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Hammond v. City of Troy

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

July 6, 2015

LEDELL HAMMOND, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF TROY, ET AL., Defendants.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

R. STEVEN WHALEN, Magistrate Judge.

Before the Court is Plaintiff LeDell Hammond's Motion for Temporary Restraining Order ("TRO") and Preliminary Injunction [Doc. #3], which has been referred for a Report and Recommendation pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B). For the reasons discussed below, I recommend that the motion be DENIED.

I. FACTS

On the night of August 10, 2014, an armed robbery occurred at a WalMart store in Troy, Michigan.[1] Shortly after the robbery, Troy Police Officer Kramer stopped a black Pontiac Grand Prix in the vicinity of the WalMart. Plaintiff Hammond was the driver, and Aaron Powell was a passenger. Clothing found inside the car matched the description of clothing that the robber wore. Specifically, Officers found a pair of tan-colored boot with black wrapped around the toe. Officers brought a tracking dog to the scene of the stop, and the dog located a silver handgun in the bushes near where Officer Kramer had seen the Grand Prix slow down and drive over a curb. This matched the description of the gun used in the robbery. Hammond and Powell were taken into custody.

Officers interviewed Plaintiff Hammond twice. Plaintiff waived his Miranda rights on each occasion, and during the second interview, he said that Powell told him there was a way to make some money. Plaintiff knew that Powell's plan was illegal, but did not know that it involved an armed robbery. Plaintiff said that Powell directed him to the WalMart parking lot, and got out, ostensibly to urinate. Powell came back five to ten minutes later, and told him he needed to get rid of a gun.

Plaintiff's Grand Prix was impounded as evidence and the instrumentality of a crime, as authorized by M.C.L. § 257.252d(1)(e). On August 11, 2014, the Troy Police Department requested Defendant A&M Service Center and Towing to store the car until the conclusion of the criminal proceedings. Plaintiff was ultimately charged with hindering and obstructing the police, driving with a suspended license, driving without lights, and driving with tinted windows. He was not charged with armed robbery. However, Powell, the passenger in the Grand Prix, pled guilty to two counts of armed robbery. Another individual (Mickels) was convicted of two counts of armed robbery by a jury.

On May 4, 2015, the Troy Police Department notified Plaintiff that the "hold" on his car had been removed, and that he could pick it up from A&M. Memorandum in Support of Motion [Doc. #3], p. 2. However, A&M required him to pay storage fees in the amount of $4, 545.00. The Troy Police Department confirmed that information. Plaintiff then filed a petition to challenge the storage fees, but the state district court rejected the petition as untimely under the statute. The car remains in storage, and will eventually be auctioned off as an abandoned vehicle.

Plaintiff claims that the seizure and storage of his car, and the refusal to return his car to him without payment of storage fees, violates his rights under the Fourth Amendment and the Fourteenth Amendment Due Process clause.

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

In determining whether to grant a preliminary injunction or temporary restraining order, a court must examine and weigh four factors: (1) whether the moving party has shown a strong likelihood of success on the merits; (2) whether the moving party will suffer irreparable harm if the injunction is not issued; (3) whether the issuance of the injunction would cause substantial harm to others; and (4) whether the public interest would be served by issuing the injunction. Overstreet v. Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, 305 F.3d 566, 573 (6th Cir. 2002); McPherson v. Michigan High School Athletic Ass'n, 119 F.3d 453, 459 (6th Cir. 1997) ( en banc ). "These factors are not prerequisites, but are factors that are to be balanced against each other." Overstreet, 305 F.3d at 573.

Notwithstanding this balancing approach, however, the likelihood of success is the predominant consideration. Thus, "[a]lthough no one factor is controlling, a finding that there is simply no likelihood of success on the merits is usually fatal." Gonzales v. National Bd. of Med. Exam'rs, 225 F.3d 620, 625 (6th Cir. 2000); Michigan State AFL-CIO v. Miller, 103 F.3d 1240, 1249 (6th Cir. 1997) ("While, as a general matter, none of these four factors are given controlling weight, a preliminary injunction issued where there is simply no likelihood of success on the merits must be reversed.").

Plaintiffs bear the burden of demonstrating their entitlement to a preliminary injunction, and their burden is a heavy one. A preliminary injunction or TRO is an extraordinary remedy, "which should be granted only if the movant carries his or her burden of proving that the circumstances clearly demand it." Id .; Leary v. Daeschner, 228 F.3d 729, 739 (6th Cir. 2000). The level of proof required for the Plaintiff to obtain a preliminary injunction or TRO "is much more stringent than the proof required to survive a summary judgment motion." Id.

III. DISCUSSION

A. Likelihood of ...


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