Claiming that a temporary flooding was arguably a federal cause of action, the defendants who opened up the damn have removed their case to the Federal Court for the Western District of Michigan.
Without regard to the merits of the claim, one can only suspect that this week’s Florida decision and the Arkansas Fish and Game case have opened up the federal jurisdiction.
Under federal law, a case is immediately transferred if a defendant files for a notice of removal. Houle called it a stalling tactic and "a meritless notice of removal.""They read too much into it," said Houle, who is filing to have the case remanded back to Grand Traverse County this week.A message left with Phinney was not immediately returned Tuesday afternoon. Defending attorneys have asked to have the case dismissed.The case is currently before U.S. District Judge Gordon Quist.Houle is also representing property owners Ronald and Landa Alpers, who are suing Grand Traverse County in a similar but separate case related to the Boardman River dam removal.