Pegross v. Oakland County Treasurer et al
OPINION AND ORDER denying 2 Motion for Preliminary Injunction; and denying 8 Motion for TRO. Signed by District Judge John Corbett O'Meara. (WBar)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
SHERMAN PEGROSS d/b/a
ROSENBLUM & FRANKEL
Case No. 12-13072
Hon. John Corbett O’Meara
THE OAKLAND COUNTY
TREASURER, ANDREW MEISNER,
THE OAKLAND COUNTY TREASURER’S
OFFICE AND THE COUNTY OF OAKLAND,
OPINION AND ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF’S MOTIONS
FOR TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER AND PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION
Before the court are Plaintiff’s motion for preliminary injunction, filed July 12, 2012, and
motion for temporary restraining order, filed July 19, 2012. Defendants filed a combined
response on July 24, 2012. Plaintiff submitted a reply brief on July 30, 2012.
Plaintiff Sherman Pegross contends that he is the “designated agent” of several taxpayers
in Oakland County. Pegross claims that the defendant Oakland County Treasurer entered into
agreements with him to pay delinquent property taxes on four properties in West Bloomfield and
Birmingham, Michigan. Pegross asserts that the Treasurer then rescinded these agreements and
foreclosed upon these properties, despite having accepted payments from Plaintiff. Pegross
contends that these properties have been taken in violation of his due process and equal
protection rights. Pegross’s complaint also contains claims of breach of contract and intentional
infliction of emotional distress.
Defendants contend that Plaintiff does not have an interest in the four properties
referenced in the complaint and that Plaintiff misrepresented his interest in those properties in an
attempt to gain ownership of them through fraud. Plaintiff denies these allegations and
maintains that he entered into written and oral purchase agreements with the owners of the
properties. Plaintiff does not, however, attach copies of any such written agreements.
LAW AND ANALYSIS
Plaintiff seeks injunctive relief from the court to stop the Oakland County Treasurer from
selling the properties at tax foreclosure sales and evicting the occupants. “A preliminary
injunction is an extraordinary remedy which should be granted only if the movant carries his or
her burden of proving that the circumstances clearly demand it.” Overstreet v. LexingtonFayette Urban Cty. Gov’t, 305 F.3d 566, 573 (6th Cir. 2002). In determining whether to grant a
motion for preliminary injunction, the court considers the following factors: “(1) whether the
movant has shown a strong likelihood of success on the merits; (2) whether the movant will
suffer irreparable harm if the injunction is not issued; (3) whether the issuance of the injunction
would cause substantial harm to others; and (4) whether the public interest would be served by
issuing the injunction.” Id.
The court finds that Plaintiff has shown neither a strong likelihood of success on the
merits nor that he will suffer irreparable harm if an injunction is not granted. First, Plaintiff has
not provided evidence that he has an interest in the properties at issue. Second, even if Plaintiff
did have such an interest, his claims are barred by the Tax Injunction Act, which provides that
the “district courts shall not enjoin, suspend or restrain the assessment, levy or collection of any
tax under State law where a plain, speedy and efficient remedy may be had in the courts of such
State.” 28 U.S.C. § 1341. “Although the TIA mentions only injunctions, its policy of comity
bars declaratory judgment and 42 U.S.C. § 1983 damage actions as well.” Thiokol Corp. v.
Department of Treas., State of Mich., 987 F.2d 376, 378 (6th Cir. 1993). “The plain, speedy and
efficient remedy contemplated by the TIA merely requires that the state provide certain minimal
procedural protections against illegal tax collection. The state need only provide a full hearing at
which a taxpayer may present and secure a judicial determination at which he or she may raise
any and all constitutional objections to the tax.” Hedgepeth v. Tennessee, 215 F.3d 608, 615 (6th
Cir. 2000) (citation omitted).
The Oakland County Treasurer is foreclosing upon the properties at issue for unpaid
2009 property taxes. Parties having an interest in property listed in a petition for foreclosure are
provided with notice and an opportunity to contest the proceedings in Michigan circuit court.
See M.C.L. § 211.78k. “A person claiming an interest in a parcel of property set forth in the
petition for foreclosure who desires to contest that petition shall file written objections with the
clerk of the circuit court and serve those objections on the foreclosing governmental unit prior to
the date of the hearing required under this section.” Id.
Because a remedy exists in state court, the TIA bars Plaintiff from challenging the tax
foreclosure of the subject properties here. As a result, Plaintiff is unlikely to succeed on the
In addition, Plaintiff cannot demonstrate irreparable harm. “A plaintiff’s harm from the
denial of a preliminary injunction is irreparable if it is not fully compensable by monetary
damages.” Overstreet, 305 F.3d at 578. A plaintiff may also demonstrate irreparable harm if he
demonstrates that his constitutional rights have been violated. Id. As discussed above, the TIA
bars Plaintiff’s constitutional claims challenging the tax foreclosures, because an adequate
remedy exists in state court. Further, any other harm alleged by Plaintiff could be compensated
with money damages.
For these reasons, Plaintiff has not met his burden of demonstrating that he is entitled to
the extraordinary remedy of injunctive relief.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiff’s motions for preliminary injunction and
temporary restraining order are DENIED.
s/John Corbett O'Meara
United States District Judge
Date: August 3, 2012
I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing document was served upon the parties of
record on this date, August 3, 2012, using the ECF system and/or ordinary mail.
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?