Today the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the Ottawa County Board of Commissioners in the lawsuit Adeline Hambley v Ottawa County, vacating a previous court order which prohibited the Board from taking action to remove the health officer. More information follows.

There have been multiple lawsuits related to the Ottawa County Department of Public Health in the past few years.

On 12/6/21, during a lawsuit filed by a group of parents vs. the Ottawa County Department of Public Health, the Administrative Health Officer, and the prior Ottawa County Board of Commissioners, the Honorable Judge Jon Hulsing affirmed the authority of the county board to fire the local health officer.

“Can a local health officer abuse his or her authority? Absolutely! What can be done? County board hired her, county board can fire her.”
– Hon. Jon Hulsing (12/6/2021)

Note: Joe Moss and Sylvia Rhodea did not sue the Health Department, as has been falsely and endlessly reported over the past year by local progressive activist media. Ottawa Impact launched a legal fund to support parents.

In a last minute act on their way out of office, the prior Ottawa County Board of Commissioners attempted to appoint Adeline Hambley as health officer on December 13, 2022, but failed to do so properly.

Following the appointment of Adeline Hambley as Interim Health officer on January 3, 2023, Ms. Hambley sued Ottawa County and obtained a preliminary injunction prohibiting the Board of Commissioners from replacing her as the health officer.

On June 6, 2023, the Michigan Court of Appeals ordered the following in the case of Adeline Hambley v Ottawa County:

“Pursuant to MCR 7.205 (E)(2), the Court VACATES the April 19, 2023 order to the extent that it prohibits the Ottawa County Board of Commissioners from taking action allowed by MCL 46.11(n), a county board of commissioners has authority to remove a health officer in limited circumstances and when certain processes are given.”

The Court of Appeals has expedited the case, moving it to the front of the line. The next step is for parties to file additional legal briefs.

Ottawa Impact will provide updates on the situation as they become available. We remain committed to ensuring the parental and individual rights of the people of Ottawa County will be protected and respected by Ottawa County and the Department of Public Health.