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|In re: CITY OF DETROIT, MICH.,
MAURIKIA LYDA, JOHN SMITH, NICOLE HILL,
ROSALYN WALKER, ANNETTE PARHAM, JANICE
WARD, SYLVIA TAYLOR, SCOTT EUBANK, JOANNE
JACKSON, and TAMMIKA R. WILLIAMS, individually
and on behalf of all others similarly situated;
MICHIGAN WELFARE RIGHTS ORGANIZATION;
PEOPLE’S WATER BOARD; NATIONAL ACTION
NETWORK – MICHIGAN CHAPTER; MORATORIUM
CITY OF DETROIT, MICH.; DETROIT WATER AND
| No. 15-2236|
Appeal from the United States District Court
for the Eastern District of Michigan at Detroit.
No. 2:15-cv-10038—Bernard A. Friedman, District Judge.
Argued: August 2, 2016
Decided and Filed: November 14, 2016
Before: SUTTON, GRIFFIN, and DONALD, Circuit Judges.
GRIFFIN, Circuit Judge. This appeal stems from an adversary proceeding in the City of
Detroit’s chapter 9 bankruptcy case. Plaintiffs are customers, and the purported representatives
of customers, of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD). Relying primarily on
42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Monell v. Department of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658 (1978), they filed a
complaint alleging a series of claims arising from DWSD’s termination of water service to
thousands of residential customers. The legal theories underlying plaintiffs’ claims are varied,
but the relief requested uniform: “preliminary and permanent injunctive relief stopping water
shut offs and restor[ing] service,” and an order directing DWSD “to implement a water
affordability plan with income based payments” for residential customers.
Section 904 of the Bankruptcy Code explicitly prohibits this relief. Whether grounded in
state law or federal constitutional law, a bankruptcy court order requiring DWSD to provide
water service at a specific price, or refrain from terminating service, “interfere[s]” with the City’s
“political [and] governmental powers,” its “property [and] revenues,” and its “use [and]
enjoyment of . . . income-producing property.” 11 U.S.C. § 904. Plaintiffs’ due process and
equal protection claims are, moreover, inadequately pled. Because plaintiffs cannot recover on
their state-law or constitutional claims, we affirm the order of the district court affirming the
bankruptcy court’s order of dismissal.