Judge asks Green Dot Stables, Moroun company to negotiate parking lot dispute

Oralandar Brand-Williams
The Detroit News

A temporary restraining order against the owner of the Ambassador Bridgewill remain in place until at least Thursday as a Detroit restaurant owner fights the company's effort to claim land being used as part of the restaurant's parking lot.

On Friday, Wayne County Circuit Judge Muriel Hughes adjourned a show-cause hearing until 11:30 a.m. Thursday in an effort to give lawyers for the Detroit International Bridge Company and Green Dot Stables owner Jacques Driscoll more time to work out a solution in the dispute.

The fence that Detroit International Bridge Company officials had installed on Aug. 31, 2021 blocking half of the Green Dot Stables restaurant's parking spaces, as well as its access to a dumpster and storage unit. A judge ordered the fence removed and a court hearing over a property dispute between the two companies is scheduled for Thursday.

At the heart of the lawsuit brought by Driscoll is whether the Detroit International Bridge Company owns land that the restaurant is using for part of its parking lot. The restaurant is located on West Lafayette Boulevard, a few miles east of the Ambassador Bridge.

Hughes previously ordered the bridge company to remove a fence it put up on Aug. 31 dividing some of the parking lot connected to the restaurant.

The issue of the fence did not come up during the hearing but noted Detroit attorney Melvin Butch Hollowell, who is representing the bridge company, said he would like to see cones placed on the land which his client "strongly believes" it owns to protect the company's interest.

Attorney Michelle Harrell, who is representing Driscoll, said her client does not want "any interference" on the land such as cones or blockades.

At the end of the hearing,Hughes asked both sides to continue to discuss a possible resolution ahead of Thursday's hearing. Hollowell said during the hearing that the bridge company was open to talking with Harrell about a possible resolution.

"Our major goal is to just have peace between these two neighbors and preserve the status quo," said Harrell. "We're always trying to collaboratively resolve any issue. I'm not sure if anything short of an injunction will do that."

On Friday, Wayne County Circuit Judge Muriel Hughes adjourned a show-cause hearing until 11:30 a.m. Thursday in an effort to give lawyers for the Detroit International Bridge Company and Green Dot Stables owner Jacques Driscoll more time to work out a solution to an ownership dispute over land which the restaurant is using as part of its parking lot.

Harrell said the court will have to decide the final question of who owns the strip of parking lot, adding that she expected the case to be complicated due to a "defective" deed to the parcel of land. 

"They are going to have to prove their title," she said. "I don't believe they have the ability to do that."

Driscoll's lawsuit claims squatter's rights, "adverse possession," over the property, which billionaire Matthew Moroun's bridge company claims to own.   

The two businesses had been engaged in six months of negotiations over the plot of land Driscoll said the restaurant has been using for more than 30 years, even before he and his wife bought the eatery in 2011.

When the two reached an impasse, Driscoll filed a lawsuit against the bridge company, and the company put up a fence in the middle of the parking lot. 

bwilliams@detroitnews.com