Detroit Financial Crisis Case Set for Appellate Hearing

Michigan’s Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments May 3 on a union official’s lawsuit seeking to bar actions by the Detroit Financial Review Team, which is evaluating the city’s fiscal crisis.

Robert Davis, an official with a union that represents city employees, sued Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and the review team, claiming the team was violating Michigan’s open-meetings law. A second lawsuit, filed by another union official, was consolidated with Davis’s action and will be part of the oral arguments, the appeals court in Lansing said.

Each side will have “a maximum of 30 minutes for oral argument,” the appeals court said in a one-page order today.

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, a Republican, appointed the 10-member financial review team in December after a preliminary study by the state treasurer found the city was in “probable financial stress.” Snyder and city officials this month agreed on a plan to avert a state takeover and fix Detroit’s finances while retaining some control.

Ingham County Circuit Court Judge William Collette found March 20 that the review team couldn’t “execute and/or sign a consent agreement or its equivalent” with the city “until further order of this court.” He had earlier barred the team from holding closed-door sessions.

The appeals court on March 23 reversed this and ordered Collette to “to take no further action” in the lawsuit. The appeals court on April 4 reversed an order by a separate Ingham County judge stopping the review team from meeting.

The case is Davis v. City of Detroit Financial Review Team, 309219, 309250, Court of Appeals, State of Michigan (Lansing).

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