The issue in this case concerns the jurisdiction of the Court of Claims. After the plaintiff filed a complaint in circuit court, the defendant moved for summary disposition on the ground that exclusive jurisdiction lies in the Court of Claims. The circuit court denied the motion and the Court of Appeals affirmed. We reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeals and the order of the circuit court, and we remand this case to the circuit court for entry of an order granting the defendant's motion for summary disposition.
In 1988, plaintiff Robert S. Silverman enrolled at the University of Michigan. Arriving from another state, he was charged the nonresident tuition rate.
In 1989, 1990, and 1991, the plaintiff asked the university to classify him as a Michigan resident for the purpose of calculating his tuition. These requests were denied.
A month after the 1991 denial, the plaintiff filed a complaint in circuit court. His complaint recited the many facts upon which he relied in his claim to be a Michigan resident. It then stated his demand for a declaratory judgment "that he is a Michigan Resident and entitled retroactively to a refund of the tuition difference he should have paid as a resident student if he had been correctly classified as a resident by the [university]." In a
The concluding paragraph of the complaint contained the plaintiff's request for relief — he sought a declaratory judgment, a tuition refund, and attorney fees and costs.
The university moved for summary disposition on the ground that the circuit court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction. It argued that this case fell within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Court of Claims.
The university's motion was denied by the circuit court. The Court of Appeals affirmed.
The university has applied to this Court for leave to appeal.
The Legislature created the Court of Claims and established its jurisdiction. MCL 600.6401 et seq.; MSA 27A.6401 et seq. In general, the Court of Claims is the forum for claims in which money damages are sought from the State of Michigan or its constituent agencies.
* * *
This quotation of MCL 600.6419; MSA 27A.6419 reflects amendments that were made by 1984 PA 212. Before 1984, Michigan appellate courts struggled
To end the uncertainty created by inconsistent decisions on that procedural point, the Legislature enacted 1984 PA 212, which also added MCL 600.6419a; MSA 27A.6419(1). The measure states:
In denying the university's motion for summary disposition, the circuit court noted the 1984 enactment of MCL 600.6419a; MSA 27A.6419(1), but said that the statute "does not purport to deprive the circuit court of jurisdiction over a claim for equitable relief against the state merely because there is a money damage claim ancillary to the requested relief."
There are few appellate decisions applying MCL 600.6419a; MSA 27A.6419(1). This Court has not decided a case in which the statute is at issue, and the Court of Appeals has issued a small number of decisions that do not shed significant light on the present dispute.
In Mooahesh, however, the Court of Appeals was asked to apply the statute to resolve a similar controversy. Mr. Mooahesh was a 1987 Michigan lottery winner who brought a class action in circuit court, seeking relief from the Legislature's 1988 repeal of the statutory exemption of state lottery winnings from Michigan taxes.
As explained in the next section of that opinion, we do not agree with the manner in which the Mooahesh panel analyzed MCL 600.6419a; MSA 27A.6419(1).
The plaintiff in this case seeks money damages from a state board — he wants a partial refund of the tuition paid to the University of Michigan.
Before 1984, it was uncertain whether or how the jurisdiction of the Court of Claims would be affected by the presence in a case like this of other claims against the state for declaratory or equitable
A complaint seeking only money damages against the state must be filed in the Court of Claims. A complaint seeking only equitable or declaratory relief must be filed in circuit court. A complaint seeking money damages from the state as well as equitable or declaratory relief against the state may only be filed in the Court of Claims, because that is the sole forum that is capable of deciding the whole case.
As pleaded by the plaintiff, this case is within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Court of Claims.
CAVANAGH, C.J., and BRICKLEY, BOYLE, RILEY, GRIFFIN, and MALLETT, JJ., concurred.
LEVIN, J. (dissenting).
I adhere to the view that
The majority holds that a complaint seeking money damages from the state, as well as declaratory relief, may only be filed in the Court of Claims because that is the "sole forum that is capable of deciding the whole case."
The majority ignores that the 1984 legislation,
The real issue in the instant case is whether the circuit court had jurisdiction to enter a judgment declaring Silverman to be a resident and entitled to a refund.
The 1984 amendments
The Court of Claims Act waives the state's sovereign immunity from suit, and speaks of claims ex contractu and ex delicto.
The per curiam opinion does not address Silverman's argument that in seeking a refund of money claimed to have been wrongfully exacted by the university, he is not seeking to maintain an action ex contractu or ex delicto, but rather is seeking a declaration of rights and the equitable remedy of restitution of money wrongfully exacted by the university as a precondition to his remaining a student at the university.
I question the accuracy of the majority's assumption that the circuit court did not have power, before the enactment of the Court of Claims Act, to order the refund of money wrongfully
In Kosa v State Treasurer, 408 Mich. 356; 292 N.W.2d 452 (1980), the plaintiff was permitted to maintain an action in the Court of Appeals seeking a writ of mandamus against the State Treasurer, the Legislature, and other state officials to compel the defendants to fund the Michigan Public School Employees' Retirement System.
I would grant leave to appeal and dissent from the reversal of the judgment of the Court of Appeals.
See Schweiker v Hansen, 450 U.S. 785, 791; 101 S.Ct. 1468; 67 L Ed 2d 685 (1981) (Marshall, J., dissenting) ("A summary reversal is a rare disposition, usually reserved by this Court for situations in which the law is settled and stable, the facts are not in dispute, and the decision below is clearly in error"); Leis v Flynt, 439 U.S. 438, 457-458; 99 S.Ct. 698; 58 L Ed 2d 717 (1979) (Stevens, J., dissenting) ("Summary reversal `should be reserved for palpably clear cases of ... error.' Eaton v Tulsa, 415 U.S. 697, 707 [94 S.Ct. 1228; 39 L Ed 2d 693 (1974)] [Rehnquist, J., dissenting]").
Const 1963, art 6, § 13, provides: