Current Issues & Lawsuits



Barry et al. v. Lyon: Public Assistance for Felony Suspects and Their Families

  • Background: CCJ and their co-counsel, the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan (ACLU), filed a complaint against against the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) in July 2013. The complaint challenged the state’s practice of automatically terminating food assistance, cash assistance, or child care benefits to anyone with an outstanding felony warrant. CCJ and the ACLU also alleged that DHHS informed benefit recipients of the terminations in a manner that was unconstitutional and failed to qualify as notice of the termination.
  • Current status: The District Court held that the criminal justice disqualification notices DHHS sent to some people beginning in December 2012 violate a federal law and the U.S. Constitution. The Court also held that DHHS cannot deny or cut off Food Assistance Program (FAP) benefits solely because a person has an outstanding felony warrant. DHHS must also determine that: (a) the person is intentionally fleeing to avoid prosecution, custody, or jail/prison; and (b) law enforcement officials are actively seeking the person. The US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirmed, holding that: (1) The mootness exception applied in this case, so FAP recipients had standing to pursue their claims even after their individual situations had been administratively resolved; (2) a private right of action existed to enforce the FAP benefits and a right to a fair hearing; (3) FAP benefits could not be denied without reaching the determinations set forth by the District Court; and (4) the disqualification notices violated the 14th Amendment's Due Process Clause by failing to sufficiently state the reasons for the disqualifications.  By the most recent estimate, nearly 17,000 individuals have had over $52 million in benefits restored as a result of this lawsuit. 
  • If you think you may be affected by this lawsuit: visit the ACLU’s website or call the ACLU at (313) 578-6826.

Yamaoka et al. v. Sun Communities, Inc.: Conversion of Mobile Homes by Mobile Home Parks

  • Background: CCJ and their co-counsel, Rosi & Gardner, P.C. (R&G), filed a class-action complaint against Sun Communities, Inc. and a number of subsidiary defendants in February 2019.  Sun Communities and its subsidiary defendants comprise a self-administered and self-managed real estate investment trust that owns and operates approximately 66 mobile home parks throughout the state of Michigan.  The complaint challenges these mobile home parks' practice of obtaining title to mobile homes that they do not own by simply obtaining a surety bond without notice to the mobile home owner and without compensating the owner for the fair market value of the home.  This practice has no statutory authority to support it, but is currently allowed by the Michigan Secretary of State.  The complaint seeks to stop this practice and alleges statutory and common law conversion, as well as unjust enrichment claims.
  • Current status:  CCJ has filed and served this lawsuit upon the Defendants and is currently in the process of obtaining class certification for its plaintiffs. 
  • If you think you may be affected by this lawsuit:  Call CCJ's Housing Law Attorney, Greg Abler, at (810) 244-8044 ext. 301.

Last updated February 2019

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