Real Property

This summary also appears under Negligence & Intentional Tort

 

Issues: Trespass and nuisance action; Statute of limitations; MCL 600.5805(10); Accrual; MCL 600.5827; Claim that the defendants' actions constituted a "continuing trespass"; Horvath v. Delida; Defnet v. Detroit; Abrogation of the "continuing wrongs" doctrine; Terlecki v. Stewart; Marilyn Froling Revocable Living Trust v. Bloomfield Hills Country Club; Taylor Land Group, LLC v. BP Prods. N. Am., Inc. (Unpub.); Garg v. Macomb Cnty. Cmty. Mental Health Servs.; Attempt to distinguish continuing trespass from the continuing wrongs doctrine; Wiggins v. City of Burton; Applicability of MCL 600.5855; Abrogation of the "discovery rule"; Trentadue v. Buckler Lawn Sprinkler

Court: Michigan Court of Appeals (Unpublished)

Case Name: Guastello v. LaFon

e-Journal Number: 58165

Judge(s): Per Curiam – Owens, Jansen, and O’Connell

 

Holding that the statute of limitations began to accrue in 2006, when the act and the injury first occurred with the drainage ditch expansion, the court concluded that the plaintiff's 2011 trespass and nuisance action was untimely. Thus, it reversed the trial court's order denying the defendants' summary disposition motion based on the statute of limitations and remanded for entry of an order in their favor. Plaintiff purchased a parcel of real property in 1995 via land contract from the individual defendants. He alleged that in 2006, they expanded a drainage ditch and installed drain equipment on his property as part of a parking lot expansion. Plaintiff alleged that he did not become aware of defendants' actions until the summer of 2009. He then notified them of the wrongful trespass and requested that they remove the expanded drain, curb, shed, and debris encroaching his property. When they did not remedy the situation, he filed this action. Defendants argued that plaintiff's action was time-barred, and the court agreed. It noted that it "explicitly stated in Froling Trust that 'the common-law continuing wrongs doctrine in the jurisprudence of this state, including in nuisance and trespass cases,' is 'completely and retroactively abrogated.'" However, another panel of the court, in Taylor Land Group (which the trial court relied on), held that "the continued presence of a pipeline on the plaintiff's property was a continuing physical intrusion and did not fall within the definition of a continuing wrong, which only applied to continuing effects of a past trespassory act." The court held that this conclusion "was based on an erroneous interpretation of the continuing wrongs doctrine." Because "the continuing wrong doctrine has been abolished, a plaintiff cannot avoid the statute of limitations where the damage consists of continual tortious acts that are characterized as 'continuing violations,' in other words, a continuing wrong." The record showed that the 2006 expansion of the drainage ditch was what caused the increase of storm water runoff to occur. The "wrongs" all related to events that occurred at the time of construction. Whether the presence of the expanded drainage ditch and increased storm water runoff were viewed as harmful effects of a past act or as continual tortious acts, plaintiff's claim was still time-barred. Further, his reliance on MCL 600.5855 was misplaced as it did not apply here, and while he alleged that he did not discover the expanded drainage ditch until 2009, "the discovery rule has also been abolished and cannot save plaintiff's claim."

 

Full Text Opinion

Issues: Statute of limitations; Whether the trespass claim was time-barred; Marilyn Froling Revocable Living Trust v. Bloomfield Hills Country Club; MCL 600.5805; MCL 600.5805(1); MCL 600.5827; A vendee's "equitable title" under a land contract; Graves v. American Acceptance Mtg. Corp. (On Rehearing); Whether there was a trespass on the property; Terlecki v. Stewart; Easement; Heydon v. MediaOne; Forge v. Smith; Kitchen v. Kitchen; Zaher v. Miotke

Court: Michigan Court of Appeals (Unpublished)

Case Name: Wells Venture Corp. v. GTR Glacier Club LLC

e-Journal Number: 58179

Judge(s): Per Curiam – Owens, Jansen, and O’Connell

 

The court held that the trial court erred in granting summary disposition on the grounds that the trespass claim was time-barred. Also, because there was a genuine issue of fact whether the easement satisfied the statute of frauds, it held that the trial court erred by deciding this issue summarily. Thus, it reversed the trial court's order granting summary disposition to defendants and remanded. Plaintiff-Wells Venture owned real property consisting of a developed golf course and adjacent undeveloped property. In 9/02, it sold the undeveloped property to defendant-Glacier Club. Then, in 2005, it sold the golf course portion to defendant-Golf Holdings on land contract. In 2007, "a detention pond and drainage system were installed on part of the Golf Holdings property for the benefit of Glacier Club. Golf Holdings also purported to grant Glacier Club an easement for the existence of the detention pond and drainage system." Golf Holdings defaulted and, in 2009, a judgment for possession after forfeiture was entered in Wells Venture's favor. "When Wells Venture regained possession of the land it discovered the existence of the detention pond and the related easement. After its demands for the removal of the pond and the easement were not met," it sued asserting several claims, including trespass. The last wrongful conduct appeared to have occurred in 2007 when the detention pond and the drainage system were first installed. Nothing on the record indicated that any subsequent wrongful conduct occurred. "Thus, for purposes of the limitations argument, the last wrong occurred in 2007." However, the parties disagreed on "when the first subsequent injury occurred, i.e., the first injury after the last wrongful conduct." Wells Venture asserted that it occurred in 2010, "after it discovered the existence of the detention pond and the easement and after the redemption period for the forfeited land contract expired. Defendants asserted that it occurred in 2007 because at that time Wells Venture's legal title interest in the property would have been injured." Wells Venture "held the legal title to the property in trust for Golf Holdings. Thus, at the time the detention pond was constructed and the easement was created, Wells Venture's interest was solely an interest in personalty, not realty. The trespass, on the other hand, was something that allegedly happened to the real estate, i.e. the interest that Golf Holdings retained in the property." Until Wells Venture "regained the equitable title, its interest in the realty could not have been injured because it had no interest in the realty." The first subsequent injury occurred, "at the earliest, in 2009, after the judgment of possession after land contract forfeiture was entered against Golf Holdings." Thus, the 3-year limitations period had not expired at the time the verified complaint was filed in 2011.

 

Full Text Opinion
Back to e-Journal Mobile
News/Moves | Classifieds | Contacts | Full Version

© 2014 State Bar of Michigan