In re PETITION OF TUSCOLA COUNTY TREASURER FOR FORECLOSURE.
JENNIFER A. DUPUIS, Respondent-Appellee/Cross-Appellant. TUSCOLA COUNTY TREASURER, Petitioner-Appellant/Cross-Appellee,
Circuit Court LC No. 14-028294-CZ
Before: Jansen, P.J., and Murphy and Riordan, JJ.
appeals as of right the order granting respondent conditional
relief from an earlier judgment of foreclosure of her
property. Respondent cross-appeals that same order on the
basis that MCL 211.78k(5)(g) is unconstitutional. We reverse
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
case arises from the foreclosure of respondent's
property, which is located in Arbela Township. The property
became delinquent on property taxes for 2011 and 2012. On
January 23, 2014, petitioner granted respondent a financial
hardship deferral, which required respondent to pay the 2011
taxes by June 1, 2014, and to pay $300 per month for the 2012
taxes. However, respondent did not pay the 2011 or 2012 taxes
pursuant to the financial hardship deferral.
14, 2014, petitioner filed a petition of foreclosure for
properties with unpaid property taxes for 2012 and prior
years, and respondent's property was incorporated in the
petition. Respondent was provided with notice regarding a
January 21, 2015 show-cause hearing and a February 2, 2015
foreclosure hearing. Respondent does not argue that she did
not receive these notices. Petitioner also filed with the
court proof of publication and proof of personal visits to
February 2, 2015, following a hearing, the circuit court
entered a final judgment of foreclosure on the property. The
judgment ordered that fee simple title would vest on March
31, 2015, and respondent would lose all rights of redemption,
unless the delinquent taxes were paid before that date. The
order further provided:
This judgment is a final order with respect to the property
affected by this Judgment and except as provided in MCL
211.78k(7) shall not be modified, stayed, or held invalid
after March 31, 2015 unless there is a contested case
concerning a parcel in which event this final judgment, with
respect to the parcel involved in the contested case, shall
not be modified, stayed, or held invalid 21 days after the
entry of the judgment in the contested case.
notice was sent to respondent, informing her that she had to
pay the delinquent taxes by March 31, 2015, in order to
redeem the property. Respondent does not challenge whether
she received the notice. Respondent did not pay the
delinquent taxes by March 31, 2015. The auction on the
property was scheduled for August 26, 2015.
August 3, 2015, respondent filed a motion to conditionally
set aside the judgment of foreclosure pursuant to MCR
2.612(C)(1)(f). Respondent explained in an affidavit included
with the motion that the foreclosure was the result of past
hard times and a misunderstanding with township officials.
Specifically, respondent stated that she fell on hard times
after her husband broke his back and that a township board
member told her that she needed to pay the delinquent taxes
by May 2015. According to respondent, she submitted $6, 000
to petitioner in early May 2015, but petitioner returned the
money to her by mail about a month later. Respondent stated
that she had all the funds needed to pay the entire tax
deficiency in full, including penalties, costs, and expenses,
and she had finally located an attorney who could help her.
responded on August 6, 2015, contending that the circuit
court lacked jurisdiction because the judgment of foreclosure
was entered, the redemption period expired, and respondent
was not claiming a denial of due process. Petitioner further
argued that, even if the court had jurisdiction, it should
not grant relief under MCR 2.612(C)(1)(f) because
respondent's position "is solely the result of her
actions and inactions." During a hearing on August 10,
2015, the circuit court granted respondent's motion,
stating that it had "equitable jurisdiction, " and
that granting the motion is "the appropriate thing to
do." The court explained that it "may be
wrong" on the jurisdictional issue, but the court
preferred to err on the side of doing the appropriate thing.
The court then entered an order granting respondent
conditional relief from the judgment of foreclosure, which
directed petitioner to convey the property back to respondent
conditioned on respondent's payment of all delinquent
taxes, interest, penalties, and fees by August 20, 2015.
Respondent paid the taxes, interest, penalties, and fees
within the time frame, and no auction occurred.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
review de novo the question whether the circuit court had
jurisdiction to enter the order granting conditional relief.
In re Petition by Wayne Co Treasurer, 265 Mich.App.
285, 290; 698 N.W.2d 879 (2005). The issue whether a statute
is unconstitutional because it violates the separation of
powers doctrine is a question of law, which we review de
novo. See Phillips v Mirac, Inc, 470 Mich. 415, 422;
685 N.W.2d 174 (2004); Okrie v Michigan, 306
Mich.App. 445, 453; 857 N.W.2d 254 (2014).
contends that the circuit court did not have jurisdiction to
enter the order granting respondent conditional relief ...