Judge tosses ex-Macomb clerk’s conspiracy lawsuit
A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit from former Macomb County Clerk Karen Spranger that alleged local officials worked to prevent her from performing the role.
The case was filed long before Spranger was removed from office March 27 after St. Clair Circuit Judge Daniel Kelly determined the Republican had improperly listed a Warren address as her primary residence in election affidavits. Spranger has insisted she lived at the house on Hudson Street, which she co-owns with a relative.
In her lawsuit, Spranger initially alleged county officials engaged in a “collusion of civil conspiracy” with a chief judge, a union president and others to hinder her from performing the job to which she was elected in November 2016.
Macomb County sought to dismiss the suit, and on Wednesday, U.S. District Judge George Caram Steeh granted the request, saying Spranger “fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted as required” by federal law.
“Spranger’s complaint does not allege any race-based, ethnic-animated, or gender-motivated animus by Macomb County,” the judge wrote in his order. “As such, she has failed to state a claim for conspiracy.”
Neither Spranger nor her attorney could immediately be reached for comment Wednesday.
During her time in office, Spranger was embroiled in a series of political fights with other county officials and clashed with the county workers’ union over work rules for the 85 employees she supervised.
Meanwhile, long-time county employee Kathy Brower has been appointed the temporary acting clerk. Macomb County Circuit Court judges are expected to appoint an interim clerk this month to serve until a replacement is elected in the fall.