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Spranger v. County of Macomb

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

May 2, 2018

KAREN A. SPRANGER, Plaintiff,
v.
COUNTY OF MACOMB, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS (DOC. 4)

          GEORGE CARAM STEEH UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Karen Spranger alleges that defendant Macomb County is conspiring against her to impede her ability to perform her role as Macomb County Clerk. Count I alleges a conspiracy to interfere with Spranger's civil rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1985(3). Count II, brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleges a violation of Spranger's rights under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. This matter is presently before the Court on Macomb County's motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6). (Doc. 4). Oral argument was held on February 27, 2018. For the reasons stated below, defendant Macomb County's motion is GRANTED.

         I. Background

         Spranger, a Republican, was elected in November 2016. She was sworn in as Macomb County Clerk and Register of Deeds on January 1, 2017. Spranger's controversial tenure included numerous scandals, employee grievances, and decreased efficiency in the day to day performance of the Macomb County Clerk's office. These events led both parties to file lawsuits in Macomb County Circuit Court. All Macomb County Circuit Judges recused themselves from these civil actions, which were thereafter assigned to St. Clair County Judge Daniel Kelly. Judge Kelly issued multiple orders in three lawsuits involving Spranger. This lawsuit arises out of Spranger's disagreement with Judge Kelly's orders. Spranger requests that the Court void Judge Kelly's orders and dissolve the cases against her. She asks this Court to enter the following orders:

A. An Order of the Court to dissolve the mandamus action and injunctive relief filed by the SIXTEENTH CIRCUIT COURT, COUNTY TREASURER, and COUNTY SHERIFF as Ordered in Case number 2017-004508-AW;
B. An Order of the Court to dissolve the temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction filed by CANGEMI's labor organization AFSCME 411;
C. An Order of the Court to dissolve the quo warranto counter claim in Case number 2017-002261-CZ and then to allow the original case filed by SPRANGER to be heard by the Court;
D. An Order of the Court to require SCHAPKA, DELDIN, BATHANTI, CANGEMI, BIERNAT, COOK, and COLTHORP to cease and desist in their civil conspiracy of interference with the Offices of Clerk / Register of Deeds;
E. An Order of the Court for all employees terminated by the mandamus order of the Circuit Court to be reinstated to their employment position - including any back pay lost due to the civil conspiracy;
F. A Protective Order to allow SPRANGER to seek addition[al] redress with the Court if any of the County actors of MACOMB COUNTY interfere with the Order of the Court; and
G. An Order of the Court granting such other relief Plaintiff is found to be entitled to.

(Doc. 1 at PageID 14-15) (emphasis in original). Macomb County filed a motion to dismiss on January 8, 2018. (Doc. 4). Spranger filed a response, (Doc. 7), to which Macomb County replied, (Doc. 8). Oral argument was scheduled for February 27, 2018. (Doc. 6). On February 27, 2018, three hours before oral argument, Spranger filed a motion for summary judgment. (Doc. 11). The Court set a briefing schedule and informed the parties that it would read these briefs before ruling on Macomb County's motion to dismiss. Macomb County filed a response. (Doc. 13). On April 3, 2018, Spranger filed a document that appears to be a reply. (Doc. 16). On March 27, 2018, while the Court was waiting for Spranger's reply brief, Judge Kelly ruled that Spranger did not reside at the Warren address she listed on her application to run for Macomb County clerk. Based upon his finding that Spranger made a false claim of residency, Judge Kelly concluded that Spranger was not eligible to hold office and ordered her removal.

         II. Legal Standard

         A. Federal Rule of Civil ...


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