United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
ARA DARAKJIAN, et al. Plaintiffs,
CITY OF BIRMINGHAM, et al. Defendants.
Elizabeth A. Stafford Magistrate Judge
ORDER GRANTING WOODWARD BATES' MOTION TO DISMISS
AND THE CITY OF BIRMINGHAM'S MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON THE
Victoria A. Roberts United States District Judge
Woodward Bates Partners, LLC, and the City of Birmingham, et
al., filed Motions to Dismiss and for Judgment on the
Pleadings, respectively. Because the Motions assert the same
arguments and require a similar standard of review, the Court
addresses them together.
motions challenge Plaintiffs' standing. Defendants say:
(1) Ara Darakjian (“Darakjian”) lacks standing as
an individual; and (2) TIR Equities LLC (“TIR”)
lacks standing because it is a “disappointed
bidder.” Because Darakjian does not have standing as an
individual to bring a claim, Defendants' Motions are
GRANTED on his claims. Because TIR lacks
standing because he is a disappointed bidder and no
exceptions apply, Defendants' Motions are
GRANTED on TIR's claims.
founded TIR in 2014 and is its sole owner.
2017, the City of Birmingham (“the City”)
initiated a public bidder selection process to redevelop a
parcel of City property (“the Project”). Around
March 2017, the City issued a Request for Qualifications
(“RFQ”), inviting respondents to submit their
qualifications and experience for an invitation to submit a
bid, also known as a “proposal, ” for the
Project. From this process, the City invited four entities to
bid; TIR and Defendant Woodward Bates Partners, LLC were two
of the four.
the City issued a Request for Proposals (“RFP”)
to the four entities. The RFP outlined development guidelines
and design issues for the Project and included a
“conceptual illustration” of a “sample
plan” for redevelopment of the Project site. The
deadline to submit bids was January 3, 2018. Darakjian says
the sample plan was created by Woodward Bates.
January of 2018, TIR and Woodward Bates submitted bids to the
City's Ad Hoc Parking Development Committee (“the
Committee”). Darakjian and TIR allege that Woodward
Bates' proposal included the same images included in the
sample plan from the RFP. The City requested additional
information from both bidders and invited both to a formal
interview. The Committee interviewed both TIR and Woodward
Bates on March 9, 2018.
Committee met to discuss the two bids. The Committee analyzed
whether TIR's bid was in compliance with the RFP and
compared the bid to the sample design. This same day,
Darakjian served a letter to the Committee addressing
concerns about TIR's bid. The Committee did not respond.
Committee recommended to the Birmingham City Commission that
the City move forward with Woodward Bates. The Commission
approved the recommendation on June 25, 2018.
3, 2018, Darakjian sent a letter to the Commission saying
that TIR would make changes to its bid, including that TIR
would build a parking structure at no cost to the City. He
also read this letter into the record during the Commission
meeting on July 9, 2018.
17, 2018, Darakjian met with Defendant Joseph Valentine and
others to discuss TIR's bid. On July 18, 2018, Defendant
Valentine sent a letter to Darakjian advising that the City
would move forward with Woodward Bates and was unable to
consider any new proposals by Darakjian's team.
Motion to Dismiss
motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6) tests a complaint's legal sufficiency. Although
the federal rules only require that a complaint contain a
“short and plain statement of the claim showing that
the pleader is entitled to relief, ” see Rule
8(a)(2), the statement of the claim must be plausible.
Indeed, “[t]o survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint
must contain 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) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). A claim is plausible where the facts
allow the Court to infer that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged. Id. This requires more than
“bare assertions of legal conclusions”; a
plaintiff must provide the “grounds” of his or
her “entitlement to relief.” League of United
Latin Am. Citizens v. Bredesen, 500 F.3d 523, 527 (6th
deciding a motion under Rule 12(b)(6), the Court must
construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the
plaintiff and accept as true all well-pled factual
allegations. Id. The Court “may consider the
Complaint and any exhibits attached thereto, public records,
items appearing in the record of the case and exhibits
attached to defendant's motion to dismiss so long as they
are referred to in the Complaint and are central to the
claims contained therein.” Bassett v. Nat'l
Collegiate Athletic Ass'n, 528 F.3d 426, 430 (6th
Judgment on the Pleadings
Court applies essentially the same standard of review for
judgment on the pleadings as it does for a motion to dismiss
under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). Fritz v. Charter Twp. of
Comstock, 592 F.3d 718, 722 (6th Cir. 2010). “For
purposes of a motion for judgment on the pleadings, all
well-pleaded material allegations of the pleadings of the
opposing party must be taken as true, and the motion may be
granted only if the moving party is nevertheless clearly
entitled to judgment.” Poplar Creek Dev. Co. v.
Chesapeake Appalachia, L.L.C., 636 F.3d 235, 240 (6th
Cir. 2011) (citation omitted).
withstand a Rule 12(c) motion, “a complaint must
contain direct or inferential allegations respecting all the
material elements under some viable legal theory.”
Commercial Money Ctr., Inc. v. Illinois Union Ins.
Co.,508 F.3d 327, 336 (6th Cir. 2007). The
“[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right
to relief above the speculative level on the assumption that
all the allegations in the complaint are true.”
Ass'n of Cleveland Fire Fighters v. City of
Cleveland,502 F.3d 545, 548 (6th Cir. 2007) (quoting