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Township Supervisor who ordered tree-cutting in retaliation is immune from liability

Joseph Babiarz's neighbor evicted several hunters from Babiarz's property.  It turned out that the hunters were members of the Township Supervisor, Audrey Leslie's family.  Shortly after the hunters were evicted, Leslie contracted with the Road Commission to clear trees from the right of way along Babiarz's property, without providing notice to Babiarz.  Babiarz sued Leslie, arguing that she scheduled the tree-cutting in a fit of pique over her family being run off Babiarz's property. 

Leslie argued that as the "highest elected official" in the Township, she was immune from liability for ordering the tree-clearing, regardless of her motive. In an opinion signed by two of the judges most unfriendly to victims, Henry William Saad and Kirsten Frank Kelly, the Court of Appeals held that even if Leslie was motivated entirely by malice, she was immune from any claim of liability.  In response to Babiarz's claim that Leslie was acting outside the scope of her authority, given her private interest and animus, the court held that he needed to cite some form of Township Ordinance in order to support this claim.

Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
309 East Front Street
Traverse City, Michigan 49684
Toll Free: 1-800-678-1307
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