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A Better Partnership

October 2015

Oct 2015
05
October 05, 2015

MSC to hear MOA on meaning of order that eliminated retiree benefit contributions

The Michigan Supreme Court granted oral argument on the application for leave to appeal in Board of Trustees of the City of Pontiac Police & Retiree Prefunded Group Health & Insurance Trust v. City of Pontiac, No. 151717, to address the meaning of language contained in the City of Pontiac’s Emergency Manager’s Executive Order No. 225.  That order amended the City of Pontiac’s contributions to the Retiree Prefunded Group Health and Insurance Trust.  The Trust sued to force the continuation of contributions for the fiscal year ending on June 30, 2012, lost on summary disposition in the circuit court, and won in the Court of Appeals. The Michigan Supreme Court will resolve whether the Emergency Manager’s order had retroactive effect to excuse contributions in the 2012 fiscal year.

Oct 2015
04
October 04, 2015

COA: Parties’ intent determines whether health care benefits survive CBA’s expiration

An employer does not have an absolute right to alter unilaterally a collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”) providing health care benefits to retirees, held the Michigan Court of Appeals in Harper Woods Retirees Association v. City of Harper Woods, No. 318450.  But nor do retirees have an absolute right to continued health care benefits after the CBA’s expiration.  Rather, a trial court must analyze the language of the contract between a retiree and the employer to determine the intent of the parties at the time of agreement.  The Court of Appeals held that the trial court erred in granting summary disposition to defendant and remanded the case for further proceedings.

Oct 2015
02
October 02, 2015

COA: Gag order violated First Amendment

In the consolidated cases of People v. Sledge, No. 324680, and People v. Collins, No. 324681, the Michigan Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s denial of a motion by the Detroit Free Press to vacate an order precluding “all potential trial participants” from commenting to media about the cases (collectively “gag order”).  The court held that the gag order was overbroad and constituted an unconstitutional prior restraint on the freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

Oct 2015
02
October 02, 2015

MSC agrees to hear Swain innocence appeal

In People v. Swain, No. 150994, the Michigan Supreme Court agreed to hear Defendant Swain’s latest appeal of her post-conviction motion for relief.  Among the issues that the Court ordered the parties to brief are: (1) whether the test set forth in People v. Cress, 468 Mich. 678, 692 (2003), for determining whether a defendant is entitled to a new trial based on newly discovered evidence applies in determining whether a second or subsequent motion for relief from judgment is based on “a claim of new evidence that was not discovered before the first such motion” under MCR 6.502(G)(2); (2) whether the defendant is entitled to a new trial as a remedy for a Brady violation; (3) what standard(s) Michigan courts consider a defendant’s assertion that the evidence demonstrates a significant possibility of actual innocence in the context of a motion brought pursuant to MCR 6.502(G), and whether the defendant in this case qualifies under that standard; (4) whether the Michigan Court Rules provide a basis for relief where a defendant demonstrates a significant possibility of actual innocence; (5) whether, if MCR 6.502(G) does bar relief, there is an independent basis on which a defendant who demonstrates a significant possibility of actual innocence may nonetheless seek relief under the United States or Michigan Constitutions; and (6) whether the defendant is entitled to a new trial pursuant to MCL 770.1.  

Oct 2015
01
October 01, 2015

MSC to address whether customers may receive electrical services by a municipality outside of that municipality’s boundary

In City of Holland v. Consumers Energy Co., No. 151053, and City of Coldwater v. Consumers Energy Co., No. 151051, the Michigan Supreme Court scheduled oral argument to consider whether to grant defendant’s application for leave to appeal.  The court directed the parties to file supplemental briefs to address (1) whether it is lawful for customers to receive electrical services by a municipality outside of that municipality’s boundary, provided that no other utility company was presently providing the services, and (2) whether Michigan’s Public Service Commission (“PSC”) has the authority to regulate municipal distribution of electrical services.

Oct 2015
01
October 01, 2015

MSC to hear mini-oral argument on whether a challenge to a criminal contempt order is an impermissible collateral attack

The Michigan Supreme Court granted mini-oral argument in In re Contempt of Dorsey, No. 150298, to consider whether a challenge to a trial court’s order holding an individual in criminal contempt amounts to an impermissible collateral attack on the trial court’s order requiring the individual to submit to drug testing.

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