Amicus Brief

City of Detroit v Comcast of Detroit at U.S. COA

Case Year: 2013
Case Forum: U.S. Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
Keywords: franchise, cable, Uniform Cable Act, federal Cable Act, Michigan Constitution, public comment
Amicus Counsel:

Michael J. Watza | Kitch Drutchas Wagner Valitutti & Sherbrook |
Joseph Van Eaton | Matthew K. Schettenhelm | Best Best & Krieger LLP

CoAmicus Parties:

1. Michigan Townships Association (MTA)
3. State Bar of Michigan Public Corporation Law Section (PCLS)


Counsel argues that under Article 7, § 29 of Michigan’s Constitution, a locality can deny a uniform franchise application. Comcast’s reading of the Uniform Act, that a locality’s only task is to comply with the legislature’s franchising terms, renders Article 7, § 29 null and void. The District Court properly read the Uniform Act to allow a locality to deny a franchise application, and to negotiate a voluntary agreement. Comcast’s opposite view violates the Michigan Constitution. Comcast’s argument that the State may alter terms of the franchise agreement once made, is also incorrect and unconstitutional, and would similarly force a locality into a franchise agreement with State-dictated terms. Comcast’s reading of the UA can in no way comply with the Federal Cable Act, as every franchise renewal is under the FCA’s protection, which requires public comment. The State cannot renew cable franchises without complying with FCA requirements.


It is ORDERED that the motions for partial summary judgment filed by the plaintiff, defendant Comcast, and intervening defendant State of Michigan [dkt. #41, 59, 63] are
GRANTED IN PART AND DENIED IN PART. It is further ORDERED that Comcast is found to be a trespasser in the public spaces and rights-of-way within the City of Detroit in which it has placed its facilities and equipment. It is further ORDERED that the parties must file briefs addressing an appropriate remedy for the trespass and failure to renew the franchise agreement for provision of cable services on or
before July 31, 2012. Briefs must conform to E.D. Mich LR 7.1(d) and may not may not exceed (10) ten pages.

MSC requested LDF amicus brief? No
Case Number: 2013-06
©2022 Michigan Municipal League LLC. All rights reserved