HOLLAND, Mich. — Documents were recently filed in the case against restaurant owner Marlena Pavlos-Hackney, her attorney asking the court to dismiss the case against her business.
Robert Baker, Marlena's attorney, filed a series of motions with Ingham County Courts on April 9— one of which asks the court to dismiss the contempt charge against Marlena's business, and refund the $15,000 in fines she has so far paid.
The documents are primarily a response to the charge brought against Marlena and her business.
“We filed a motion for summary disposition in lieu of an answer, which basically says that they don't have a case, and we point out the legal deficiencies in their pleadings,” Baker told FOX 17 in an interview Wednesday.
He says right now Marlena is focused on getting back to what she loves, serving her customers.
"She's one of the strongest women I've ever met, and she's one of the most intelligent women I've ever met," Baker said.
"She misses having a restaurant, and she loves to serve people. You can tell, you know, when you meet her."
Marlena was arrested back on March 19 on a contempt charge, issued after Attorney General Dana Nessel says she repeatedly defied local health orders— saying she was first contacted by local health officials in November of 2020 regarding reports that she was allowing customers to dine indoors while not permitted to do so.
Ingham County Judge Wanda Stokes issued a bench warrant for Marlena on March 5 after the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) told the court that her restaurant was still operating.
After 2 fines totaling $15,000 were paid by Marlena's husband to the court, Baker was able to arrange for her release.
Marlena was arraigned on March 19 in front of Ingham County Judge Rosemarie Aquilina— but Baker says they have major concerns with how the hearing went down.
He says they have yet to receive an accurate transcript of the hearing, and that he has been told that the courtroom was not recording video or audio during the hearing.
“We’re trying to get an accurate transcript, because that is the court record, and that is what we appeal on. That is what we asked for a motion to reconsider on, that as what we are doing our pleadings as to whether or not her constitutional rights were violated in that hearing," Baker explained Wednesday.
He expects these recently filed motions to be addressed at a hearing set for April 27.
Marlena's legal team says they are also working with AG Nessel's office to get the restaurant back open properly.
“We had a good conversation of trying to figure out how to get Marlena's restaurant re-opened,” Baker said Wednesday.
“I'm going to discuss that with Marlena, and try to figure out how and if we can comply with what they want.”
The case so far against Marlena's Bistro and Pizzeria
March 19, 2021 — Marlena is Arrested
March 20, 2021 — Restaurant is Closed After Arrest
March 20, 2021 — Supporters Gather in Front of Restaurant
March 20, 2021 — Attorney Baker Speaks After Arrest
March 22, 2021 — MI GOP Holds Press Conference at Restaurant
March 22, 2021 — Motion Filed to Have Marlena Released from Jail
March 23, 2021 — Marlena Released from Jail
March 26, 2021 — Lawmakers Say Marlena Unfairly Targeted
Interactive Timeline of Events Leading up to Marlena's Arrest (According to the Attorney General's Office)