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03/24/76 HERTEL v. RACING COMMISSIONER

March 24, 1976

HERTEL
v.
RACING COMMISSIONER



Original action in the Court of Appeals.

N. J. Kaufman, P. J., and T. M. Burns and M. F. Cavanagh, JJ.

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

1. Constitutional Law -- Standing to Sue -- State Racing Law -- Expenditure of State Funds -- Court Rules.

Plaintiffs have standing both at common law and under a court rule to challenge the constitutionality of the expenditure of state funds pursuant to the state racing law where at least five of the plaintiffs are residents and property taxpayers, and certain plaintiffs are either racetrack bettors or harness horse breeders who allege direct harm as a result of amendments to the racing law (GCR 1963, 201.2[3]).

2. Courts -- Jurisdiction -- Judgment -- Prior Action -- Collateral Estoppel -- Constitutional Law -- Statutes -- State Racing Law -- Adjudication on the Merits.

The Court of Appeals does not lack jurisdiction over an original action challenging the constitutionality of state racing laws, although the statutes in question were held valid by a circuit court in a different action brought by at least some of the same plaintiffs, where there had been no adjudication on the merits of the substantive issues raised in the Court of Appeals action.

3. Constitutional Law -- Public Funds -- Mistake of Law -- Appropriation Acts -- Recovery of Funds.

Public funds paid out due to a mistake of law or prior to a judicial determination that the underlying act is unconstitutional may not be recovered where the funds were paid out under a claim of right at the time.

4. Mandamus -- Constitutional Questions -- State Officers.

A mandamus action may be brought to decide constitutional questions where the action challenges the constitutionality of legislative enactments which affect the duties of a state officer.

5. Constitutional Law -- Statutes -- Classification.

Legislative classification is generally not invalid if it is reasonable, not arbitrary, rests on some valid distinction, and has a fair and substantial relation to the object of the legislation so that all persons within the class are treated alike.

6. Constitutional Law -- Legislation -- Geographic Classification.

Legislation is not constitutionally invalid simply because it affects only one locality within the state.

7. Courts -- Constitutional Questions -- Propriety of Legislation -- Legislature.

The constitutionality of legislation is a question for the courts; however, the propriety of ...


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