Litigation

This summary also appears under Business Law

 

Issues: Minority shareholder oppression; The Michigan Limited Liability Company Act (MCL 450.4101 et seq.); MCL 450.4515; Whether the trial court's findings were sufficient for review; Function of a pleading; Dalley v. Dykema Gossett; MCR 2.111(B)(1); Weymers v. Khera; MCR 2.118(C)(1) & (2); Zdrojewski v. Murphy; Absence of a finding whether defendants expressly or implicitly consented to a constructive amendment of the complaint; City of Bronson v. American States Ins. Co.; The trial court's written opinion; MCR 2.517(A)(1) & (2); Triple E Produce Corp. v. Mastronardi Produce, Ltd.; LaFond v. Rumler; Refusal to qualify an appraisal expert as an expert in property management; MRE 702; Gilbert v. DaimlerChrysler Corp.; Lenawee Cnty. v. Wagley; Gay v. Select Specialty Hosp.; First Holding Manager, LLC (FH Manager); First Holding Management Company, LLC (FH Management); Operating agreement (OA)

Court: Michigan Court of Appeals (Unpublished)

Case Name: Goldberg v. First Holding Mgmt. Co.

e-Journal Number: 58258

Judge(s): Per Curiam – Riordan, Donofrio, and Boonstra

 

Concluding that the trial court's findings were insufficient for review in this action alleging minority shareholder oppression, the court remanded the case for further clarification. Clarification was also warranted as to the qualifications of the plaintiff's proposed expert because the trial court failed to provide the reasoning for its refusal to qualify the appraisal expert as an expert in property management. Thus, the court vacated the trial court's judgment for the defendants following a bench trial, and remanded. Defendants-88 Woods, LLC, 96 MB, LLC, and Brighton Glenns, LLC all own apartment complexes. "Plaintiff had an ownership interest in the companies, the percentage of which varied throughout the years." The named manager of the properties was defendant-FH Manager, which delegated its management responsibilities to defendant-FH Management. The defendants-Sills owned FH Manager and FH Management. Plaintiff alleged member oppression as to 88 Woods, Brighton, and 96 MB in violation of MCL 450.4515, and sought common-law equitable dissolution of Brighton and 96 MB (88 Woods was sold in 2011), and an accounting. The court concluded that the "trial court provided no guidance regarding the scope of the issues at trial. When defendants objected to specific evidence pertaining to the sale of 88 Woods, the trial court ruled in plaintiff's favor." Apart from that ruling, it was "unclear what the trial court understood were the precise issues plaintiff brought forth in his complaint or through the evidence submitted at trial." While decisions on the meaning and scope of a pleading are within the trial court's discretion, it did "not appear that the trial court actually exercised that discretion in this case to delineate in its ruling the scope of the issues before it." The court was "left to speculate about what theories and evidence the trial court considered in its ultimate decision." Further, this "lack of clarity is exacerbated by the deficiencies in the trial court's subsequent written opinion." The trial court conflated 2 of plaintiff's allegations, "failed to analyze the propriety of the Sills' purchase of 88 Woods' mortgage" and although it referenced the sale of 88 Woods, "and placed it in the context of the real estate market at that time, it failed to analyze the precise issue of whether the [OA] permitted defendants' actions." Further, it "provided virtually no explanation for declining to qualify plaintiff's witness as an expert in property management."

 

Full Text Opinion

This summary also appears under Insurance

 

Issues: The No-Fault Act (NFA)(MCL 500.3101 et seq.); Holding an insurer company liable for a risk it did not assume; Citizens Ins. Co. v. Pro-Seal Serv. Group, Inc.; Priority; MCL 500.3114(3); Besic v. Citizens Ins. Co. of the Midwest; Celina Mut. Ins. Co. v. Lake States Ins. Co.; "Occupying" a motor vehicle; Farm Bureau Mut. Ins. Co. v. MIC Gen. Ins. Corp.; A tractor and a trailer as separate vehicles; Kelly v. Inter-City Truck Lines, Inc.; Citizens Ins. Co. of Am. v. Roadway Express, Inc.; Motion for leave to file a notice of nonparty fault; MCR 2.112(K)(1); A claim for no-fault benefits distinguished from a tort action; Atkins v. Suburban Mobility Auth. for Reg'l Transp.; Holton v. A+ Ins. Assocs., Inc.; Motion for relief from a stipulated order of dismissal; MCR 2.612(C)(1)(a) & (f); Heugel v. Heugel;"Mistake"; Marshall v. Marshall; Gillispie v. Board of Tenant Affairs of Detroit Hous. Comm'n; Effect of stipulations; Thompson v. Continental Motors Corp.; Contract defenses; Jurisdiction; MCR 7.204(A)(1)(b); Res judicata; Adair v. State; Stoudemire v. Stoudemire; Collateral estoppel; Leahy v. Orion Twp.; Monat v. State Farm Ins. Co.; Rule that a court speaks through its written orders; In re Contempt of Henry; Subrogation; A prima facie negligence claim; Hampton v. Waste Mgmt. of MI, Inc.; Fultz v. Union-Commerce Assocs.; Insurance agent's duty to procure the coverage requested; Zaremba Equip., Inc. v. Harco Nat'l Ins. Co.; Motion for leave to file an amended complaint; Hakari v. Ski Brule, Inc.; Sanctions; A "frivolous" complaint; MCR 2.114(D)-(F); MCR 2.625(A)(2); MCL 600.2591(3)

Court: Michigan Court of Appeals (Unpublished)

Case Name: Hamdi v. Citizens Ins. Co. of Am.

e-Journal Number: 58247

Judge(s): Per Curiam – Gleicher, Servitto, and Ronayne Krause

 

In these consolidated appeals, the court held in Docket No. 314255 that the trial court properly ruled that defendant-Citizens Insurance was first in priority for payment of no-fault benefits to plaintiff-Hamdi. The trial court also did not err in denying Citizens' motion for leave to file a notice of nonparty fault as to defendant-Ayat Trucking's insurance agency, or its motion for relief from the stipulated order of dismissal it entered into with Hamdi. In Docket Nos. 316334 and 317008, the court held that res judicata and collateral estoppel barred Citizens' claim against defendant-National Casualty, and that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying Citizens' motion to for leave to file a futile amended complaint. Further, it did not err in finding that Citizens' complaint was frivolous and in awarding sanctions to National. As to the case filed by Hamdi in Wayne County Circuit Court, he was injured in a one-vehicle accident while driving a semi-truck or "tractor" and attached trailer, in the course of his employment with Ayat. The tractor and trailer were owned by defendant-Mohammed d/b/a 2 M's Chalmers Auto Repair, Inc. (2 M's), but were leased to defendant-Alzirgany d/b/a Ayat for a 12-month period. Citizens was the insurer of the tractor under a policy obtained by 2 M's and National was the insurer of the trailer under a policy obtained by Ayat. "The specific motor vehicle Hamdi was occupying was the tractor. A tractor and a trailer are two separate and distinct motor vehicles" under the NFA. The tractor was owned by his employer, Ayat, by virtue of the 12-month lease. "Pursuant to MCL 500.3114(3), then, Hamdi 'shall receive personal protection insurance benefits to which the employee is entitled from the insurer of the furnished vehicle.' The insurer 'of the furnished vehicle' is Citizens, given that the furnished vehicle, i.e., the one Hamdi was occupying at the time of the accident and the one provided by his employer, was the tractor. There is simply no other way to read the plain and unambiguous language of this statute." As to Citizens' claims in its 2012 case filed in Oakland County Circuit Court, the court held that its claim against National was "the exact issue that the trial court resolved with finality in the Wayne County litigation." Its claims against Ayat's insurance agencies, defendants-Peoples Insurance Agency and JM Wilson (JMW), failed because, among other things, Citizens "failed to establish any separate duty that Peoples or JMW owed to it, a third party." Finally, Citizens' "position against National in the Oakland County Circuit Court was devoid of arguable legal merit" and thus, the trial court "did not commit clear legal error in finding the Oakland action against National to be frivolous" and in awarding sanctions to National. Affirmed.

 

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