Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

United Methodist Union of Greater Detroit v. City of Highland Park

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

December 2, 2016

UNITED METHODIST UNION OF GREATER DETROIT, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
CITY OF HIGHLAND PARK, et al., Defendants.

          MATTHEW F. LEITMAN DISTRICT JUDGE.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          MONA K. MAJZOUB UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Plaintiffs United Methodist Union of Greater Detroit, Jerry R. Massey, Kennon Harrington, Power House Temple, and Roderick Edwards[1] commenced this action against Defendants City of Highland Park, Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (MERS), and Wayne County Treasurer on February 1, 2016. (Docket no. 1.) In the Complaint, Plaintiffs challenge tax foreclosure proceedings related to real property located at 16241 Joslyn Avenue in Highland Park, Michigan. (See id.) Before the Court are Defendant Wayne County Treasurer's Motion to Dismiss or in the Alternative Strike Plaintiffs' Complaint (docket no. 11), Defendant City of Highland Park's Motion to Dismiss (docket no. 12), and Defendant MERS's Motion to Dismiss (docket no. 18). Defendant MERS also filed a Supplemental Brief in support of its Motion to Dismiss. (Docket no. 20.) Plaintiffs have not responded to Defendants' Motions, and the time for response has passed. This matter has been referred to the undersigned for all pretrial purposes. (Docket no. 6.) The undersigned has reviewed the pleadings, dispenses with a hearing pursuant to Eastern District of Michigan Local Rule 7.1(f)(2), and issues this Report and Recommendation pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B).

         I. RECOMMENDATION

         For the reasons that follow, it is recommended that Plaintiffs United Methodist Union of Greater Detroit, Kennon Harrington, Power House Temple, and Roderick Edwards be dismissed from this action; Defendants' Motions to Dismiss (docket nos. 11, 12, and 18) be GRANTED; and this matter be dismissed in its entirety.

         II. REPORT

         A. Background

         The facts of this matter as presented in the Complaint are disjointed, but they have been clarified somewhat through the Defendants' briefs. (See docket no. 1 at 3, docket no. 11 at 13; docket no. 12 at 10-11; docket no. 18 at 10.) In the years 2007, 2008, 2010, and 2011, Defendant City of Highland Park allegedly levied special assessment taxes against property located at 16241 Joslyn Avenue in Highland Park, Michigan, an unused former church. According to the Complaint, Plaintiff Edwards obtained “fee simple absolute possession” of the property on October 29, 2012. (Docket no. 1 ¶ 10.) On June 13, 2014, Defendant Wayne County Treasurer filed a Petition of Foreclosure against the subject property because the aforementioned taxes had not been paid. (Docket no. 11 at 13.) An Uncontested Judgment of Foreclosure was issued by the Wayne County Circuit Court on March 20, 2015, and Defendant Wayne County Treasurer subsequently sold the subject property at a public auction on October 16, 2015. (Docket nos. 11-1 and 11-2.)

         According to Defendant City of Highland Park, on November 10, 2015, Plaintiffs filed a complaint in the 30th District Court for the City of Highland Park seeking quiet title of the subject property in their favor, as well as a judgment in the amount of $10, 000 for negligence. (Docket no. 12 at 21.) Defendant City of Highland Park then moved for summary disposition of the complaint, arguing, among other things, lack of standing and lack of personal and subject-matter jurisdiction. (Id. at 21-22.) Defendant Wayne County Treasurer concurred in the motion for summary disposition, and the 30th District Court granted the motion on January 19, 2016. (Docket no. 11 at 13; docket no. 11-3.)

         Plaintiffs then filed the instant Complaint in this court on February 1, 2016, pursuant to “2 USC 1331; 28 USC 1332 (a) and 2 USC 1357 (b) (2); 1 USC 1961-1968 RESPA section 9: truth in lending, and negligence.” (Docket no. 1 ¶ 7.) Count I of the Complaint is titled “Negligence, ” under which Plaintiffs allege that the special assessment taxes levied against the subject property by Defendant City of Highland Park were unconstitutional. (Id. ¶ 11.) Plaintiffs also allege that in foreclosing on the property, Defendants City of Highland Park and Wayne County Treasurer failed to comply with the notice requirements set forth in Michigan's Land Bank Fast Track Act, Mich. Comp. Laws § 124.759, subsections (1), (6), and (7). (Id. ¶¶ 13-21.) According to Plaintiffs, Defendants City of Highland Park and Wayne County Treasurer did not exercise due diligence, and the auction sale was unlawfully held, resulting in an encumbered and clouded chain of title. (Id. ¶ 23.) In what appears to be Count II of the Complaint, titled “Violation of RESPA, ” Plaintiffs allege that Defendant MERS is a company that records foreclosed property. (Id. ¶ 25.) Plaintiffs seemingly further allege that the conveyance of the subject property by Defendant Wayne County Treasurer and the recording of the conveyance by Defendant MERS “was defective and lacking in legal sufficiency, ” which rendered the deed and the chain of title null and void. (Id. ¶ 26-29.) As relief, Plaintiffs request that the court find Defendants liable for “2 USC 1357 (b) (2); 1 USC 1961-1968 RESPA section 9: truth in lending, and Negligence Per Se, ” and award Plaintiffs $300, 000.00. (Id. at 6.) Plaintiffs also request that the court quiet title to the property in their favor. (Id.)

         B. Governing Law

         Defendants Wayne County Treasurer and MERS move to dismiss the Complaint pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6). (Docket nos. 11 and 18.) A motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) challenges the court's subject matter jurisdiction by attacking the claim on its face, in which case all factual allegations of the plaintiff must be considered as true, or by attacking the factual basis for jurisdiction. DLX, Inc. v. Kentucky, 381 F.3d 511, 516 (6th Cir. 2004). If the factual basis for jurisdiction is challenged, the court must weigh the evidence, and the plaintiff bears the burden of proving jurisdiction. Id.

         When deciding a motion under Rule 12(b)(6), the court must “construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, accept its allegations as true, and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff.” Directv, Inc. v. Treesh, 487 F.3d 471, 476 (6th Cir. 2007); Inge v. Rock Fin. Corp., 281 F.3d 613, 619 (6th Cir. 2002). The plaintiff must provide “‘a short and plain statement of the claim' that will give the defendant fair notice of what the plaintiff's claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.” Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)). But this statement “must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). The plaintiff cannot rely on “legal conclusions” or “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action;” instead, the plaintiff must plead “factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). This “facial plausibility” is required to “unlock the doors of discovery.” Id. To make this determination, the Iqbal Court set out the following two-step analysis:

[A] court considering a motion to dismiss can choose to begin by identifying pleadings that, because they are no more than conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of truth. While legal conclusions can provide the framework of a complaint, they must be supported by factual allegations. When there are well-pleaded factual allegations, a court should assume ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.