Royal Oak, Birmingham and Ferndale See Different Results from Water Lawsuit

mbrew brought to you by top adRoyal Oak, Birmingham dickeys tall 04and Ferndale See Different Results from Water Lawsuit

(Crystal A. Proxmire, Dec. 24, 2015)

Royal Oak, MI – While Ferndale and Birmingham opted for settlements, the City of Royal Oak successfully had a lawsuit dismissed over the charging of a fee on water bills to pay for work on the Kuhn Drain.

Class action lawsuits were brought against multiple cities with Kickham Hanley as the attorneyJudy_Palmer30years in each case. The argument was that fees are not allowed under the Headlee Amendment because they are considered taxes that were not approved by the voters.

In Ferndale and Birmingham the main plaintiff was Larry Wolfe, who owns multiple properties that he rents out. Ferndale and Birmingham made settlement deals.

Royal Oak, however, held on and decided to let a Judge decide.

According to a report in The Daily Tribune, Oakland County Judge Shalina Kumar dismissed the lawsuit against Royal Oak on Dec. 17. The reasoning given was that fees were exempt from the Headlee Amendment because the City Charter predates the Amendment.GT ad 03

In Ferndale the City agreed to a $4.2 million settlement. The law firm and the plaintiff kept a third of the judgment plus expenses, leaving roughly $3 million that was disbursed to property owners based on how much they had paid into the system. The debt for the drain must still be paid, so Ferndale ceased charging it as a fee on the water bill and instead will be doing it as an assessment on property taxes.

Birmingham’s settlement, according to the Tribune, was settled in March for $2.8 million.

To read more about the decision in Royal Oak, check out the Daily Tribune’s informative piece at


Ferndale Settles Water/Sewer Bill Lawsuit, Checks to be Mailed to Residents

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