United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
James Sinclair, Patricia Sinclair, Rebel Scrap Metal LLC, And Parts-A-Plenty Inc., Plaintiff,
P.O. Alfredo Jimenez, Sgt. Jonathan Parnell, P.O. Derek Owens, And Det. Frank Lenz, Defendants.
R. Grand United States Magistrate Judge.
OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT FRANK LENZ'S
MOTION TO DISMISS , DISMISSING
PLAINTIFFS' FEDERAL CLAIMS, AND DECLINING TO
EXERCISE JURISDICTION OVER PLAINTIFFS' STATE LAW
GERSHWIN A. DRAIN UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE.
31, 2015, James Sinclair, Patricia Sinclair, Rebel Scrap
Metal, LLC, and Parts-A-Plenty, Inc. filed this lawsuit
against four police officers alleging that their
constitutional rights were violated when property was seized
from their business during a criminal raid. Dkt. No. 1.
matter is presently before the Court on Defendant Frank
Lenz's Motion to Dismiss, pursuant to Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 12(c), filed on April 25, 2017. Dkt. No. 32.
Plaintiffs did not file a response. City of Detroit
Defendants filed a response on June 6, 2017, arguing that
claims raised by Defendant Lenz apply equally to City of
Detroit police officers. Dkt. No. 40. On June 8, 2017, the
Court conducted a hearing on the motion and heard oral
arguments. For the reasons discussed herein, the Court
GRANTS Defendant Lenz's Motion to
Dismiss , DISMISSES Plaintiffs'
federal claims, and declines to exercise supplemental
jurisdiction over Plaintiffs' remaining state law claims.
August 1, 2012, the Detroit Police Department received an
anonymous phone tip that there were stolen cars on the
property of Rebel Scrap Metal, LLC. Dkt. No. 1, p. 5 (Pg. ID
5). James Sinclair had not yet obtained licensing from the
State of Michigan and City of Detroit for Rebel Scrap.
Id. at 4-5. The following day, Detroit police
officers set up surveillance and observed a pick-up truck
with a broken window and missing license plate pull into the
business. Id. at 5. Approximately thirty minutes
later, Detroit police advised James Sinclair that they would
be conducting a business inspection of Rebel Scrap.
Id. at 6.
Sinclair informed the officers that the business was not yet
open because licensure applications were still pending.
Id. at 6-7. There were about 150 vehicles in the
yard, which James Sinclair had been purchasing and storing.
Id. Officers ran a VIN check on the pick-up truck
they had observed driving onto the premises that afternoon
and found it had been reported stolen. Id. at 7.
Officers then arrested James Sinclair and took him to the 2nd
Precinct police station. Id.
6:00 p.m. that day, Defendant Frank Lenz, an Oakland County
Sheriff's Department Detective working with the
Commercial Auto Theft Section of the Detroit Police
Department, prepared a search warrant. Id. Lenz
spoke with a prosecutor, and then called Magistrate Sherman
of the 36th District Court to obtain a search warrant.
Id. at 8. At the Magistrate's direction, Lenz
signed the warrant. Id. Lenz then radioed officers
at the business that he had a signed search warrant, at which
point the officers resumed searching the property.
trucks began arriving at the property to remove vehicles.
Lenz was allegedly in charge of inventorying vehicles that
left the property, which included vehicles owned by James and
Patricia Sinclair that were purchased and registered prior to
Rebel Scrap's existence. Id. On the direction of
a Detroit police officer, all vehicles located on the
property were seized and towed. Id. at 9. James and
Patricia Sinclair's personal vehicles were seized for
possible forfeiture in connection with criminal charges.
Id. Police removed property from Rebel Scrap all
night, concluding at 1:30 a.m. the next day. Id. at
Sinclair was subsequently charged with Conducting a Criminal
Enterprise, contrary to Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.159i;
Operating a Chop Shop, contrary to Mich. Comp. Laws §
750.535a; and twenty-three counts of Receiving and Concealing
Stolen Property, contrary to Mich. Comp. Laws §
750.535(7). Id. James Sinclair filed a motion to
suppress evidence, quash the information, and return personal
property during the criminal proceedings. Id.; Dkt.
No. 32-2, p. 4 (Pg. ID 177). The trial court found the search
and seizure, including the search warrant and administrative
search, were lawful. Id. at 14-15 (Pg. ID 187-88).
The judge further concluded that the seizure of property for
criminal forfeiture was meritorious and the State of Michigan
did not need to immediately return the property. Id.
at 16 (Pg. ID 189).
Sinclair took an interlocutory appeal to the Michigan Court
of Appeals, challenging the lawfulness of both the
administrative search and the seizure of property. Dkt. No.
32-3, p. 1 (Pg. ID 196). The appeal was denied on December
30, 2013. Id. James Sinclair then sought leave to
appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court. Dkt. No. 32-4, p. 1
(Pg. ID 197). This request was denied on February 3, 2015.
Id. On January 19, 2016, James Sinclair entered a
plea of nolo contendere. Dkt. No. 32-5, p. 1 (Pg. ID
198). He was sentenced on April 18, 2016. Id.
district court's denial of a motion for judgment on the
pleadings under Federal Civil Rule 12(c) is “analyzed
under the same de novo standard as motions to dismiss
pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6).” Sensations, Inc. v.
City of Grand Rapids, 526 F.3d 291, 295 (6th Cir. 2008).
This Court is required to “accept all well-pleaded
factual allegations of the complaint as true and construe the
complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff”
when scrutinizing a complaint under Rule 12(b)(6). Dubay
v. Wells, 506 F.3d 422, 426 (6th Cir. 2007). Although a
complaint need not contain “detailed factual
allegations, ” it must contain more than “labels
and conclusions” or “a formulaic recitation of
the elements of a cause of action.” Bell Atl. Corp.
v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). A complaint
survives a motion to dismiss if it “contain[s]
sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim
to relief that is plausible on its face.” Ashcroft
v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). “A claim has
facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content
that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that
the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
ruling on a Rule 12(c) motion, the Court may take
“matters of public record, orders, items appearing in
the record of the case, and exhibits attached to the
complaint” into account. Barany-Snyder v.
Weiner, 539 F.3d 327, 332 (6th Cir. 2008). The Court
“need not accept the plaintiff's legal conclusions
or unwarranted factual inferences as true.”
Commercial Money Ctr., Inc. v. Illinois Union Ins.
Co., 508 F.3d 327, 336 (6th Cir. 2007). To withstand a
Rule 12(c) motion, “a complaint must contain direct or
inferential allegations respecting all the material elements
under some viable legal theory.” Id.
their Complaint, Plaintiffs allege eight claims. Dkt. No. 1,
pp. 11-19 (Pg. ID 11-19). Claims against the City of
Detroit-specifically Count V, the Monell claim-and
police officers in their official ...