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Municipal Law

Quality representation of local governmental bodies is the result of knowledge, economy and hard work, coupled with sensitivity to the unique character, needs and goals of the individual communities we serve – it’s a balance of expertise and confidence, tempered with common sense. This fundamental principle provides the core value for our Municipal Law Practice Group.

Our attorneys serve as both general and special counsel for cities, villages, townships, and other local governments and agencies. We provide a full range of day-to-day advice to our clients on issues such as:

  • Litigation
  • Employment issues
  • Drafting, interpretation, and enforcement of ordinances and charters
  • Land use and zoning issues
  • Property acquisitions and conveyances
  • Facilitation of public works, including bidding, contracts, bonds, construction monitoring, and disputes
  • Review and preparation of municipal policies
  • Open Meetings Act and Freedom of Information Act compliance
  • Inter-government and shared service agreements
  • Public water, sewer, and drainage issues
  • Enforcement of construction, fire, property maintenance, and other codes
  • Regulatory permits and approvals, including land use and environment (wetland/woodland/storm water) matters
  • Eminent domain and condemnation
  • Headlee Amendment violations

We’ve delivered numerous successful results for our municipal clients, which include:

Wendell Williams, Jr. v City of Inkster

    In this wrongful death action in Wayne County Circuit Court, a nationally-recognized plaintiffs’ law firm sued the City and individual officers for police misconduct resulting in the plaintiff’s decedent’s death.  Despite a $1 million Case Evaluation award in the plaintiff’s favor, the court granted our Motion for Summary Disposition, dismissing the case in its entirety and with prejudice.

Estate Development v Road Commission of Oakland County

    Despite Michigan law prohibiting construction within close proximity of a wetland, the Road Commission commenced a construction project that later caused flooding of the wetlands surrounding Mirror Lake.  The flooding was so significant that Estate Development’s proposed development around Mirror Lake, which was previously approved by Orchard Lake Village, was destroyed.  We represented the developer, and following a two-week trial against no less than six defense attorneys and a very demanding judge, we obtained a $1.7 million jury verdict.

Jones v City of Inkster

    The defendant City of Inkster police officers admitted to conducting a drug raid on the wrong house; instead of a drug house, the officers raided the dwelling of an elderly couple with long-term ties within the Inkster community, resulting in physical injuries to the husband and wife. Despite the officers’ admission of their mistake, we argued that the error did not rise to the level of gross negligence. After a two-week trial, the jury returned a verdict in the City’s favor, finding that the officers were not grossly negligent, consistent with our defense strategy.

Crouch v The City of Inkster

    In this case, an African-American plaintiff alleged theories of police brutality against the white arresting officer. A predominately African-American jury returned a verdict of No Cause of Action in favor of the defendants.  Because the plaintiff rejected a prior $35,000 case evaluation award, the court granted our Motion for Taxation of Costs and Case Evaluation Sanctions, assessing the plaintiff more than $20,000 in costs and fees payable to our client.

Kevin Dokes v 22nd District Court, et al.

    This cause of action was filed on May 20, 2011, in both Federal Court and Wayne County Circuit Court.  Plaintiff sued the 22nd District Court, Judge Valdemar L. Washington and Pamela Anderson under various theories involving breach of contract surrounding his termination by the Court on April 18, 2011.  Defendants’ dispositive motions were granted in both the Federal and State Court cases.  After the Michigan Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of the state court claims, the plaintiff voluntarily dismissed his Sixth Circuit appeal.

As Michigan municipalities face a myriad of challenges, we have the knowledge and experience to offer our clients a steady hand, aggressive defense, and creative solutions.

Attorneys in this Practice Area

NamePositionPhoneContact
Applin, Amy S.Shareholder(248) 254-4865Vcard
Chesney, Christopher A.Associate(248) 254-4906Vcard
McCarthy, Katharine G.Associate(248) 254-4976Vcard
Wright, James C.Shareholder(248) 254-4905Vcard
Zausmer, Mark J.Shareholder(248) 851-4111Vcard
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