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Honigman Attorneys Win Favorable Ruling in High-Profile Administrative Law Case

October 24, 2019

Kevin Blair and Doug Mains, both partners in Honigman’s Lansing office, successfully argued an important administrative law case before the Michigan Court of Claims, obtaining a preliminary injunction that enjoins enforcement of the Emergency Rules banning flavored vapor products until further order of the court. 

The Emergency Rules went into effect on October 2, 2019, and forced many small businesses throughout Michigan to shut down.  This was a “bet the company” type case as the Emergency Rules threatened to eliminate an entire industry, including vapor manufacturers, distributors, and retail stores that employ 4,290 people in Michigan.  By October 15, 2019, Blair and Mains obtained a preliminary injunction that allows these businesses to stay open pending a full trial on the merits.   The ruling by Court of Claims Judge Cynthia Diane Stephens found, among other things, that the Emergency Rules are likely invalid and the plaintiffs have suffered, and would continue to suffer, irreparable harm if the Emergency Rules are enforced pending a full trial on the merits. 

Blair and Mains both praised the court’s well-reasoned opinion, yet both understand that reasonable people can disagree about whether it’s a good idea to ban all flavored vapor products. “But that’s not what this case is about,” Blair said. “No matter how one feels about that policy question, the State must still follow all the proper procedures when issuing regulations.  The court granted the preliminary injunction because we demonstrated that we’re likely to succeed on our legal challenge that the rules are invalid.”

The State has indicated that it will seek an interlocutory appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court, which may or may not elect to weigh in at this stage.  Either way, Blair and Mains are prepared for the next phases of the case and pleased that Judge Stephens granted the preliminary injunction to help mitigate the irreparable harm to plaintiffs pending a full trial on the merits.