United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION & ORDER DENYING DEFENDANTS' MOTION
FOR STAY (Dkt. 201)
A. GOLDSMITH United States District Judge
matter is before the Court on Defendants' motion for
fourteen-day stay of judgment (Dkt. 201). On March 22, 2018,
the Court held a hearing on Plaintiffs' motion for
partial summary judgment, declaratory judgment and permanent
injunction (Dkt. 181), Defendants' cross-motion for
partial summary judgment (Dkt. 190), and Plaintiffs'
second motion to certify class (Dkt. 180). Following the
hearing, Defendants filed the instant motion requesting that,
if the Court rules in Plaintiffs' favor on Count V and
orders an injunction, the Court stay its judgment for
fourteen days in order to allow Defendants to file an appeal.
For the following reasons, Defendants' motion is denied.
four traditional stay factors guide the Court's analysis:
“(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.” Coalition to Defend Affirmative
Action v. Granholm, 473 F.3d 237, 244 (6th Cir. 2006).
The Court addresses each in turn.
Likelihood of Success on the Merits
party seeking a stay must ordinarily demonstrate to a
reviewing court that there is a likelihood of
reversal.” Mich. Coalition of Radioactive Material
Users, Inc. v. Griepentrog, 945 F.2d 150, 153 (6th Cir.
argue that the Michigan legislature's decision to allow
Plaintiffs to be resentenced to term-of-years sentences
without allowance for good time or disciplinary credits is
constitutional, and that Defendants will likely succeed on
appeal. Def. Mot. at 3 (Dkt. 201). They also argue that
abstention is warranted, as this case involves important
issues of state law. For the reasons provided in detail in
the Court's Opinion & Order today addressing the
parties' dispositive motions, Defendants have not made a
strong showing that they are likely to succeed on the merits
in any appeal they may file regarding the Court's ruling
on Count V. Plaintiffs were entitled to earn good time and
disciplinary credits, and the retroactive elimination of such
credits violates the Ex Post Facto Clause; additionally,
abstention would not have been appropriate. This Court's
assessment is that Defendants are unlikely to succeed on
appeal on these issues.
Irreparable Harm to Defendants
argue that the State will suffer irreparable injury if the
Court enjoins enforcement of Mich. Comp. Laws §
769.25a(6), as “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, ”
quoting Maryland v. King, 133 S.Ct. 1, 3 (2012)
(Roberts, C.J., in chambers) (alterations omitted).
argument does not persuade. The King order was not
the order of the full Court, but the individual order of
Chief Justice Roberts acting in chambers. The order relied on
by Chief Justice Roberts, New Motor Vehicle Bd. of Cal.
v. Orrin W. Fox Co., 434 U.S. 1345, 1351 (1977)
(Rehnquist, J., in chambers), was also the order of a single
Justice, who cited no authority on the issue of irreparable
harm associated with enjoining enforcement of statutes. Thus,
Defendants have not presented authority commanding a majority
of the Supreme Court that subscribes to the notion that any
injunction restraining enforcement of state statutes imposes
“some form of irreparable injury.” Further, to
characterize every such injunction as imposing irreparable
injury on state defendants would potentially erect an
excessive burden to overcome for the party asserting - and
prevailing on - a constitutional claim. In practical effect,
it would shade the stay analysis such that remediation of
constitutional violations would tend to be frozen in place
until the appellate process concludes. While Defendants'
interest in enforcing statutory enactments should be given
due consideration - which this Court has - denominating their
loss at the district court level as “irreparable”
argument for irreparable harm if a fourteen-day stay is not
granted lacks force, in particular, because the Court has not
required Defendants to recalculate the credits for class
members until fourteen days from entry of the judgment. Thus,
Defendants will have ample opportunity to file their appeal
within that fourteen-day period without any need for a stay.
Harm to Other Interested Parties
contrast, Plaintiffs would suffer substantial harm if the
Court were to grant a stay, as they will be deprived of their
constitutional rights. See Preston v. Thompson, 589
F.2d 300, 303 n.3 (7th Cir. 1978) (“The existence of a
continuing constitutional violation constitutes proof of an
irreparable harm, and its remedy certainly would serve the
public interest.”). For any class member who, like
Jennifer Pruitt, would be immediately eligible for parole
consideration if credits were applied to her sentence, the
harm of spending any additional time in prison beyond what
the law requires is substantial and irreparable.