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United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division
February 26, 2021, Decided; February 26, 2021, Filed
Civil Action No. 17-CV-13519
OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND DENYING PLAINTIFF'S CONDITIONAL MOTION TO FILE AN AMENDED COMPLAINT
This matter is presently before the Court on plaintiff's motion for summary judgment [docket entry 72] and his conditional motion for leave to file a first amended complaint ("FAC") [docket entry 73]. Defendants and the state intervenor have responded to these motions [*2] and plaintiff has replied. Pursuant to E.D. Mich. LR 7.1(f)(2), the Court shall decide these motions without a hearing.
This is a takings case, which plaintiff commenced in 2017. This Court dismissed the complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, but the court of appeals reversed and remanded for further proceedings. See docket entry 67. In its opinion, the Sixth Circuit described the facts and issues presented in this case as follows:
After Donald Freed fell behind on his property taxes by about $1,100, the State of Michigan foreclosed on his real property, sold it at auction for about half of its fair market value, and kept all the proceeds of the sale. Freed got nothing. So he filed this lawsuit in federal court under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging, inter alia, an unconstitutional taking by state and local officials in violation of the Fifth Amendment.
* * *
Freed owed $735.43 in taxes on his property valued at about $97,000. The amount owed grew to $1,109.06 once administrative expenses, costs, and interest were added. Freed claims he did not know he was behind on his taxes because he cannot read or write well.
When a property owner falls behind on his taxes in Michigan, the local county treasurer can file an in-rem action in circuit [*3] court under the General Property Tax Act ("GPTA"), MCL § 211.78 et seq. Michelle Thomas, Gratiot County's treasurer, did so in June 2016, and the state court ordered foreclosure in February 2017. Thomas sold the property six months later at a public auction to a third party for $42,000. Freed got nothing; he lost his home and all its equity.
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 48524 *; 2021 WL 942077
DONALD FREED, Plaintiff, vs. MICHELLE THOMAS, et al., Defendants.
Subsequent History: Motion granted by, Reserved by, Remanded by Freed v. Thomas, 2021 U.S. App. LEXIS 22283 (6th Cir., July 27, 2021)
Later proceeding at Freed v. Thomas, 2022 U.S. App. LEXIS 1099 (6th Cir., Jan. 13, 2022)
Prior History: Freed v. Thomas, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 70189, 2018 WL 1964669 ( E.D. Mich., Apr. 26, 2018)
docket entry, foreclosing, foreclosure, summary judgment motion, foreclosure sale, argues, governmental unit, just compensation, excessive fines, proceeds, motion for leave, summary judgment, property owner, forfeiture, entity, property taxes, immunity, refund, taxes, surplus proceeds, intervenor, properties
Civil Procedure, Summary Judgment, Entitlement as Matter of Law, Appropriateness, Judgments, Entitlement as Matter of Law, Burdens of Proof, Movant Persuasion & Proof, Burdens of Proof, Genuine Disputes, Constitutional Law, Bill of Rights, Fundamental Rights, Eminent Domain & Takings, Real Property Law, Elements, Involuntary Acquisition & Diminution of Value, Takings, Procedural Due Process, Scope of Protection, Tax Law, Real Property Taxes, Collection of Tax, Tax Deeds & Tax Sales, Governments, Local Governments, Employees & Officials, Methods & Timing, Cruel & Unusual Punishment, Capacity of Parties, Representative Capacity, Agents, Claims By & Against, State & Territorial Governments, Civil Rights Law, Immunity From Liability, Local Officials, Customs & Policies, Direct Causal Links, Section 1983 Actions, Scope, Government Actions