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LLC v. Michigan Film Office

Supreme Court of Michigan

March 29, 2017

TEDDY 23, LLC and MICHIGAN TAX CREDIT FINANCE, LLC d/b/a MICHIGAN PRODUCTION CAPITAL, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
MICHIGAN FILM OFFICE and DEPARTMENT OF TREASURY, Defendants-Appellees. COA 323299, COA 323424

         Ingham CC: 14-000702-AA Court of Claims: 14-000039-MT

          Stephen J. Markman, Chief Justice Robert P. Young, Jr. Brian K. Zahra Bridget M. McCormack David F. Viviano Richard H. Bernstein Joan L. Larsen, Justices

          ORDER

         On March 8, 2017, the Court heard oral argument on the application for leave to appeal the December 15, 2015 judgment of the Court of Appeals. On order of the Court, the application is again considered, and it is DENIED, because we are not persuaded that the questions presented should be reviewed by this Court.

          Young, J. (dissenting).

         I respectfully dissent from the order denying leave to appeal. I would reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeals because I believe the plain text of MCL 600.6419(1) clearly vested the Court of Claims with exclusive jurisdiction over plaintiffs' claim.

         Plaintiffs are a film production company and a financer of that company who sought a film tax credit pursuant to the now-repealed MCL 208.1455. Defendant Michigan Film Office (MFO) denied plaintiffs' request for a postproduction certificate of completion-a prerequisite for receiving a film tax credit.

         Plaintiffs filed a complaint in the Court of Claims against MFO and the Department of Treasury, the department in which MFO was located at the time of the dispute.[1] Plaintiffs asked the court to overturn the denial, to require that defendants issue the requested tax credit, and to award plaintiffs compensatory damages of $3 million. Defendants moved for summary disposition under MCR 2.116(C)(4), arguing that the Court of Claims lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the claim because the circuit court had exclusive jurisdiction over this appeal from an administrative agency decision. In response to defendants' motions for summary disposition, plaintiffs filed a delayed application for leave to appeal in the Ingham Circuit Court on June 10, 2014. The circuit court denied plaintiffs' delayed application on June 17, 2014.[2] On July 29, 2014, the circuit court denied by order plaintiffs' motion for reconsideration of the denial.

         The Court of Claims granted summary disposition to defendants on August 8, 2014, under MCR 2.116(C)(4), concluding that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the claim pursuant to MCL 600.6419(5) and MCL 600.631. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the Court of Claims did not have subject matter jurisdiction over plaintiffs' appeal.[3] Although the analysis in the Court of Appeals opinion is sparse, the Court of Appeals apparently believed that, notwithstanding the plain language of MCL 600.6419(1)(a) vesting exclusive jurisdiction in the Court of Claims over claims and demands against the state and its departments, the Court of Claims could have jurisdiction over plaintiffs' claim only if some other statute conferred it with jurisdiction.[4] The Court of Appeals committed a significant error of statutory interpretation when it ignored the jurisdictional grant contained in MCL 600.6419(1)(a), and I would take up this case to correct this error.

         The jurisdiction of the Court of Claims is delineated in MCL 600.6419:

(1) Except as provided in sections 6421 and 6440, [[5] the jurisdiction of the court of claims, as conferred upon it by this chapter, is exclusive. . . . Except as otherwise provided in this section, the court has the following power and jurisdiction:
(a) To hear and determine any claim or demand, statutory or constitutional, liquidated or unliquidated, ex contractu or ex delicto, or any demand for monetary, equitable, or declaratory relief or any demand for an extraordinary writ against the state or any of its departments or officers notwithstanding another law that confers jurisdiction of the case in the circuit court.
* * *
(5) This chapter does not deprive the circuit court of exclusive jurisdiction over appeals from the district court and administrative agencies as authorized by law.

MCL 600.6419(1)(a) gives the Court of Claims exclusive jurisdiction over "any demand for monetary, equitable, or declaratory relief . . . against the state or any of its departments or officers." Plaintiffs' complaint asked the Court of Claims to overturn the MFO's decision, to order that the Department of Treasury issue the tax credit, and to award plaintiffs $3 million in compensatory damages. Plaintiffs' complaint thus demanded monetary and equitable relief from state agencies.[6] Therefore, MCL ...


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