March 18 Detroit asked a federal appeals court
on Tuesday to consolidate seven cases seeking to overturn a
December ruling that found the city was eligible for Chapter 9
municipal bankruptcy protection.
In a motion, Detroit asked the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of
Appeals to force the parties, including the city's two pension
funds, labor unions and retiree groups, to file in one lead case
or to jointly file a principal brief accompanied by short
"Each of the appellants has the same interest - overturning
the bankruptcy court's determination that the city is
unconditionally eligible to proceed under chapter 9," Detroit's
motion stated. "Moreover, the appellants raise largely the same
legal challenges to that determination."
The parties that filed the appeals had mixed reactions to
consolidation, according to the city's motion.
If consolidation of the appeals is not granted, the city
asked the appeals court to give it more time to respond to the
appeals by pushing the deadline the court set earlier this month
to June 17 from May 27.
Meanwhile, Detroit's general and police and fire pension
funds filed a motion on Tuesday asking the court to speed up the
appeals process so that the case would be fully briefed by May
30 instead of sometime in mid-June. Oral arguments would take
place sometime between June 16 and 27, according to the motion.
A debt adjustment plan Detroit proposed last month in U.S.
bankruptcy court "threatens the accrued pension benefits upon
which more than 32,000 active and retired city workers and other
beneficiaries rely for their primary - and in many instances
only - source of income in retirement," the pension funds'
It added that if the plan is confirmed by the court, the
city is "overwhelmingly likely to seek immediate dismissal of
these appeals" on the basis that they are moot.
Judge Steven Rhodes, who is overseeing Detroit's historic
bankruptcy case, has scheduled a confirmation hearing on the
plan beginning on July 16.