Amicus Brief

Nancy Ann Prins v Michigan State Police and David Fedewa

Case Year: 2011
Case Forum: Michigan Supreme Court
Keywords: statute of limitations (SOL), Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), plain meaning
Amicus Counsel:

Eric D. Williams (P33359) | 524 North State Street | Big Rapids, MI 49307 | 231-796-8945


Amicus counsel argues that the SOL in MCL 15.240(1) begins to run on the date of a public body’s final determination denying a FOIA request, not, as the Court of Appeals found, on the postmarked date of the envelope containing the written notice of the decision concerning the request. Counsel argues that the statute is plain on this point, as the statute says nothing about the date that the written notice is mailed. Also, the date of final determination may differ from the date that that the written notice is signed, issued, and/or postmarked. Additionally, counsel urges that the Supreme Court decline from making a bright line rule on this issue, but make decisions on a case-by-case basis, allowing the public body to present evidence as to the date of the final determination. A bright line rule could impose limitations upon public bodies, restricting the use of alternative forms of communication devoid of a postmark. Furthermore, counsel suggests that public bodies certify the date of the final determination in a way in which ensures that the SOL is correctly calculated. Moreover, counsel proposes that the Supreme Court instruct the lower courts to decide the date of final determination by evaluating the date of the written notice; the date it was signed and transmitted; and the specific procedure in which the public body produces the written notice and verifies the date. Lastly, counsel argues that the case should be remanded to the trial court in order to determine any factual issues concerning the date of final determination.


On order of the Court, leave to appeal having been granted and the briefs and oral arguments of the parties having been considered by the Court, we VACATE our order of June 29, 2011. The application for leave to appeal the February 15, 2011 judgment of the
Court of Appeals is DENIED, because we are no longer persuaded that the questions presented should be reviewed by this Court.

MSC requested LDF amicus brief? Yes

Michigan State Police trooper stopped a vehicle driven
by plaintiff and issued the passenger a citation for not wearing a seat belt. Plaintiff submitted a FOIA request to the state police seeking any recording taken by the officer. In a letter dated July 26, 2008, a Saturday, the state police denied Prins’s request, explaining, “Any in car video that may have existed is no longer available. Only kept 30 days [and] reused.” The envelope enclosing the letter to Prins bore a postmark of July 29, 2008, a Tuesday.

Case Number: 2010-26
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