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Nouri v. Manzella

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

February 26, 2018

LABEED NOURI, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
VITO MANZELLA, Defendant.

          OPINION & ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS (Dkt. 13)

          MARK A. GOLDSMITH United States District Judge

         This matter is before the Court on Defendant Vito Manzella's motion to dismiss Plaintiffs Labeed Nouri, Health O Rama Urgent Care PLLC (“Healthorama”), and St. Peter Medical Center, P.C.'s (“St. Peter”) complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) (Dkt. 13). For the reasons that follow, the Court grants Manzella's motion as to the Fourteenth Amendment claim, but denies the motion as to all other claims.

         I. BACKGROUND

         According to the complaint, Plaintiff Labeed Nouri is an orthopedic surgeon who rents office space in a commercial building (“3058 Metro Parkway”). Compl. ¶ 8 (Dkt. 1). Nouri is affiliated with several businesses located at 3058 Metro Parkway - he owns an urgent care medical clinic, Healthorama, which operates from Suite 205; he maintains his orthopedic surgery practice, St. Peter, at Suite 204;[1] and he rents additional office space from which he operates other businesses, including a physical therapy clinic. Id. ¶¶ 9-10, 11. Defendant Vito Manzella is a state of Michigan district court officer. Compl. ¶ 14.

         In February 2015, Nouri purchased an x-ray machine from Unitech Imaging, Inc. (“Unitech”). Id. ¶ 16. There was a “dispute” between Nouri and Unitech regarding payment for the machine, and in October 2016, Unitech obtained a default judgment against Nouri in the amount of $7, 163.00. Id. ¶¶ 17-19.

         On December 22, 2016, Unitech obtained a request and order to seize property in the amount of $7, 200.93. Id. ¶ 21. The parties dispute the validity of this order. Plaintiffs attached a copy of the order to their complaint, which is not endorsed (that is, signed and dated by the court officer executing the order)[2] and states that it is to be served by James Adamo. See Request and Order to Seize Property, Ex. E to Compl. (Dkt. 1-6). Manzella attached a different version of the order to his motion to dismiss, on which the name “Vito Manzella” was handwritten next to the typed name of “James Adamo.” See Request and Order to Seize Property, Ex. A to Def. Mot. (Dkt. 13-1). This order is endorsed. In their response, Plaintiffs state that they requested a copy of the order from the state district court, and received yet a third version. See Pl. Resp. at 15. This third order also shows that Manzella's name was handwritten next to Adamo's typed name, but the handwriting is noticeably different than the handwriting in the order provided by Manzella. See Request and Order to Seize Property, Ex. B to Pls. Reply (Dkt. 16-3). This third order is not endorsed.

         On the morning of February 10, 2017, Manzella and four other individuals appeared at St. Peter. Id. ¶ 26. Manzella presented a badge and “court paper” to the office receptionist and asked for payment of the judgment. Id. ¶¶ 26, 28. The receptionist offered a corporate check, but Manzella demanded a cashier's check. Id. ¶ 31.

         Nouri was not at 3058 Metro Parkway at the time Manzella arrived, but after being contacted by the receptionist, Nouri spoke to Manzella on the phone around 10:00 a.m. and ensured him that he was on his way to 3058 Metro Parkway. Id. ¶¶ 27, 33, 35. Manzella stated that he would need a cashier's check by 11:00 a.m. or he would “shut the place down.” Id. ¶ 34.

         Manzella and the four other individuals remained in St. Peter's waiting room until 11:00 a.m., at which point they went into the interior portion of the office, including into the Healthorama suite next door. Id. ¶¶ 36-37. Manzella informed all of the patients and staff that they needed to leave the office immediately, and proceeded to rifle through filing cabinets, take photographs of the office, and seize personal cash from office employees. Id. ¶¶ 38-40.

         Nouri arrived at 3058 Metro Parkway around this same time, and Manzella told him that he would “put him in jail” if he did not pay immediately. Id. ¶¶ 41-42. Nouri called the police, but they did not take action as the dispute appeared to be a civil manner. Id. ¶ 43.

         Nouri offered several ways to satisfy the judgment, such as by letting Manzella take the x-ray machine in question, or by providing a corporate check, but Manzella refused. Id. ¶¶ 44-47. Around noon, Manzella called a locksmith, had the locks changed on all of the office suite doors, and instructed everyone to leave the premises. Id. ¶ 48.

         Nouri left to obtain a cashier's check. Id. ¶ 49. Around 3:00 p.m., Nouri provided a cashier's check for $9, 590.84 to Manzella, at which point Manzella provided the keys to the new locks on the office. Id. ¶¶ 51-52, 62.

         Plaintiffs allege that Manzella's actions disrupted business at St. Peter, Healthorama, and the physical therapy clinic not only throughout the day on February 10, 2017, but the following day as well, as patients needed to be rescheduled. Id. ¶¶ 53-57. Due to the disruption, patients were unable to have stitches removed when scheduled, or to have injections administered at the prescribed times. Id. ¶ 60. At least one patient's urgent medical needs were unmet, as a patient with a fractured leg bone had to be sent away. Id. ¶ 55.

         On July 17, 2017, Plaintiffs filed a complaint seeking relief for violations of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983; trespass; tortious interference with business relationship; and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

         II. ...


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