Circuit Court LC No. 15-008982-01-AR
Before: M. J. Kelly, P.J., and Murphy and Ronayne Krause, JJ.
appeals by leave granted the circuit court's reversal of
the district court decision granting defendant's motion
to dismiss a grand jury indictment. We reverse.
as the president of Parlovecchio Building Company, Inc,
entered into an agreement with the Wayne County Building
Authority ("WCBA"), to act as project manager or
"Owner's Representative" ("OR") for
the Wayne County Jail Project ("Project"). The
Project was never completed, and a number of individuals,
including defendant, were indicted for various roles they
played in the failure of the project. Defendant's
indictment for willful neglect of duty as a public employee
or person holding public trust under MCL 750.478 stated that
he "did willfully neglect to perform the duty to fully
and honestly inform a legislative body, to wit: the Wayne
County Building Authority, a duty enjoined upon him by State
law and/or the Wayne County Charter and/or Wayne County
Ordinances . . . " The indictment contained no other
argued in the district court that he was neither a public
officer nor an employee, but rather an independent
contractor, and therefore could not be subject to MCL
750.478; he also argued that the indictment insufficiently
specified what criminal actions he "actually did, "
and he requested a bill of particulars. The district court
agreed with defendant's first proposition and dismissed
the indictment. On appeal, the circuit court reversed and
reinstated the indictment, holding that the statute could
apply to independent contractors, because independent
contractors could hold a position of public trust. We granted
defendant's delayed application for leave to appeal. The
circuit court reviews a district court's decision to
dismiss charges for an abuse of discretion, and we review the
circuit court's determination on such a matter de novo.
People v Bylsma, 493 Mich. 17, 26; 825 N.W.2d 543
(2012). We likewise review de novo questions of statutory
interpretation, including the constitutionality of statutes.
People v Buehler, 477 Mich. 18, 23; 727 N.W.2d 127
(2007); People v Douglas, 295 Mich.App. 129, 134;
813 N.W.2d 337 (2011).
People v Waterstone, 296 Mich.App. 121, 131-132; 818
N.W.2d 432 (2012), this Court recited the governing standards
of review and the controlling principles of statutory
This Court reviews for an abuse of discretion both a district
court's decision to bind a defendant over for trial and a
trial court's decision on a motion to quash an
information. A trial court abuses its discretion when its
decision falls outside the range of reasonable and principled
outcomes. A trial court necessarily abuses its discretion
when it makes an error of law. This Court reviews de novo
questions of statutory construction.
[The] Michigan Supreme Court [has] recited the
well-established principles that govern our interpretation of
a statute[, stating as follows]:
"The overriding goal of statutory interpretation is to
ascertain and give effect to the Legislature's intent.
The touchstone of legislative intent is the statute's
language. The words of a statute provide the most reliable
indicator of the Legislature's intent and should be
interpreted on the basis of their ordinary meaning and the
overall context in which they are used. An undefined
statutory word or phrase must be accorded its plain and
ordinary meaning, unless the undefined word or phrase is a
"term of art" with a unique legal meaning."
[Citations and quotation marks omitted.]
The parties dispute the construction of various terms
employed in MCL 750.478, which provides:
When any duty is or shall be enjoined by law upon
any public officer, or upon any person holding any public
trust or employment, every willful neglect to perform such
duty, where no special provision shall have been made for the
punishment of such delinquency, constitutes a misdemeanor
punishable by imprisonment for not more than 1 year or a fine
of not more than $1, 000.00. [Emphasis added.]
For a conviction under this statute, the prosecution must
establish (1) that the defendant was a public officer or
"any person holding any public trust or employment,
" (2) that the defendant had a duty that is
"enjoined by law, " and (3) that the defendant
willfully neglected to perform such duty. MCL 750.478;
People v Medlyn, 215 Mich.App. 338, 340-341; 544
N.W.2d 759 (1996).
undisputed that defendant is not a "public officer,
" and we agree with the district court that defendant is
an independent contractor rather than a public employee.
Plaintiff offers at most a vague argument to the contrary,
and we reject that argument as advocating the complete
dissolution of any distinction whatsoever between an employee
and a contractor. The district court properly utilized the
"economic reality" test, see Buckley v
Professional Plaza Clinic Corp, 281 Mich.App. 224,
233-236; 761 N.W.2d 284 (2008), and determined, based on
several provisions of ...