Daily Briefs

Collection program simplifies paying fines in Wayne County courts

A fine for speeding in Detroit and a right-turn-on-red ticket in Livonia can now be paid in a single court visit, thanks to a new collaboration by the 36th District Court and other district courts in Wayne County.
The program, called the Out County Collections Program, makes it more convenient for the public to take care of multiple traffic cases at the same time. 
“Our goal is to make it as convenient as possible for people to pay what they owe to Detroit, whether they live in Detroit or in one of the surrounding communities,” said Michigan Court of Appeals Judge Michael Talbot, special judicial administrator for the 36th District Court.
Additionally, the program is intended to improve collections for Detroit.  The 36th District Court is owed about $279 million in unpaid court fines, fees, and costs, and has been collecting only 7.7 percent of what offenders owe, Talbot said. A May 2013 report by the National Center for State Courts found that “The current collections rates for the [36th District Court] are quite low compared to national averages.”
The out-county courts will keep a portion of the funds they collect to reimburse them for their efforts; the balance will be forwarded to the court in Detroit, explained Deborah Green, Region I administrator for the State Court Administrative Office.
“The city of Detroit, as the court’s funding unit, will receive much-needed funds from improved court collections,” said Green, who is working with Talbot at the 36th District Court.

LAD to conduct free outreach clinic Aug. 2

Legal Aid and Defender Association Inc. (LAD) will conduct a free outreach clinic on civil legal services for income-eligible residents of Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne counties, including the city of Detroit, from 9 a.m. to noon on Friday, Aug. 2, at Southfield Human Services, 26080 Berg Road in Southfield.
Attendees are asked to register before 10 a.m. as a LAD attorney will assist only those persons who have done so by that time.
For additional information, contact Stacey Felder, paralegal at LAD’s Oakland County office in Pontiac, at 248-253-1548, ext. 4005.

Federal judge rejects $140K in legal fees in meatpacking case

PLAINWELL, Mich. (AP) — A judge has rejected $140,000 in fees for attorneys who settled a lawsuit for seven Michigan meatpacking workers for a bit more than $1,000.
Federal Judge Paul Maloney calls the request “exorbitant.” He says dozens of plaintiffs who still are part of the lawsuit haven’t recovered anything yet.
The lawsuit accuses JBS Plainwell in Allegan County of failing to pay workers when putting on or taking off protective wear. Seven people took settlements ranging from $110 to $215.
Matt Turner of the Sommers Schwartz firm and other lawyers asked the judge to order the meatpacker to pay $140,000 in fees. But fees won’t be addressed until the case ends.
Turner defended the request, saying the seven plaintiffs benefited from legal work done so far for the entire class of workers.