For the legal eagles out there, here is the twisted and bizarre path our hazardous waste lawsuit against the Boardwalk polluters has taken so far:
July 2002 - The local court dismisses the lawsuit, ruling that we have no standing to bring a hazardous waste complaint without representation by an attorney.
June 2004 - We appeal pro se to the Michigan Court of Appeals, which rules that we do have standing to bring the lawsuit and remands the case back to Kent County Circuit Court.
February 2005 - The local court rules that we have standing to bring the lawsuit under the stricter standards imposed by the Michigan Supreme Court in its recent Cleveland Cliffs decision.
May 2005 - The Michigan Court of Appeals reverses itself declaring the sua sponte order was an error and returns our lawsuit to the Kent County Circuit Court.
June 2005 - Defendant City of Grand Rapids, acting on the taxpayer's dime as lead counsel for all of the defendants, files with the Michigan Supreme Court a request for leave to appeal the appellate court's reversal of itself.
July 2005 - The City Attorney's Office then files a motion with the local court to stay all proceedings will the Supreme Court considers its request for leave to appeal, which is granted. This shuts down discovery for us. (No coincidence: Knowing that we can't use discovery, the City Attorney's Office then uses the fact of this lawsuit to deny us our FOIA request for documents related to the Boardwalk developers' contradictory statements about the value of the project.)
April 2006 - The Michigan Supreme finally responds to the City's request for leave to appeal in a 4-3 decision. Instead of denying it (as the law and prudence would dictate) and returning the case to the Kent Court Circuit Court for normal proceedings, the majority vacates both the June 2004 and May 2005 decisions by the Michigan Court of Appeals and orders it to reconsider the case.
For those who want to check out the record in further detail, the appellate decisions were made for publication. Here are the case numbers: Michigan S.C. Nos. 128901, 128907, and 128909; Michigan C.O.A. Nos. 243171 and 244609; and Kent County Circuit Court Case No. 02-03723-NZ.