8 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, October 13, 1999
Duck, duck, duck, goose
LANSING (AP) - Michigan
Attorney General Jennifer Granholm
said yesterday she has filed suit against
Publishers Clearing House, accusing
the company of deceptive marketing for
its flashy sweepstakes promotions.
The suit alleges that the company
misleads consumers by making them
believe they have won prizes or will
win prizes if they buy goods from
Publishers Clearing House.
"We want to send the message that
this kind of nickel and diming of con-
sumers is not going to be tolerated,"
Christopher Irving, the director of
consumer affairs for Publishers
Clearing House, said he was "disap-
pointed" to hear of the lawsuit. The suit
comes after several months of talks
between Granholm and six sweepstakes
companies. Publishers Clearing House
is the only company to be sued so far.
"We have attempted to sit down with
the Michigan attorney general's office;
we have continued to respond to all of
their concerns in a comprehensive and
responsible manner," he said. "We think
that an agreement could have been
reached and still could be reached with
the state of Michigan."
Granholm said the suit is also an
attempt to wrestle Michigan consumers
out of a federal class action suit filed
against Publishers Clearing House in
As part of the class action, Publishers
Clearing House is sending notices to
everyone who has ordered from the
company since 1992, or about 40 mil-
lion households. The notice allows con-
sumers to opt out of the class action by
Oct. 18. If they don't opt out, they could
be in line for a settlement from
Publishers Clearing House.
Granholm says the problem with that
deal is that Publishers Clearing House
has set aside only about $4 million to
settle any potential claims nationwide.
That's not enough to give consumers a
fair settlement, Granholm says.
"People should know this is a very
bad deal," Granholm said.
Granholm said Publishers Clearing
House also failed to notify the state
about the class action in meetings this
fall. Granholm found out about the
class action notices when she got one in
Michigan is one of six states to file
lawsuits against Publishers Clearing
House, including Florida, Arizona and
Connecticut. Michigan's lawsuit orders
the company to end alleged deceptive
marketing and pay restitution to con-
sumers who bought goods believing it
would improve their chances to win
The suit also orders Publishers
Clearing House to pay up to $25,000 to
the state for each alleged violation of
the Michigan Consumer Protection Act.
Asst. Attorney General Stewart
Freeman, the lead attorney in the case,
said he doesn't know how many
Michigan consumers would be eligible
"This is the biggest promoter in the
world and we know that they make a lot
of money, so you can extrapolate that
out," he said.
Freeman also objected to the class-
action notice being sent to consumers,
saying the attorney general's office has
received complaints about its legal jar-
gon and tiny print.
"This is a deliberate attempt to con-
fuse consumers," he said.
Tom Zieziul feeds a hungry duck while on an outing in Gallup Park while his grandson Zachariah Wozniak looks on
State exammes gender-based
roles or correct1on ofiCers
LANSING (AP) - The state
Department of Corrections is study-
ing whether it should assign correc-
tions officers by gender in male and
female prisons, Corrections Director
Bill Martin told a House committee
Currently there are no gender
restrictions for officers except dur-
ing strip searches. Cross-gender
assignments have been allowed
since 1985 after a lawsuit brought by
female officers alleging violations
of equal opportunity.
Martin told the House
Appropriations Subcommittee on
Corrections that the department is
considering a requirement that only
women work in female prisons and
only men work in male prisons. The
department is also looking at
increasing the ratio of female offi-
cers in its three women's facilities.
"To conclude that we are going to do
it would be a misnomer," Martin said.
"But clearly we arc looking at it."
The U.S. Justice Department has
accused Michigan of failing to safe-
guard female inmates from sexual
abuse and unlawful invasion of pri-
vacy. The state has reached a settle-
ment in a lawsuit filed by the depart-
ment, although terms will not be dis-
closed until late November or early
December, Martin said.
He said sexual abuse is not a sys-
tematic problem, but does occur at
the hands of "evil and wrong and
"It has happened, and it will hap-
pen in the future," Martin said. "The
department has never tried to deny
that. It will not be tolerated by me or
anyone else in the department."
LANSING (AP) -- Nearly 30 years
after relinquishing its courtroom in the
Capitol building, the Supreme Court
held a groundbreaking yesterday for
the new headquarters of the state's judi-
The Hall of Justice, scheduled to
open in 2003 at a cost of 87.8 million
will sit at the uwst end of the CapitoW
Mall. It will consolidate Supreme
Court offices in the state-owned Law
Building and Court of Appeals offices
now in rented space in Lansing.
"This is a great day. We are breaking
ground on a building we have needed
for several generations," Justice
Michael Cavanagh told an audience
that included several former justices.
"it will make such a difference as we
do our work for the people of
The six-story, domed building will
have two courtrooms - one for the
Supreme Court, one for the Court of
Appeals - with more public seating
than the Supreme Court's current
The 281,000 square-foot structure
will include a conference center for
training judges and court staff from
around the state and a public educatior
center. It also will house the State
Court Administrative Office.
Chief Justice Elizabeth Weaver said
the Supreme Court has been lobbying
for a building of its own since 1922. A
separate building, she said, "will
heighten the judiciary as an indepen-
dent branch of our ingenious system of
Gov. John Engler called the building
"long overdue," but also admitted that
building called the Hall of Justice
reminded him of the fictional head-
quarters of Superman and Wonder
"I want to make it clear that there
will be no legislative support for an
invisible plane," he quipped.
The Michigan Democratic Party
isn't joking about the building, calling
it an exorbitant "Judicial Palace."
Democrats point out that the building'
underground parking garage for 460
cars will cost S5 million, or $32,600
"It is outrageous that the Michigan
Supreme Court wants to work in such
luxury and splendor" Democratic
Party Chair Mark Brewer said in a
statement. Party spokesperson Dennis
Denno added that the Democrats plan
to make the building's cost an issue in
the 2000 elections.
Engler said the money for the build-
ing was approved in 1998 when
Democrats controlled the House.
"It would be a despicable act on the
part of Democrats to make something
like this a partisan issue," he said. "If
they have no other issues, I think they'll
reach and grab at anything."
Earlier yesterday, the court heard the
first arguments of its 1999-2000 ses-
sion in its former Capitol courtroom,
an ornate room now used by the Senate
Joining the court for the first time
was Justice Stephen Markman, a for-
mer appeals court judge appointed to
the Supreme Court last month by
Engler. Markman fills the seat vacated
by Justice James Brickley, who stepped
down after being diagnosed with can-
Markman will serve on the court
until the 2000 election, when he must
run to retain his seat. If he wins that
election, he will serve out the remain-
der of Brickley's term, which will end
Jan. 1, 2005.