Muskegon Co. Circuit Court rules landscaper violated governor's stay-home order

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News

Lansing — A Muskegon County Circuit Court judge has sided with state officials and ruled a landscaping company violated the governor's stay-home order.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and Muskegon County Prosecutor D.J. Hilson sent last week a cease and desist letter to Land Scape Supplies LLC after police learned the company's employees were delivering mulch, providing other lawn care services to customers and putting flyers in residents’ mailboxes. The company then challenged the letter and order in court.

On Friday, Muskegon County Circuit Court Judge Timothy Hicks ruled the business was violating the stay-home order and must cease operations.

"Defendant and his company are clearly in the landscape business, so this order applies to them," Hicks wrote in his legal opinion. "The court concludes that delivery of materials to customers is proscribed by (the executive order.)"

He added: "the court stresses that this opinion is not about the wisdom of the order. That topic is left for other discussion in other forums."  

In a statement, Nessel said the governor's order does not apply to functions such as hauling waste, composting and the operation of related facilities because they are considered essential. The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy has contacted businesses that provide those services and made them aware of that responsibility, she said. Those businesses, including Land Scape Supplies, received a letter confirming they are permitted to carry out those essential functions, according to the attorney general.  

“When it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic, Michigan is not out of the woods yet,” Nessel said. “New positive cases of the virus continue to be reported each day, and more people continue to die. This virus is not something to be taken lightly, and I appreciate Prosecutor Hilson for his efforts to help protect the people of Muskegon County."

Twitter: @CharlesERamirez