COA to Maroun: stay put

The Michigan Court of Appeals has denied an emergency motion to get billionaire Manuel “Matty” Maroun and Dan Stamper out of jail.

Lawyers for Maroun and Stamper said their imprisonment yesterday, ordered by Wayne County Circuit Judge Prentis Edwards, violates the pair’s due process rights. Judge Edwards tossed them in jail for violating — for nearly two years — an order to bring the Detroit International Bridge Co. border crossing into compliance. The failure to comply, according to one of the seven motions filed yesterday, arises not from willful contempt, but from “differing interpretations of their respective contractual obligations in connection with a portion of the Ambassador Bridge Gateway Project.”

Further, attorneys for the pair say that neither man was a party to the action in which the order was entered in February 2010, so neither has been “held to have personally violated any order of the Court, and at no point throughout the proceedings have Mr. Maroun or Mr. Stamper ever been ordered to show cause why they should not be held in contempt or should not be jailed. …. Mr. Maroun and Mr. Stamper [have] never been given notice that either was in jeopardy of being found in contempt or jailed.”

Counsel immediately moved for release pending appeal (read filing here), and the Court quickly denied it.

But Maroun’s lawyers have a chance to scramble today to make a successful motion, since the denial was based on procedural grounds.

The motion, the Court said, relies on MCL 770.8, which is not applicable to a civil contempt ruling.

From the order (read here): “When an appellant fails to challenge the basis of the rulings by the trial court, we need not even consider granting the party the relief requested. … Furthermore, although Maroun and Stamper challenge the trial court’s authority for directing their imprisonment, they have not filed a motion for peremptory reversal and/or for a stay of the trial court’s January 12, 2012, order.”


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