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Schwab v. City of Jackson

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

March 16, 2017

MONIKA SCHWAB, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF JACKSON, et al., Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT [52] AND GRANTING SUMMARY JUDGMENT TO PLAINTIFF ON DEFENDANT'S COUNTERCLAIM [5]

          STEPHEN J. MURPHY, III United States District Judge.

         The case concerns the efforts of the City and County of Jackson to removed blighted homes and the claims of Monika Schwab, a woman who bought one of those homes. Many of Schwab's claims have already been resolved. Now before the Court is the County's motion for summary judgment. The Court held a hearing and will grant the motion for the reasons stated below.

         BACKGROUND

         The Court's previous order laid out most of the underlying background in the case and need not be repeated here. See Order 2-8, ECF 44. Only a brief recitation of the chronology is necessary.

         In 2011, 1045 South Jackson St. (the Property) was subject to a tax foreclosure and in 2012, title vested in the Jackson County Treasurer pursuant to the General Property Tax Act (GPTA).

         In January 2012, the City of Jackson condemned the Property and a few days later, the City served the County a Notice and Order. The Notice explained that the home was condemned and ordered the County not to transfer the property or structure to another person without first giving notice to the buyer and filing an "Affidavit of Disclosure." The affidavit was to confirm "that the new owner has been advised of and will fully accept and comply with outstanding code violations." Notice and Order, ECF 28-3.

         In May 2012, the Board of Examiners held a hearing on the Notice and upheld it. The County did not appeal the decision.

         In August 2012, the County published a notice in the local newspaper, announcing a public auction of several parcels, including the Property. After seeing the notice, Schwab visited the Property and attended the auction on September 27, 2012. She purchased the Property at the auction and received a quit claim deed from the County Treasurer on October 25, 2012. The County did not provide notice to Schwab before her purchase that the City had condemned the building on the Property.

         During November of 2012, Schwab sought building permits to make repairs to the home, but was unsuccessful.

         In February 2013, the City slated the house on the Property for demolition and on February 18, 2013, it demolished the house.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Summary judgment is proper if there is "no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A dispute is genuine "if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A fact is material if its resolution would establish or refute an "essential element[] of a cause of action or defense asserted by the parties." Kendall v. Hoover Co., 751 F.2d 171, 174 (6th Cir. 1984).

         In considering a motion for summary judgment, the Court must view the facts and draw all inferences in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Stiles ex rel. D.S. v. Grainger Cnty., Tenn., 819 F.3d 834, 848 (6th Cir. 2016). At the summary judgment stage, the judge's function is not "to weigh the evidence and determine the truth of the matter but to determine whether there is a genuine issue for trial." Jackson v. VHS Detroit Receiving Hosp., Inc., 814 F.3d 769, 775 (6th Cir. 2016) (quoting Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249). But a mere "scintilla" of evidence is insufficient to ...


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