23 February 2023

Miller Johnson Successfully Argues Michigan Court of Appeals Case for Project Giveback Client

Shortly after George Floyd’s death, Amy Hjerstedt submitted a FOIA request on behalf of the League of Women Voters to the City of Sault Ste. Marie, asking for a copy of the City’s use-of-force policy so that interested voters could determine whether to advocate for change. Her request for an unredacted copy was denied by the City, and that denial was upheld by a Chippewa County judge. Ms. Hjerstedt then appealed to the Michigan Court of Appeals, where attorneys Alise Hildreth and Stephen van Stempvoort drafted an amicus brief on behalf of the Michigan Press Association and the ACLU, supporting Ms. Hjerstedt’s position. The Court also granted Miller Johnson’s motion to participate in oral argument on behalf of the amici.

On February 21, 2023, the Court ruled unanimously in Ms. Hjerstedt’s favor, adopting the position set forth in Miller Johnson’s amicus brief and holding that the trial court erred in concluding that the use-of-force policy was excepted from disclosure under the FOIA. The court sent the case back to Judge James Lambros to release an unredacted copy of the use-of-force policy and award attorney fees to Ms. Hjerstedt.

Miller Johnson undertook this representation as part of the firm’s Project Giveback initiative.

Project Giveback

Project Giveback is a pro bono service initiative providing access, resources, and solutions to those in the community historically underserved by the legal system which includes attorneys from multiple practices with wide-ranging support for personal, business, protective, and financial needs of individuals.

About Miller Johnson

Miller Johnson is a full-service firm providing legal counsel to businesses and individuals in corporate, employment and labor, litigation, employee benefits, and private client representation from its offices in Detroit, Grand Rapids, and Kalamazoo. Since 1959, Miller Johnson has been Michigan-based and has served clients worldwide.