state attorneys

State using ‘frivolous appeals’ in dam suits

An attorney representing central Michigan residents damaged by the 2020 dam failures accused state attorneys on Thursday of delaying court proceedings with “frivolous appeals.”

“You would think that the state would hold itself accountable for infrastructure,” Detroit attorney Ven Johnson said. “But in this particular case, the state is dug in.”

Johnson’s clients have accused the state of negligently regulating the Edenville and Sanford dams, which failed on May 19, 2020 and caused widespread flooding in the Midland area and causing about 10,000 people to evacuate. Johnson hosted a Thursday press conference in Sanford to commemorate the three-year anniversary of the dam failures.

The Edenville Dam as it breached on Tuesday, May 19, 2020.

In case filings, the state has placed the blame for those dam failures on Boyce Hydro, the company that owned the dams that is now bankrupt. Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office in a Thursday statement reiterated arguments it has made in court, where state attorneys characterized the residents’ lawsuit as “misguided” in their appeal.

The dispute hinges on whether residents’ claims qualify as “inverse condemnation” claims, which would mean the state took their property for public use without appropriate compensation and would remove Michigan’s governmental immunity protection.

Michigan Court of Claims sided in part with residents in

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Executive bonuses at opioid firm Endo were ‘excessive’ and ‘secret’ before bankruptcy, state AGs say

Seven state attorneys general and a court-appointed bankruptcy federal watchdog are opposing up to $94 million in pre-bankruptcy bonuses paid to top executives and other insiders at opioid drug firm Endo International in Chester County, court documents show.

The bonuses to the highest executives were doled out in “secret” and drain financial resources of the money-losing Endo available for victims of the Malvern company’s addictive pills, according to state attorneys general who filed their objections as a committee on Wednesday in New York.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro is one of the seven whose court filing called the top executive pre-bankruptcy bonuses “excessive.”

Endo, facing mounds of litigation over its alleged role in the national opioid crisis, filed for bankruptcy protection on Aug. 16. The Inquirer first reported on the bonuses days later.

U.S. Trustee William Harrington, the watchdog, said in a separate court filing earlier this month that Endo paid $94 million in bonuses to top executives and other insiders in the months prior to the bankruptcy filing, while Endo’s restructuring plan leaves only $27.4 million initially for individual opioid victims who are not state entities.

Endo has “provided virtually no information, much less sufficient information” to evaluate the

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