Mackinac Center Legal Foundation Seeks Court of Appeals Reconsideration in Home-Based Day Care Union Case

Center's attorney calls Appeals Court's failure to provide an opinion a "palpable error"

For Immediate Release
Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2010
Patrick J. Wright
Director, Mackinac Center Legal Foundation
Michael D. Jahr
Senior Director of Communications, Mackinac Center

MIDLAND — Mackinac Center Legal Foundation Director Patrick J. Wright today filed a motion with the Michigan Court of Appeals for reconsideration of a lawsuit filed by the foundation against the Michigan Department of Human Services. The suit, which seeks to end the DHS' illegal withholding of so-called "union dues" from child care subsidy checks sent to home-based day care providers, was filed on behalf of day care owners Sherry Loar of Petoskey, Michelle Berry of Flint and Paulette Silverson of Brighton. Strikingly, the court's ruling, issued on Dec. 30, contained a one-sentence dismissal of the lawsuit and presented no substantive legal opinion.

 "The legal process requires legal analysis, not just an unexplained ruling," said Wright. "The court's failure to provide a rationale is a palpable error, given judicial precedent and the Michigan Constitution. That error needs to be rectified.

"This is especially true in a case that affects tens of thousands of people, involves millions of dollars and presents significant constitutional questions about the governor enacting laws without the Legislature," Wright added. "These are important matters, and Michigan residents deserve an explanation."

The DHS maintains that Loar, Berry and Silverson, who own home-based day care centers open to the public, are government employees because they care for children whose parents qualify for government assistance with day care services. The department also maintains that the three women are members of a statewide union of government employees.