Amicus Brief

Pontiac Fire Fighters Union Local 376 v City of Pontiac

Case Year: 2007
Case Forum: Michigan Supreme Court
Keywords: contracts, breach of contract, collective bargaining, Public Employment Relations Act (PERA), Michigan Employmnet Relations Commission (MERC)
Amicus Counsel:

John A. Entenman | Melvin J. Muskovitz | F. Arthur Jones II |
Dykema Gossett PLLC | 2723 South State Street Suite 400 |
Ann Arbor, MI 48104 | 734-214-7660

CoAmicus Parties:

Michigan Association of Counties (MAC)


The circuit court abused its descretion when it granted the prelimiary injunction because there was no irreparable harm, the preliminary injunction granted Plaintiff all of the relief it would be entitled to were it to prevail on the merit, the preliminary injunction was unnecessary to preserve the status quo, and the injunction imposes an injury on the City that cannot be undone, even if it were to prevail on the merits.
The circuit court committed clear error when it granted the preliminary injunction, because it did not make a factual finding sufficient to warrant the injunction. A circuuit court rarely will have jurisdicion to grant preliminary relief in a breach of contract action. A circuit court must exercise special caution in granting preliminary relief when the breach of contract claim ultimately will be submitted to an arbitrator. If a circuit court must grant preliminary relief, it must also order either an expedited arbitration or a temporally limited injunction.


We are not second-guessing the circuit court’s discretion to substitute the outcome we prefer. For reasons that are unclear, the circuit court in its written opinion granting the preliminary injunction seemed to credit only plaintiff’s allegations and did not at all consider defendant’s contrary evidence. Plaintiff
failed to carry its burden of proof to make a particularized showing of irreparable harm and also failed to maintain this showing in the face of defendant’s contrary evidence. A grant of a preliminary injunction under these circumstances falls outside the principled range of outcomes. Thus, the circuit court abused its discretion when it granted the injunction. Accordingly, we reverse the Court of Appeals and vacate the circuit court order.
Reversed; preliminary injunction vacated.

MSC requested LDF amicus brief? Yes

In June of 2006, the City faced a major financial crisis. The Mayor proposed a budget plan that included several drastic measures, such as eliminating public services and tax supported recreational programs, closing community centers and the public library, and laying off a number of personnel, which included firefighters.In response, Local 376, Pontiac Fire Fighters Union (“Plaintiff’) filed a grievance per the
labor contract; filed suit against the City, alleging that the impending layoff constituted a breach of the parties’ 2001-2004 collective bargaining agreement; and filed an unfair labor practice, claiming that the City’s actions were in violation of the Michigan Public Employment Relations Act (“PERA”). Plaintiffs Complaint requested that the trial court enjoin the City from laying off any firefighters until the parties’ dispute was adjudicated by a grievance arbitrator or by MERC. On July 28, 2006, the trial court held a hearing to determine whether the preliminary injunction should issue. Despite the lack of evidence, the circuit court granted a preliminary injunction, enjoining the city from laying off any fire fighters until a decision was reached by MERC, a grievance arbitrator, or by an Act 312 arbitration panel.

Case Number: 2007-01
©2022 Michigan Municipal League LLC. All rights reserved