|Case Forum:||Michigan Supreme Court|
|Keywords:||Open Meetings Act (OMA), attorney fees, costs, declaratory relief, injunctive relief|
Robert Thall | Bauckman, Sparks, Lohrstorfer, Thall, & Seeber, P.C. | 458 West South Street | Kalamazoo, MI 49007-4621 | [email protected]
LDF joined Michigan Townships Association (MTA) brief
Analysis of the OMA clearly demonstrates that attorney fees and costs are distinctly intended to be awarded when injunctive relief is obtained, or when a violation by a public official is intentional. By statute, attorney fee awards are only appropriate for these egregious or extraordinary circumstances rather than every unintentional violation of the OMA where a declaratory judgment is sought. Improper awards come at great expense to taxpayers and limited municipal budgets, especially for unintentional violations.
Court of Appeals opinion and order issued December 19, 2013, reversed; portion of the Court of Appeals opinion issued January 22, 2013, concerning court costs and attorney fees reinstated.
|MSC requested LDF amicus brief?||No|
Plaintiff and Dixie Kovach submitted applications to be considered as election inspectors for Columbia Township. The individual defendants did not consider these applications and voted to appoint three other individuals. Defendants then voted to rescind their previous vote and rescheduled the meeting for a later date. At the later meeting, the Board approved the previous meeting’s minutes; those minutes failed to include reference to the two roll call votes, i.e., the vote appointing the inspectors and the votes that rescinded that vote. Plaintiff filed a five-count complaint alleging that defendants violated multiple provisions of the OMA. After the parties filed competing motions for summary disposition, the trial court granted summary disposition in favor of defendants on all of plaintiff’s claims under MCR 2.116(C)(10).