United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
ORDER CLARIFYING RECORD UPON REMAND [ECF NO.
CARAM STEEH UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals considered an appeal by
Gregory J. Reed alleging that he did not receive payment of
his litigation costs as mandated by the 2005 settlement
agreement and by an August 2007 order from this court. Reed
sought to renew the August 2007 order, which this court
denied as futile. This matter is before this court on remand
to “further develop the factual record on the matter of
Reed's payment.” ECF No. 306; Order p. 5. To that
end, the parties conducted limited discovery and convened for
a conference before the court on July 22, 2019.
2005 settlement agreement provided that Rosa Parks'
guardian ad litem, Dennis Archer, and Archer's legal
counsel, the Gary Firm, would be responsible for determining
the proper allocation of funds to Parks' various
attorneys, including Reed. This court approved the
recommended allocation and distribution, incorporating same
in its order dated August 10, 2005. ECF No. 276. Gregory Reed
was awarded $91, 299.33 in fees and $125, 000.00 in costs. On
August 25, 2005, a check was issued by the Gary Firm, at the
direction of Dennis Archer, to Gregory Reed in the amount of
$216, 299.33. (See cancelled check attached to this order).
This amount represents the full award of fees and costs
awarded to Reed as of that date ($91, 299.33 $125, 000.00 =
$216, 299.33). Reed cashed the check on August 30, 2005. At
this point he had been paid the full amount ordered by the
court. In direct response to the Sixth Circuit's remand
instructions, the evidence shows that Reed received his $125,
000.00 in costs, as well as the $91, 299.33 that had been
awarded as attorney's fees, on August 30, 2005.
September 12, 2005, Reed and three other attorneys who
represented Parks appealed the court-approved distribution of
attorney's fees. While the appeal was pending, Mrs. Parks
died on October 25, 2005.
Parks' death, and after cashing the check representing
payment of his attorney's fees and costs, Reed presented
a claim to the personal representatives of Rosa Parks'
estate seeking, in relevant part, to collect $236, 818 in
attorney's fees and costs generated by the federal
lawsuit. See Reed & Assoc., P.C. v. Steele, No.
335939, 2018 WL 1404122, at *1 (Mich. Ct. App. Mar. 20, 2018)
(unpublished) (reciting factual history). The estate
disallowed the claim on June 19, 2006. The reason for the
disallowance is not clear. On August 23, 2006, Reed filed a
claim in probate court against the disallowance, seeking
unpaid attorney fees and costs. Id. The probate
court, on its own motion, granted summary disposition in
favor of the personal representatives of the decedent's
estate and dismissed the action. Id. The basis of
the court's ruling was that the matter was untimely
pursuant to Mich. Comp. Laws § 700.3806(1). Reed v.
Shakoor, No. 2006-708950-CZ (Wayne Cty. Prob. Ct., Feb.
7, 2007) (unpublished).
11, 2007, the Sixth Circuit affirmed this court's
allocation to Reed of $125, 000.00 in litigation costs. The
Sixth Circuit slightly modified the attorney's fees
apportionment, determining that Reed was entitled to $98,
195.33 in fees. Parks v. Archer, 493 F.3d 761 (6th
Cir. 2007). This court issued an order on August 30, 2007
adopting the Sixth Circuit's modifications to the
distribution of attorney's fees previously ordered. ECF
No. 286. As a result, Reed was awarded an additional $6,
896.00 in fees, over and above that which was already paid
entry of the August 30, 2007 order, Reed filed another claim
in Michigan probate court attempting to collect $223, 195.33,
representing $98, 195.33 in attorney's fees and $125,
000.00 in costs. The probate court dismissed the claim on
res judicata grounds and the Michigan Court of
Appeals affirmed. See Reed & Assoc., P.C. v.
Steele, No. 335939, 2018 WL 1404122, at *1 (Mich. Ct.
App. Mar. 20, 2018) (unpublished).
described, over the last 14 years, Reed has made numerous
attempts to collect his fees and costs arising from the
litigation between Rosa Parks and LaFace Records. In fact,
all the costs and all but $6, 896.00 in fees were paid to
Reed, without the requirement of any collection effort
whatsoever, on August 25, 2005. No. evidence has been
uncovered by the parties appearing before this court showing
that Reed was paid the additional $6, 896.00 in fees that was
ordered by the Sixth Circuit on July 11, 2007 and
incorporated in this court's August 30, 2007 order. This
is not surprising, however, since Mr. Archer and the Gary
Firm ceased to have any role following the death of Mrs.
Parks. From that moment, the co-representatives of Parks'
estate took over all duties related to the assets of the
Mrs. Parks' death, all efforts to collect any remaining
attorney's fees owing pursuant to a judgment of this
court had to be taken in the probate court. The court finds
that Reed has exhausted all available efforts. Therefore, the
court stands by its finding that Reed's motion to renew
judgment would be futile.
 During this same time period, the
probate court ordered that the co-personal representatives of
the Estate of Rosa Parks take control of any monies belonging
to the decedent in the possession of the Gary Firm. (See