McPhail: Crittendon right for filing consent deal lawsuit - Fox 2 News Headlines

McPhail: Crittendon right for filing consent deal lawsuit

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Sharon McPhail believes Krystal Crittendon was right for filing a lawsuit against the state.  (Credit: WJBK | myFOXDetroit.com) Sharon McPhail believes Krystal Crittendon was right for filing a lawsuit against the state. (Credit: WJBK | myFOXDetroit.com)
DETROIT (WJBK) -

"She's principled and, fortunately for her, they cannot fire her for being principled," said Sharon McPhail.

That hasn't stopped many from calling for her head.  Krystal Crittendon, the chief of Detroit's Law Department, is suing the state on behalf of the City of Detroit because she believes the recent consent agreement is invalid because the state owes the city millions of dollars and the city's charter bars it from entering into any contracts with parties that owe money.

McPhail was Detroit's general counsel under former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.  Does she think Crittendon was right for filing the lawsuit?

"Absolutely."

However, that lawsuit has sparked a powder keg.  The state is threatening to withhold millions of dollars and Detroit is facing payless paydays, and Crittendon is being pressured to drop the lawsuit in the interest of the city.

If you ask McPhail, she can't.  Why?  Because of her very broad responsibilities under Detroit's new charter.

"When she believes that an illegal action is being taken, the charter obligates her to challenge it."

If she doesn't challenge it, McPhail says she creates another dangerous situation.

"If she believes in her judgement as corporation counsel that this is an illegal agreement, she has to.  The next thing that will happen is they'll be taking her before the bar for not doing it," she explained.  "Any lawyer needs to understand that you have to behave in a very principled fashion."

However, despite her principals, the consequences may be unclear, but the law is not.

"It was what the Charter Commission wanted.  It was what the people voted for.  Now they don't like it."

There is a hearing scheduled for this upcoming Wednesday and anything can happen.

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