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Municipal Law News

September 15, 2022

In this issue:



   Hand Holding Gavel   

Michigan Court of Claims Declares “Adopt and Amend” Unconstitutional

Cody A. Mott

On July 19, 2022, in Mothering Justice et al. v. Nessel, the Michigan Court of Claims declared the legislative practice of “adopt and amend” unconstitutional under Article 2, § 9 of the Michigan Constitution.

Under the Michigan Constitution, an issue can become a statewide ballot proposal through several different mechanisms. The ballot initiative is one of those items and the issue in Mothering Justice. When Article 2, § 9 was adopted in 1963, it reserved the people the power to propose, enact, and reject laws through the initiative process...

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   Wage Folder   

Employee Misclassification and the Gig Economy

Clifford L. Hammond

One of the most concerning trends in employment law today is employee misclassification. Stringent labor protections put in place by the government, the increased use of of independent contractors and explosion in the gig economy means that the burden is on employers not only to classify employees correctly, but also to treat them strictly within the boundaries of the law under that classification...

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   Political Spam   

Political Spam:
You Can’t Unsubscribe

Cody A. Mott and Natalie Schmid (Summer Associate)

While commercial spam tries to entice us to buy something year-round, every two years, voters must also suffer through an uptick of political advertisements during election season. Candidates are increasingly reliant on free mediums (such as email or social media advertising) and low-cost mediums (such as phone calls and text messages) to get their message across to voters and potential donors. As a result, voters are inundated with spam messages they cannot opt-out of or avoid, and Congress is likely powerless to stop it.

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What Employers Need to Prepare for in 2023

October 12, 2022

Please join us for our Fall 2022 Labor & Employment Law Update to discuss major issues and developments your company needs to address. From potential criminal charges for misclassifying employees as independent contractors, to the recent decision that could fundamentally change minimum wage and the state’s paid medical leave laws, there is a lot to prepare and plan for next year.

  • When: Wednesday, October 12 from 9:00-11:30 am
  • Where: Participants have the option to attend virtually via Zoom or in-person at our LansingGrand Rapids or Southfield offices.
  • Cost: Free
  • Presenters: Alicia BirachMike BlumKarl ButtererTony DalimonteCliff Hammond, and Mark Koerner
  • Agenda: While the agenda is subject to change, attendees will learn more about:
    • Current status of stay regarding wage & hour laws and minimum wage
    • Talent recruitment and retention policies
    • Compliance and regulation issues
    • Workers’ compensation issues
    • Balancing hybrid workplaces of remote and in-person employees, pay cut issues, leave policies/agreements and getting your people back

If you wish to attend in person, please contact Jake Leuvoy at 517.371.8125 or at by October 10 with your preferred office location. If you plan to attend virtually, please use the following link to register in advance: 




Foster Swift Wins Victory for City in Marihuana Ordinance Appeal​​​​​

Foster Swift municipal attorneys Laura J. Genovich and Michael D. Homier successfully defended the City of Mount Pleasant against an appeal of its competitive selection process under the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act (“MRTMA”). 

Like many municipalities, the City of Mount Pleasant adopted an ordinance authorizing a limited number of adult-use marihuana retailers and establishing a competitive process to select the applicants best suited to operate in compliance with MRTMA in the City. The City faced lawsuits and appeals following its selection of three retailer licensees. One of the lawsuits claimed that the City’s decision was arbitrary and denied the plaintiff its due process rights. The circuit court dismissed the lawsuit. 

In a published, binding opinion issued on July 14, 2022, the Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed the circuit court’s decision in favor of the City. The Court of Appeals agreed that the City “afforded each license applicant an extraordinary amount of process,” and it rejected plaintiff’s claim that the scoring process was arbitrary. The Court of Appeals concluded that the due process clause does not “empower courts to micromanage the decision-making of governmental entities” or permit them to  “second-guess” the City’s scoring of applications. The City’s licensing decision was therefore upheld. 

The opinion is available here:

Foster Swift represents municipalities across the state in developing, enforcing, and defending medical and adult-use marihuana ordinances and advising on related issues, including ballot initiatives. If you have questions or your community would like assistance, please contact:




Foster Swift Overturns Multi-Million Dollar Judgement

In an opinion released by the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday, August 12, a federal judgment involving financing disputes over the construction of an apartment complex was vacated, reversed and remanded with instruction to enter summary judgment in favor of a Foster Swift client. As part of the original loan agreement with the lender, the client had guaranteed repayment of cost overruns associated with constructing the complex.

A receiver was eventually appointed to take control of and complete the project, resulting in significantly increased costs above and beyond the original budget. The lender foreclosed its mortgage on the property and recouped the cost overruns through the sheriff’s sale and a state-court judgment but still sued to enforce the client’s guaranty. Attorney Brandon Schumacher was one of the litigators that was instrumental in overturning the $20 million judgment on appeal because the lawsuit amounted to impermissible double recovery.







Grand Rapids






St Joseph


Foster Swift Collins & Smith, PC E-Newsletters are intended for general information for our clients and friends. This newsletter highlights specific areas of law and is not legal advice. The reader should consult an attorney to determine how this information applies to any specific situation.

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