“Although DDH vehemently opposes oil and gas exploration and drilling in and around the CITY of Rochester Hills, this case is not about the relative merits and dangers posed by oil and gas drilling and production in and around the CITY. This is a voters‟ rights case about the denial of city voters’ right to vote on the CITY‟s agreements with JORDAN and SUNOCO.”

“The heart of this matter involves discerning the intent of the Rochester Hills voters when they passed a voter initiated referendum”… “required that such property be used only for park purposes, and not be sold, leased, transferred, exchanged or converted to another use without voter approval.”

Court of Appeals Hearing Mar. 8, 2016

Don’t Drill The Hills and defendants present oral arguments

Don’t Drill The Hills (DDH) presented its voting rights case to the Michigan Court of Appeals on March 8, 2016.  The parties in the lawsuit went before a panel of Judges and each presented their arguments. DDH is insisting that a park comprises the entire property, including subsurface oil and gas rights, and that the voters of the City were denied a right to vote on the lease the City granted for Nowicki Park, Tienken Park, Stoney Creek Cemetery, and the oil pipeline easement it granted in Bloomer Park. Now we wait. The Court will be issuing its decision in a written opinion shortly, perhaps within the next month.

Appeal Nov. 11, 2014

Don’t Drill the Hills Appeals Local Circuit Judge’s Ruling November 11, 2014

Read the press release here: DDHI_Press_Release_11.19.14

Read the filed appeal brief and exhibits: DDHI – Plaintiff-Appellant’s Brief on Appeal and DDHI Appeal Exhibits

Read the reply filed by the City of Rochester Hills: Rochester Hills Reply Brief

Read the reply filed by Sunoco Pipeline: Sunoco’s Reply Brief


Original Ruling Nov. 4, 2014

Circuit Court judge’s Opinion and Order on November 4, 2014

Opinion and Order re motion for Summary Disposition 

Legal analysis of the November 4 ruling:

Court Ruling Breakdown Analysis

Understanding the November 4 ruling for the non-legal professional:

Court Ruling Breakdown – Non-legal Version


Lawsuit Filed May 15, 2014

Don’t Drill the Hills, Inc. (DDHI), is a non-profit, grassroots group of local citizens opposed to oil and gas drilling projects in their community. The group filed legal action on May 15, 2014 against the City of Rochester Hills for signing a lease for oil and gas exploration of City-owned park and cemetery properties.

At issue is a resident-driven 2011 City Charter Amendment. The amendment states that City-owned parks cannot be sold/leased or converted to a non-recreation or non-conservation use,without approval of the City’s voters in an open election. The City Charter protects not just the surface of the park land in Rochester Hills, but the entire property, including its subsurface resources.

The lawsuit asserts that by signing a lease with Jordan, the Mayor and City Council:


Download press release here: DDHI_Press_Release_5.15.14


Get the details on the background and basis for this lawsuit:

Click here to read ‘Lawsuit 101

Pleadings submitted to court by parties

Clink links below to download documents:

Filed by Don’t Drill The Hills:

Complaint: Processed-First_Amended_Complaint_For_Declaratory_Relief

(original complaint: Processed-Complaint_for_Declaratory_Relief.pdf)

Plaintiff’s Consolidated Answer & Brief in Response to Defendants’ MSDs

Revised Exhibits A – I to Plaintiff’s Answer & Brief Responding to Defendants’ Motions for Summary Disposition

Filed by City of Rochester Hills:

City of Rochester Hills’ Answer to Complaint: City of RH’s Answer to Complaint 

City of Rochester Hills’ first motion to dismiss: Rochester Hills Motion to Dismiss (MSD)

City of Rochester Hills’ amended brief: City’s Amended Brief Supporting MSD

Filed by Jordan Development:

Jordan’s first motion to dismiss:  Processed-Jordan_Mtn_to_dismiss_FILED_WITH_COURT.pdf

Jordan’s second motion to dismiss: Jordan’s Second MSD

Filed by Sunoco:

Sunoco’s first motion to dismiss: Sunoco’s Motion for Summary Disposition

Sunoco’s amended brief: Sunoco’s Amended MSD

Exhibits or Relevant Documents:

2014.4.7. Roch Hills Council Minutes (Bloomer easement)

Sunoco Bloomer Easement drawing

Sunoco Easement Agreement


DDHI selected attorney Timothy J. Lozen as its counsel for this matter. Tim is the founder of Lozen, Kovar & Lozen, P.C. and has been practicing law since 1985. His practice focuses on environmental law, real estate and business law, municipal and drain law, condemnation proceedings, litigation, and assisting area businesses, municipalities and individuals with their legal needs. His credentials are available at: http://www.lozenlaw.com/attorneys-staff/tim-lozen/