Daily Briefs July 21

Magistrate selected at U.S. District Court
Gerald Rosen, chief judge of the U.S. District Court based in Detroit, announced this week that David R. Grand has been selected for appointment as a magistrate judge.

A resident of Ann Arbor, Grand obtained his bachelor’s degree from Indiana University and his juris doctor from the University of Michigan Law School.

He currently is an attorney with Miller Canfield in Ann Arbor.

Grand was one of candidates nominated by a court-appointed Merit Selection Panel from a field of 72 applicants. The panel was chaired by attorney Thomas McNeill. Other panel members included attorneys Mark Bernstein, Stephanie Davis, Krystal Johnson, Fred Mester, Miriam Siefer, and Eric Straus. Non-attorney members of the panel were Lizabeth Ardisana, Joyce Hayes-Giles, Mel Larsen, and Michael Thomson.

According to Chief Judge Rosen, Grand’s selection will be forwarded to the Administrative office of the United States Courts in Washington, D.C., which will initiate the required background checks by the FBI and the IRS. Upon the successful completion of those investigations, Grand will be sworn in as a magistrate judge and will serve in Ann Arbor. He would fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Magistrate Judge Virginia Morgan.

Court orders new look at parole in slaying
CASEVILLE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan Supreme Court is getting involved in the parole of a man convicted of killing an 18-year-old in the Thumb in 1992.

A Huron County judge has blocked Phil Paquette’s release from prison, and the state appeals court turned down his case. But the Supreme Court stepped in last week and ordered the appeals court to take a look.

Paquette has spent about 20 years in prison for the fatal stabbing of Michael Gravelle at a cottage in Caseville Township, 50 miles northeast of Bay City.

The Michigan parole board determines if inmates will be freed after their minimum sentence, but prosecutors sometimes go to court to persuade a judge to stop their release.

Class-action lawsuit against Dow nixed
SAGINAW, Mich. (AP) — A judge in Saginaw says property owners who claim Dow Chemical Co. has spoiled their land cannot sue the company through a class-action lawsuit.

The decision means property owners will have to pursue the company on their own. As many as 2,000 believe they’ve been harmed by dioxin in the Tittabawassee River floodplain.

The Saginaw News says Judge Leopold Borrello on Monday cited a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that limited class-action lawsuits against corporations. The judge says anyone claiming harm from Dow pollution must undergo “highly individualized factual inquiries.”

Dow attorney Kathleen Lang says the company is pleased with decision.

Dow has acknowledged polluting the Tittabawassee and Saginaw rivers and their floodplains with dioxins for much of the 20th century. Dioxins are chemical byproducts that may cause cancer.