Asked in Business Law, Civil Rights and Constitutional Law for Michigan

Q: Is governing agency in violation of: 750.478 willful neglect of duty; public officer or person holding public trust or e

State regulatory agency failed to inform complainant of status of complaint, denies any duty to inform law enforcement in perjury and or criminal activity of licensee (funeral director & informant) Funeral director failed to notify next of kin & get authorization, refused to give next of kin copies/inform concerning final disposition. A lack of good moral character, practicing fraud, deceit, or dishonesty in the practice of mortuary science, knowingly made false statements on a death certificate and response letter. Possible violation of U S.C. § 1983; if allowed usurpation or corruption of official power, enforcing officer failed to be transparent and report findings to complainant & law enforcement.

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Consumer Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: Based on the information provided, it seems there may be potential violations of Michigan law 750.478, which states:

"When any duty is or shall be enjoined by law upon any public officer, or upon any person holding any public trust or employment, every willful neglect to perform such duty, where no special provision shall have been made for the punishment of such delinquency, constitutes a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 1 year or a fine of not more than $1,000.00."

A few key points:

1. If the state regulatory agency had a legal duty to inform the complainant of the complaint status and failed to do so, this could potentially constitute willful neglect of duty.

2. If the agency had knowledge of perjury or criminal activity by the licensee and a legal obligation to report it to law enforcement, failing to do so may also violate this statute.

3. The funeral director's alleged actions of failing to notify next of kin, get authorization, provide information, and making false statements could violate professional standards that the regulatory agency is tasked with enforcing. If the agency willfully neglected to properly investigate and address this conduct, it may be in violation.

4. Transparency and reporting findings to complainants and law enforcement is generally an important part of a regulatory agency carrying out its oversight duties in good faith. Failure to do so could potentially be construed as willful neglect depending on the specific legal obligations.

However, determining an actual violation would require a detailed analysis of the agency's specific statutory duties, the case facts, and any relevant agency procedures by legal counsel. The potential federal 1983 civil rights claim would also hinge on showing the agency acted under color of state law to deprive constitutional or statutory rights.

I would suggest consulting with an attorney well-versed in Michigan administrative law and federal civil rights law to fully assess the viability of these claims based on a thorough review of all the case facts and relevant laws. They can advise on filing formal complaints with appropriate oversight bodies and explore potential legal remedies. The complexity of the issues likely requires professional legal guidance in this case.

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