PRIME TIME INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTING, INC., Plaintiff-Appellee,
DEPARTMENT OF TREASURY, Defendant-Appellant. MFJ ENTERPRISES, INC., Plaintiff-Appellee, and MAHER JABORO, Plaintiff,
DEPARTMENT OF TREASURY, Defendant-Appellant. KEWEENAW BAY INDIAN COMMUNITY, Plaintiff-Appellee,
DEPARTMENT OF TREASURY and STATE TREASURER, Defendants-Appellants. KEWEENAW BAY INDIAN COMMUNITY, Plaintiff-Appellee,
DEPARTMENT OF TREASURY and STATE TREASURER, Defendants-Appellants. CHASE CASH & CARRY, INC., Plaintiff-Appellee,
DEPARTMENT OF TREASURY, Defendant-Appellant. CHASE CASH & CARRY, INC., Plaintiff-Appellee,
DEPARTMENT OF TREASURY, Defendant-Appellant.
of Claims LC No. 16-000226-MZ, 16-000214-MZ, 16-000064-MZ,
16-000099-MZ, 16-000100-MZ, 16-000232-MT, 16-003269-CZ
Before: Beckering, P.J., and O'Brien and Cameron, JJ.
the Department of Treasury (the Department) appeals as of
right from three opinions and orders issued by the Court of
Claims involving plaintiffs Prime Time International
Distributing, Inc., MFJ Enterprises, Inc., and Chase Cash
& Carry, Inc. The Department and defendant the State
Treasurer appeal as of right an opinion and order involving
plaintiff Keweenaw Bay Indian Community. We affirm.
from 2015 to 2016, the Michigan State Police Tobacco Tax Unit
seized large amounts of tobacco products from plaintiffs for
violations of the Tobacco Products Tax Act (TPTA), MCL
205.421 et seq. Each plaintiff timely requested a
hearing before the Department pursuant to MCL 205.429(3). The
Department concluded that the seizures and forfeitures were
proper in each case. Plaintiffs each filed an appeal to the
proper circuit court as mandated under MCL 205.429(4). The
Department filed a notice of transfer pursuant to MCL
600.6404(3) in each action so they could be transferred to
the Court of Claims. The Court of Claims issued its first
opinion on October 17, 2016, holding that the circuit court
had exclusive jurisdiction over Prime Time International
Distributing, Inc.'s action. The remaining
plaintiffs' actions were likewise transferred back to the
circuit court for reasons consistent with the first
opinion.Defendants now appeal the Court of
Claims's decisions, arguing that the Court of Claims Act
(CCA), MCL 600.6401 et seq., vests the Court of
Claims with exclusive jurisdiction over these appeals and
that they do not fall within the CCA's jurisdictional
exception under MCL 600.6419(5). Defendants claim this
exception does not apply because (1) the TPTA does not confer
exclusive jurisdiction to the circuit court, and (2) an
appeal under the TPTA is actually an original action. The
appeals have been consolidated to advance the administration
of the appellate process.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Court reviews de novo the question whether the trial court
possessed subject-matter jurisdiction. Bank v Mich. Ed
Ass'n, 315 Mich.App. 496, 499; 892 N.W.2d 1 (2016).
Additionally, "[a] challenge to the jurisdiction of the
Court of Claims presents a statutory question that is
reviewed de novo as a question of law." AFSCME
Council 25 v State Employees' Retirement Sys, 294
Mich.App. 1, 6; 818 N.W.2d 337 (2011). Moreover, this Court
"reviews de novo questions of statutory construction,
with the fundamental goal of giving effect to the intent of
the Legislature." Cheboygan Sportsman Club v
Cheboygan Co Prosecuting Attorney, 307 Mich.App. 71, 75;
858 N.W.2d 751 (2014).
contend the Court of Claims erred when it held that the
circuit court has subject-matter jurisdiction over
plaintiffs' claims. We disagree.
Legislature is presumed to have intended the meaning it
plainly expressed. If the plain and ordinary meaning of the
statutory language is clear, then judicial construction is
neither necessary nor permitted. A court is required to
enforce a clear and unambiguous statute as written."
Walters v Bloomfield Hills Furniture, 228 Mich.App.
160, 163; 577 N.W.2d 206 (1998). Statutes sharing subject
matter or a common purpose are in pari materia and
"must be read together as a whole." Bloomfield
Twp v Kane, 302 Mich.App. 170, 176; 839 N.W.2d 505
(2013). Further if there is "tension, or even conflict,
between sections of a statute, " this Court must,
"if reasonably possible, construe them both so as to
give meaning to each; that is, to harmonize them."
O'Connell v Dir of Elections, 316 Mich.App. 91,
99; 891 N.W.2d 240 (2016) (citations omitted).
CIRCUIT COURT JURISDICTION
courts are courts of general jurisdiction that derive their
power from the Michigan Constitution. Id. at 101.
The constitution states that "[t]he circuit court shall
have original jurisdiction in all matters not prohibited by
law; appellate jurisdiction from all inferior courts and
tribunals except as otherwise provided by law . . . and
jurisdiction of other cases and matters as provided by rules
of the supreme court." Const 1963, art 6, § 13. The
Revised Judicature Act (RJA), MCL 600.101 et seq.,
provides that "[c]ircuit courts have original
jurisdiction to hear and determine all civil claims and
remedies." MCL 600.605. The RJA sets forth the circuit
court's jurisdiction with regard to agency decisions as
An appeal shall lie from any order, decision, or opinion of
any state board, commission, or agency, authorized under the
laws of this state to promulgate rules from which an appeal
or other judicial review has not otherwise been provided for
by law, to the circuit court of the county of which the
appellant is a resident or to the circuit court of Ingham
county, which court shall have and exercise jurisdiction with
respect thereto as in ...