Today, Michigan Lawyers Weekly profiled a case currently being litigated by the professionals of Dalton & Tomich plc that is now pending in the United States District Court, Eastern District of Michigan captioned Daley v. Chesterfield Township. See, /~daltontomich/wp-content/uploads/attachments/Are_water_tap_fees_all_wet__-_Michigan_Lawyers_Weekly.pdf This case involves a classic Procedural Due Process and First Amendment Retaliation claim.
The lawsuit revolves around a nearly 8-year-old dispute that has gone from Daley’s home to his Laundromat business, both of which are located in Chesterfield Township. At both locations, at every turn, the Township sought to obstruct and inhibit Daley from occupying his home and operating his business despite Daley’s compliance with the Township’s building codes and related requirements. Daley built his home beginning in 2004 only to have the Township improperly block him from occupying it. It was not until December 2012 that the Township gave him a certificate of occupancy for the home. Then, in an attempt to assist the Township with economic development, Daley sought to open a Laundromat in the Township similar to the multiple Laundromats he operates in Macomb County. Daley secured a Township building permit in 2010 and began to perform demolition work ahead of the planned construction. However, the Township posted a stop work order on the Laundromat, without notice and an opportunity for a hearing as required by State law, thereby depriving him of the use of his property interest in violation of the State Construction Code and the Fourteenth Amendment. The following month, the Township posted a second stop work order on Daley’s Laundromat when he refused to sign a waiver that would have precluded him from filing a lawsuit based on his protest of an illegal water and sewer tap fee. Again, the stop work order was posted without prior notice and an opportunity to be heard. The Township charged him $27,500 for a tap fee when the tap already was in place by the prior occupant. In another case, the Macomb Circuit Court found the tap fee to be an illegal tax. Trial is expected to occur in the summer, 2012.
If you have been required to pay a sewer and water tap fee by a local community, where the tap for water and sewer already exist or if you have been the subject of an illegal positing of stop work orders on construction projects, without prior notice and an opportunity for a hearing, contact the professionals at Dalton & Tomich plc to assist.