Judge Reprimands AG Office; Allows Right-To-Work Lawsuit To Move - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

Judge Reprimands AG Office; Allows Right-To-Work Lawsuit To Move Forward

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – The battle over Michigan's controversial right-to-work laws continued in a Mason courtroom on Thursday, with a judge reprimanding the state's assistant attorney general for not following court procedure shortly before ruling that the case will move forward.

The plaintiffs in the case allege that legislators violated the state's open meetings act in December when protesters were locked out of the Capitol for hours as lawmakers took up right-to-work legislation.

Judge William Collette first ruled on April 4 that the case would move forward and all parties would reconvene on April 11 for a scheduling conference. However, lawyers with the attorney general's office did not sign the scheduling order, saying they do not believe the case should move forward. "It's not that the dates are unreasonable in the scheduling order, it's a situation where our clients have chosen to go to the Court of Appeals based on last week's decision," said Assistant Attorney General Michelle Brya.

Judge William Collette quickly fired back: "Well [you're welcome to do that, but what does that have to do with the order I issued last week that's effective right now, which was to enter into a scheduling agreement?" he said. "Does anyone in your office anymore understand basic court procedure?"

The assistant attorney general had previously asked Judge Collette to throw out the case, but Judge Collette refused both last week and this week, ruling that the plaintiffs have a right to determine in court if the Open Meetings Act was broken last December.

"The Open Meetings Act was violated, and the judge has the authority to invalidate the Right-to-Work law. After he hears all the evidence, we think he's going to do that," says Michael Pitt, volunteer lawyer for the ACLU.

Lawyers with the attorney general's office declined to give direct comment, but in court said they will move ahead with filing an appeal. However, the case will still move forward as this takes place. Lawyers say a trial could take place in the late summer or early fall, depending on how the Michigan Court of Appeals rules.

Emerald Morrow is a reporter with WLNS-TV. Find her on Facebook or Twitter, or reach out to her via email at
emorrow@wlns.com

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