Firm 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"] 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.
Bridge Michigan published an op-ed authored by Michael Pitt which urges Gov. Whitmer to appoint an independent task force to investigate the failure of the Edenville Dam: Read full article here.
TIME -- "States Automated Systems are Trapping Citizens in Bureaucratic Nightmares with Lives on the Line"
Jennifer Lord was quoted in a TIME magazine feature-length investigative report on the harms inflicted by AI-based decision-making systems utilized to manage government public health and benefits programs. The article includes an account of the...
WEYI/NBC/Mid-Michigan -- "Federal Court Rules Former Gov. Rick Snyder Remains as a Defendant in Flint Residents' Lawsuit"
Co-counsel Michael Pitt and Ted Leopold were quoted in a WEYI/NBC report on a recent federal appeals court decision upholding a lower court ruling that former Gov. Snyder and other state administrators be reinstated as defendants in the Flint Water...
Michael Pitt was cited in a Detroit News report on a state-conducted investigation into the Edenville Dam failure announced by Gov. Whitmer: Read full article here.
The Midland Daily News referenced the lawsuit filed by firm attorneys in the Michigan Court of Claims, including citation of passages from the complaint: Read full article here.
Michigan Radio/NPR -- "Midland County Residents File Lawsuit Against State, Alleging Negligent Dam Management"
Michael Pitt was quoted in a Michigan Radio/NPR report on the Court of Claims suit filed by the firm regarding failure of the Edenville Dam: Read full article here.
Hometownlife.com/Observer & Eccentric -- "Lawsuit: Canton Apartment Owners Evicted Tenants in Addiction Recovery Program"
Hometownlife.com/Observer & Eccentric published a report on a federal housing discrimination case brought against an apartment complex which evicted recovering substance abusers participating in a residential rehab program. Robin Wagner and...
WDIV/NBC reported on the Edenville Dam-related Court of Claims filing: Read full article here.
Michael Pitt was quoted in a report from Newsradio WSGW/Midland on the Court of Claims complaint filed regarding the failure of the Edenville Dam: Read the full article here.
Michael Pitt was quoted in WILX/CBS coverage of the Edenville Dam-related Court of Claims filing: Read the full article here.
WDIV/NBC reported on the Edenville Dam-related Court of Claims filing: Read the full article here.
M. Pitt was quoted in a WNEM/CBS report on the Edenville Dam-related Court of Claims case: Read full article here.
FOX 2 News -- "Mid-Michigan Homeowners Sue State Over Edenville Dam Break, Allege Neglect, Mismanagement"
Michael Pitt was quoted in a FOX 2 News report on the Edenville Dam-related Court of Claims case: Read the full article here.
Michael Pitt was quoted in a Detroit Free Press story on the Court of Claims lawsuit filed by Edenville residents against the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes & Energy regarding the failure of the Edenville Dam and subsequent...
Bloomberg Law cited Pitt McGehee Palmer Bonanni & Rivers as attorneys of record in it posted report on the preliminary injunction granted in the Oakland County Jail class action: Read full article here.
Afro.com -- "First Federal Court Win Ordering Release of Medically-Vulnerable People In Our County Jails"
Cary McGehee was quoted by Afro.com in a posted report on the preliminary injunction granted in the Oakland County Jail COVID-19 class action: Read full article here.
Cary McGehee was quoted in Oakland Press coverage of a favorable ruling for the plaintiffs handed-down in the Oakland County Jail class action: Read full article here.
Detroit News -- "Judge Orders Oakland County Jail to Submit List of Inmates for Release Consideration"
Cary McGehee was quoted in a report published by Detroit News regarding a ruling issued by U.S. District Judge Linda Parker in the Oakland County Jail class action: Read full article here.
The Appeal -- "Lawsuit Seeks the Release of 'Medically Vulnerable' People at Oakland County Jail in Michigan"
Kevin Carlson and Cary McGehee were cited in a report posted in The Appeal (vertical news outlet focusing primarily on the criminal justice system) regarding the problematic conditions at Oakland County Jail due to COVID-19 and the related class...
Cary McGehee was quoted in a Detroit News report on actions taken by Oakland County Jail in response to a federal lawsuit filed by prisoners alleging the facility has not adequately protected them from the transmission of the coronavirus: Read...