This summary also appears under Real Property
Issues: Validity of the defendant-Road Commission's abandonment of a county road; Whether MCL 224.18(4) required 7 or more freeholders to sign an abandonment petition even though plaintiff-Huron Mountain Club (HMC) was the sole owner of the land abutting the road; Whether MCL 224.18(5) provides an exception to (4); Thompson-McCully Quarry Co. v. Berlin Charter Twp.; Whether the absence of signatures was a material defect rendering the entire abandonment proceeding void; Ambs v. Kalamazoo Cnty. Rd. Comm'n; Village of Bangor v. Bangor Twp.; Failure to give notice to the township, Department of Natural Resources, and Department of Transportation; Statutory construction; Giving effect to the Legislature's intent; Tellin v. Forsyth Twp.; Unambiguous language; Echelon Homes, LLC v. Carter Lumber Co.; Ross v. Modern Mirror & Glass Co.
Court: Michigan Court of Appeals (Published)
Case Name: Huron Mountain Club v. Marquette Cnty. Rd. Comm'n
e-Journal Number: 55937
Judge(s): Per Curiam – Riordan, Markey, and K.F. Kelly
Holding that MCL 224.18(4) required seven or more freeholders to sign an abandonment petition even though plaintiff-HMC was the sole owner of the land abutting the road at issue, the court affirmed the trial court's ruling that the defendant-Road Commission's abandonment of the road was invalid. While HMC owned all the land abutting it, the road provided access to forestry lands and to lands owned by other private property owners. The court concluded that the "first sentence of MCL 224.18(4) is clear and unambiguous" - a road commission "may abandon a highway only when a petition has been submitted by at least seven freeholders of the township." Further, when the first sentence was compared with the last sentence, it was "clear that the Legislature intended to distinguish the seven freeholders 'of the township' who must bring the petition from the 'occupants of each parcel of land abutting the highway, or portion of the highway,' whose names and addresses must be on a list that accompanies the petition." HMC argued that MCL 224.18(4) is necessarily subject to MCL 224.18(5), and that (5) provides an exception to (4). The Road Commission disagreed, arguing that by its clear language, (5) did not purport to address who must bring a petition - "it addresses when the abbreviated procedure shall be used as opposed to when a public hearing is required." The court agreed with the Road Commission. Reading (4) together with (5), the court concluded that at "least seven freeholders (landowners) in the township must sign a petition for abandonment of a road or portion of a road, and, when those seven signers also constitute all of the owners and occupants of land abutting the road or portion of a road, the abbreviated procedure may be used. On the other hand, if there are owners or occupants of abutting land besides the seven freeholders who signed the petition, a public hearing with appropriate notice is required." HMC also argued that while Ambs and Bangor provide that compliance is mandatory, neither mentions that the statute "must be 'strictly followed,' and thus, do not indicate what acts of noncompliance might be excusable." The court disagreed, holding that "once an abandonment petition is initiated pursuant to MCL 224.18(4), compliance with the statute is mandatory and, thus, the abandonment petition must be signed by seven or more freeholders." Since the petition here was not signed by seven freeholders, it was "fatally defective because HMC failed to comply with a fundamental requirement of MCL 224.18(4)."
This summary also appears under Litigation
Issues: Trial court's options when ruling on discovery matters; Cabrera v. Ekema; Augustine v. Allstate Ins. Co.; Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests; MCL 15.231(2); Detroit Free Press, Inc. v. Southfield; Hopkins v. Duncan Twp.; Coblentz v. Novi; Mootness of FOIA request when disclosure has been made; Herald Co., Inc. v. Ann Arbor Pub. Sch.; Densmore v. Department of Corr.; Traverse City Record Eagle v. Traverse City Area Pub Sch.; "Actual case and controversy"; Morales v. Parole Bd.; Mootness; General Motors Corp. v. Department of Treasury; Trial court's discretion to consider a late affidavit as evidence; Prussing v. General Motors Corp.; Plaintiff's claim that he was entitled to a duty disability pension from the defendant-city retirement system; Failure to brief a question on appeal; State Treasurer v. Sprague; Superintending control; In re Credit Acceptance Corp.; Pension protections; Const. 1963, art. 9, § 24; Seitz v. Probate Judges Ret. Sys.; Whether plaintiff's state constitutional claims were barred; Jones v. Powell; Governmental immunity as to plaintiff's tort claims; Odom v. Wayne Cnty.; Latits v. Phillips; Mack v. Detroit; A "governmental function"; Ultra vires activity; Richardson v. Jackson Cnty.; Ward v. Michigan State Univ. (On Remand); Scope of governmental immunity; Linton v. Arenac Cnty. Rd. Comm'n; Borg-Warner Acceptance Corp. v. Department of State; Breach of contract; MCL 600.5807(8); Blazer Foods, Inc. v. Restaurant Props., Inc.; Revival of contract claim based on partial payment; Yeiter v. Knights of St. Casimir Aid Soc'y; Statute of limitations for breach of a fiduciary duty; Wayne Cnty. Employees Ret. Sys. v. Wayne Cnty.; The Meyer & Anna Prentis Family Found., Inc. v. Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Inst.; Unjust enrichment; Belle Isle Grill Corp. v. Detroit
Court: Michigan Court of Appeals (Unpublished)
Case Name: Trudel v. City of Allen Park
e-Journal Number: 55773
Judge(s): Per Curiam – Sawyer, O’Connell, and K.F. Kelly
In Docket No. 304507, the court held that the trial court properly denied plaintiff's motion for various orders regarding discovery. In Docket No. 304567 (the FOIA case), the court held that the trial court properly granted summary judgment to defendants because they provided the requested documents, thus making the substance of the controversy moot. In Docket No. 312351 (the pension case), the court held that the trial court erred in granting summary disposition to plaintiff, and partially erred in denying defendants' motion for summary disposition because the entity defendants (the city, the retirement system, and the board) were entitled to governmental immunity as to plaintiff's tort claims. In Docket No. 304507, the court rejected plaintiff's argument that the trial court abused its discretion in limiting him to 50 discovery requests and in declining to determine the sufficiency and propriety of defendants' objections, admissions, and responses to discovery requests, concluding that the trial court's decision "fell within the range of principled outcomes." In the FOIA case, it rejected his argument that the trial court erred in granting summary disposition to defendants, finding that "the substance of the controversy regarding plaintiff's FOIA claim is moot" because defendants provided the requested documents. It rejected plaintiff's claim that the city clerk's affidavit should not have been considered because it was not filed in a timely fashion, concluding that "the trial court did not abuse its discretion in considering [the] late affidavit as evidence." Finally, in the pension case, which involved a former judge seeking to recover a duty disability pension from the city retirement system based on an alleged total and permanent disability, the court agreed with defendants that the trial court erred in granting summary disposition to plaintiff, and partially agreed that it erred in denying their motion for summary disposition. It found that plaintiff identified no evidence establishing that his disability resulted from the performance of his duties and thus, "the existing record does not establish as a matter of law that defendants were obligated to pay duty disability benefits to plaintiff." It found that the entity defendants were entitled to governmental immunity as to plaintiff's tort claims, but that in all other respects defendants failed to establish entitlement to summary disposition. It held that the entity defendants were immune because the city ordinance expressly authorized the board to "administer, manage and operate the retirement system[,]" which plaintiff conceded defendants had the authority to do. Thus, "the operation of the retirement program comprises a governmental function because it is expressly or impliedly mandated or authorized by law" and plaintiff "failed to state a claim that falls within a statutory exception to immunity or to plead any facts establishing that defendants engaged in ultra vires activities." While he claimed that defendants failed to perform their duties in a lawful manner and to properly administer the retirement program, at most, "plaintiff's allegations establish that defendants performed the activity in an improper manner, not that defendants lacked legal authority to perform the activity in any manner." Affirmed in Docket Nos. 304507 and 304567. Affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded in Docket No. 312351.
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