You are on page 1of 4







a Michigan corporation;


vs. Case No. 2007-0841-CZ


a Michigan municipal corporation, I'"~



Defendant Township of Macomb moves for costs and attorney fees.


After contentious and protracted proceedings, a Consent Judgment was signed September

30, 2008 that provides in pertinent part:

6. Inspection of Buildings at 20077 25-Mile Road. With the exception of
the residential structure currently used by Simonne Grabow as her home, Plaintiffs
[Simonne L. Grabow, Mark H. Grabow, Kimberly S. Grabow and Brentwood
Limousine, Inc.] shall permit inspection of the buildings located at 20077 25-Mile
Road by Macomb Township or its designees for the purpose of tax assessment and
compliance with building and zoning regulations.
12. Enforcement. In the event that a dispute arises out of the terms and
conditions of this Consent judgment, the parties shall meet to discuss enforcement.
In the event a resolution is not reached, either party may seek to enforce this
judgment in the Macomb County Circuit Court. The prevailing party shall be
entitled to recover costs and attorneys' fees necessitated to enforce this judgment.

Despite the clear language of the Consent Judgment, plaintiffs did not arrange and/or permit

an inspection of the subject property. Hence, defendant was compelled to file a motion to enforce

the inspection provision of the Consent Judgment. An Order dated June 8, 2009 required plaintiffs

to allow entry onto the property for purposes ofthe inspection within seven days.

Defendant now moves for the recovery of its costs and attorney fees incurred in enforcing

the Consent Judgment.


In Laffin v Laffin, 280 Mich App 513, 517; 760 NW2d 738 (2008), the court stated:

A consent judgment is in the nature of a contract, and is to be construed and
applied as such. Gramer v Gramer, 207 Mich App 123, 125; 523 NW2d 861 (1994).
If no reasonable person could dispute the meaning of ordinary and plain contract
language, the Court must accept and enforce contractual language as written, unless
the contract is contrary to law or public policy. Rory v Continental Ins Co, 473 Mich
457,468; 703 NW2d 23 (2005). In general, consent judgments are final and binding
upon the court and the parties, and cannot be modified absent fraud, mistake, or
unconscionable advantage. Staple v Staple, 241 Mich App 562, 564; 616 NW2d 219
(2000); Walker v Walker, 155 Mich App 405, 406-407; 399 NW2d 541 (1986).

The Consent Judgment plainly provides for an award of costs and attorney fees to the party

prevailing in enforcing the terms thereof.

Plaintiffs Simonne Grabow, (Estate of) Kimberly Grabow and Brentwood Limousine's

objections based on the validity of the Consent Judgment have been previously addressed and found

to lack merit. The objections will not be addressed further.

While the Consent Judgment envisioned the parties would "meet to discuss enforcement",

the record is replete with evidence suggesting plaintiffs Simonne Grabow, (Estate of) Kimberly

Grabow and Brentwood Limousine failed to respond to any such requests. Plaintiffs Simonne

Grabow, (Estate of) Kimberly Grabow and Brentwood Limousine can not frustrate this language

and then rely on it to defeat defendant's claim. Compare Baith v Knapp-Stiles, Inc, 380 Mich 119,

126; 156 NW2d 575 (1968).


Similarly, defendant Mark Grabow's ''willingness'' to allow an inspection is repudiated by

his repeated failures to actually schedule an inspection.

Hence, defendant is entitled to its costs and attorney fees incurred in enforcing the Consent


In Morris v Detroit, 189 Mich App 271, 278-279; 472 NW2d 43 (1991), the court stated:

We recognize that there is no precise fonnula for assessing the reasonableness of an
attorney's fees. Nevertheless, in Crawley v Schick, 48 Mich App 728, 737; 211
NW2d 217 (1973), this Court enumerated several nonexclusive factors appropriately
considered for such a detennination, including:
(1) the professional standing and experience of the attorney;
(2) the skill, time and labor involved; (3) the amount in question and
the results achieved; (4) the difficulty of the case; (5) the expenses
incurred; and (6) the nature and length of the professional
relationship with the client.
While the trial court should consider these factors, its decision need not be limited to
these guidelines. [Cites omitted.] We believe the trial court may also properly
consider that the attorney originally agreed to render services on a contingency basis.

As evidenced by his affidavit, Gregory K. Need is an experienced attorney with an excellent

reputation. His hourly rate of $150 is reasonable. However, while Need was successful, enforcing

the Consent Judgment was a relatively straightforward matter. Some of the time spent on the matter

is excessive given the lack of complexity ofthe issue( s).

Defendant seeks to recover 6.4 hours at $60 per hour for a "clerk/paralegal". However, the

record is devoid of any evidence that would pennit an award for the time and labor of a legal

assistant under MCR 2.626.

Defendant also seeks to recover $123.55 for copying costs. However, defendant has failed to

proffer any evidence as to the number of copies to detennine the reasonableness ofthis cost.

Therefore, defendant is limited to recovering a reasonable attorney fee of$2,500 and the $20

cost of filing the motion.


For the reasons set forth above, defendant Township of Macomb's motion for costs and

attorney fees is GRANTED.

Accordingly, defendant is awarded $2,520 against plaintiffs Simonne L. Grabow, Mark H.

Grabow, Kimberly S. Grabow and Brentwood Limousine, Inc., jointly and severally.

This Opinion and Order resolves the last pending claim in this matter and closes the case.

MCR 2.602(A)(3).


Hon. Diane M. Druzinski, Circuit Co

Date: JUl 3 0 lOO9

cc: Vincent P. Hoyumpa, Esq.
Cindy Rhodes Victor, Esq.
GregoryK. Need, Esq.