UNITED METHODIST RETIREMENT COMMUNITIES, INC., Petitioner-Appellant,
CITY OF CHELSEA, Respondent-Appellee.
Bridget M. McCormack, Chief Justice David F. Viviano, Chief
Justice Pro Tem Stephen J. Markman Brian K. Zahra Richard H.
Bernstein Elizabeth T. Clement Megan K. Cavanagh, Justices
order of the Court, the application for leave to appeal the
May 22, 2018 judgment of the Court of Appeals is considered,
and it is DENIED, because we are not persuaded that the
question presented should be reviewed by this Court.
Markman, J. (dissenting).
respectfully dissent from this Court's order denying
leave to appeal. Instead, I would grant leave to appeal to
reconsider this Court's holdings in Mich Baptist
Homes & Dev Co v Ann Arbor, 396 Mich. 660 (1976),
and Retirement Homes of the United Methodist Church v
Sylvan Twp, 416 Mich. 340 (1982), in light of our more
recent holding in Baruch SLS, Inc v Tittabawassee
Twp, 500 Mich. 345 (2017). More specifically, I would
grant to consider whether this Court's holding in
Baruch logically compels an alternative analysis for
determining whether a charitable institution is precluded
from receiving a property tax exemption under MCL 211.7o
because its property is not "occupied by [it] solely for
the purposes for which [it] was incorporated . . . ."
United Methodist Retirement Communities seeks a tax exemption
under MCL 211.7o for property it owns and operates as a
residential retirement facility for senior citizens. MCL
Real or personal property owned and occupied by a nonprofit
charitable institution while occupied by that nonprofit
charitable institution solely for the purposes for which that
nonprofit charitable institution was incorporated is exempt
from the collection of taxes under this act.
The Tax Tribunal denied petitioner an exemption on the
grounds that its property was not "occupied by [it]
solely for the purposes for which [it] was
incorporated," MCL 211.7o(1), and the Court of Appeals
affirmed, relying on this Court's decisions in Mich
Baptist and Retirement Homes. In those cases,
this Court denied tax exemptions under MCL 211.7o to
retirement homes on the basis that their properties were not
occupied solely for the purposes for which they were
incorporated. We reasoned that this requirement was only
satisfied if the homes "benefit[ed] the general public
without restriction," Mich Baptist, 396 Mich.
at 671; see also Retirement Homes, 416 Mich. at 349,
and that the homes in dispute did not do so because they did
not help the elderly population generally, but rather only a
subset of relatively less infirm and relatively less
financially needy individuals, Mich Baptist, 396
Mich. at 671-672; Retirement Homes, 416 Mich. at
here argues that the Court of Appeals erred by relying on
these two cases because their reasoning was effectively
rejected in Baruch, 500 Mich. 345 (2017). In
Baruch, we addressed one of the six factors that
this Court had previously laid out in Wexford Med Group v
City of Cadillac, 474 Mich. 192 (2006), for determining
whether an institution is "charitable." As relevant
to the instant case, Wexford held that the third of
these factors is:
A "charitable institution" does not offer its
charity on a discriminatory basis by choosing who, among the
group it purports to serve, deserves the services. Rather, a
"charitable institution" serves any person who
needs the particular type of charity being offered.
[Id. at 215.]
Baruch, however, clarified that this factor only
"ban[s] restrictions or conditions on charity that bear
no reasonable relationship to an organization's
legitimate charitable goals" and further explained that
"the 'reasonable relationship' test should be
construed quite broadly to prevent unnecessarily limiting the
restrictions a charity may choose to place on its
services." Baruch, 500 Mich. at 357-358.
contends that Baruch overruled Mich Baptist
and Retirement Homes, which denied charitable tax
exemptions on the basis of limitations that those
institutions placed on those who could receive their services
absent consideration of whether there was a reasonable
relationship between those limitations and the
organizations' legitimate charitable goals. The Court of
Appeals rejected this argument, asserting that
Baruch had exclusively addressed whether an
institution was "charitable," whereas Mich
Baptist and Retirement Homes addressed whether
a charitable institution "occupied the premises solely
for the purposes for which it was incorporated."
United Methodist Retirement Communities, Inc v City of
Chelsea, unpublished per curiam opinion of the Court of
Appeals, issued May 22, 2018 (Docket No. 337998), pp 5-6.
grant leave to reconsider Mich Baptist and
Retirement Homes in light of Baruch for
three related reasons.
Wexford factor three, which this Court interpreted
in Baruch, was arguably derived from the same two
cases (Mich Baptist and Retirement Homes)
that also supply the standard for determining whether a
property is "occupied by that nonprofit charitable
institution solely for the purposes for which [it] was
incorporated . . . ." MCL 211.7o(1). In
Wexford, before laying out the factors relevant to
determining whether an institution is "charitable,"
this Court analyzed Mich Baptist and Retirement
Homes. Wexford, 474 Mich. at 209-212. Indeed,
Wexford factor three substantially reflects the
analysis that we employed in Mich Baptist and
Retirement Homes. If Wexford factor three
was indeed derived from the same cases that defined the
standard for whether a property is "occupied by that