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Floyd v. Exit Strategy LLC

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

January 16, 2018

DONNELL FLOYD, Plaintiff,
v.
EXIT STRATEGY LLC, IAN L. GROSS, and TEAM LBR LLC, Defendants.

          TERRENCE G. BERG DISTRICT JUDGE.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          MONA K. MAJZOUB UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Donnell Floyd, proceeding pro se, commenced this action against Defendants Exit Strategy LLC, Ian L. Gross, and Team LBR LLC on March 24, 2017. (Docket no. 1.) In the Complaint, Plaintiff seemingly challenges eviction proceedings related to real property located at 11415 Balfour Road in Detroit, Michigan. (See id.) Before the Court are Defendants' Motion to Dismiss (docket no. 13) and Plaintiff's Motion to Stay Eviction (docket no. 15). Plaintiff did not respond to Defendants' Motion, and the time for response has passed. Defendants, however, filed a Response to Plaintiff's Motion. (Docket no. 17.) This matter has been referred to the undersigned for all pretrial purposes. (Docket no. 7.) 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 Defendants' Motion to Dismiss (docket no. 13) be GRANTED insofar as Defendants seek dismissal of Plaintiff's claims against them and DENIED insofar as Defendants seek the costs and attorney fees that they incurred in defending this action. In light of this recommendation, it is further recommended that Plaintiff's Motion to Stay Eviction (docket no. 15) be DENIED and that this matter be dismissed in its entirety.

         II. REPORT

         A. Background

         The factual background of this matter is not evident from a reading of Plaintiff's Complaint. (See docket no. 1; docket no. 3.) Accordingly, the following information is gleaned from Defendants' brief in support of their Motion to Dismiss and the exhibits attached thereto. (See docket no. 13 at 13-17; docket nos. 13-2 to 13-11.) The defendants in this matter are Exit Strategy LLC, which owns the residential property located at 11415 Balfour Road in Detroit, Michigan; Team LBR LLC, which is Exit Strategy, LLC's property management company; and Ian L. Gross, an attorney and member of the law firm Joelson Rosenberg PLC, who, along with other members of the law firm, has represented Exit Strategy and Team LBR in prior state-court actions involving Plaintiff, and he also represents them in this matter.

         On August 23, 2016, Exit Strategy and Team LBR (the LLC Defendants), through the Joelson Rosenberg law firm, initiated eviction proceedings against Plaintiff in Michigan's 36thJudicial District Court for illegally squatting at the Balfour property (No. 16-321207). The proceedings were dismissed without prejudice. Following those proceedings, Plaintiff forged a court order quieting title to the property, and he recorded a deed with the Wayne County Register of Deeds conveying the property from himself to himself. Plaintiff then filed a complaint against the LLC Defendants in Michigan's Third Judicial Circuit Court in Wayne County on August 31, 2016, seeking to quiet title to the Balfour property on the basis that he acquired it through adverse possession (No. 16-011198-CH). While that case was pending, Plaintiff filed a complaint against the LLC Defendants in the 36th District Court alleging that they committed fraud, caused him mental anguish, and damaged his reputation by bring the eviction proceedings against him (No. 16-119397-GC). Defendants filed motions for summary disposition in both cases, which motions were granted, and Plaintiff's claims were dismissed with prejudice. Defendant Exit Strategy again brought eviction proceedings against Plaintiff in the 36th District Court on February 27, 2017 (No. 17-305457-LT), through which it obtained a judgment of possession of the Balfour property and a money judgment in the amount of $7, 405.00 against Plaintiff on March 20, 2017. The possession judgment indicated that Exit Strategy could apply for an order of eviction if Plaintiff did not vacate the property by March 31, 2017.

         Plaintiff then filed the instant form Complaint in this court on March 24, 2017. (Docket no. 1.) In the section of the Complaint that asks Plaintiff to write a short and plain statement of his claims, Plaintiff refers the court to the “Amended Complaint and Status” that he filed in 36thDistrict Court Nos. 16-321207, 16-119397, and 17-305457, and Wayne County Circuit Court No. 16-011198-CH. (Docket no. 1 at 5.) In the “Amended Complaint and Status, ” Plaintiff asserts that he is of Native American heritage, and he claims that the United States and the Department of Justice violated his Native American treaty rights. (Docket no. 1 at 10-11.) In the conclusion section of the “Amended Complaint and Status, ” Plaintiff makes six enumerated statements, which are summarized as follows: (1) Plaintiff asks Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Martha M. Snow to be the fiduciary and reserve all of the rights under Uniform Commercial Code §§ 1-207 and 1-308; (2) Plaintiff states that anyone acting under the color of law can be sued under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and he explains that the reason he is asking for money damages is because he thinks “a message should be sent to everyone in North America that you should not rape, murder, pillage or do treason, sedition, involuntary servitude, slavery, terrorism, fraud, extortion, grand theft, robbery, conspiracy and racketeering against a Native American Moor;” (3) Plaintiff states that a party can be held liable for taking advantage of another's ignorance of the law and for deceiving him by concealment or misrepresentation; (4) he states that fraud “vitiates the most solemn contracts, documents, and even judgments, ” and then he recites the definition of fraud; (5) Plaintiff purports to provide two additional definitions of fraud; and (6) Plaintiff asserts that he is seeking $250, 000.00 in “compensation” under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Id. at 11-12.)

         In the section of the instant form Complaint that asks Plaintiff to state the damages or other relief he seeks, Plaintiff indicates that he seeks a stay of the March 31, 2017 eviction resulting from the March 20, 2017 state-court judgment;[1] he references alleged default judgments that were filed in two of the state-court cases; and he seeks “punitive damages as remedy for affecting [his] health.” (Docket no. 1 at 6.) Additionally, in the portion of the form Complaint where he is required to explain the amount in controversy, Plaintiff states that he is seeking compensation under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the amount of $250, 000.00 and fee simple interest in the Balfour property. (Id. at 5.)

         B. Governing Law

         Defendants move to dismiss the Complaint pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6). (Docket no. 13.) 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 ...


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