In the first test of the Michigan Supreme Court’s new recusal standard, the Court denied motions filed by the Fieger law firm to disqualify Justices Corrigan, Markman, and Young. In Pellegrino v. Ampco Systems Parking, No. 137111, Fieger claimed that these justices had attacked him by name during their election campaigns 10 years ago and had a history of bias against him. In response to Fieger’s motion, Justice Markman defended his record noting that he had ruled both for and against Fieger’s clients and denied that his judgment would be affected by Feiger’s representation of the plaintiff in Pellegrino. Justice Markman’s statement is here. Because Justices Corrigan and Young denied Fieger’s motion before the new recusal rules were adopted, the Court did not address Fieger’s motion as to those justices. As to Feiger’s motion to disqualify Justice Markman, Chief Justice Kelly and Justice Cavanagh noted that the statements Fieger relied upon were made 10 years ago and concluded that they did not question Justice Markman’s ability to be impartial in Pellegrino.
Justices Weaver and Hathaway concurred, but noted that they would not retroactively apply the Court’s new “appearance of impropriety” standard to actions or statements by justices occurring before the new standard’s adoption.
Justices Corrigan and Young did not participate in the Court’s consideration of the motion to disqualify Justice Markman.