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Plunkett Cooney attorneys contribute to ABA civil rights book


The fourth edition of a popular American Bar Association (ABA) book on civil Sword & Shield, Plunkett Cooney attorney Mary Massaron, American Bar Associationrights law was recently released and includes important contributions by three attorneys from Plunkett Cooney, one of the Midwest’s oldest and largest law firms.

Mary Massaron, a partner and the Appellate Law Practice Group Leader at Plunkett Cooney, served as co-editor of the book, which examines civil rights laws and the federal statute 42 USC § 1983. Also contributing three chapters to “Sword and Shield: A Practical Approach to Section 1983 Litigation” are Plunkett Cooney partner Michael S. Bogren, attorney Rhonda R. Stowers and Massaron. Attorney Edwin P. Voss, Jr. also serves as co-editor.

“This treatise offers a practical resource for those handling civil rights cases at the trial and appellate levels,” said Massaron. “Past editions have been regularly cited by parties to litigation as a persuasive authority in support of their position on appeal.”

Sword and Shield offers a comprehensive review of the fundamentals and procedures of 42 U.S.C. Section 1983 litigation in state and federal courts and contains expert analysis regarding every issue that might be faced in such cases. Bogren, a member of Plunkett Cooney’s Board of Directors and Governmental Law Practice Group, wrote two chapters, including Chapter 4: “Municipal Liability Under 42 USC 1983” and Chapter 5: “Attorneys’ Fees in Section 1983 Litigation.” Massaron and Stowers authored Chapter 6: “The Constitutional Rights of Public Employees.”

42 U.S. Code § 1983 - Civil action for deprivation of rights – commonly referred to as the Civil Rights Act,  is a federal statute that allows lawsuits to be brought by people alleging that their rights protected by the U.S. Constitution or federal statutes have been violated by state or local governments or government agents.

Fully updated since the Third Edition was published in 2006, the 550-page book provides advice from the nation’s leading authorities on civil rights on this technically difficult and ever-evolving area of law. It includes a discussion of municipal liability under Section 1983, including police misconduct claims (i.e., police search and seizure rules), the constitutional rights of public employees, land use and the expanded rights of property owners, students’ constitutional rights in public school settings and individual immunity defenses. It also offers a roadmap for procedural issues that arise in civil rights litigation.

A member of the firm’s Bloomfield Hills office, Massaron served as President of the DRI in 2012 to 2013. She is a past chair of the Appellate Practice Section of the State Bar of Michigan, DRI’s Appellate Advocacy Committee, and the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Council of Appellate Lawyers, a division of the Appellate Judges Conference. A member of the prestigious American Academy of Appellate Lawyers, Massaron co-chairs the Michigan Appellate Bench Bar Conference Foundation, an organization of Michigan appellate judges and lawyers. She has an extensive appellate practice on behalf of public and private clients including in state and federal courts around the country.

Bogren, who is the managing partner of Plunkett Cooney’s Kalamazoo office, Michael Bogren, Plunkett Cooney, Governmental Law attorneyhas extensive experience representing municipalities in both state and federal courts in civil rights cases, police liability claims, first amendment law, due process claims, Open Meetings Act claims, FOIA claims, zoning matters and employment litigation. He is a member of the Kalamazoo County and American bar associations, as well as the Public Corporation Section of the State Bar of Michigan. Bogren is also a member of the International Municipal Lawyers Association, the Association of Governmental Risk Pools and the DRI - The Voice of the Defense Bar.

An attorney in the firm’s Flint office, Stowers focuses her practice in the areas Rhonda Stowers, Plunkett Cooney, Litigation Attorney, Flintof general litigation, governmental law and title insurance law.  Her governmental law practice includes advising and defending municipalities on a wide range of topics, including the Freedom of Information Act, the Open Meetings Act, federal and state constitutions, civil rights, zoning law, charter amendments, ordinance drafting, and employment-related issues. Stowers is a member of the Genesee County Bar Association, the State Bar of Michigan and the Michigan Association of Municipal Attorneys.

Plunkett Cooney is one of the few law firms in the Midwest with a dedicated team of appellate attorneys, who routinely handle cutting-edge appeals involving issues of first impression and seek to reverse adverse judgments. In addition to representation before state and federal appellate courts, the firm’s appellate attorneys provide a broad range of specialized services, including counsel during trial designed to optimally position cases for possible appeal.

Attorneys in the firm’s Governmental Law Practice Group have handled virtually every issue that can be brought against municipalities and municipal officials at the trial court level.  Member of this practice group have represented over 600 municipalities in litigation involving police misconduct, excessive force, alleged First Amendment violations, employment discrimination, slip/trip/fall claims, motor vehicle accidents, among other areas. They also counsel public-sector clients in numerous areas of municipal law, including ordinances, zoning law, employee handbooks, labor negotiations, real estate transactions, contracts and leases, as well as other matters.

Established in 1913, Plunkett Cooney employs over 150 attorneys in nine Michigan cities and in Columbus, Ohio and Indianapolis, Indiana. The firm, which provides a range of transactional and litigation services, has achieved the highest rating (AV) awarded by Martindale-Hubbell, a leading, international directory of law firms. Plunkett Cooney has also received numerous honors as one of southeast Michigan’s top workplaces.

For more information about the firm’s contributions to the ABA’s Sword & Shield book, contact Plunkett Cooney’s Director of Marketing & Business Development John Cornwell at (248) 901-4008;

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