Municipalities are subject to liability in a variety of circumstances.  Securing an experienced law firm that has a thorough understanding of what it takes to represent a municipal entity and the capability to do so successfully can often be difficult.  O’Connor, DeGrazia, Tamm & O’Connor, P.C. has represented over 100 communities throughout the State of Michigan on issues ranging from civil rights and employment to zoning.  We have also served as general counsel to cities and townships, providing guidance on general municipal issues, implementation of employment and police policies and procedures, and preparation of municipal ordinances, regulations, and zoning and master plans.

Over the years, we have drafted documents including employment manuals, general ordinance provisions, franchise agreements, municipal charters, planned unit development agreements, police policies and procedures, and zoning ordinances.  We have also performed other services such as advising planning commissions and zoning boards of appeals, and representing municipalities in civil litigation involving matters such as constitutional claims, police liability, civil rights, employment issues, zoning litigation, premises liability.

Civil Rights and 42 USC 1983 Claims

Over the years, we have handled a wide range of civil rights matters.   Specifically, we have experience in counseling and defending municipalities in cases involving alleged Michigan Civil Rights Act violations, federal civil rights claims under 42 USC Section 1983, false arrest and excessive force claims, discrimination based on age, disability, ethnic, national origin, race, and religion, First Amendment claims involving freedom of speech, retaliatory discharge, and sexual harassment claims.  Likewise, we have represented public entities in actions involving many other local, state, and federal civil rights laws.

Zoning, Public Sidewalks and Roads

In our comprehensive representation of municipalities, we appreciate that difficult decisions must sometimes be made.  We also understand that even the most careful attention to legal and procedural detail cannot and will not deter some persons or organizations from litigating an adverse decision on these matters.

It is with this understanding that we approach our representation of public entities in land use and zoning matters.  Over the years, we have provided representation and advice to cities, counties, townships, and others in condemnation (eminent domain) actions, nuisance actions, building and zoning code violations, and claims involving defective sidewalks and roads.