Case: Zwaag v. Whitmer

1:20-cv-00325 | U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan

Filed Date: April 16, 2020

Closed Date: April 29, 2020

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

COVID-19 Summary: The plaintiffs sued Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the Director of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Daniel Eichenger to challenge Executive Order No. 2020-42, which prohibited the use of motorboats in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The plaintiffs alleged that the prohibition on motorboat usage for fishing and recreation violated state and federal law. The plaintiffs requested the case be dismissed without prejudice.On April 16, 2020, three individual plaintif…

COVID-19 Summary: The plaintiffs sued Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the Director of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Daniel Eichenger to challenge Executive Order No. 2020-42, which prohibited the use of motorboats in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The plaintiffs alleged that the prohibition on motorboat usage for fishing and recreation violated state and federal law. The plaintiffs requested the case be dismissed without prejudice.


On April 16, 2020, three individual plaintiffs filed this lawsuit in the Western District of Michigan against Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the Director of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Daniel Eichenger, alleging unlawful infringement on their constitutional liberty interest. The plaintiffs sued under 42 U.S.C § 1983 to challenge Governor Whitmer’s Executive Order No. 2020-42, which criminalized the use of a motorboat either alone or with members of one’s own household.

On April 9, 2020, Governor Whitmer had issued Executive Order 2020-42,

which is described as a “[t]emporary requirement to suspend activities that are not necessary to sustain or protect life” in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The FAQ page on the michigan.gov website stated: "Physical outdoor activity like kayaking, canoeing, and sailing is permitted under the order, but using a motorboat, a jet ski, or other similar watercraft is not." Additionally, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources posted on its webpage that using a motorized boat for recreational purposes was temporarily prohibited.

The plaintiffs, residents of Ottowa County, Michigan, each owned a motorboat which they desired to use either alone, or with members of their own household, in and on Michigan waterways. The plaintiffs claimed that they would be able to use their motorboats consistent with social distancing recommendations. However, pursuant to the Executive Order, doing so would result in a misdemeanor conviction. As a result, the plaintiffs claimed that Executive Order No. 2020-42 violated their substantive due process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment, and also violated the Emergency Powers of the Governor Act of 1945. The plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief, as well as attorney fees.

The case was assigned to District Judge Paul L. Maloney. On April 29, 2020, the plaintiffs dismissed the case without prejudice.

Summary Authors

Elena Malik (7/17/2020)

Justin Hill (10/24/2020)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/17076319/parties/vander-zwaag-v-whitmer/


Judge(s)

Green, Phillip J. (Michigan)

Maloney, Paul Lewis (Michigan)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Sikkel, William A. IV (Michigan)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Booth, Joshua O. (Michigan)

Froehlich, Joseph T. (Michigan)

Giovanatti, Neil Anthony (Michigan)

Reichel, Robert P. (Michigan)

Judge(s)

Green, Phillip J. (Michigan)

Maloney, Paul Lewis (Michigan)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Sikkel, William A. IV (Michigan)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Booth, Joshua O. (Michigan)

Froehlich, Joseph T. (Michigan)

Giovanatti, Neil Anthony (Michigan)

Reichel, Robert P. (Michigan)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

1:20-cv-00325

Docket

April 29, 2020

April 29, 2020

Docket
1

1:20-cv-00325

Complaint

April 16, 2020

April 16, 2020

Complaint
5

1:20-cv-00325

Notice of Dismissal by Plaintiffs

April 29, 2020

April 29, 2020

Pleading / Motion / Brief

Resources

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/17076319/vander-zwaag-v-whitmer/

Last updated June 7, 2022, 3:02 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link
1

COMPLAINT against All Defendants filed by Nathan Vander Zwaag (Attachments: # 1 Summons, # 2 Summons) (Sikkel, William) (Entered: 04/16/2020)

1 Summons

View on PACER

2 Summons

View on PACER

April 16, 2020

April 16, 2020

RECAP

Receipt

April 16, 2020

April 16, 2020

PACER

RECEIPT: in the amount of $400, receipt number AMIWDC-5140751; for civil filing fee (jlb)

April 16, 2020

April 16, 2020

PACER
2

NOTICE that this case has been assigned Paul L. Maloney (ns) (Entered: 04/17/2020)

April 17, 2020

April 17, 2020

PACER
3

SUMMONS ISSUED as to defendants Daniel Eichenger, Gretchen Whitmer (ns) (Entered: 04/17/2020)

April 17, 2020

April 17, 2020

PACER

(NON-DOCUMENT) ATTORNEY APPEARANCE of Neil Anthony Giovanatti on behalf of defendants Daniel Eichenger, Gretchen Whitmer (Giovanatti, Neil)

April 20, 2020

April 20, 2020

PACER

(NON-DOCUMENT) ATTORNEY APPEARANCE of Joshua O. Booth on behalf of defendants Daniel Eichenger, Gretchen Whitmer (Booth, Joshua)

April 20, 2020

April 20, 2020

PACER

Attorney Appearance

April 20, 2020

April 20, 2020

PACER

(NON-DOCUMENT) ATTORNEY APPEARANCE of Robert P. Reichel on behalf of defendants Daniel Eichenger, Gretchen Whitmer (Reichel, Robert)

April 20, 2020

April 20, 2020

PACER
4

ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER 20-CA-033 regarding the assignment of cognate cases to Paul L. Maloney pursuant to Local Civil Rule 3.3.2(c) and the reassignment of referrals in case 1:20-cv-325 from Magistrate Judge Sally J. Berens to Magistrate Judge Phillip J. Green; signed by Chief Judge Robert J. Jonker (kvt) (Entered: 04/20/2020)

April 20, 2020

April 20, 2020

RECAP

Attorney Appearance

April 21, 2020

April 21, 2020

PACER

(NON-DOCUMENT) ATTORNEY APPEARANCE of Joseph T. Froehlich on behalf of defendants Daniel Eichenger, Gretchen Whitmer (Froehlich, Joseph)

April 21, 2020

April 21, 2020

PACER

Remark - public

April 23, 2020

April 23, 2020

PACER

Copy of documents 1 2 3, and Administrative Order 20-CA-033 4 sent to attorney Sikkel via e-mail (krv) Modified text on 4/23/2020 (krv)

April 23, 2020

April 23, 2020

PACER
5

NOTICE OF VOLUNTARY DISMISSAL of case filed by plaintiff Nathan Vander Zwaag (Sikkel, William) (Entered: 04/29/2020)

April 29, 2020

April 29, 2020

PACER
6

Administrative Order Reassigning Case

Nov. 19, 2020

Nov. 19, 2020

PACER

Case Details

State / Territory: Michigan

Case Type(s):

Presidential/Gubernatorial Authority

Special Collection(s):

COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)

Key Dates

Filing Date: April 16, 2020

Closing Date: April 29, 2020

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Three adult citizens of the United States residing in Ottawa County, Michigan, who each own a motorboat

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

Governor of Michigan, State

Director of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, State

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

State law

Constitutional Clause(s):

Due Process: Substantive Due Process

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Outcome

Prevailing Party: None Yet / None

Nature of Relief:

None

Source of Relief:

None

Form of Settlement:

Voluntary Dismissal