|Case Forum:||Michigan Court of Appeals|
|Keywords:||cable, franchise fees, right of way, rights of way, Bolt|
William J. Danhof (P24169) | Don M. Schmidt (P20005) | Jeffrey S. Aronoff (P67538) | Miller, Canfield, Paddock and Stone P.L.C. | 150 West Jefferson Suite 2500 | Detroit, MI 48226 | 313-963-6420
1. State Bar of Michigan Public Corporation Law Section (PCLS)
This case will help determine whether the scope of Section 31 of the Headlee Amendment, Const 1963, art 9, § 31″ will
Court of Appeals:
|MSC requested LDF amicus brief?||No|
This case involves a dispute arising from the “franchise fee” charges included in plaintiffs’ Comcast cable bills. Plaintiffs assert that the portion of their bills designated as a “franchise fee” is in reality a tax levied by defendant on cable subscribers. Plaintiffs further allege that defendant levied this “tax” without voter approval and incorporated excess revenue into its general fund, in violation of the Headlee Amendment to the Michigan Constitution. Defendants contend that the franchise fee is paid by the cable provider, not the cable subscribers, and is not a tax. Plaintiff filed the instant suit on November 18, 2003, seeking to recover the excess “franchise fees” collected by defendant. The trial court granted summary disposition to defendant, finding that plaintiffs lacked standing to bring the claims alleged and failed to state a claim on which relief could be granted. Specifically, the trial court concluded that the franchise fee is not an impermissible tax under the Headlee Amendment.