The Michigan Court of Appeals recently issued an opinion in Meyer v Oakland Community College Board of Trustees, a case involving alleged violations of the Open Meetings Act (OMA), MCL 15.261 et seq. The salient facts involved a May 2017 meeting by the Defendant Board, during which the Board met in closed session to discuss the potential termination of then-chancellor Dr. Timothy Meyer. During the closed session, the Board created “the plan.” The Board then returned to open session and approved of “the plan,” without describing what “the plan” entailed. Thereafter, Meyer was verbally informed he would be placed on administrative leave until his termination took effect in July 2017.
Nearly a year later, Meyer filed a legal action, asserting that the Board violated the OMA by voting to terminate him in closed session. Meyer sought various remedies, including (1) invalidation of the Board’s decision, (2) statutory damages, and (3) injunctive relief. The court held that the Board’s decision could not be invalidated because the statutory language set a statute of limitations to bring a legal challenge, and Meyer failed to file within the permitted window. The court also rejected Meyer’s claim for injunctive relief, reasoning that the meeting had already occurred and the alleged violation was not likely to recur. However, the court determined that Meyer sufficiently alleged that the Board violated the OMA and that it was improper for the trial court to dismiss his claim for statutory damages at such an early stage in the case. It remanded the matter to the trial court to proceed on that issue alone.
The decision is accessible here.