-0072-0002 | VR-MI-0072-0003 | VR-MI-0072-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Arraf, Huwaida (Michigan) show/hide docs
VR-MI-0072-9000
Davis, Hugh M. Jr. (Michigan) show/hide docs
VR-MI-0072-0001
Goodman, William Harry (Michigan) show/hide docs
VR-MI-0072-0001 | VR-MI-0072-9000
Heenan, Cynthia (Michigan) show/hide docs
VR-MI-0072-0001 | VR-MI-0072-9000
Hurwitz, Julie H. (Michigan) show/hide docs
VR-MI-0072-0001 | VR-MI-0072-9000
Paris, Anthony D. (Michigan) show/hide docs
VR-MI-0072-0001
Philo, John C. (Michigan) show/hide docs
VR-MI-0072-0001 | VR-MI-0072-9000
Sanders, Herbert A. (Michigan) show/hide docs
VR-MI-0072-0001 | VR-MI-0072-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Barton, Denise C. (Michigan) show/hide docs
VR-MI-0072-9000
Murphy, Michael F (Michigan) show/hide docs
VR-MI-0072-9000
Sherman, Ann (Michigan) show/hide docs
VR-MI-0072-9000

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