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Michigan firework companies sue state for unfair regulations

A group of firework retailers have banded together in business litigation, filing a lawsuit against the state of Michigan for what they say are unfair regulations being placed on their small businesses.

The lawsuit was filed in a U.S. District Court on behalf of eight companies that sell fireworks. One of those companies belonged to an East Jordan, Michigan, man that operates Great Lakes Fireworks, based out of Eastpointe.

Included in a law that took effect on Jan. 1, 2012 the state is now requiring that businesses that sell fireworks carry a $10 million insurance policy. The companies argue that this steep price tag is out of the reach of smaller, local companies. The large companies that produce and sell fireworks will be able to foot the bill on this insurance policy, allowing them to essentially develop a monopoly within the industry.

The attorney that is representing the plaintiffs in the case argued that this bloated insurance policy has little to do with public safety. This is especially seen in the fact that the required insurance policy is five times higher than that required by any other state in the country. Only three other states in the country require these types of businesses to carry insurance at all.

This, according to the lawyer, could cause fireworks sellers to jack up prices, leading customers to make purchases out of state.

Firework retailers in Michigan do admit they are thankful they can operate in a wider capacity now. In the United States, there are still 14 states that cannot sell fireworks at all.

Source:, "State fireworks rule sparks lawsuit," Sheri McWhirter, Feb. 7, 2012

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