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Ann Arbor — A federal lawsuit alleges that the city imposed forced labor on 3,000 residents by requiring that they maintain mandatory sump pumps in their homes.

The Ann Arbor News reports that attorney Irvin Mermelstein filed the lawsuit against Ann Arbor on behalf of four residents in late October.

The lawsuit argues that the city’s footing drain disconnection program amounts to the government taking private property through physical invasion and permanent physical occupation.

The city attorney’s office is reviewing the complaint. Earlier this year, the Michigan Court of Appeals sided with the city in two cases that challenged the program’s legality.

The program began in 2001 to deal with basement sewage backups. The city no longer requires homeowners to participate in the program.

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