United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
THE INDIGENOUS AMERICAN PEOPLE INHABITING THE COUNTY OF WAYNE, MICHIGAN, Plaintiff,
WAYNE COUNTY MUNICIPAL CORPORATION, et al., Defendants.
R. Grand Judge
ORDER OVERRULING PLAINTIFF'S OBJECTION ,
ACCEPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION , AND DENYING
PLAINTIFF'S EX PARTE MOTION FOR A TEMPORARY RESTRAINING
MICHELSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
September 3, 2019, The Indigenous American People Inhabiting
the County of Wayne, Michigan (IAP), filed this lawsuit to
halt a real property auction set for September 4, 2019. Along
with its complaint, IAP filed a motion for an ex
parte temporary restraining order. (ECF No. 2.)
the relief IAP requested was clear, the legal bases for the
requested relief was not. In its pro se complaint,
IAP claims that the succession of the Wayne County Treasurer
(from Raymond Wojtowicz to Richard Hathaway to Eric Sabree)
was unlawful. (ECF No. 1, PageID.2- 4.) IAP's complaint
also suggests that some (or all) of the homes of its members
were unlawfully deemed abandoned. (ECF No. 1, PageID.8.) As
for its motion, IAP describes how the Wayne County Treasurer
is not lawfully in office (ECF No. 2, PageID.69), suggests
that the Wayne County Treasurer (or related entity) committed
mail fraud (id. at PageID.70), claims that the
“Land Mandate” (apparently a quote from
Pollard's Lessee v. Hagan, 44 U.S. 212 (1845))
entitles its members to their properties (id. at
PageID.71-72), suggests that property-tax-assessment
procedures were not followed (id. at PageID.73-75),
and suggests that proper procedures were not followed in
deeming its members' properties abandoned (id.
at PageID.75-76). Many of these claims are difficult to
follow and recite verbatim the text of case law, regulations,
and statutes. As far as this Court can tell, members of IAP
did not pay their taxes-or, at least, the Wayne County
Treasurer determined that they had not-and so their homes
were foreclosed upon and slated for the September 4 auction.
after this case was filed, on September 4, this Court
referred all pretrial matters to Magistrate Judge David R.
Grand. He promptly addressed IAP's motion for an ex
parte temporary restraining order; he recommends the
motion be denied. (ECF No. 11.) IAP now objects. (ECF No.
Court will overrule IAP's objections. As an initial
matter, the IAP has not addressed the Magistrate Judge's
finding that IAP did not comply with Rule 65's procedural
requirements for an ex parte (as opposed to an
inter partes) temporary restraining order.
(See ECF No. 11, PageID.156-157 (citing Fed.R.Civ.P.
65(b)(1)(B).) That alone is a sufficient basis to accept the
Magistrate Judge's recommendation to deny the motion.
even looking past Rule 65(b)(1)(B), IAP's objections do
not show that the Magistrate Judge was wrong to recommend
that the motion be denied. Perhaps IAP is correct that its
members could not, as the Magistrate Judge suggested (ECF No.
12, PageID.166), avoid irreparable harm by redeeming their
properties after the auction, see Mich. Comp. Laws
§ 211.78k(5). But an injunction requires a showing of
likelihood of success too, see Gonzales v. Nat'l Bd.
of Med. Exam'rs, 225 F.3d 620, 625 (6th Cir. 2000),
and the IAP's objections do not show that the Magistrate
Judge was wrong to think that IAP is not likely to prevail
when all is said and done (see ECF No. 11,
PageID.158). The IAP objects that the Magistrate Judge lacked
the ability to understand the issues because “he is not
Indigenous to this land.” (ECF No. 12, PageID.163.) But
being native to North America (or Wayne County) is not a
qualification for becoming a federal magistrate judge.
See 28 U.S.C. § 631(b). And IAP's objection
that the Magistrate Judge is “racially biased”
has zero factual support. (ECF No. 12, PageID.165.) Nor is
the Court persuaded that the Land Mandate “directly
entitles the Heirs to the Vast Estate.” (ECF No. 12,
PageID.163.) The IAP's reference to a “consent
agreement” in MorningSide Community Organization v.
Wayne County Treasurer appears to be mistaken:
MorningSide was ultimately dismissed for lack of
subject-matter jurisdiction, No. 336430, 2017 WL 4182985, at
*1 (Mich. Ct. App. Sept. 21, 2017). Finally, the IAP faults
the Magistrate Judge for not ruling on its ex parte
motion until after the auction and 15 days after the motion
was filed. (ECF No. 12, PageID.165.) But the IAP does not
explain why it had to wait until the day before the auction
to seek emergency ex parte relief. Nor does it
explain how the Magistrate Judge's delay-if it could even
be called that-resulted in any prejudice. After all, the
recommendation was to deny the motion.
the Court will overrule the IAP's objection and accept
the Magistrate Judge's recommendation to deny the
IAP's motion for an ex parte temporary
 The IAP appears to be made up of eight
individuals who own or owned real property in Wayne County.
(See ECF No. 1, PageID.54-62.) They say that
“Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples, HR
489” states that “Native People and descendants
of Native People along with descendants of ex-slaves are the
only peoples that are indigenous to this land called the
United States.” (ECF No. 2, PageID.70.) It is unclear
if IAP is a formal association or simply a name that the
eight individuals used to file this case. It may be necessary
for the individuals to file suit in their own names because
an association cannot proceed pro se, see Zanecki v.
Health All. Plan of Detroit, 576 Fed.Appx. 594, 595 (6th
Cir. 2014); Rivera v. Hoffman, No. 19-CV-3494, 2019
WL 3765928, at *1 (E.D. Pa. Aug. 8, 2019), and it is unclear
that there would be associational standing, see Hunt v.
Wash. State Apple Advertising Comm'n, 432 U.S. 333,
343 (1977). Further, it could be that IAP has not stated