Phillips, et al v. Snyder, et al

At a Glance

Date Filed: 

March 27, 2013

Current Status 

Plaintiffs have filed a request for rehearing en banc with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

Co-Counsel 

The Sugar Law Center for Economic and Social Justice and several Michigan-based civil rights lawyers

Case Description 

Phillips v. Snyder is a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of replacing democratically-elected mayors and city and town councils in predominantly Black and brown communities of Michigan with unelected, state-appointed “Emergency Managers”. In 2012, the Michigan State Legislature passed Public Act 436, essentially granting state-appointed “Emergency Managers” the power to legislate for and govern entire municipalities deemed to be in “financial distress”. The governor’s implementation of Public Act 436 shows pronouced racial bias, with 50 percent of all Black Michigan residents currently being governed by Emergency Managers and, in essence, being denied their fundamental right to vote and to the governance of an elected body. Meanwhile, only 2 percent of Michigan's white residents are subject to the unchecked authority of Emergency Managers. As an organization steeped in the Civil Rights movement, CCR continues its deep commitment to racial equality and the protection of basic civil and constitutional rights with this work.  

This case is a direct follow up to an earlier CCR case, Brown v. Snyder, which was rendered moot when the people of Michigan repealed Public Act 4 – the 2011 law under which the Michigan Emergency Managers were established – in a statewide voter referendum. This was a great victory for the people of Michigan and sent a clear message to the governor and state officials that Michigan residents were not satisfied with this unconstitutional practice that would deny so many a political voice in their local government – a message that was, nonetheless, ignored with the passing of Public Act 436 a month later.

Phillips v. Snyder was filed  in partnership with The Sugar Law Center for Economic and Social Justice and several Michigan-based civil rights lawyers on behalf of a broad coalition of plaintiffs. 

Case Timeline

October 11, 2016
Plaintiffs file request for rehearing en banc with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
October 11, 2016
Plaintiffs file request for rehearing en banc with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
September 12, 2016
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirms District Court decision
September 12, 2016
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirms District Court decision
March 10, 2016
Plaintiffs file merits brief for their appeal with Sixth Circuit
March 10, 2016
Plaintiffs file merits brief for their appeal with Sixth Circuit
November 12, 2015
Plaintiffs appeal district court decision dismissing all but one of their claims to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
November 12, 2015
Plaintiffs appeal district court decision dismissing all but one of their claims to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
December 15, 2014

Court denies motion for reconsideration

December 15, 2014

Court denies motion for reconsideration

December 1, 2014

Plaintiffs move for district court to reconsider dismissal of other claims, arguing that court overlooked crucial facts and law in decision

December 1, 2014

Plaintiffs move for district court to reconsider dismissal of other claims, arguing that court overlooked crucial facts and law in decision

November 19, 2014

District court dismisses all but one of plaintiffs' claims: Equal Protection claim allowed to go forward

November 19, 2014

District court dismisses all but one of plaintiffs' claims: Equal Protection claim allowed to go forward

The court dismisses all but one of our claims, including claims brought under the Voting Rights Act, the Due Process Clause, and the Thirteenth Amendment. However, the court denies the defendants' motion to dismiss our claims that the State's implementation  of PA 436 racially discriminates and thus violates the Equal Protection Clause.

April 30, 2014

Oral argument on motion to dismiss amended complaint in Phillips v. Snyder held in United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan in Detroit

April 30, 2014

Oral argument on motion to dismiss amended complaint in Phillips v. Snyder held in United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan in Detroit

April 4, 2014

District court stays Snyder and Dillon’s appeal of bankruptcy court’s November 6, 2013 stay-lifting order pending outcome of appeal of entire Detroit bankruptcy proceeding currently before U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

April 4, 2014

District court stays Snyder and Dillon’s appeal of bankruptcy court’s November 6, 2013 stay-lifting order pending outcome of appeal of entire Detroit bankruptcy proceeding currently before U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

March 5, 2014

Governor Snyder and State Treasurer Dillon move to dismiss plaintiffs’ amended complaint in Phillips v. Snyder

March 5, 2014

Governor Snyder and State Treasurer Dillon move to dismiss plaintiffs’ amended complaint in Phillips v. Snyder

February 12, 2014

Amended complaint filed in Phillips v. Snyder

February 12, 2014

Amended complaint filed in Phillips v. Snyder

February 11, 2014

Governor Snyder and State Treasurer Dillon file notice of appeal in district court of bankruptcy court’s November 6, 2013 order lifting stay on Phillips case

February 11, 2014

Governor Snyder and State Treasurer Dillon file notice of appeal in district court of bankruptcy court’s November 6, 2013 order lifting stay on Phillips case

This appeal is before a different district judge than the judge who is presiding over the Phillips case itself.

February 6, 2014

District court orders Phillips v. Snyder be officially re-opened

February 6, 2014

District court orders Phillips v. Snyder be officially re-opened

November 6, 2013

Bankruptcy court issues order relieving Phillips v. Snyder from its July 25, 2013 stay order

November 6, 2013

Bankruptcy court issues order relieving Phillips v. Snyder from its July 25, 2013 stay order

The case is relieved from the stay order on the condition that the Phillips plaintiffs amend their complaint to remove all claims arising out of the operation of Public Act 436 in the City of Detroit.

August 22, 2013

District court in Phillips v. Snyder issues order staying case pending outcome of Detroit Chapter 9 bankruptcy proceeding

August 22, 2013

District court in Phillips v. Snyder issues order staying case pending outcome of Detroit Chapter 9 bankruptcy proceeding

July 25, 2013

Bankruptcy court in Detroit Chapter 9 bankruptcy case orders all pre-bankruptcy federal civil actions filed against Michigan state officials in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan be stayed pending outcome of Detroit bankruptcy proceeding

July 25, 2013

Bankruptcy court in Detroit Chapter 9 bankruptcy case orders all pre-bankruptcy federal civil actions filed against Michigan state officials in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan be stayed pending outcome of Detroit bankruptcy proceeding

July 18, 2013

City of Detroit files for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection

July 18, 2013

City of Detroit files for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection

At the direction of Emergency Manager Kevin Orr, Detroit makes the largest municipal bankruptcy filing in American history, in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.
March 28, 2013

Public Act 436 takes effect

March 28, 2013

Public Act 436 takes effect

March 27, 2013

Original complaint filed in Phillips v. Snyder in United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan

March 27, 2013

Original complaint filed in Phillips v. Snyder in United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan

December 26, 2012

Michigan Governor Richard Snyder signs Public Act 436 into law

December 26, 2012

Michigan Governor Richard Snyder signs Public Act 436 into law

December 13, 2012

Lame-duck session of Michigan State Legislature passes Public Act 436

December 13, 2012

Lame-duck session of Michigan State Legislature passes Public Act 436

November 6, 2012
Michigan voters vote to repeal predecesor to emergency manager law
November 6, 2012
Michigan voters vote to repeal predecesor to emergency manager law