Blue over 'G0BLUE': University of Michigan grad sues after losing license plate

By The Associated Press
Posted 12:11PM on Friday 1st December 2023 ( 4 months ago )

BEVERLY HILLS, Mich. (AP) — A passionate University of Michigan graduate is booing the state — and suing — over the loss of his revered “G0BLUE” car license plate.

Joseph Hardig III said the plate has been on family vehicles for years. But he was told it was assigned to another car owner when he recently tried to renew it at a Secretary of State office.

“My dad’s passed away. I got it from him. It’s meaningful to me. We’re just huge fans and love the university,” Hardig told The Detroit News.

Hardig, a suburban Detroit lawyer, is asking a judge to block the state from giving the plate to an Ann Arbor man, who is also a University of Michigan graduate and lives just minutes from the football stadium.

The Secretary of State won't comment on the dispute.

Judge James Redford declined to grant a temporary restraining order Thursday. He said the state had not been served with the lawsuit yet, and there was no threat of “irreparable injury” to Hardig at this stage.

Hardig, 65, said he visited a branch office on Nov. 4, a month before the plate renewal deadline, and was told “G0BLUE” was no longer available for his Ford Edge.

Blue is a University of Michigan color, and “Go Blue!” is a battle cry and common salutation among Wolverine fans.

The personalized plate now has been assigned to Jonathan Fine and his 2007 BMW, though he said he hadn't received it in the mail by Thursday.

Fine, 52, said he punched in plate options on a state website and found “G0BLUE” was available.

“I thought it was a mistake at first. ... I’m not actually that excited about the plate,” Fine told the newspaper. “I just had to take it. It’s more just because it was available."

He said he might be willing to give it up if he can find another option.

"I understand why he is upset,” Fine said of Hardig. “If I had a cool plate like that, I’d be upset to lose it.”

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