McCall Hamilton Advocacy and Public Affairs

Updates About Lower Court Rulings

Genesee County Circuit Court Approves Flint Water Civil Settlement

Update: Mar 6-24, 2023

Following the 2014 Flint Water Crisis, Genesee County Circuit Court Judge David J. Newblatt approved the final Flint water civil settlement on March 21.

The settlement is the biggest civil settlement in Michigan history, totaling approximately $626 million in financial compensation for Michigan’s families, property owners, and businesses who were affected by the Flint water. Out of the $626 million, the state of Michigan will pay $600 million, the City of Flint will pay $20 million, McLaren Regional Medical Center will pay $5 million, and Rowe Professional Services Co. will pay $1.25 million

As children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of lead contamination, a majority of the settlement will be allocated towards those who were minors when first exposed to the contaminated water. During the water crisis nearly a decade ago, most of the claims of minors were from children aged six and younger. Some of the settlement is also to be allocated towards Genesee County special education services and those who experienced property and business damages.

Wayne County Judge Dismisses Claims of Election Violations

Update: Oct 31-Nov 11, 2022

On Monday, November 7th, Wayne Circuit Judge Timothy Kenny dismissed a lawsuit from Kristina Karamo – the GOP Secretary of State candidate – requesting to change Detroit’s absentee voting processes ahead of the November 8 general election.

Judge Kenny wrote in his dissenting opinion that there was insufficient evidence to Karamo’s claims of election law violations in Detroit. The court could not single out one community in the state for a case that “did not provide evidence in any of the 12 alleged election code violations” (Docket No. 22-012759).

The suit, upon its filing, asked the court to require the city only to count absentee ballots submitted in person. However, the plaintiffs tried to change the nature of their wording after the fact. The plaintiffs specifically sought an injunction to require the Detroit clerk’s office to comply with election law by validating signatures on absentee ballots.

Judge Kenny dismissed the lawsuit as moot, claiming that the request for relief in future elections means there is no present claim before the court. He also made it clear that the plaintiff’s complaints were untimely and would potentially disenfranchise tens of thousands of Detroiters in the November 8, 2022, general election.

Court of Claims Rules 1931 Abortion Law is Unconstitutional

Update: Sep 5-16, 2022

On September 7, Michigan Court of Claims Judge Elizabeth Gleicher ruled that Michigan’s 1931 abortion ban law is unconstitutional. In the ruling, Judge Gleicher found that the current law violates the due process and equal protection clauses in the Michigan Constitution.

Following the decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization issued by the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this year, which returned abortion decisions back to the states, Michigan’s abortion ban has not gone into effect due to multiple injunctions. The 1931 law in Michigan bans abortions except in the case where the mother’s life is in danger.

In the ruling, Gleicher stated that enforcement of the 1931 law would “deprive pregnant women of their right to bodily integrity and autonomy, and the equal protection of the law… Enforcement also threatens pregnant women with irreparable injury because without the availability of abortion services, women will be denied appropriate, safe and constitutionally protected medical care.”