It's Spring and Lawsuits Are Busting Out All Over
Just a few short weeks ago, it appeared that the Presidential race and State House elections would dominate political news in Michigan for the rest of the year. Now it appears that courtrooms in Detroit and Lansing will provide compelling political drama as well. Drama which is going to cost Michigan taxpayers a bunch of money.
There have been a number of lawsuits filed over the Flint water fiasco (over 71!), but yesterday a consortium of law firms filed a Federal class action lawsuit on behalf of Flint residents using the 1970 Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. This represents a whole new level of legal pain. Civil RICO provides for treble damages when a pattern of racketeering is proven to have occurred over time. It also guarantees the plaintiffs’ lawyers fees, a small fact which assures that civil RICO lawsuits will be pursued with enthusiasm to the bitter end. Conviction applies the stigma of typical previous RICO defendants, such as mobsters and drug kingpins, to a losing defendant. Michigan, at large, is a defendant in this suit. Capisce?
The prime mover behind this RICO suit is one Ari Kresch (P29593) who is best known as the founder of 1 800 Law Firm. He has partnered up with Bern Ripka LLC, the New York law firm which won $ 657.5 million from New York City for the health claims of the 10,000 first responders and cleanup workers at the 9/11 World Trade Center site. Anyone who thinks Michigan can quash this civil RICO suit with a claim of sovereign immunity would be well served to read up on the Napoli Bern Ripka Shkolnik WTC suit. NYC also thought they were protected by sovereign immunity. Why Counselor Kresch cut Bern Ripka in on the suit. And to cover all the bases, Counselor Kresch brought in an active Social Justice Warrior law firm (which he founded), Excolo Law PLLC.
The 118 page Kresch filing is well worth reading if you really want to understand what went on as the Flint water fiasco played out. It is a far better executed history of events than anything produced thus far by Michigan’s nitwit journalists. Very readable. You will understand why Governor Snyder hired a really good, very expensive, civil defense attorney on your dime. His personal wealth is on the line here. Cold comfort if the Kresch suit prevails because everyone in Michigan will pay with higher taxes and reduced services. And we will all be labeled ‘racketeers’. Dreck!
Yesterday also brought news that former State Representatives Courser and Gamrat filed notice with the Michigan Court of Claims of a lawsuit they will be filing against an array of State House functionaries over the extraordinary events of their ousters. The text of the lawsuit is not yet available, but comments from the plaintiffs’ lawyers suggest that this lawsuit has a real chance of success despite being panned by the usual media ‘legal experts’.
Those legal experts don’t seem to have paid much attention to the actual mechanics of the Courser/Gamrat expulsions. House Speaker Cotter used the House Business Office to do the deed, but under Michigan law and our 1963 Constitution the House Business Office is not empowered to enforce House Rules – the legal basis of the Courser/Gamrat expulsions. The real basis for their expulsions, of course, was their refractory opposition to Proposal 2015-01.
The House’s Sergeants-At-Arms are exclusively empowered to enforce House Rules under MCL 4.382, Section 2 (2). The House Business Office is not even in the same chain of command. MCL 4.382, Section 2 (2) specifically empowers the House Sergeants-At-Arms “to enforce rules adopted by that house”. Not the House Business Office. The House Business Office answers to The House’s CFO, while Sergeants-At-Arms answer to the House Clerk. Speaker Cotter and his fellow defendants will have some serious dissembling to perform in open court.
The only good news here is the damages being sought by Courser and Gamrat are in the low seven digits. Millions, not the billions being sought by the other lawsuits. But millions of dollars are still real tax dollars.
Today, Thomas H. Bleakley (P23892) filed a Federal lawsuit on behalf of DPS and EAA students against everyone involved in emergency management of Detroit schools. Interestingly, Counselor Bleakley included the principals who were recently indicted for looting the schools as defendants. More than what our Attorney General has done. Once again, Lansing insiders probably figure that the sovereign immunity doctrine will shield them. Counselor Bleakley will undoubtedly be learning how to pierce this defense from the experts at Bern Ripka, on the fly. It won’t be difficult.
The 102 page Bleakley filing is not a RICO civil action yet, but there is no reason why it won’t become one in the near future. Bleakley filed under the ‘Klan Acts’, 42 USC 1983. With a claimed plaintiff class of 58,000 DPS and EAA students plus their parents, damages from this suit will be substantial even without the RICO treble multiplier.
We now know what motivated the introduction of Senate Joint Resolution M. Its going to be a long time before our roads are repaired. The road money is disappearing fast. Even Medicaid expansion will be sucking hind tit.