blog, articles & publications

Coronavirus / COVID-19 :: New Assembly and Meeting Limits in Michigan


On March 16, 2020, Governor Whitmer issued Executive Order 2020-11 (the “EO”). Subject to some exceptions, the EO prohibits “all assemblages of more than 50 people in a single indoor shared space and all events of more than 50 people […].” Violation of the EO is misdemeanor.   Read More

Coronavirus / COVID-19 :: Municipal Meeting Issues in Michigan

On March 13, 2020, Governor Whitmer issued Executive Directive No. 2020-2 (the “Directive”). In part, the Directive provided:   Read More

Municipal Coronavirus Policies

Everyone hopes that the coronavirus will not be widespread in Michigan or, if it is, that it will be relatively mild and manageable.  Nevertheless, it would be prudent for Michigan municipalities (including cities, villages and townships) to adopt municipal rules for office, public gatherings on municipal property and similar venues.  Such a policy could include provisions such as when municipal office personnel should stay at home, how and when municipal meetings should be cancelled, rules regarding large gatherings in municipal buildings, parks or other public spaces and similar matters.  Of course, it would be best to have such formal policies and rules in place before the coronavirus is prevalent in your area of Michigan, if that occurs.  Our firm can help municipalities with the drafting and adoption of such coronavirus policies and rules.    Read More

The Court of Appeals decides a township zoning board of appeals case by according great deference to the municipality.

On January 21, 2020, the Michigan Court of Appeals issued an unpublished decision in Nixon v Webster Township (Case No. 343505; 2020 WL 359625) involving the Webster Township Zoning Board of Appeals (the “ZBA”).  The ZBA interpreted the Webster Township Zoning Ordinance and concluded that wedding barns are not included within the definition of “Seasonal Agri-Tourism” pursuant to the Webster Township Zoning Ordinance.  On appeal, the Washtenaw County Circuit Court reversed the ZBA’s decision and held in favor of the property owner.  The Court of Appeals later reinstated the ZBA’s decision.  The Court of Appeals reiterated that courts must show great deference to a decision by a municipal zoning board of appeals and other municipal zoning bodies.  The trial court below did not accord the appropriate deference to the ZBA’s expertise and knowledge of local matters.    Read More

THE MICHIGAN LAKES & STREAMS ASSOCIATION, INC. ANNUAL CONVENTION – 2020

Cliff Bloom will be teaching seminars on May 1 and 2, 2020 at the annual Michigan Lakes & Streams Association Convention at Crystal Mountain in Northern Michigan. The topics will include water/riparian law, buying and selling waterfront property, local government regulation of the waterfront, easements and similar issues.  Read More

How Can Municipalities in Michigan Deal with High Water Levels?

During 2019, many municipalities throughout Michigan, both on the Great Lakes and involving inland lakes, experienced severe high water problems. Those problems include shoreline erosion and degradation, flooded basements, interference with municipal water and sewer systems, overflowing retention and detention basins, closed roads, crumbling infrastructure and many other water challenges. For the Great Lakes, the United States Army Corps of Engineers believes that water levels in Lake Michigan and Lake Huron may be from 10 to 20 inches higher during the summer of 2020 than in 2019. That may spell disaster for a number of Michigan communities.   Read More

Easement and Gate Decision

In Smith v. Straughn, ___ Mich App ___ (2020), decided on January 28, 2020 (Case No. 345391; 2020 WL 448304), the Michigan Court of Appeals has modified slightly the long-standing precedent that it is impermissible to install a gate across an easement except where such a right has been specifically reserved in the easement language. See, Cantieny v. Friebe, 341 Mich 143; 67 NW2d 102 (1954). The Straughn case holds that unless the plain language of the easement unambiguously forbids a non-obstructive gate, such gates may be permitted if reasonable under the circumstances. Here, the Court held that because the gate was not locked and its installation was not motivated by the goal of excluding the easement beneficiary, it was permitted.  Read More

New Attorneys at Bloom Sluggett, PC

Bloom Sluggett, PC recently welcomed Amy Jonker as the firm’s chief litigator. Amy specializes in municipal litigation, property tax appeals and water rights/riparian litigation. Amy graduated from the DePaul University College of Law in 2004.  Read More

Top Lawyer Honors for Bloom & Sluggett

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2020 Best Law Firm Honors


Bloom Sluggett, P.C. is pleased to announce that we have been selected as a "2020 Best Law Firm" by U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers. This is the fifth time that our firm has been recognized.

Best Law Firm honors are given to recipients that undergo a rigorous evaluation process, including client and lawyer evaluations, and peer review from leading attorneys in the field. We have been recognized for our municipal law work in the Grand Rapids, MI metropolitan area. We would like to thank our clients and peers for their appreciation and support of the work we've been doing in our community.


 This firm honor follows the recent announcement of Jeff Sluggett's individual "Best Lawyers in America" award, which was given for his work in the field of municipal law. This is the fourth time Jeff has been recognized as a Best Lawyer; in 2019 he received “Lawyer of the Year” honors, also by Best Lawyers.

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