High court won’t intervene in dispute over $100M deal with female prisoners

The Associated Press has reported that the Michigan Supreme Court has declined to intervene in a dispute over a $100 million settlement with former and current female prisoners who claimed they were sexually harassed behind bars.

Oakland County wants the women’s names so victims of their crimes also can be paid. While that dispute is pending, the county wants the state to suspend payments.

But in a 3-2 decision in Neal v. Department of Corrections, et al., and Oakland County Reimbursement Unit, released Nov. 10, the Supreme Court said it won’t freeze payments and won’t overturn the Michigan Court of Appeals decision.

In their dissent, Justice Stephen Markman and Chief Justice Robert Young Jr. say the lack of intervention will hurt crime victims.

Markman wrote in the order: “I would immediately stay any further disbursements to prisoners until the Court of Appeals has finally determined: (a) whether notice to the victims is required by law to be provided by the MDOC before any proceeds of a class-action settlement are disbursed to prisoners; and (b) whether full, and not half, payments of restitution are required by law to be disbursed to victims of plaintiffs’ crimes before any disbursements are made to plaintiffs.”

Justices Diane M. Hathaway and Mary Beth Kelly recused themselves.

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