Michigan Fan Sues After Losing Cherished License Plate

'G0BLUE' had been in the family for years
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 6, 2023 11:50 AM CST
Michigan Fan Sues Over Cherished License Plate
The block M logo for the University of Michigan is displayed at the school's NCAA college football stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich., Friday, Nov. 10, 2023.   (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

Die-hard University of Michigan fans are unequivocal when it comes to their favorite phrase: Go Blue. One Michigan family has been lucky enough to have that on their license plate for decades—or had been. Joseph Hardig III is suing Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson after he claims the plate reading "G0BLUE" was reassigned prematurely and without notice, reports the Washington Post. It explains that Hardig's father had the "G0BLUE" license plate for "dozens of years"; when he died at age 92 in 2020, Hardig moved the plate to his car. Both men attended the school as undergrads and as law students.

Under Michigan law, vehicle registrations expire on owners' birthdays. There's the rub: Hardig's father was born on Oct. 2, which is the expiration date listed for the plate. Hardig's birthday is in December. When he went to renew it in person on Nov. 6, he learned the vehicle registration had expired and the plate had been reassigned. His suit filed Nov. 22 in the Michigan Court of Claims asks that it be given back. Hardig's loss has been Jonathan Fine's gain—sort of. The 52-year-old University of Michigan alumnus tells the Post he has checked to see if "G0BLUE" was available annually for about 20 years. To his surprise, on Nov. 4 he saw that it was and snagged it.

He subsequently learned about Hardig's suit when a Detroit News reporter emailed him about it. The AP reports Fine admitted to the paper that he's "not actually that excited about the plate. I just had to take it. It's more just because it was available." He says the plate arrived in the mail last week but he hasn't put it on his car because he felt that might end up "jinxing" the situation, and because he has soured a bit on his coup: "I don't feel as joyous about it" knowing it was a family's prized possession, he says. The men on Monday talked about a possible deal that would see the plate transferred back to Hardig, though the Post notes it's unclear if state officials would permit that. (More license plates stories.)

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