The Michigan Supreme Court last week declined to hear an appeal of an Ypsilanti Township lawsuit against General Motors Corp., paving the way for the closing of an auto plant in the township.

In a statement, Douglas Winters, the township's attorney, said the action by the high court "appears to mean that General Motors will be allowed to close the Willow Run plant and that the township's only recourse may be to recover monetary damages."

Winters said the township will pursue its claims for monetary damages in Washtenaw County Circuit Court.

"The township will continue to seek some form of justice in this case," Winters said.

Meanwhile, General Motors will proceed with its plans to consolidate production from Willow Run to a plant in Arlington, Tex., according to a press release from the automaker.

Ypsilanti Township filed the lawsuit in April 1992 two months after the automaker announced it would shut the plant in September 1993. The suit charged that General Motors had agreed to maintain 4,900 jobs at the plant in return for a 50% tax abatement, which has cost the township and other taxing districts in Washtenaw County, including the county itself, at least $13.5 million.

In what General Motors called an "unprecedented decision," a Washtenaw County Circuit Court judge ruled in the township's favor in February and ordered the plant to remain open. However, that ruling was overturned last month by the Michigan Court of Appeals, prompting the township to take its case to the state supreme court.

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