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MI Supreme Court Blocks Moroun Family Appeal

Thursday, January 3, 2019

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The Michigan Supreme Court recently blocked a May appeal from Ambassador Bridge owner Manuel “Matty” Moroun, which looked to stop the state’s Department of Transportation from buying land owned by the Morouns and other companies—land that would be needed for the Gordie Howe International Bridge.

According to the Detroit Free Press, the land in question is in Michigan, in the way of the project. But with the Michigan Supreme refusing to hear Moroun’s appeal, yet another potential delay has been removed.

Gordie Howe History

In 2012, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder worked out a deal with Canada to construct a new bridge that would provide an additional crossing between Detroit and Windsor.

Manuel “Matty” Moroun's privately owned Ambassador Bridge, the only bridge between the two cities, is currently the busiest crossing between Canada and the U.S. in terms of trade volume, and the new bridge would be built just miles away from the Ambassador. Moroun has spent years fighting the Howe plan, attempting to make a case that the international deal is null and void because it did not involve the state legislature's approval.

Detroit International Bridge Co.

The Michigan Supreme Court recently blocked a May appeal from Ambassador Bridge owner Manuel “Matty” Moroun, which looked to stop the state’s Department of Transportation from buying land owned by the Morouns and other companies—land that would be needed for the Gordie Howe International Bridge.

In May, Moroun’s lawsuit involved properties owned by Moroun that the state has attempted to acquire for the construction of the Gordie Howe. In 2016, Detroit International Bridge Co. and other Moroun-owned firms sued after the state made good-faith offers to purchase land near the new bridge; there was the risk of it becoming a “condemnation case,” according to The Detroit News, if an agreement could not be reached with relevant property owners.

The Court of Appeals ruled that same month that the firms should have notified the state within one year of the 2012 crossing agreement.

Recent Ruling

On Dec. 21, the Michigan Supreme Court denied the Moroun family's appeal. Only one lawsuit remains that could delay the project deadline: The Morouns seek a right to appeal a State Court of Appeals ruling that allows the state of Michigan to condemn property to make way for the project.

"We’re thankful that the project is being fully financed by the government of Canada so that we always had the resources we needed to both litigate and drive the project forward at the same time," said lawyer Andy Doctoroff, who is acting as both legal aid and consultant for Michigan on the Gordie Howe project.

The Gordie Howe is currently slated to be opened for traffic by the end of 2024. Project construction was kicked off in early October.

   

Tagged categories: Bridges; Construction; Government; Lawsuits; NA; North America; Program/Project Management

Comment from Michael Halliwell, (1/3/2019, 11:21 AM)

Yup, I saw that coming...and Mr. Moroun will find the next thing he want to challenge and file another suit in about a week. I'm not surprised in the least. If it costs him $50k or $100k to litigate something (even if it has absolutely no hope of success), but he can get another month of his monopoly, he'll still make a massive amount of money from calling out the lawyers. Not to be cynical, but based on his history I expect Moroun will keep this going until either a) the Gordie Howe is fully open to traffic for about 6 months or b) he finally runs out of things he can generate a delay from by going to court.


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