NIMSY - Not In (or Near) My School Yard

By Mark Walsh — August 17, 2009 1 min read
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A school district’s challenge of the construction of a halfway house for prisoners and probationers in its community is headed back to where the district filed it--a state court.

A federal appeals court ruled Monday that because the Saginaw, Mich., district sued both the city of Saginaw and an out-of-state company building the halfway house, a lower federal court improperly granted the company’s request to remove the suit from state to federal court.

The Saginaw district argues in its suit that the halfway house being built by Bannum Inc., a Kentucky- and Florida-based company, did not have proper zoning permits and would be a “nuisance” to a nearby school. The company was also sued by the Saginaw Housing Commission, an agency independent of the city of Saginaw that said the halfway house would harm its efforts to develop affordable housing in the city.

In its opinion in Saginaw School District v. Bannum Inc., a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, in Cincinnati, ruled that the school district did not improperly add the city of Saginaw as a defendant, and thus there was not full home-state diversity of the plaintiff and all defendants in the case. Thus, the school district’s case properly belongs in state court.

As for the housing commission’s challenge, which only named Bannum as a defendant, the appeals court said the federal district court could consider the case.

A version of this news article first appeared in The School Law Blog.