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Judge Rejects 'Patently Frivolous' Bid To Halt Game

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Ann Arbor, Michigan Saturday, October 17, 1970 Page 10

Judge Rejects Patently Frivolous Bid To Halt Game

By Owen Eshenroder

(News Court Reporter)

Neatly side-stepping an attempted block, today’s annual Michigan-Michigan State football game went on as scheduled before a sell-out crowd of more than 100,000 spectators.

Although not a member of either team, the man who may well be most responsible for the 63rd playing of the game is Washtenaw County Circuit Court Judge Ross W. Campbell.

For it was Campbell who yesterday afternoon denied a request for an injunction which sought to stop the traditional gridiron classic short of the opening kick-off.

Former Michigan Daily sports editor Joel Block last week filed suit to have the game canceled and to permanently close the U-M Stadium on the grounds that it represented a “common nuisance,” comparable to a recent Goose Lake rock festival which was halted by court order due to the alleged illegal use of drugs and alcohol, among other offenses.

But while approximately 40 curious on-lookers jammed the courtroom, and another 60 or so huddled around the door outside, Campbell ruled that no “irreparable harm” would be done to the public by the M-MSU game being played.

“This court is not persuaded that the evidence presented (in affidavits accompanying the suit) is substantial enough to warrant the granting of a preliminary injunction barring Saturday’s football game in Ann Arbor from being played,” Campbell stated.

He also said that, contrary to the Goose Lake situation, police are admitted inside the stadium for the purpose of enforcing the laws and arresting lawbreakers.

Campbell referred to police arrest as one “remedy at law” against criminal offenses being committed which made a court injunction unnecessary.

Singling out a primary point in Block’s suit, the judge declared, “There has been no showing in this case of widespread use of drugs inside the stadium."

Roderick K. Daane, who acted as attorney for the university, termed the suit “patently frivolous,” and added that “nothing would be a greater absurdity than to grant this injunction.”

He cited, apparently as a comment on what he considered to be the true nature of the case, a “quote” that appeared in last Saturday’s editions of the Michigan Daily saying Block didn’t really even want to win the case.

(In fact, the “quote” neglected to attribute the stated opinion to Block.)

Daane seemed to sum up his arguments by alluding to one point contained in the affidavits. “The absense of sufficient hot dogs hardly makes the stadium a nuisance,” he said.

Block’s attorney in the case, Donald Koster, replied to Daane’s presentation by saying that the U-M counsel had answered “some, but not all” of the allegations included in the suit.

Koster listed such offenses as obscene language in a public place, petty thievery, drug use, consumption of alchhol by children and ticket-scalping as having gone on inside the stadium.

He said that none of these charges had been effectively disproven by Daane.

The bearded young attorney held that a "preponderance of evidence” concerning a multitude of criminal offenses had been put forth in the affidavits, providing adequate reason for the football game to be stopped and the stadium shut down.

After Campbell ruled otherwise, however, Koster said he did plan on appealing the case to the state court of appeals, but was not sure exactly when the appeal would be made.