Case Studies for Anne McClorey McLaughlin

729 F.3d 610 (6th Cir. 2013). Two local law enforcement officers appointed to a joint task force of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration retained Kenneth Galica and Anne McClorey McLaughlin to conduct a new trial ordered by the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in a federal civil rights action. Our attorneys successfully persuaded the jury that the defendants were not involved in the search warrant raid, resulting in a verdict in favor of all four defendant-officers. The Sixth Circuit upheld the jury verdict in the defendants’ favor and denied a request for rehearing.
677 Fed. Appx. 232 (6th Cir. 2017). Anne McClorey McLaughlin defended the Village, its manager and ordinance officer in a federal lawsuit claiming the defendants treated plaintiffs differently than their neighbors in ordinance enforcement because of religious discrimination. The U.S. District Court granted summary judgment to the defendants, and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed.
858 F3d 996 (6th Cir. 2017), cert. denied, 138 S Ct 1696, 200 L Ed 2d 952, 86 USLW 3553 (2018). RSJA was a successful co-counsel in the first published decision under RLUIPA, setting a precedent for analysis of RLUIPA claims within the Sixth Circuit. A Christian school applied to Genoa Charter Township for a special land use permit to move its K-12 school from another community into an existing church in the township that was adding onto facility. Although the township planning commission recommended approval of the special land use the township board denied the permit. The school sued the township, alleging violation of the First Amendment and RLUIPA. The township obtained summary judgment on all claims and the Sixth Circuit upheld the ruling. The U.S. Supreme Court denied the plaintiff’s petition for writ of certiorari, leaving the circuit court’s decision as a precedent.
Unpublished decision per curiam of the Court of Appeals, issued November 22, 2016 (Docket No. 327838), leave denied, 500 Mich 1060 (2017). The plaintiff obtained a dismissal of a municipal civil infraction notice for violating a city grading ordinance then turned around the sued the city, its ordinance officer and building inspector for malicious prosecution and abuse of process. The circuit court granted the motion for summary disposition in lieu of answering the complaint, the Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed and the Michigan Supreme Court declined to hear the case.
2016 WL 1533562 (Mich App 2016 unpublished). Plaintiff operated a bar, restaurant, banquet center, and nightclub out of a structure that it had illegally expanded over a period of 20 years. Fire and construction code inspections led to an occupancy reduction from 2000 to 175 and multiple violation notices by the township and a lawsuit by the owner. The township won in circuit court, but the court denied the township’s request for sanctions based on a frivolous filing. Both sides appealed and the court confirmed the finding of a dangerous building. RSJA also appealed the denial of its request for sanctions and was eventually awarded $103,000 for the township in sanctions in addition to almost $30,000 in costs.
795 F.3d 553 (6th Cir. 2015). A Howell man who refused to mow the grass in the greenbelt between the sidewalk and curb adjacent to his house challenged on constitutional grounds a property maintenance ordinance that authorized the city to charge him the cost of enforcing the ordinance and hiring a vendor to mow the grass. At the motion stage, the federal district judge ruled that the plaintiff had a right not to be forced to maintain municipal property and granted summary judgment in favor of the plaintiff. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the lower court in a published decision, holding that the city’s ordinance did not violate the Constitution.
2014 WL 6632163 (E.D. Mich. 2014). Plaintiff sued a neighboring owner of a landscaping company for creating a nuisance. She also sued the city to enforce its zoning ordinance and a consent judgment with the company regarding permitted uses on the property.
Unpublished decision per curiam of the Court of Appeals, issued November 4, 2014 (Docket No. 315403), leave denied, 498 Mich. 865 (2015); Vermilya v Delta College Board of Trustees, unpublished decision per curiam of the Court of Appeals, June 15, 2017 (Docket No. 331958). Summary disposition on all but one of several claims of violations of the Michigan Open Meetings Act. The remaining claim was tried to a verdict in favor of the board and its compensation committee. The Michigan Court of Appeals upheld the summary disposition twice and awarded 150% of trial costs to board members. The Michigan Supreme Court declined to consider the case.
2019 WL 4017142 (E.D. Mich. 2019). Plaintiffs filed a putative class action alleging that the City’s rental property inspection ordinance authorized warrantless inspections in violation of the 4th amendment, and that fees collected under the inspection program constituted an unconstitutional condition for obtaining a rental certificate of occupancy. Plaintiffs also challenged the City’s tall grass abatement ordinance as imposing excessive fees without proper notice. The Court granted the City’s motion to dismiss and for judgment on the pleadings, finding that the plaintiff challenging the rental property ordinance lacked standing because the ordinance did not facially authorize warrantless searches, and plaintiff had not shown that it had suffered a warrantless search. In addition, the plaintiff challenging the grass abatement fee lacked standing because the abatement fee accrued before the plaintiff took ownership of the property. The rental property ordinance challenge in this case resembled numerous others that had been decided by the Eastern District of Michigan, but this was the first to acknowledge the facial constitutionality of an ordinance and result in an unqualified full grant of a municipality’s dispositive motion.
Oakland County Case No. 2018-164868-CH (Dec. 2018). Plaintiffs sought to hold a City and its Building Official liable for approving site plan modifications for their neighbors’ house without first submitting them for the plaintiffs’ approval pursuant to private deed restrictions between plaintiffs and the neighbors. Plaintiffs also alleged that a retaining wall on the neighbors’ property was a nuisance per se that should be abated by the City. The Court agreed with the City that the plaintiffs lacked standing, and granted the City’s motion for summary disposition.