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153110 - NL Ventures v City of Livonia

NL Ventures VI Farmington, LLC,
 
Robert M. Riley
 
Plaintiff-Appellant,
 
v
(Appeal from Ct of Appeals)
 
 
(Wayne – Allen, D.)
 
City of Livonia,
 
Michael E. Fisher
 
Defendant-Appellee.
 

Summary

The plaintiff leased property to a company that later went bankrupt. Over time, the company had accrued significant water and sewer charges owed to the defendant city. The city eventually placed approximately $900,000 of unpaid water and sewer charges on the ad valorem tax roll as liens against the plaintiff’s property and sent a tax bill to the plaintiff. The plaintiff filed suit against the city, alleging that the liens were not enforceable because the city failed to comply with its own water rate ordinance. The plaintiff also made other claims in tort and in equity. The city moved for summary disposition. The trial court held that the liens were invalid and unenforceable because the city failed to perfect the liens in accordance with the city ordinance. The trial court ordered the city to remove the liens from the tax roll and from the plaintiff’s tax bill, and barred the city from seeking payment of those liens. With regard to the plaintiff’s remaining claims, the trial court denied summary disposition because there were questions of fact. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that the city was entitled to summary disposition on all of the plaintiff’s claims. The Supreme Court has directed oral argument on the following questions: Does 1939 PA 178, MCL 123.161 et seq., which governs municipal water and sewage liens, or the Revenue Bond Act of 1933, MCL 141.101 et seq., or any other statute authorize the method by which the city sought to enforce collection of the disputed liens? If so, is the city prohibited from collecting the disputed liens because it failed to place them on the tax roll each year as required by Livonia Ordinance, § 13.08.300?