Plunkett Cooney attorneys contribute to ABA book

The fourth edition of a popular American Bar Association (ABA) book on civil rights law was recently released and includes important contributions by three attorneys from Plunkett Cooney.

Mary Massaron, a partner and the Appellate Law Practice Group Leader at Plunkett Cooney, served as co-editor of the book, which examines civil rights laws and the federal statute 42 USC § 1983. Also contributing three chapters to “Sword and Shield: A Practical Approach to Section 1983 Litigation” are Plunkett Cooney partner Michael S. Bogren, attorney Rhonda R. Stowers and Massaron. Attorney Edwin P. Voss, Jr. also serves as co-editor.

“This treatise offers a practical resource for those handling civil rights cases at the trial and appellate levels,” said Massaron Ross. “Past editions have been regularly cited by parties to litigation as a persuasive authority in support of their position on appeal.”

“Sword and Shield” offers a comprehensive review of the fundamentals and procedures of 42 U.S.C. Section 1983 litigation in state and federal courts and contains expert analysis regarding every issue that might be faced in such cases. Bogren, a member of Plunkett Cooney’s Board of Directors and Governmental Law Practice Group, wrote two chapters, including Chapter 4: “Municipal Liability Under 42 USC 1983” and Chapter 5: “Attorneys’ Fees in Section 1983 Litigation.” Massaron and Stowers authored Chapter 6: “The Constitutional Rights of Public Employees.”

42 U.S. Code § 1983 - Civil action for deprivation of rights – commonly referred to as the Civil Rights Act,  is a federal statute that allows lawsuits to be brought by people alleging that their rights protected by the U.S. Constitution or federal statutes have been violated by state or local governments or government agents.

Fully updated since the Third Edition was published in 2006, the 550-page book provides advice from the nation’s leading authorities on civil rights on this technically difficult and ever-evolving area of law. It includes a discussion of municipal liability under Section 1983, including police misconduct claims (i.e., police search and seizure rules), the constitutional rights of public employees, land use and the expanded rights of property owners, students’ constitutional rights in public school settings and individual immunity defenses. It also offers a roadmap for procedural issues that arise in civil rights litigation.

A member of the firm’s Bloomfield Hills office, Massaron served as President of the DRI in 2012 to 2013. She is a past chair of the Appellate Practice Section of the State Bar of Michigan, DRI’s Appellate Advocacy Committee, and the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Council of Appellate Lawyers, a division of the Appellate Judges Conference. A member of the prestigious American Academy of Appellate Lawyers, Massaron co-chairs the Michigan Appellate Bench Bar Conference Foundation, an organization of Michigan appellate judges and lawyers. She has an extensive appellate practice on behalf of public and private clients including in state and federal courts around the country.

Bogren, who is the managing partner of Plunkett Cooney’s Kalamazoo office, has extensive experience representing municipalities in both state and federal courts in civil rights cases, police liability claims, first amendment law, due process claims, Open Meetings Act claims, FOIA claims, zoning matters and employment litigation. He is a member of the Kalamazoo County and American bar associations, as well as the Public Corporation Section of the State Bar of Michigan. Bogren is also a member of the International Municipal Lawyers Association, the Association of Governmental Risk Pools and the DRI - The Voice of the Defense Bar.

An attorney in the firm’s Flint office, Stowers focuses her practice in the areas of general litigation, governmental law and title insurance law. 

Her governmental law practice includes advising and defending municipalities on a wide range of topics, including the Freedom of Information Act, the Open Meetings Act, federal and state constitutions, civil rights, zoning law, charter amendments, ordinance drafting, and employment-related issues. Stowers is a member of the Genesee County Bar Association, the State Bar of Michigan and the Michigan Association of Municipal Attorneys.