United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
Mercedes Benz of St. Clair Shores, Plaintiff,
Drug Enforcement Administration, the United States of America, and Maurice Haggen, Defendants.
Anthony P. Patti Mag. Judge
OPINION AND ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR HEARING TO QUASH
WARRANT AND OBTAIN RETURN OF FUNDS SEIZED  AND GRANTING
MOTION TO DISMISS 
E. LEVY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
case arises out of a dispute surrounding $47, 500.00, which
Defendant the United States government seized from Plaintiff
Mercedes Benz of St. Clair Shores's bank account on or
about July 1, 2019. (ECF No. 8, PageID.19.) The government
argues that this Court does not have jurisdiction over this
case and seeks dismissal. (ECF No. 11.) Specifically, the
government argues that since it commenced administrative
forfeiture proceedings under the Civil Asset Forfeiture
Reform Act of 2000 (“CAFRA”), 18 U.S.C. §
983, Plaintiff's only remedy for contesting the seizure
is through those proceedings and not through this separate
case. (Id.) Plaintiff disagrees, challenges the
propriety of the seizure, and seeks the return of funds. (ECF
Nos. 8, 14.)
reasons set forth below, Defendant's motion to dismiss is
granted and Plaintiff's motion for a hearing to quash the
warrant and obtain return of the funds seized is denied.
is a car dealership, and an individual, Maurice Haggen,
sought to purchase a 2014 Rolls Royce
Wraith from Plaintiff. (ECF No. 8, PageID.81.) Haggen
provided a $47, 500.00 down payment in cash to secure
purchase of the vehicle following approval of his financing
application. Then, Plaintiff purchased the vehicle from a
third party for $169, 300.00. Soon after, Haggen informed
Plaintiff that he no longer wanted to purchase the vehicle.
He requested that Plaintiff refund the $47, 500.00 and
days later, on June 13, 2019, the government served Plaintiff
with a warrant for $47, 500.00. Plaintiff refused to comply.
The government then obtained a second seizure warrant on June
28, 2019, this time directed at Plaintiff's bank, Chase,
for the same amount. (ECF No. 11, PageID.129.) On or around
July 1, 2019, Chase froze $47, 500.00 from Plaintiff's
account and sent a certified check to the Internal Revenue
Service (“IRS”) for that amount.
same day, Plaintiff filed its complaint in this case. (ECF
No. 1.) Plaintiff's complaint alleges the
government's June 13, 2019 warrant violated its Fourth
Amendment right against unreasonable seizure, arguing that
both the innocent purchaser defense and the lienholder
defense should apply. Plaintiff also alleges that the
government violated the due process clause of the Fifth
Amendment. The facts underlying Plaintiff's complaint
center only around the June 13, 2019 warrant and do not
mention the June 28, 2019 warrant.
10, 2019, Plaintiff filed a notice to quash the warrant and
obtain return of the funds seized, arguing that the funds
obtained from Chase arising out of the June 28, 2019 warrant
should be returned to Plaintiff. (ECF No. 8.)
Plaintiff's motion was pending with this Court, the
government commenced separate administrative forfeiture
proceedings under the CAFRA on July 17, 2019. (ECF No. 11-1,
PageID.141-145.) CAFRA authorizes the government to seize and
forfeit any property involved in a transaction or attempted
transaction in violation of certain criminal statutes after
obtaining a seizure warrant under Federal Rule of Criminal
Procedure 41(a). 18 U.S.C. § 981(a), (b).
August 17, 2019, Plaintiff responded to the CAFRA notice of
intent by filing an administrative claim in those
proceedings. (ECF No. 11-2, PageID.146-150.). In its claim,
Plaintiff raised many of the same arguments it raises in this
case. (Id.) The government then took the next step
in the civil forfeiture proceedings and filed an action under
CAFRA on November 12, 2019, which is currently pending in the
United States District Court in the Eastern District of
Michigan before Judge Gershwin A. Drain. (See United
States v. Currency $47, 500 from JP Morgan Chase Bank Account
No. xxxxx3957, No. 19-13329 (E.D. Mich.); and
see ECF No. 19-1.) Thus, there are two separate
proceedings regarding the seizure of the $47, 500.00: this
case and the CAFRA proceedings.
12(b)(1) motions to dismiss for lack of subject-matter
jurisdiction generally come in two varieties: a facial attack
or a factual attack.” Gentek Bldg. Prod., Inc. v.
Sherwin-Williams Co., 491 F.3d 320, 330 (6th Cir. 2007).
Relevant here, a factual attack “raises a factual
controversy requiring the district court to ‘weigh the
conflicting evidence to arrive at the factual predicate that
subject-matter does or does not exist.'”
Wayside Church v. Van Buren County, 847 F.3d 812,
817 (6th Cir. 2017) (citing Gentek Bldg. Prods., 491
F.3d at 330) (internal citations omitted).
also moves for dismissal under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6). When deciding a motion to dismiss under
Rule 12(b)(6), the Court must “construe the complaint
in the light most favorable to the plaintiff and accept all
allegations as true.” Keys v. Humana, Inc.,684 F.3d 605, 608 (6th Cir. 2012). “To 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). A plaintiff's claim is facially
plausible “when the plaintiff pleads factual content
that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that
the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
Id. A plausible claim need not contain
“detailed factual ...