On June 12, 2019, the Michigan Supreme Court issued a landmark decision in In re Ferranti that safeguards fundamental parental rights in child protective proceedings. Honigman attorneys Sarah Waidelich and Rian Dawson, on behalf of the Legal Services Association of Michigan (LSAM), filed an amicus brief that outlined the impropriety of the In re Hatcher decision and the resulting harm it has caused to many Michigan families. The Court ultimately agreed and overruled Hatcher, finding that a child protective proceeding is one, continuous proceeding, such that challenging an adjudication error after a termination is not a collateral attack. Consequently, the Court vacated the trial court’s termination and adjudication orders and remanded the case for further proceedings.
“We are ecstatic about this result, which represents an important victory for parental rights in Michigan,” said Waidelich. “We’re honored to provide pro bono legal assistance to LSAM to help ensure that Michigan families are treated fairly under the law.”
In addition to Waidelich and Dawson, Honigman attorneys Robert Riley and Andrew Pauwels have also filed amicus briefs in various cases on behalf of LSAM in an effort to overturn Hatcher. For more detailed information on Ferranti, as well as other examples of Honigman attorneys supporting access to justice efforts for low-income Michigan families, please visit Honigman’s website or learn more.