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Judgment In Ambassador Bridge Contempt Case

Judgment In Ambassador Bridge Contempt Case

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Published by windsorstar
Judgment In Ambassador Bridge Contempt Case
Judgment In Ambassador Bridge Contempt Case

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Published by: windsorstar on Nov 03, 2011
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STATEOFMICHIGANINTHECIRCUITCOURTFORTHECOUNTYOFWAYNE
MICHIGANDEPARTMENTOFTRANSPORTATION,Plaintiff,
v.
CaseNumber09~015581-CKHonorablePrentisEdwardsDETROITINTERNATIONALBRIDGECOMPANYandSAFECOINSURANCECOMPANYOFAMERICA,Defendants,
____________--------------~I
OPINIONandORDERAtasessionofsaidCourtheldintheColemanA.YoungMunicipalCenterDetroit,Michiganon:
NOV932011'
PRESENT:TheHonorablePrentisEdwardsWayneCountyCircuitCourtJudge
ThismatterisbeforetheCourtforanOrdertoShowCauseHearingtodeterminewhethertheDetroitInternationalBridgeCompany(DIBC)shouldbeheldincivilcontemptforfailuretocomplywiththeFebruary1,2010OrderofthisCourt.TheFebruary1,2010OrderrequiredDIBCtoconstructatwo-laneaccessroad,relocateconflictingstructures,andcompleteconstructionofitsportionoftheAmbassadorBridgeGatewayProjectAgreement(GatewayAgreement)inaccordancewiththeplansattachedtothePerformanceBondandtheMaintenanceAgreement.TheOrdertoShowCausewasinitiatedbyanexpartemotionfiledbytheMichiganDepartmentofTransportation(MDOT)pursuanttoMCR3.606(A),MCL600.611,andMCL600.1701etseq.BACKGROUNDThebackgroundisbasedonCourt'sfilesandrecordsinthiscase.
In
April2004,MDOTandDIBCenteredintoamulti-milliondollarcontracttoimproveinterstatefreewayconnectionstotheAmbassadorBridgewiththeapprovalandfundingoftheFederalHighwayAdministration.TheGatewayAgreementprovidedforadivisionoftheconstruction
 
responsibilitiesbetweenMDOTandDIBC.DIBCwasresponsibleforconstructingaportionoftheprojectidentifiedasPartA.PartAincludestheroadsandrampsneededtodirectlyjointheAmbassadorBridgeto1-75/1-96.TheGatewayAgreementindicatedthattheanticipatedlatestconstructioncompletiondateforpartsA,B,andFIwouldbenolaterthan48monthsafterthedateoftheApril23,2004agreement.ThepurposeoftheGatewayAgreementwastoimproveaccesstotheAmbassadorBridge,tofacilitatepublictravel,andincreaseinternationaltrade.Theprojectwasdesignedtoredirectbridgetrafficfromlocalsurfacestreetsandprovidedirectconnectionsbetweenthebridgeandtheinterstatehighways.TheinitialGatewayAgreementwassubsequentlymodifiedtoreflectchangesrelatingtotheacquisitionofcertainpropertybyMDOTthroughcondemnationproceedingsforthebenefitofDIBC.DIBCwasrequiredtopostaPerformanceBondtoMOOTasaguaranteethatitsportionoftheprojectwouldbecompleted.MDOTandDIBCalsoenteredintoaMaintenanceTermsandConditionsAgreementthatdetailedtheirrespectivemaintenanceresponsibilitiesofthepartiesandprovidedforaspecialreturnrouteforMDOT'smaintenanceandemergencyvehicles.TheprojectsiteplanthatisillustratedintheC-ldrawingidentifiesthemajorcomponentsthatarepartoftheGatewayAgreement.ThesiteplanwasapprovedbytheFederalHighwayAdministration,CustomsandBorderProtection,DIBC,MDOT,theCityofDetroitandotherstakeholders.DIBCisresponsibleforconstructingvariouscomponentsthatareshownintheC-ldrawingincluding:1.SO1BridgeforoutboundtraffictoCanada
2.4/3
laneroadundertheSO1Bridge3.S02BridgethatconnectstoMDOTBridge4.S03customsarea5.S04Bridgeover23rdStreet6.SOSBridgeover23rdStreet7.Accessroad8.TruckroadfortrafficfromCanada9.Southernspecialreturnroute10.Northernspecialreturnroute11.21ststreetaccesstoWelcomeCenterPASTCOURTPROCEEDINGSMDOTfiledthiscaseonJune24,2009,seekingspecificperformanceofthecontractanddamagesrelatingtoanallegedbreachofthecontractbyDIBC.InNovember2009,DIBCfiledalawsuitrelatingtothiscontractagainstMDOTintheMichiganCourtofClaims,case09~00134-MK~C30.TheMichiganCourtofClaimsenteredanorderconsolidatingthatcasewiththiscase.OnDecember15,2009,theMichiganStateCourtAdministratorassignedthisCourttotemporarilyserveasJudgeofthe30thCircuitCourtofClaimstoresolvetheconsolidatedcases.
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OnOctober29,2009andNovember13,2009,MDOTfiledmotionsforsummarydispositionseekingspecificperformanceofthecontract.OnFebruary1,2010,thisCOUligrantedMDOT'ssummarydispositionmotionforspecificperformanceofthecontract.DIBCfiledforleavetoappealtheOrdertotheMichiganCourtofAppealsandtotheMichiganSupremeCourt.BothCourtsdeniedrelieftoDIBC.OnApril
27,
2010,thisCourtissuedanOrdertoShowCauserequiringDanStamper,PresidentoftheDIBC,toappearbeforethisCourtonMay10,2010andshowcausewhytheDIBCshouldnotbeheldincivilcontemptforfailuretocomplywiththe
terms
andprovisionsoftheCourt'sOrderofFebruary
1,2010.
TheOrderrequiredDanStampertoshowcausewhytheconstructionoftheDIBC'sportionoftheGatewayProjectcouldnotbecompletedwithin(1)oneyearandtoshowcausewhySafecoInsuranceCompanyofAmerica(Safeco)shouldnotberequiredtostepinandcompletetheconstructionofDIBC'sportionoftheGatewayProject.DIBCobtainedastayfromtheMichiganSupremeCOUlionMay
5,
2010,preventingtheenforcementoftheFebruary
1,
2010Order.ThestaywasdissolvedonMay28,2010.DIBCremovedthecasetotheUnitedStatesDistrictCourtfortheEasternDistrictofMichiganonJune
7,
2010,pursuantto28USC
1446.
TheUnitedStatesDistrict
Court
remandedthecasetothisCourtonAugust17,2010.TheDistrictCourtruledthatitwasobjectivelyunreasonableforDIBCtoremovethecasefromtheMichiganStateCourt.Thecontempthearingwasre-scheduledforSeptember23,2010.OnSeptember20,2010,SuperiorGlobalLogistics,LLC(Superior)filedamotiontointerveneinthiscaseinthisCourt.OnSeptember21,2010,DIBCagainremovedthecasetotheUnitedStatesDistrictCOUliallegingthatafederalquestionarosefromSuperior'smotiontointervene.ThefederalcourtrejectedDIBC'stheoryandthecasewasagainremandedtothisCourtonNovember5,2010.Thereafter,ahearingwasre-scheduledforDecember8,2010,fortheOrdertoShowCauseHearingthathadinitiallybeenscheduledforMay10,2010.OnJanuary10,2011,thisCourtfoundDIBCincivilcontemptforfailingtocomplywiththeFebruary1,2010Order.DIBCwassanctionedandagainorderedtocomplywiththeFebruary1,2010Order.ThismatterisoncemorebeforethisCourtonthecomplaintofMDOTthatDIBChasnotcompliedwiththisCourt'sOrderofFebruary1,2010.CURRENTHEARINGThehearingbeganonJuly7,20ll,wasadjournedtoAugust25,2011,andlateradjournedtoSeptember1,2011,attherequestofSafeco.TestimonywasresumedonSeptember
1,
2011andthehearingwasadjournedtoOctober3,2011.ThepartiespresentedclosingstatementsonOctober5,2011.ThepartieswereorderedtosubmitstatementsofrecommendedfindingsanddispositionsbyOctobel'21,2011.ThematterwasscheduledfortheCourt'sdecisiononNovember3.2011.
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