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Issues: Legal succession; Delaware Ins. Guar. Ass'n v. Christiana Care Health Servs., Inc.; In re Federal-Mogul Global, Inc.; Whether cases from foreign jurisdictions are binding; Holton v. Ward; Mansfield, Coldwater & Lake MI R.R. Co. v. Drinker; Motion to set aside a default; MCR 2.603(D); Meritorious defense; Shawl v. Spence Bros.; Arbitration agreement; In re Nestorovski Estate; Oakland-Macomb Interceptor Drain Drainage Dist. v. Ric-Man Constr., Inc.; Waived issue

Court: Michigan Court of Appeals (Unpublished)

Case Name: Brown Trust v. Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC

e-Journal Number: 59236

Judge(s): Per Curiam – Murray, Saad, and K.F. Kelly


The court held that the trial court did not err by granting summary disposition for the defendants-brokers in this dispute over an investment account. Plaintiff sued defendants for fraud and material misrepresentation and breach of fiduciary duties for losses to her holdings. The trial court found that the dispute was subject to an arbitration agreement. The court remanded, and the trial court reached the same result. On further appeal, the court again rejected plaintiff's argument that the arbitration agreement did not apply to defendants because they were not legal successors of the original broker. It found that defendants provided substantial and uncontested evidence that they were the legal successors to the original broker, and that plaintiff's argument "that a legal successor to a formerly existing corporation must be the immediate successor to the formerly existing" corporation was unsupported and untenable. Further, the trial court rightly held that the arbitration agreement applied. Finally, the court held that defendant-Ress, the stockbroker, established a meritorious defense in the form of his affidavit, which contained evidence that plaintiff could not prove or that Ress could disprove "an element of the claim or a statutory requirement." Affirmed.


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