Case Details


Attorney General Control Of Litigation

Filing State



Michigan Supreme Court




Federated Insurance Co. v. Oakland Co. Road Commission, 475 Mich. 286, 715 N.W.2d 846 (Mich. 2006)


Attorney General may not intervene in action after parties have failed to appeal in a timely matter, because case is no longer justiciable.

Case Description

Plaintiff sued defendant to recover costs for environmental cleanup. Plaintiff’s suit was dismissed on statute of limitations grounds. Plaintiffs failed to file a timely motion to appeal the decision. The Attorney General filed a timely appeal as an intervenor on behalf of the people of the state of Michigan and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, which had not previously entered an appearance in the suit. The Attorney General pointed to Michigan statute which states that the Attorney General shall prosecute and defend all actions in the supreme court, in which the state shall be interested, or a party; . . . and the attorney general . . . may, when in his own judgment the interests of the state require it, intervene in and appear for the people of this state in any other court or tribunal, in any cause or matter, civil or criminal, in which the people of this state may be a party or interested.” A majority of the Michigan Supreme Court held that while the Attorney General has broad discretion to intervene in certain actions, this case ceased to be an “action” when the parties failed to appeal in a timely manner. Therefore, the case was no longer justiciable, and thus the court could not properly hear the Attorney General’s appeal. The court stated that the Attorney General could bring an action on behalf of the MDEQ or the public at a later time if it appeared that they were aggrieved by the court’s interpretation of the statute of limitations.