Ypsilanti Fire Marshall V Kircher

730 N.W.2d 481 (2007)


A series of disputes between D and Ypsilanti began in the late 1980s. Ypsilanti had previously filed to compel D to make certain repairs and abate certain building-code and fire-code violations. These actions resulted in the entry of an agreed-upon order between the parties, in which Ypsilanti's building supervisor was appointed receiver for the purposes of bringing the exterior of the building into compliance with the building ordinances and the Historic District ordinance. The order dealt primarily with brickwork and facade repairs, roof repairs, and window and doorway repairs. D was designated as the contractor' to perform the specified repairs 'so long as D performs such duties in a timely fashion and according to' applicable Ypsilanti ordinances. If D failed, the receiver was given the authority to replace him as contractor. All costs of repairs, replacements, and other work were to be paid by D. The order specified that in the event D failed to pay, 'a lien shall be imposed upon the property which shall be collectible through property taxes.' D failed to make the repairs. Ypsilanti filed a complaint claiming that the building was in violation of the State Fire Prevention Code. The trial court entered an order appointing Robert Barnes as receiver authorizing Barnes to complete all necessary repairs. D appealed the trial court's order, asserting among other things that the trial court lacked jurisdiction to appoint a receiver and that the trial court's order allowed the receiver to undertake and charge D unlimited amounts of money for unspecified repairs. On appeal, the court agreed with D that the order appointing the receiver was overbroad. On remand, the court held the receiver duties could only include the authority to make repairs in keeping with the reason the receivership was sought which was to repair the building so that it was (1) no longer a hazard to human life (2) in compliance with the May 22, 1996 order and all subsequent orders and (3) no longer a danger or nuisance. The trial court then found that the receiver was entitled to summary disposition, noting that the receiver had been properly appointed, that repairs had been made, that D had been provided with invoices and given the opportunity to pay, and that d had failed to pay. The trial court entered a lien in the amount of $187,686.38. A motion to appoint a new receiver was made by Ypsilanti. D asserted that there was no showing that the grounds for the appointment of a receiver continued to exist. The trial court entered an order appointing Stuart Beal as the successor receiver. D sought a writ of superintending control. The appeals court issued an opinion dismissing the writ of superintending control as improvidently granted. A sheriff's sale was held and the successor receiver Beal purchased the building for $346,186.39. D also ran into trouble with an apartment building. D failed to comply Ypsilanti requested a receiver by appointed. The work was completed by Ypsilanti and D did not pay the $54,376.74 due. D's attorney noted that Ypsilanti and Barnes (the contractor) had already spent more money than the originally approved amount of $54,376.74, and raised the question whether the trial court intended to allow them to expend an unlimited amount of money on the apartment building. The court characterized the issue as abating a nuisance. Barnes filed a motion for summary disposition in a foreclosure action. D asserted that Barnes had exceeded his authority and had 'gutted' the entire inside of the apartment building. The trial court entered an order granting summary disposition for Barnes. D once again appealed. In this case, neither Barnes nor the city was appointed receiver. Instead, the trial court granted the city the exclusive right to repair the building and fire code violations. On remand, the trial court found that all of these costs were necessary and reasonable and that D, therefore, owed $218,303.32. The trial court entered a judgment of foreclosure. D appealed from a confirmation of the sale to Barnes.