Griffin v. City of Madison Heights

Case No. 2020-181196-CZ

Oakland County Circuit Court

IF YOU PAID STORMWATER CHARGES TO THE CITY OF MADISON HEIGHTS AT ANY TIME BETWEEN JULY 1, 2016 AND JUNE 30, 2021, AND ARE A CURRENT WATER, SEWER, OR STORMWATER CUSTOMER OF THE CITY YOUR ACCOUNT WILL BE CREDITED YOUR PRO RATA SHARE FROM THE SETTLEMENT FUND.

IF YOU PAID STORMWATER CHARGES TO THE CITY OF MADISON HEIGHTS AT ANY TIME BETWEEN JULY 1, 2016 AND JUNE 30, 2021, ARE NO LONGER A WATER, SEWER, OR STORMWATER CUSTOMER OF THE CITY AND WISH TO RECEIVE A CASH REFUND, IF YOU QUALIFY FOR SUCH REFUND, YOU MUST SUBMIT A WRITTEN CLAIM FORM ON OR BEFORE OCTOBER 2, 2021 AND MAIL IT TO CITY OF MADISON HEIGHTS SETTLEMENT ADMINISTRATOR, 1650 ARCH STREET, SUITE 2210, PHILADELPHIA, PA 19103, OR EMAIL THE COMPLETED FORM TO INFO@MADISONHEIGHTSSTORMWATERSETTLEMENT.COM, OR SUBMIT AN ELECTRONIC FORM.

IN ORDER TO RECEIVE A CASH REFUND AS PART OF THIS CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT, YOU ARE REQUIRED TO SUBMIT A WRITTEN CLAIM. IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A WATER AND SEWER BILLING ACCOUNT WITH THE CITY OF MADISON HEIGHTS, YOU ARE NOT ELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE YOUR PRO RATA SHARE IN THE FORM OF A CREDIT. YOU MUST SUBMIT A WRITTEN CLAIM IN ORDER TO RECEIVE ANY PORTION OF THE SETTLEMENT FUND.

Important Dates

October 2, 2021 — Exclusion Deadline

October 2, 2021 — Objection Deadline

October 2, 2021 — Claim Deadline

December 1, 2021 at 9:00 a.m. — Final Approval Hearing

You are hereby notified that a proposed settlement in the amount of $2,600,000 has been reached with the City in a class action lawsuit pending in Oakland County Circuit Court titled Griffin. v. City of Madison Heights, Case No. 2020-181196-CZ, presiding Judge Yasmine I. Poles (the “Lawsuit”), challenging the mandatory stormwater service charge the City imposes upon owners of real property to recover certain costs assessed upon the City by Oakland County. The amounts Plaintiffs and the Class paid or incurred for stormwater disposal between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2021 shall be referred to herein as the “Stormwater Charges.”

Plaintiffs contend that: (a) the Stormwater Charge is not a proper user fee but a tax wrongfully imposed by the City to raise revenue in violation of the Headlee Amendment to the Michigan constitution of 1963; (b) the Stormwater Charge violates the Prohibited Taxes By Cities And Villages Act, MCL 141.91 because the Stormwater Charge is not an ad valorem tax, but is a tax imposed, levied, or collected after January 1, 1964; (c) the City has been unjustly enriched by the collection and retention of the Stormwater Charges and/or is required to refund the Stormwater Charges under a theory of assumpsit; and (d) that Plaintiffs and those similarly situated have been harmed by the City’s collection and retention of Stormwater Charges.

The Plaintiffs sought a judgment from the Court against the City that would order and direct the City to refund all Stormwater Charges to which Plaintiffs and the class are entitled and any other appropriate relief. The City maintains that the City’s imposition of the Stormwater Charge is proper and lawful. Thus, the City denies Plaintiffs’ claims in their entirety. The City specifically denies that the Stormwater Charge is a tax, denies that it has been unjustly enriched by collecting the Stormwater Charge, and further denies that it retains the Stormwater Charge. The City denies that the Plaintiffs or any other property owners that are similarly situated have been harmed by the City’s collection of the Stormwater Charges. The City contends that it should prevail in the lawsuit and denies that the Plaintiffs and the Class are entitled to a refund of the City’s lawfully-assessed Stormwater Charges. The Court has made no rulings concerning the merits of the lawsuit at this time.

On February 25, 2021, Judge Poles entered an Opinion and Order certifying the lawsuit as a class action. You are receiving this notice because the City’s records indicate that an individual or entity owning or residing at this property address paid or incurred the City’s Stormwater Charge at some time after July 1, 2016 and are, therefore, a member of the class.

For settlement purposes, the parties have agreed that the Class will consist of all persons or entities who/which paid or incurred the Stormwater Charges between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2021 (the “Class”). The Settlement Agreement is intended to settle all of the claims of the Class.