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Michigan DOC Cases Alleging Juvenile Sex Abuse Move Forward in Courts

MDOC cellblockFirm attorneys continue their efforts to obtain justice and monetary and injunctive relief in a class action brought in 2013 against the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC). Doe vs. MDOC, filed in Washtenaw County Circuit Court, involves a class of juveniles who have suffered sexual harassment by adult prisoners and guards while incarcerated in adult facilities by the MDOC. [caption id="attachment_1381" align="alignright" width="200"]Beth Rivers Bio Photo Mar. 2015 PMP&R Partner Beth Rivers[/caption] "Despite the state's efforts to delay and ultimately deny any consideration of the merits of the claims through dozens of dispositive motions and interlocutory appeals, the case is moving forward on several fronts," said attorney Beth Rivers. The Michigan Supreme Court recently ruled that the Court of Appeals had erred in deciding the issue of whether the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act protected prisoners from discrimination. The case was remanded back to the trial court for further proceedings. According to Rivers, a companion case filed in federal court in 2013 also remains active. In that case, the plaintiffs (on behalf of a class of youth incarcerated in adult prisons) allege that the incarceration of juveniles in adult prisons violates their constitutional right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment, denies them due process and equal protection afforded by the 14th Amendment. The state has also sought to deny the class members a hearing on the merits of this case, but those efforts have been unsuccessful. "Unfortunately, after these lawsuits were filed, the youth who had been brave enough to come forward and report and challenge sexual abuse of youth in adult prisons began to experience retaliation from MDOC officials," said Rivers. Rivers said the retaliation included MDOC officials identifying youths making reports to staff and other prisoners resulting in further abuse and retaliation. "In response to the continuing abuse of these innocent juveniles by MDOC officials, we've filed another lawsuit alleging retaliation in violation of the plaintiffs' First Amendment right to file litigation and complain about the conditions of their confinement," said Rivers. The state is using the same delay tactics, according to Rivers, and has responded to the complaint with a motion for summary judgment. That motion is pending. The legal team remains hopeful that the State will eventually be forced to answer and take responsibility for the department's policy of housing youth in adult prisons, which resulted in severe sexual abuse and harassment of the youths by adult prisoners and MDOC staff.

Morris Dees Honored as Champion of Justice by MCHR

The Michigan Coalition for Human Rights (MCHR) recognized the lifetime efforts of iconic civil rights attorney Morris Dees at its recent annual dinner held at Marygrove College in Detroit. Cary McGehee, firm co-founder and longtime MCHR Chair,...

Renowned Attorney Morris Dees Honored by MCHR

Cary McGehee presents Champion of Justice Award to Morris Dees at MCHR annual dinner.[/caption] The Michigan Coalition for Human Rights (MCHR) recognized the lifetime efforts of iconic civil rights attorney Morris Dees at its recent annual dinner...

Channing Robinson-Holmes Joins Firm as Attorney

Channing Robinson began working as a law clerk at the firm in October 2015 while she was still in law school. Since that time, she has devoted innumerable hours to the firm’s class actions against Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance Agency, as...

UIA Fraud Class-Action Continues to Gain Steam

In September 2015, firm attorneys filed a class-action lawsuit against the State of Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA). The complaint alleges that the automated system used for adjudicating unemployment insurance fraud, falsely accused as...

PMP&R Host Flint Water Community Information Meeting

On April 24, 2017, the Flint Water Class Action Legal Team held an informational meeting for the Flint community at Greater Holy Temple Church of God in Christ in Flint. Throughout the night, Flint residents and other attendees spoke with...

NewsChannel 3 Discusses UIA Fraud with Lord

MICHIGAN (NEWSCHANNEL 3) – Michigan lawmakers are working to figure out how tens of thousands of people on unemployment across Michigan were wrongly accused of fraud. On Monday the House Oversight Committee announced it had created a work group...

Pitt Awarded Distinguished Service Award by State Bar

From Detroit Legal News Michael Pitt has been selected for the 2017 Distinguished Service Award by the State Bar of Michigan's Labor & Employment Section. Pitt is co-founding partner of Royal Oak-based Pitt McGehee Palmer & Rivers, one of...

The Bridge Looks at UIA Fraud and Cites Lord

From the Bridge - the Center for Michigan February 7, 2917 A few days after a federal judge issued a Jan. 11 order commanding the state to “suspend all collection activity” against thousands of Michigan workers tagged with unemployment fraud,...