Michigan spent $380k on outside attorneys fighting teacher 3% lawsuit
LANSING, MI — In a case that wound its way through Michigan courts for more than half a decade, state officials spent more than $380,000 on outside attorneys, according to information obtained by MLive.
The case stems from a 2010 law signed by Snyder’s predecessor, Gov. Jennifer Granholm, which required teachers to contribute 3 percent of their salaries toward retiree health care. That three percent was collected from July 2010 to Jan. 2013 before a legal battle threw the money into an escrow that grew to $554 million.
The law sparked a protracted legal battle that unions officially won this week when the Michigan Supreme Court ordered the money returned to teachers.
Michigan Supreme Court orders $550M returned to teachers in 3% lawsuit
But getting to that point cost taxpayers more than $380,000 for outside attorneys, according to records and information obtained by MLive.
After a lower court ruling in 2016, Attorney General Bill Schuette declined to pursue the case any further. Snyder chose to go it alone, appealing once more to the Michigan Supreme Court with the help of outside legal counsel. The state hired the Dykema law firm to work on the case.
Through a Dec. 7 invoice, said Department of Technology Management and budget spokesman Caleb Buhs, the state has paid $293,000.
Gov. Rick Snyder paying top dollar for private attorneys on teacher 3% case
A Freedom of Information Act request earlier this year found that when the Attorney General was involved in the case, he spent $87,844 on external legal counsel at the beginning stages of the lawsuit. A Schuette spokeswoman in July said the attorneys were former Attorney General employees retained to work on complex litigation after they retired.
Staff attorneys within the Department of Attorney General also worked on the case, but the state does not track how many hours they spend on specific projects, making an overall calculation impossible.
Gov. Rick Snyder to appeal 3% teacher retirement case without AG Schuette’s help Continue Reading