Stephanie Simon Morita's Profile Image

Stephanie Simon Morita

Main Office: 248.489.4100
Direct Dial: 248.482.8801
Fax: 248.489.1726

Stephanie Simon Morita concentrates her practice in municipal law, local taxation law, and property tax appeal defense. She has extensive trial experience representing municipalities in valuation disputes in the Michigan Tax Tribunal, and has also successfully litigated valuation and tax disputes in Circuit, Probate and Bankruptcy courts. Her representation of clients in property tax and exemption matters has also extended to appearances before the State Tax Commission, Federal District Courts, and Appellate Courts in the State of Michigan.

Stephanie's work has encompassed plat vacation, construction and real property title disputes, litigation of real property sale—specific performance and trespass nuisance claims, Open Meetings Act, Freedom of Information Act, zoning, construction contract drafting and administration of the construction of public works, ordinance review and drafting, mutual aid agreements, local government contracts, and arbitration.

Practice Areas

  • General Municipal Law
  • Taxes and Assessing
  • Appellate Advocacy
  • Real Estate and Construction


  • Wayne State University Law School, J.D., 1995
  • University of Michigan, A.B. with Honors, 1992

Professional Activities / Memberships

  • State Bar of Michigan
    • Member, 1995-present
    • Member, Council for the Appellate Practice Section, 2008-present
    • Secretary, Appellate Practice Section Council, 2011-2013
    • Treasurer, Appellate Practice Section Council, 2013-2020
    • Chair Elect, Appellate Practice Section, 2020-2021
    • Chair, Appellate Practice Section, 2021-2022
  • Michigan Municipal League Finance Committee


  • "AV Preeminent" ranking with Martindale-Hubbell, the highest possible peer review rating for attorneys, 2013-present

Publications / Presentations

  • Presenter, Oakland County Association of Township Supervisors, "Dark Store/Big Box/Property Tax," May 2018
  • Author, "Escanaba Winds 'Dark Store' Taxation Appeal", March/April 2018 edition of The Review, published by Michigan Municipal League
  • Presenter, Great Lakes Chapter of the Appraisal Institute, "Appraising for the Tax Tribunal," February 2018
  • Presenter, City of Rochester Hills "Women in Government," February 2018
  • Presenter, Rochester Area American Association of University Women, "What it Takes to Lead," October 2015
  • Presenter, Oakland County Bar Association Municipal Law Committee, "Hot Topics in Property Tax Law," September 2015
  • Co-Author, "What Judges Say About How to Brief That Arcane Appeal (and Practically Everything Else)," Michigan Bar Journal, February 2013
  • Presenter, Appellate Practice Section, Seminar on the “Economics of Appellate Practice,” May, 2011
  • Author, “Free Beer – A Truly Intriguing Tale of Property Taxation and Foreclosure,” Laches, published by the Oakland County Bar Association, July 2008
  • Presenter, National Business Institute’s Seminar on Property Tax Law in Michigan, 2003
  • Presenter, Institute for Professionals in Taxation Michigan One-Day Tax Update Seminar, 2003
  • Presenter, National Business Institute’s Seminar on Property Tax Law in Michigan, 2002
  • Author, “Basement Flooding Claims Under Public Act 222 of 2001," Laches, published by the Oakland County Bar Association, November 2002
  • Co-Author, “Vacation of Platted Land Dedicated for Public Use,” Public Corporation Law Quarterly, December 1999, reprinted with permission in the Michigan Real Property Review, Spring 2000

Community Activities / Involvement

  • City of Rochester Hills Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, 2007-2015 and 2019-2021
  • City of Rochester Hills City Council, 2013-2021
  • Avondale Youth Assistance Board of Directors, 2013-present
  • Paint Creek Trailway Commission Member, 2013-2015
  • City of Rochester Hills City Council Vice President, 2015-2019
  • City of Rochester Hills Planning Commission, 2015-2019
  • Older Person's Commission Board of Directors, 2015-2019
  • City of Rochester Hills Museum Foundation Board 2015-2021

Case summaries

McNamara v White Lake Township
Oakland County Circuit Court 2021-190430-AA, Michigan Court of Appeals Docket no. 360159 (June 22, 2022). Plaintiff appealed the Township ZBA’s denial of the entirety of his variance request to the Circuit Court claiming for the first time on appeal that Plaintiff had a vested non-conforming use and the ZBA should have interpreted the zoning ordinance in his favor. The Township defended the appeal arguing, in part, that the issues raised before the Circuit Court were not raised before the ZBA. The Circuit Court upheld the partial denial. The Court of Appeals denied the Plaintiff’s Application for Appeal.
Practice Areas: Zoning and Land Use, Appellate Advocacy
Attorneys: Lisa J. Hamameh, Stephanie Simon Morita

Gressa v Independence Township
Michigan Court of Appeals Docket no. 359545 (November 10, 2022). Petitioner appealed the valuation of her home for tax assessment purposes, claiming the Board of Review should not have relied upon the appraisal she submitted to the Board of Review, and that included in the assessment were items that no longer existed as a part of the property, or which were already included in the assessment more than once. In the Court of Appeals, Petitioner continued to argue her claims of errors by the Board of Review, and then tried to argue that the Michigan Tax Tribunal was also required to comply with State Tax Commission requirements. The Township argued that the Michigan Tax Tribunal’s decision was not in error because it conducted a proper de novo review, while also providing a legislative history of the development of the Michigan Tax Tribunal and its separated responsibilities from the State Tax Commission. The Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the Michigan Tax Tribunal.
Practice Areas: Taxes and Assessing, Appellate Advocacy
Attorneys: Stephanie Simon Morita

Moorings of Leelanau, LLC v City of Traverse City
Michigan Tax Tribunal Docket no. Michigan Court of Appeals Docket no. 353911 (July 29, 2021). Petitioner appealed to the Michigan Tax Tribunal the uncapping of the taxable value of 92 parcels of real property. The City had uncapped the taxable value due to a transfer of ownership of the limited liability company that owned the parcels, of which the City had become aware due to the entry of a settlement agreement in circuit court. At issue on appeal to the Court of Appeals was the proper interpretation of MCL 211.27a(6)(b), which includes as a transfer of ownership a conveyance of more than 50% of a limited liability company, and whether the settlement agreement should be construed as a withdrawal from the limited liability company which would not trigger an uncapping under the statute, or whether the withdrawal was, in fact, a transfer of ownership under the statute. The Court held that the “withdrawal” was a transfer of ownership and upheld the uncapping.
Practice Areas: Taxes and Assessing, Appellate Advocacy
Attorneys: Stephanie Simon Morita

Walnut Creek Country Club v Lyon Township
Michigan Tax Tribunal Docket no. 17-002531, Michigan Court of Appeals Docket no. 351980 (January 6, 2022). Petitioner appealed to the Michigan Tax Tribunal the valuation of a private, full-service country club. After a seven-day trial, the Michigan Tax Tribunal upheld the Township’s tax assessments, in full, finding unreliable the Petitioner’s evidence and claim that the private, full-service country club should be valued as a much less valuable public daily fee course. At issue was whether a public daily fee course with open to the public restaurants and other facilities was permitted under the Township’s zoning ordinance. The Tax Tribunal found that it was not permitted, and therefore the public daily fee course was not a legal use which could be considered for valuation purposes. On appeal, the Court of Appeals upheld the decision of the Michigan Tax Tribunal.
Practice Areas: Taxes and Assessing, Appellate Advocacy, Zoning and Land Use
Attorneys: Stephanie Simon Morita