This summary also appears under Municipal
Issues: Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMMA)(MCL 333.26421 et seq.); Use of more common spelling of "marijuana"; Ter Beek v. City of Wyoming; Whether a party is entitled to seek declaratory relief; MCR 2.605(A)(1); International Union, UAW of Am. v. Central MI Univ. Trs.; Lansing Sch. Educ. Ass'n v. Lansing Bd. of Educ.; Manuel v. Gill; "Actual controversy"; Anglers of AuSable, Inc. v. Department of Envt'l Quality; Shavers v. Attorney Gen.; City of Lake Angelus v. Aeronautics Comm'n; Allstate Ins. Co. v. Hayes; Kircher v. City of Ypsilanti; Immunity under the MMMA; MCL 333.26424(a); People v. Koon; "Medical purpose" of marijuana; People v. Bylsma
Court: Michigan Court of Appeals (Unpublished)
Case Name: Lott v. City of Birmingham
e-Journal Number: 56404
Judge(s): Per Curiam – Servitto, Murray, and Boonstra
The court held that although the trial court erred in finding that there was no actual controversy for it to decide, the error was harmless because the underlying issues have since been decided in Ter Beek. Plaintiffs sought a declaratory judgment that the defendant-city's ordinances were partially invalid "because they conflicted with the MMMA by, in effect, prohibiting and penalizing activity that is contrary to federal law, thereby making it illegal for them to use medical marijuana in their home." The trial court denied any declaratory relief based on its determination that there was no actual controversy for it to decide. On appeal, the court concluded that the trial court erred in finding that the impact of the ordinances on plaintiffs would be hypothetical because the MMMA provides sufficient guidance to allow them to determine whether their medical marijuana use complies with the MMMA, and that the MMMA would not shield plaintiffs from a federal prosecution. "Because the trial court failed to consider the penalties established by [the ordinance] for a violation of [defendant's] code of ordinances, and failed to address whether the penalty provision presented an actual controversy, despite the parties' dispute whether it could be enforced in light of the parties' differing preemption arguments, the trial court erred in determining that there was no actual controversy." It noted that plaintiff-R "had pleaded and established an adverse interest necessitating the sharpening of the issue raised," and it was not necessary for him to wait for an actual arrest for violating the ordinance to seek declaratory relief. However, the court rejected R's argument that the merits of his request for declaratory relief should be decided on appeal, noting that the issues underlying the controversy have since been addressed in Ter Beek. The "decision in Ter Beek should provide adequate guidance for plaintiff[‘s] future conduct with respect to [defendant's] ability to enforce its ordinance's penalty provision, thus, the trial court's erroneous determination that there was no actual controversy is harmless." Affirmed.
This summary also appears under Real Property
Issues: The trial court's equitable power to order compensation; MCL 600.3336(2); MCL 600.3304; Taking contrary positions in the trial court and on appeal; Grant v. AAA WI/MI Inc. (On Remand); Action to resolve competing claims of encroachment; MCL 600.2932(1) & (5); Kratze v. Independent Order of Oddfellows; Balancing the equities; Michigan Nat'l Bank & Trust Co. v. Morren; Redeemed Temple Community Development (RTCD); Redeemed Temple (RT); Jackson Land Holdings (JLH)
Court: Michigan Court of Appeals (Unpublished)
Case Name: Redeemed Temple Cmty. Dev. Corp. v. Jackson Land Holdings
e-Journal Number: 56456
Judge(s): Per Curiam – Murphy, M.J. Kelly, and Ronayne Krause
The court held that the trial court did not err in applying equity and ordering the defendant-JLH to transfer a parcel of real property to plaintiff-RTCD, ordering RTCD to transfer a parcel of real property to JLH, and ordering JLH to pay $74,871.89 to RTCD as compensation for the transfer. N, the pastor for defendant-RT, testified that RT formed RTCD "to build new houses, to improve the neighborhood" and to serve as a base for the church. RT purchased 7 contiguous residential lots (lots 67 through 73) and later deeded them to RTCD. RTCD financed and built two duplexes on the lots. "One of the duplexes sits on lots 67, 68, and 69. The other duplex sits on lots 70, 71, 72, and a portion of lot 73." N selected the house numbers for the duplex units - 9505 and 9511 for those in the duplex that sits on lots 67, 68, and 69, and 9515 and 9539 for those in the duplex that sits on lots 70, 71, 72, and 73. The lots began to be taxed after RTCD built the duplexes. Because RTCD did not pay the taxes on some of the lots, the county took title to them. It sold lots 67, 70, 71, and 72 to JLH, which then owned only 1 of the 3 lots underlying the duplex with the units whose addresses were 9505 and 9511, but owned 3 of the 4 lots underlying the duplex with the units whose addresses were 9515 and 9539. The court noted that "this dispute did not involve a typical action for partition." Although RTCD "developed the lots as though they were a contiguous whole, it did not seek to join the lots to better permit future transfers of the duplexes or their individual units. Instead, it left each lot separate." Because the parties did not own any lot in common, "notwithstanding that the duplexes spanned lots that were owned by different entities, there was no need to partition an existing lot between co-owners." However, the court concluded that the trial court's reliance on its equitable power to partition did not constitute error warranting relief because JLH's lawyer conceded that the trial court had the power to act in equity to resolve the dispute. Further, the trial court had the power to resolve the dispute by granting injunctive relief and compensation. "The underlying action might more aptly be characterized as an action to resolve competing claims of encroachment." The trial court's "jurisdiction to resolve disputes over encroachments is equitable and includes both the power to order injunctive relief or financial compensation." The court also concluded that because "there was inadequate evidence in the record to determine the independent value of the lots under the facts existing at the time of trial, the trial court did not err when it determined that it should balance the equities using a different valuation." Further, under the totality of the circumstances, its decision to apportion RTCD's investment in the duplexes over the seven lots and then order JLH to pay the difference between its cost basis and RTCD's cost basis was equitable. Affirmed.
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