United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
MICHIGAN STATE AFL-CIO; UTILITY WORKERS UNION OF AMERICA, AFL-CIO, LOCAL 223; GEORGE HORUCZI; INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF ELECTRICAL WORKERS, AFL-CIO, LOCAL 58; MICHIGAN STATE UTILITY WORKERS COUNCIL; and WILLIAM D. CHADWICK, JR., Plaintiffs,
RUTH JOHNSON, in her official capacity as MICHIGAN SECRETARY OF STATE; and WILLIAM SCHUETTE, in his official capacity as MICHIGAN ATTORNEY GENERAL, Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER DENYING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR
STAY PENDING APPEAL
V. PARKER U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
30, 2016, this Court entered an opinion and order enjoining
Defendants, among others, “from taking any action to
implement or enforce Michigan Compiled Laws Section
169.254(3) [“P.A. 269”], which prohibits a
corporation from providing for the collection and transfer of
contributions by its employees to their union's SSF
[separate segregated fund], by payroll deduction.” (ECF
No. 23.) Defendants appealed the Court's decision to the
Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals on July 26, 2016. (ECF No.
26.) On August 5, 2016, Defendants filed a motion pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 62(c), asking this Court to
stay the preliminary injunction pending appeal. (ECF No. 29.)
The motion has been fully briefed. (ECF Nos. 31, 32, 33.) For
the reasons that follow, the Court denies Defendants'
request for a stay.
must consider the following four factors to decide whether to
issue a stay pursuant to Rule 62(c): (1) the likelihood that
the party seeking the stay will prevail on the merits of the
appeal; (2) the likelihood that the moving party will be
irreparably harmed absent a stay; (3) the prospect that
others will be harmed if the court grants the stay; and (4)
the public interest in granting the stay. Grutter v.
Bollinger, 247 F.3d 631, 632 (6th Cir. 2001) (citing
Mich. Coalition of Radioactive Material Users, Inc. v.
Griepentrog, 945 F.2d 150, 153 (6th Cir. 1991)).
“These factors are not prerequisites that must be met,
but are interrelated considerations that must be balanced
together.” Griepentrog, 945 F.2d at 153.
the first factor, the Sixth Circuit stated in
Griepentrog: “In essence, a party seeking a
stay must ordinarily demonstrate to a reviewing court that
there is a likelihood of reversal.” Id. The
court recognized, however, that the “movant need not
always establish a high probability of success on the
merits.” Id. (citing Ohio, ex rel.
Celebrezze v. Nuclear Regulatory Comm'n, 812 F.2d
288, 290 (6th Cir. 1987) (citing Cuomo v. United States
Nuclear Regulatory Comm'n, 772 F.2d 972, 974 (D.C.
Cir. 1985)). The Griepentrog court explained:
The probability of success that must be demonstrated is
inversely proportional to the amount of irreparable injury
[the] plaintiffs will suffer absent the stay. Simply stated,
more of one excuses less of the other. This relationship,
however, is not without its limits; the movant is always
required to demonstrate more than the mere
“possibility” of success on the merits. For
example, even if a movant demonstrates irreparable harm that
decidedly outweighs any potential harm to the [other side] if
a stay is granted, he is still required to show, at a
minimum, “serious questions going to the merits.”
Id. at 153-54 (internal citations omitted).
seeking a stay, Defendants first address the second and third
factors: the harm to Defendants, third parties, and
Plaintiffs. Defendants contend that Plaintiffs fail to
establish any irreparable injury resulting from the enactment
of P.A. 269. In comparison, Defendants maintain that they
will “suffer irreparable harm because, ‘any time
a State is enjoined by a court from effectuating statutes
enacted by representatives of its people, it suffers a form
of irreparable injury.' ” (ECF No. 29 at Pg ID 484,
quoting Maryland v. King, 133 S.Ct. 1, 3 (2012)
(additional citations omitted).) Defendants argue that the
Court's preliminary injunction also impinges on the
State's ability to “curtail the risk of actual
quid pro quo corruption or the appearance of
corruption”, “preserve the purity of
elections”, and “guard against abuses of the
elective franchise.” (Id, citations and
quotation marks omitted.)
a State from enforcing its laws cannot always amount to
irreparable harm. If a statute is unconstitutional, how is
the State harmed by not being able to enforce it? Joelner
v. Vill. of Wash. Park, 378 F.3d 613, 620 (7th Cir.
2004) (“[T]here can be no irreparable harm to a
municipality when it is prevented from enforcing an
unconstitutional statute[.]”) (citing Connection
Distrib. Co. v. Reno, 154 F.3d 281, 288 (6th Cir.
1998)). In fact, the Sixth Circuit has held that where a
court finds a law unconstitutional because it infringes First
Amendment freedoms (as the Court found here), it is always in
the public interest to prevent the law's enforcement.
Connection Distrib. Co., 154 F.3d at 288 (quoting
G & V Lounge, Inc. v. Michigan Liquor Control
Comm'n, 23 F.3d 1071, 1079, (6th Cir. 1994)
(“[I]t is always in the public interest to prevent the
violation of a party's constitutional rights.”)).
may be correct that the State has a legitimate interest in
protecting the integrity of the elective franchise and
election process and preventing corruption. Nevertheless,
Defendants fail to convince the Court that P.A. 269 serves to
further those interests. Stated differently, Defendants fail
to show that the use of payroll deduction to collect and
transfer employee contributions for their union's SSF
threatens those interests.
Court explained in its June 30, 2016 decision why Plaintiffs
would suffer irreparable harm absent an injunction. First, PA
269 infringes Plaintiffs' First Amendment rights. “
‘The loss of First Amendment freedoms, for even minimal
periods of time, unquestionably constitutes irreparable
injury.' ” Bays v. City of Fairborn, 668
F.3d 814, 825 (6th Cir. 2012) (quoting Elrod v.
Burns, 427 U.S. 347, 373 (1976)). Second, the union
Plaintiffs established that PA 269 caused them to lose
substantial PAC contributions. This represents not only a
monetary loss which could be recovered later (if Plaintiffs
were seeking such recovery, which they are not), but a loss
to “Plaintiffs' ability to fund political
activities this election cycle and thereby have their
opinions heard.” (ECF No. 23 at Pg ID 385.)
Defendants' contention that Plaintiffs in fact increased
“their fundraising numbers and quarterly profits”
after the enactment of PA 269 is not supported by any
these reasons, the irreparable harm factors do not weigh in
favor of granting Defendants' request for a stay. Thus,
the Court turns to Defendants' next argument: that they
“are likely to succeed on the merits as the Sixth
Circuit has rejected the idea that payroll deductions are
speech.” (ECF No. 29 at Pg ID 486.) In support of their
contention, Defendants assert the same arguments raised in
response to Plaintiffs' motion for preliminary
rejecting Defendants' arguments, this Court thoroughly
explained why it does not find the Sixth Circuit's
decision in Bailey v. Callaghan, 715 F.3d 956, 959
(6th Cir. 2013), controlling. The Court believes it clearly
explained its rationale for concluding that the act of
collecting funds to promote speech is entitled to First
Amendment protection, as well as its rationale for concluding
that the Bailey decision (which addressed only
public employee payroll deduction) is inapplicable
here where the law restricts payroll deduction for private
employees. The Court would be adding nothing by repeating its
reasons stated in its June 30, 2016 decision, the Court
believes Defendants are not likely to succeed on appeal.
Defendants must demonstrate a high probability of success in
light of the irreparable harm Plaintiffs and the public will
suffer absent a stay, and the lack of similar harm to
Defendants. Defendants do not succeed in making this showing.
short, the factors relevant to this Court's decision
whether to stay the preliminary injunction ...