Washtenaw County Circuit Court Judge, Donald E. Shelton, denied the request for a temporary restraining order to set aside Eastern Michigan University Student Government’s decision to ratify the 2014 student government election results Wednesday afternoon.
Student Government held a meeting on Thursday, April 24, to vote on ratifying Desmond Miller and Stephen Cole as President and Vice President of Student Government.
According to former Student Government Vice President Nino Monea, who chaired the meeting, a quorum was met to make the ratification legal according to Student Government bylaws.
In circuit court, attorney for the plaintiffs, Fatina Abdrabboh, was questioned by Shelton to explain how the irreparable harm, that she claimed was being done to her clients in her motion, was being committed or to provide evidence of the fact.
Abdrabboh could not sufficiently meet the court’s burden of proof to sway Shelton’s decision.
Shelton also expressed that he was not sure he even had the authority to hear the case. He asked if a circuit court has jurisdiction over a university's student election.
Abdrabboh claimed there was a previous case that set legal precedent, but could not provide the court the name, case number or details of it.
Abdrabboh declined to comment on the results of hearing.
Representing EMU in a limited capacity in the case was Megan Norris, an attorney from the law firm Miller Canfield. All that Norris was authorized to do by the defendants, was to defend the fact that EMU or Vice President for Government and Community Relations Leigh Greden, was not properly served the lawsuit and therefore should not be at the hearing.
Shelton said that by not being at the proceedings, EMU was playing games and that someone from the university was trying to call the shots for his court.
“Our key argument in this hearing was that we were not properly served with the appropriate pleadings that had been filed with the court, as the plaintiff is required to do,” said Geoff Larcom, EMU’s Executive Director of Media Relations. “These pleadings essentially tell us what to respond to. Therefore the University should not have been required to speak to merits of the case, but when called to speak to the merits of the case we did and the Court ruled in our favor.”
Abdrabboh claimed Greden was served part of the pleadings via email on May 2 at 5:30 p.m. She also alleged that the full lawsuit was served to “an EMU employee smoking outside the building” at 6:00 p.m., May 2.
Michigan law requires a full lawsuit to be served via certified mail or in person to the defendant or a designee he or she has authorized to accept on his or her behalf.
In his ruling Shelton said the fact that Fatma Jaber was not one of the plaintiffs listed in the lawsuit influenced his decision. According to Shelton, Jaber may or may not have an argument, but the plaintiffs listed in the lawsuit did not.
Jaber declined to comment on the lawsuit or results of the hearing.
“We’re gratified that the Court denied the preliminary injunction, ruling in Eastern Michigan University’s favor,” Larcom said. “As to what’s next, as directed, we will prepare an order reflecting the Court’s ruling denying the injunction.”
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