Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Prime Time International Distributing, Inc. v. Department of Treasury

Court of Appeals of Michigan

November 16, 2017

PRIME TIME INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTING, INC., Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
DEPARTMENT OF TREASURY, Defendant-Appellant. MFJ ENTERPRISES, INC., Plaintiff-Appellee, and MAHER JABORO, Plaintiff,
v.
DEPARTMENT OF TREASURY, Defendant-Appellant. KEWEENAW BAY INDIAN COMMUNITY, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
DEPARTMENT OF TREASURY and STATE TREASURER, Defendants-Appellants. KEWEENAW BAY INDIAN COMMUNITY, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
DEPARTMENT OF TREASURY and STATE TREASURER, Defendants-Appellants. CHASE CASH & CARRY, INC., Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
DEPARTMENT OF TREASURY, Defendant-Appellant. CHASE CASH & CARRY, INC., Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
DEPARTMENT OF TREASURY, Defendant-Appellant.

         Court 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.

          PER CURIAM.

         Defendant 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.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Spanning 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.[1] The remaining plaintiffs' actions were likewise transferred back to the circuit court for reasons consistent with the first opinion.[2]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.

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         This 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).

         III. STATUTORY BACKGROUND

         Defendants contend the Court of Claims erred when it held that the circuit court has subject-matter jurisdiction over plaintiffs' claims. We disagree.

         "The 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).

         A. CIRCUIT COURT JURISDICTION

         Circuit 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 follows:

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 ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.