Appeal dismissed because plaintiff lacked standing





MICHIGAN — The state court of appeals has dismissed a student’s challenge to her former high school’s prior review policy on the grounds that she has no legal standing to bring the case.

In February 1994, Melissa Greene, a senior at Plymouth-Canton Educational Park, distributed fliers entitled “Walkout & Drive out the Fascists.” She did not seek the administration’s approval before distributing the fliers, violating School Rule 8 which demanded prior approval of all fliers and surveys in school.

In April 1994, the school adopted a new, clear prior review policy in response to the controversy, and Greene’s lawsuit protested the constitutionality of the new regulations.

In a two to one decision, the three judge panel ruled in July that Greene had no standing to raise that issue.

“[Greene’s] suspension based upon an application of the old school policy does not confer standing upon plaintiff to challenge the new prior review approval policy that was never applied to her.”

The court acknowledged that Greene did have standing to protest the old School Rule 8, but did not do so in the lower court and thus “has waived her right to pursue relief on this basis.”

In dissent, Judge Myron H. Wahls argued that “the allegations in this case were sufficient to endow the plaintiff with standing notwithstanding the absence of actual injury….”

Wahls also wrote that the plaintiff “should not have to await the consummation of threatened injury to obtain preventive relief.”

Greene’s lawyer, George Washington, called the majority decision “gutless.”

“No one ever thought [standing] was an issue,” Washington said, noting that the school board had never disputed Greene’s standing either.

Washington said he may next appeal to the state supreme court.


Fall 1997, reports