Flint, MI– The $1 million lawsuit filed by Flint City Councilman Eric Mays, alleging discrimination and violations of his rights, has been thrown out in court.
Mays filed the lawsuit in September of 2020, against the City of Flint, every member of city council, Flint City Attorney Angela Wheeler, Flint Police Officer William Metcalf, Mayor Sheldon Neeley, and Neeley’s Deputy Chief of Staff DuVarl Murdock.
The lawsuit cites multiple incidents where Mays was removed from meetings, silenced during meetings, arrested, assaulted, and suspended, for a total of nine counts of alleged crimes.
On March 5, U.S. District Court Judge Bernard A. Friedman ruled in favor of the defendants’ motion to dismiss the case, citing “legislative immunity.”
In the case dismissal, Friedman wrote that “a legislative body’s decision to expel one of its members is a legislative activity,” and that the expelled member cannot sue the other members for participating in the legislative process.
He also wrote that upon reviewing the transcripts of the council meetings where Mays had been removed or muted, “each occasion this action was taken because plaintiff was being argumentative and disruptive.”
In a press release from the City, Neeley called the lawsuit “an unfortunate waste of time and resources that ultimately hurts the City of Flint and the people who reside here.”
“These dollars could have gone toward services to benefit the residents of Flint,” Neeley said. “It is time for all of us to lead with good will and to uphold the public interest.”
According to the press release, the city’s legal department estimates the lawsuit cost them $24,000, and is the second lawsuit Mays has filed against the City costing them money. The legal department estimated that a lawsuit he filed in 2019 that was also dismissed cost City about $20,000.
But Councilman Eric Mays said that this is not over.
“They might as well get ready to open up their pocketbook a little more because it’s not over yet,” Mays said. “As long as I sit in this First Ward seat, I will prove that you cannot discriminate.”
Mays said he will either appeal to the U.S. 6th Circuit Court or file claims in State Court.
“I do not believe you can arrest an elected official for trying to call a meeting to order, and I don’t believe you can remove elected officials from positions without due process,” Mays said. “But if you can, it’s gonna be chaotic.”