REMA VILLAGE MOBILE HOME PARK V ONTWA TWPAnnotate this Case
STATE OF MICHIGAN
COURT OF APPEALS
REMA VILLAGE MOBILE HOME PARK, d/b/a
EAGLE LAKE ESTATES,
March 11, 2008
Michigan Tax Tribunal
LC No. 00-273828
Advance Sheets Version
Before: O'Connell, P.J., and Borrello and Gleicher, JJ.
Petitioner appeals as of right a November 6, 2006, order of the Tax Tribunal denying
petitioner's motion for a refund of amounts it had paid under an invalid special assessment, even
though we issued a prior decision in petitioner's favor. We vacate the Tax Tribunal's order and
remand this case to the Tax Tribunal for further proceedings consistent with this opinion. This
appeal is being decided without oral argument pursuant to MCR 7.214(E).
This case was previously before this Court, resulting in an unpublished opinion per
curiam in plaintiff's favor with regard to the validity of the underlying special assessment. Rema
Village Mobile Home Park v Ontwa Twp, unpublished opinion per curiam of the Court of
Appeals, issued October 27, 2005 (Docket No. 256295). Respondent had imposed a special
assessment of $204,050 on petitioner's real property in connection with the construction of a
municipal sewer system. Petitioner challenged the legality of that special assessment in the Tax
Tribunal. The Tax Tribunal decided that the special assessment was valid, despite finding that
the assessment resulted in a decrease in the value of petitioner's property. Id., p 2. This Court
reversed the Tax Tribunal's decision, concluding that the imposition of the special assessment on
petitioner's property was invalid as a matter of law because the sewer improvement did not
confer a special benefit on the assessed property. Id., pp 3-4. Even though this Court's opinion
clearly stated that it "reversed in part" the Tax Tribunal's decision, the opinion did not state that it
was remanding this case to the Tax Tribunal.1
Apparently the Tax Tribunal was under the misconception that it had no jurisdiction over the
On September 7, 2006, petitioner filed a motion in the Tax Tribunal captioned "Motion
for Entry of Order to Refund Special Assessment." In accordance with this Court's opinion,
petitioner essentially sought an order from the Tax Tribunal canceling the special assessment
against petitioner's property. It also sought a refund, with interest, for the amount it had paid
toward the special assessment, the cancellation of monthly sewer-usage fees, a refund of the
usage fees already paid, and a recovery of legal expenses from respondent.
In the order being appealed, the Tax Tribunal denied petitioner's motion, concluding that
it lacked jurisdiction "over this issue" because this Court "did not remand the case to the
Tribunal." Petitioner argues that the Tax Tribunal erred by holding that it lacked jurisdiction
with regard to its motion because MCR 7.215(F)(1)(b) plainly vests the Tax Tribunal with
jurisdiction to enforce this Court's judgment reversing a Tax Tribunal decision. We agree. This
Court reviews de novo the existence of jurisdiction. Trostel, Ltd v Dep't of Treasury, 269 Mich
App 433, 440; 713 NW2d 279 (2006). We also review de novo the interpretation of court rules.
Muci v State Farm Mut Automobile Ins Co, 478 Mich 178, 187; 732 NW2d 88 (2007).
MCR 7.215(F)(1) provides:
Routine Issuance. Unless otherwise ordered by the Court of Appeals or
the Supreme Court or as otherwise provided by these rules,
(b) execution on the Court of Appeals judgment is to be obtained or
enforcement proceedings had in the trial court or tribunal after the record has been
returned . . . with a certified copy of the court's judgment or, if a record was not
transmitted to the Court of Appeals, after the time specified for return of the
record had it been transmitted.
It is apparent that petitioner's motion substantially constituted a motion to enforce this
Court's decision—namely, that the imposition of the relevant special assessment on petitioner's
property was invalid. On the basis of the plain language of MCR 7.215(F)(1)(b), the Tax
Tribunal had jurisdiction to enforce this Court's decision, notwithstanding this Court's failure to
expressly state that it was remanding this case to the Tax Tribunal. Therefore, the Tax Tribunal
erred by holding that it lacked jurisdiction over this issue. Although petitioner's motion arguably
went beyond the issues addressed or relief required by this Court's decision, the Tax Tribunal
was clearly entrusted under MCR 7.215(F)(1)(b) with authority to enforce this Court's opinion,
and that opinion clearly envisioned—in fact, mandated—enforcement. The implications, ways,
and means of that enforcement are not matters before this Court at this time, just as they were not
originally before us. It is enough for this limited issue that the Tax Tribunal's order denying
petitioner's motion on jurisdictional grounds is vacated, that the Tax Tribunal's jurisdiction over
enforcement proceedings is reiterated, and that the case is remanded to the Tax Tribunal for
proceedings to enforce this Court's earlier decision.
case unless this Court's opinion specifically remanded the case to it.
Petitioner also argues that the Tax Tribunal and respondent should be ordered to pay its
legal expenses because of their efforts to obstruct this Court's earlier decision. However,
petitioner cites no legal authority or doctrine whatsoever to support its request for attorney fees,
not only from the opposing party, but also from the lower tribunal. Accordingly, we reject
petitioner's request. See Badiee v Brighton Area Schools, 265 Mich App 343, 378-379; 695
NW2d 521 (2005).
Vacated and remanded to the Tax Tribunal for further proceedings consistent with this
opinion. We do not retain jurisdiction.
/s/ Peter D. O'Connell
/s/ Stephen L. Borrello
/s/ Elizabeth L. Gleicher