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Providing summaries of opinions as they are released from the Michigan Supreme Court, Michigan Court of Appeals (published & unpublished), and selected U.S. Sixth Circuit. Over 60,000 cases summarized to date.

 

 

Case Summary


Cases appear under the following practice areas:

  • Administrative Law (1)

    Full Text Opinion

    This summary also appears under Healthcare Law

    e-Journal #: 73326
    Case: General Med., P.C. v. Azar
    Court: U.S. Court of Appeals Sixth Circuit ( Published Opinion )
    Judges: Siler and Murphy joined by Cole in part; Concurrence – Murphy; Concurring in part, Dissenting in part – Cole
    Issues:

    Medicare post-payment audit; Whether an overpayment assessment should be invalidated when the Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) failed to give plaintiff-medical services provider notice of the audit; 42 USC § 1395ddd(f)(7)(A); Enforcing plain statutory language; Lamie v. United States Trustee; Hartford Underwriters Ins. Co. v. Union Planters Bank, N.A.; Use of “shall”; Cook v. United States; Significant public interest in the effective administration of Medicare; Palm Valley Health Care, Inc. v. Azar (5th Cir.); Whether the administrative ruling was supported by “substantial evidence”; Cutlip v. Secretary of Health & Human Servs.; Heston v. Commissioner of Soc. Sec.; 42 CFR § 405.1136(f); Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)

    Summary:

    [This appeal was from the ED-MI.] In an issue of first impression, the court held that a court may excuse a CMS contractor’s failure to give notice of a Medicare audit under § 1395ddd(f)(7)(A) if the provider is not substantially prejudiced by the lack of notice. The DHHS audited plaintiff-General Medicine, a medical services provider, and discovered Medicare overpayments. General Medicine challenged the audit, arguing that it had no knowledge that it was taking place and that it was entitled to notice of the audit under § 1395ddd(f)(7)(A). The Medicare Appeals Council concluded that the lack of notice was “inconsequential” where the statute does not offer a remedy for lack of notice and General Medicine was still able to argue the consequences of the audit and provide its own documentation through administrative review procedures. The district court agreed, granting the DHHS Secretary summary judgment. On appeal, the court found that there was sufficient evidence to support the decision. Noting that it was “an issue of first impression whether an overpayment assessment should be invalidated when the government fails to provide notice of a post-payment audit under” § 1395ddd(f)(7)(A), the court reviewed the statute and concluded that the language “shall provide” showed that “Congress intended nondiscretionary compliance with the notice requirement.” The court held that “a court may excuse a CMS contractor’s failure to give notice of an audit under . . . § 1395ddd(f)(7)(A) if, and only if, the provider is not substantially prejudiced by the lack of notice.” It determined that the district court did not err in finding that substantial evidence supported the Medicare Appeals Council’s conclusion that having General Medicine provide additional medical records “would not have made a material difference in the adjudication of the claims” and that it "was not prejudiced by the lack of notice[.]” As the Council noted, “it had presented its arguments throughout the years of appeals by ‘ably and thoroughly argu[ing] the principal issues resulting from the audit, the validity of the sampling methodology, and the coverage of the reviewed claims.’” Affirmed.

    Full Text Opinion

  • Contracts (1)

    Full Text Opinion

    This summary also appears under Litigation

    e-Journal #: 73309
    Case: Kam Kam Holdings, Inc. v. Rite Aid of MI, Inc.
    Court: Michigan Court of Appeals ( Unpublished Opinion )
    Judges: Per Curiam – Gleicher, Sawyer, and Meter
    Issues:

    Standing; Salem Springs, LLC v. Salem Twp.; Lansing Sch. Educ. Ass’n v. Lansing Bd. of Educ.; Fieger v. Commissioner of Ins.; Assignment; Burkhardt v. Bailey; Statute of frauds (SOF); MCL 566.132(1); Lakeside Oakland Dev., LC v. H & J Beef Co.; Kelly-Stehney & Assoc., Inc. v. MacDonald’s Indus. Prod., Inc.; Brender v. Stratton

    Summary:

    Concluding that the trial court erred in holding that plaintiff lacked standing, the court reversed summary disposition for defendants in this lease dispute. Plaintiff argued that it provided writings that showed a nonparty (Pierson-Dollar) assigned its claims to plaintiff. Plaintiff asserted that it and Pierson-Dollar had “ratified” the assignment and “satisfied” the SOF “by their subsequent conduct in honoring its terms,” and provided a copy of an affidavit from a Pierson-Dollar representative. “In the affidavit, Pierson-Dollar’s agent stated that, ‘[a]s part of the sale of the Property, Pierson-Dollar assigned to Plaintiff all of its right, title, and interest’ in the lease, that the assignment ‘was part of the consideration provided to Plaintiff in exchange for the purchase price,’ that Pierson-Dollar intended to ‘assign the Lease to Plaintiff,’ and that Pierson-Dollar believed that the assignment was effective.” The trial court ruled that the SOF “was not satisfied because plaintiff provided no evidence that it actually received a written assignment from Pierson-Dollar, but rather showed, at most, that the purchase agreement contemplated the future execution of an assignment. Notably, the trial court did not acknowledge the Pierson-Dollar affidavit in its written opinion and order.” Plaintiff argued that the trial court erred, and the court agreed. “Plaintiff provided two writings signed by Pierson-Dollar that pertained to an assignment of its rights under the lease to plaintiff: the purchase agreement and the Pierson-Dollar affidavit. In the purchase agreement, Pierson-Dollar agreed to transfer its rights ‘pursuant to any previous lease agreements entered into with respect to the [property],’ and that such an assignment would be ‘executed at closing.’” The court noted that there “was no dispute that the envisioned closing took place, in that Pierson-Dollar signed a warranty deed transferring the property to plaintiff” on 12/26/17. “And in the affidavit, Pierson-Dollar’s representative or agent, whose status in that regard is not disputed, stated that Pierson-Dollar intended to assign its rights under the lease to plaintiff as part of the consideration for the sale of the property, and understood that it had done so. Pierson-Dollar, the party charged under the agreement as assignor, signed both the purchase agreement and the Pierson-Dollar affidavit, and in both writings clearly expressed its intent to assign its rights under the lease to plaintiff when plaintiff acquired the property.” Viewed together, the two writings showed “Pierson-Dollar’s clear intent to assign its rights under the lease to plaintiff.” Reversed and remanded.

    Full Text Opinion

  • Criminal Law (1)

    Full Text Opinion

    e-Journal #: 73277
    Case: People v. Burris
    Court: Michigan Court of Appeals ( Unpublished Opinion )
    Judges: Per Curiam – Gleicher and M.J. Kelly; Dissent – Markey
    Issues:

    The Sixth Amendment right to chosen counsel; United States v. Gonzalez-Lopez; Morris v. Slappy; Wheat v. United States; People v. Williams; Ungar v. Sarafite; People v. Aceval; Other acts evidence; MRE 404(b); People v. Crawford; People v. Knox; Materiality; People v. Denson; MCL 768.27a; People v. Watkins; MRE 403; MRE 803(3) (then-existing state of mind hearsay exception); People v. Moorer; MRE 803A; People v. Gursky

    Summary:

    Holding that the trial court denied defendant-Burris his constitutional right to counsel of choice, the court vacated his convictions and remanded for a new trial. It also addressed evidentiary issues he raised on appeal in order to provide guidance on remand. An attorney (J) filed a notice of substitution of counsel on 1/22/18, signaling that defendant wished to replace his appointed attorney, L, with J. The case had reached the trial court “just two months earlier. The trial court dismissed [J’s] appearance after a brief hearing” on 2/26. The transcript showed that it “made no effort to accommodate [J’s] need for extra time to prepare for trial. Rather, [it] insisted on going to trial in 30 days, a timeframe resisted by both” J and the prosecution. After the hearing, it set the trial for over “60 days out—a period of adjournment never offered to” J. A few weeks before that trial date, he “tried to substitute back into the case. The trial court again denied Burris his right to be represented by counsel of choice.” The court found that the trial court’s rulings were “arbitrary” and that it failed “to attribute any legal relevance to Burris’s Sixth Amendment right.” As to the February adjournment request, it “expressed no reason for its denial of the motion that” the court could perceive, and the court concluded that the trial court’s “ruling lacked any discernable principle other than, perhaps, some unstated form of docket control. Rather, the court appeared myopically intent on exercising its power and expressing hostility mixed with annoyance toward [J]. Concern for the protection of Burris’s constitutional rights was lost in the skirmish. This error, standing alone, mandates a new trial.” In his April motion to substitute back into the case, J did not ask for more time to prepare for trial. “As retained counsel for Burris, [he] sought to substitute for [L]. Instead of giving [J] an opportunity to demonstrate that he was prepared and ready to start trial” as scheduled, the trial court “summarily dismissed the substance of the motion based on its form.” It did not “engage in any balancing” in denying the request. It “did not acknowledge Burris’s Sixth Amendment right to be represented by counsel of choice, and failed to explain why its calendar or the needs of public would be disserved by allowing [J] to represent" him. The court held that the trial court abused its discretion in both April and February.

    Full Text Opinion

  • Family Law (1)

    Full Text Opinion

    e-Journal #: 73315
    Case: Dawson v. Wiedenbeck
    Court: Michigan Court of Appeals ( Unpublished Opinion )
    Judges: Per Curiam – Murray, Jansen, and Markey
    Issues:

    Custody; Sinicropi v. Mazurek; MCL 722.28; Proper cause & a change of circumstances (COC); Established custodial environment (ECE); MCL 722.27(1)(c); Vodvarka v. Grasmeyer; McRoberts v. Ferguson; Pierron v. Pierron; Failure to address the basis of the trial court’s decision; Seifeddine v. Jaber; Statutory best-interest factors (MCL 722.23); Spires v. Bergman; MCL 722.23(b)-(d), (f)-(g), & (j)-(l); Credibility determinations; Shann v. Shann; Motion for reconsideration; Yoost v. Caspari; Judicial bias; In re MKK

    Summary:

    The court concluded that plaintiff-mother failed to establish that the threshold determination made by the trial court as to proper cause and a COC was against the great weight of the evidence. Also, her challenges to its findings on the best interest factors failed. She argued that the trial court erred by finding that defendant-father had established proper cause and a COC as necessary to revisit the ECE. She claimed that the evidence used to establish the threshold of proper cause or a COC “was based solely on the opinions of defendant and other persons who lacked psychological training.” She contended that “this evidence was insufficient and that her alleged mental health problems could only be established by opinion testimony from a mental health professional, which” was not presented. Plaintiff focused on the mental wellness issue and offered no meaningful argument as to “the referee’s additional finding that the evidence called into question plaintiff’s moral fitness.” The trial court upheld the referee’s decision and did not rely solely on mental health concerns; it “stated that plaintiff’s behavior called into question her ability to care for” the child, W. Thus, plaintiff failed “to address the full basis of the trial court’s decision.” Moreover, the threshold determination was based “not on mere opinions of untrained witnesses, as plaintiff claims, but on factual observations of plaintiff by skilled professional persons, including the emergency room nurse and police officers who witnessed her behavior and heard her comments. Additionally, a lay person is capable of testifying about odd and worrisome behavior that a court could reasonably view as impacting parenting—a particular mental health diagnosis requiring expertise is not a necessity.” Given that there was no dispute that W’s ECE was with plaintiff, “defendant had the burden to prove by clear and convincing evidence that it was in [W’s] best interests to change the custodial environment.” As to the statutory best interest factors in MCL 722.23, the court rejected plaintiff’s argument that the trial court’s findings on some of the factors were against the great weight of the evidence. Affirmed.

    Full Text Opinion

  • Healthcare Law (1)

    Full Text Opinion

    This summary also appears under Administrative Law

    e-Journal #: 73326
    Case: General Med., P.C. v. Azar
    Court: U.S. Court of Appeals Sixth Circuit ( Published Opinion )
    Judges: Siler and Murphy joined by Cole in part; Concurrence – Murphy; Concurring in part, Dissenting in part – Cole
    Issues:

    Medicare post-payment audit; Whether an overpayment assessment should be invalidated when the Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) failed to give plaintiff-medical services provider notice of the audit; 42 USC § 1395ddd(f)(7)(A); Enforcing plain statutory language; Lamie v. United States Trustee; Hartford Underwriters Ins. Co. v. Union Planters Bank, N.A.; Use of “shall”; Cook v. United States; Significant public interest in the effective administration of Medicare; Palm Valley Health Care, Inc. v. Azar (5th Cir.); Whether the administrative ruling was supported by “substantial evidence”; Cutlip v. Secretary of Health & Human Servs.; Heston v. Commissioner of Soc. Sec.; 42 CFR § 405.1136(f); Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)

    Summary:

    [This appeal was from the ED-MI.] In an issue of first impression, the court held that a court may excuse a CMS contractor’s failure to give notice of a Medicare audit under § 1395ddd(f)(7)(A) if the provider is not substantially prejudiced by the lack of notice. The DHHS audited plaintiff-General Medicine, a medical services provider, and discovered Medicare overpayments. General Medicine challenged the audit, arguing that it had no knowledge that it was taking place and that it was entitled to notice of the audit under § 1395ddd(f)(7)(A). The Medicare Appeals Council concluded that the lack of notice was “inconsequential” where the statute does not offer a remedy for lack of notice and General Medicine was still able to argue the consequences of the audit and provide its own documentation through administrative review procedures. The district court agreed, granting the DHHS Secretary summary judgment. On appeal, the court found that there was sufficient evidence to support the decision. Noting that it was “an issue of first impression whether an overpayment assessment should be invalidated when the government fails to provide notice of a post-payment audit under” § 1395ddd(f)(7)(A), the court reviewed the statute and concluded that the language “shall provide” showed that “Congress intended nondiscretionary compliance with the notice requirement.” The court held that “a court may excuse a CMS contractor’s failure to give notice of an audit under . . . § 1395ddd(f)(7)(A) if, and only if, the provider is not substantially prejudiced by the lack of notice.” It determined that the district court did not err in finding that substantial evidence supported the Medicare Appeals Council’s conclusion that having General Medicine provide additional medical records “would not have made a material difference in the adjudication of the claims” and that it "was not prejudiced by the lack of notice[.]” As the Council noted, “it had presented its arguments throughout the years of appeals by ‘ably and thoroughly argu[ing] the principal issues resulting from the audit, the validity of the sampling methodology, and the coverage of the reviewed claims.’” Affirmed.

    Full Text Opinion

  • Insurance (1)

    Full Text Opinion

    e-Journal #: 73288
    Case: Graham v. Jackson
    Court: Michigan Court of Appeals ( Unpublished Opinion )
    Judges: Per Curiam – Murray, Jansen, and Markey
    Issues:

    First-party action under the No-Fault Act (MCL 500.3101 et seq.); Balancing the equites as to rescission of a policy; Pioneer State Mut. Ins. Co. v. Wright; Farm Bureau Gen. Ins. Co. v. ACE Am. Ins. Co.; Motion to set aside & vacate the trial court’s prior order; MCR 2.116(G)(1)(a)(i); MCR 2.604(A); MCR 2.119(C)(1); A court’s ability to revisit issues it previously decided; Hill v. City of Warren; Meagher v. Wayne State Univ.; MCR 2.116(B)(1); Intention to conceal or misrepresent; West v. Farm Bureau Gen. Ins. Co. of MI; Bazzi v. Sentinel Ins. Co. (Bazzi II); Attorney fees; Moore v. Secura Ins,; Pirgu v. United Servs Auto. Ass’n; Effect of an insurer’s refusal to tender payment of benefits; Slocum v. Farm Bureau Gen. Ins. Co. of MI; Prompt payment of PIP benefits; MCL 500.3105; MCL 500.3112; MCL 500.3142(1); Remedies for fraud; Hord v. Environmental Research Inst. of MI; United States Fid. & Guar. Co. v. Black; Lenawee Cnty. Bd. of Health v. Messerly; Determining a reasonable attorney fee; Smith v. Khouri; Wood v. DAIIE; Contingency fee arrangement; Hartman v. Associated Truck Lines; Penalty interest under MCL 500.3142(2); Williams v. AAA MI; Bronson Health Care Group, Inc. v. Titan Ins. Co.; Michigan Automobile Insurance Placement Facility (MAIPF)

    Summary:

    The court held that the trial court did not err by revisiting its earlier decision to grant defendant-Everest (insurer) summary disposition after the Supreme Court decided Bazzi II, and it did not abuse its discretion by balancing the equities to determine that Everest was not permitted to rescind its policy as to PIP coverage for plaintiff-guardian’s son and ward, Graham, an innocent third party. It also did not err by awarding Graham “no-fault attorney fees and penalty interest, or abuse its discretion by determining a reasonable attorney fee award.” Graham suffered catastrophic injuries in a motor vehicle accident. The principal issue was whether Everest was liable to pay his no-fault benefits pursuant to the policy plaintiff had obtained from Everest. Everest contended that “it should be permitted to rescind the policy because of material misrepresentations by plaintiff during the application process.” Defendant-Titan was named as a defendant after the MAIPF “assigned it as the servicing insurer to pay Graham’s no-fault benefits, subject to reimbursement once the trial court determined the proper responsible party.” On appeal Everest argued that the trial court erred by revisiting its prior decision to grant summary disposition for Everest and by deciding that “a balancing of the equities weighed against allowing Everest to rescind its no-fault policy as to Graham[.]” The court disagreed. It held that although the trial court here did not have the benefit of the court’s decision in Pioneer, which adopted the factors set forth in then Chief Justice Markman’s concurrence in Farm Bureau, “when it endeavored to balance the equities, the court’s analysis reflects that several of those factors were considered.” Thus, the trial court’s decision reflected “its diligent and thorough attempt to weigh the equities, it was based on appropriate consideration of relevant factors, and the ultimate decision to not allow rescission of the no-fault policy is not outside the range of reasonable and principled outcomes.” Affirmed.

    Full Text Opinion

  • Litigation (2)

    Full Text Opinion

    This summary also appears under Contracts

    e-Journal #: 73309
    Case: Kam Kam Holdings, Inc. v. Rite Aid of MI, Inc.
    Court: Michigan Court of Appeals ( Unpublished Opinion )
    Judges: Per Curiam – Gleicher, Sawyer, and Meter
    Issues:

    Standing; Salem Springs, LLC v. Salem Twp.; Lansing Sch. Educ. Ass’n v. Lansing Bd. of Educ.; Fieger v. Commissioner of Ins.; Assignment; Burkhardt v. Bailey; Statute of frauds (SOF); MCL 566.132(1); Lakeside Oakland Dev., LC v. H & J Beef Co.; Kelly-Stehney & Assoc., Inc. v. MacDonald’s Indus. Prod., Inc.; Brender v. Stratton

    Summary:

    Concluding that the trial court erred in holding that plaintiff lacked standing, the court reversed summary disposition for defendants in this lease dispute. Plaintiff argued that it provided writings that showed a nonparty (Pierson-Dollar) assigned its claims to plaintiff. Plaintiff asserted that it and Pierson-Dollar had “ratified” the assignment and “satisfied” the SOF “by their subsequent conduct in honoring its terms,” and provided a copy of an affidavit from a Pierson-Dollar representative. “In the affidavit, Pierson-Dollar’s agent stated that, ‘[a]s part of the sale of the Property, Pierson-Dollar assigned to Plaintiff all of its right, title, and interest’ in the lease, that the assignment ‘was part of the consideration provided to Plaintiff in exchange for the purchase price,’ that Pierson-Dollar intended to ‘assign the Lease to Plaintiff,’ and that Pierson-Dollar believed that the assignment was effective.” The trial court ruled that the SOF “was not satisfied because plaintiff provided no evidence that it actually received a written assignment from Pierson-Dollar, but rather showed, at most, that the purchase agreement contemplated the future execution of an assignment. Notably, the trial court did not acknowledge the Pierson-Dollar affidavit in its written opinion and order.” Plaintiff argued that the trial court erred, and the court agreed. “Plaintiff provided two writings signed by Pierson-Dollar that pertained to an assignment of its rights under the lease to plaintiff: the purchase agreement and the Pierson-Dollar affidavit. In the purchase agreement, Pierson-Dollar agreed to transfer its rights ‘pursuant to any previous lease agreements entered into with respect to the [property],’ and that such an assignment would be ‘executed at closing.’” The court noted that there “was no dispute that the envisioned closing took place, in that Pierson-Dollar signed a warranty deed transferring the property to plaintiff” on 12/26/17. “And in the affidavit, Pierson-Dollar’s representative or agent, whose status in that regard is not disputed, stated that Pierson-Dollar intended to assign its rights under the lease to plaintiff as part of the consideration for the sale of the property, and understood that it had done so. Pierson-Dollar, the party charged under the agreement as assignor, signed both the purchase agreement and the Pierson-Dollar affidavit, and in both writings clearly expressed its intent to assign its rights under the lease to plaintiff when plaintiff acquired the property.” Viewed together, the two writings showed “Pierson-Dollar’s clear intent to assign its rights under the lease to plaintiff.” Reversed and remanded.

    Full Text Opinion

    Full Text Opinion

    This summary also appears under Real Property

    e-Journal #: 73295
    Case: Slater v. Cueny
    Court: Michigan Court of Appeals ( Unpublished Opinion )
    Judges: Per Curiam – Gadola, Cavanagh, and M.J. Kelly
    Issues:

    Property dispute; Whether the trial court erred in sua sponte modifying its judgment by changing the boundary line; MCR 2.612; Right to due process; Al-Maiki v. LaGrant; Entry of an order without giving notice or conducting a hearing

    Summary:

    The court held that the trial court committed reversible error in sua sponte modifying its judgment by changing the property boundary line from a straight line to a curved one 18 months after the judgment was entered, and that it violated defendants’ procedural due process rights by entering an order adopting the special master’s recommendation without giving notice or conducting a hearing. Thus, the court vacated that order and remanded. Plaintiffs-Slaters filed an action asserting adverse possession, acquiescence, and trespass. Defendants filed a countercomplaint for the same counts in addition to quiet title. After a bench trial, the trial court entered a judgment ruling for “plaintiffs on their acquiescence claim, concluding that they were ‘entitled to quiet title of the disputed area.’” It concluded that they “proved by a preponderance of the evidence that ‘the parties recognized and treated the black line on the Plot Plans (Slaters’ Exhibits 2 and 16) as the boundary line between their’” homes. It directed the parties to file amended deeds to show the new boundary. When they were unable to agree on the location of the new boundary line, defendants moved to enforce the judgment and the trial court appointed a special master to review the matter. The special master hired a surveyor to complete a survey. After a status conference, the trial court entered an order adopting the special master’s recommendation and setting the boundary line between the properties according to the court-ordered survey. Defendants unsuccessfully moved for reconsideration on the basis that the boundary line established by the survey did not comport with the judgment because it “was a curved line—not a straight line as set forth in the plot plans that were incorporated into” the judgment. The court found that the change between the judgment and the later order “was substantive, rather than clerical, in nature.” When it appointed the special master and authorized the hiring of a surveyor, “the trial court specifically stated in its order that the physical placement of the boundary line had to conform precisely with [its] judgment. The resulting curved boundary line obviously did not conform with [its] judgment; thus, by adopting that curved boundary line the trial court” sua sponte modified the judgment, and it lacked authority to enter the order under MCR 2.612.

    Full Text Opinion

  • Real Property (3)

    Full Text Opinion

    e-Journal #: 73298
    Case: Saunders v. Rhodes
    Court: Michigan Court of Appeals ( Unpublished Opinion )
    Judges: Per Curiam – Borrello, Ronayne Krause, and Riordan
    Issues:

    Quiet title; Whether a lot as created in a plat extended to the lake; Construing the meaning of a plat; 2000 Baum Family Trust v. Babel; The general practice of surveyors at the relevant time; Watson v. Peters; Turner v. Holland; Porter v. Selleck; Validity of a conveyance of ownership; The Land Division Act (MCL 560.101 et seq.); MCL 560.255; Tomecek v. Bavas; A deed containing an incorrect description of portions of the conveyed property; Tuthill v. Katz; Requirement that the remaining description be sufficient to describe the premises; Hicks v. Finbarg

    Summary:

    In this dispute over title to a portion of lakefront property, the court held that the trial court did not err in concluding that Lot 1, as it was created in the relevant plat, “extended to Chippewa Lake such that the lake provided the northeastern boundary of Lot 1 and that the disputed property was encompassed within the boundaries of Lot 1.” The trial court also did not err in determining that a 1991 conveyance of ownership over the property was invalid under MCL 560.255. Thus, the court affirmed the trial court’s order quieting title to the disputed property in plaintiffs. Pickerel Point was platted in 1927. In determining the meaning of the straight line depicted on the plat, and described by metes and bounds on it, the court looked to the statutes in effect when it was recorded. Defendants argued that because the plat contained “no language affirmatively indicating that Lot 1, or the lots closest to the lakeshore generally, extend to the water’s edge, Lot 1 is bounded on the northeast side by the straight line running southwest of the shoreline that is drawn and described by metes and bounds on the plat.” But they did not cite any statute existing at the time the plat was created requiring “such a statement to appear on plats” and the court found none. Rather, case law “from the era involving similar factual circumstances reveals that the general practice was for surveyors to demarcate a meander line roughly approximating the shoreline for purposes of generally showing the size of the lots with the understanding that these lots were actually bounded by the body of water rather than the meander line unless the plattor expressed a contrary intention.” The court found that “survey lines marked near bodies of water that fail to follow all of the irregularities of the shoreline generally do not define the boundaries of a waterfront lot because ‘[i]t has been decided again and again that the meander line is not a boundary, but that the body of water whose margin is meandered is the true boundary.’” Absent any indication that the plattors “intended to reserve any portion of land between Lot 1 and” the lake, the lake’s natural boundary controlled and Lot 1 as platted extended to the lake. No genuine issue of material fact existed that Lot 1 extended to the lake "and that title to the disputed portion of Lot 1 never passed to defendants as owners of Parcel B.”

    Full Text Opinion

    Full Text Opinion

    This summary also appears under Litigation

    e-Journal #: 73295
    Case: Slater v. Cueny
    Court: Michigan Court of Appeals ( Unpublished Opinion )
    Judges: Per Curiam – Gadola, Cavanagh, and M.J. Kelly
    Issues:

    Property dispute; Whether the trial court erred in sua sponte modifying its judgment by changing the boundary line; MCR 2.612; Right to due process; Al-Maiki v. LaGrant; Entry of an order without giving notice or conducting a hearing

    Summary:

    The court held that the trial court committed reversible error in sua sponte modifying its judgment by changing the property boundary line from a straight line to a curved one 18 months after the judgment was entered, and that it violated defendants’ procedural due process rights by entering an order adopting the special master’s recommendation without giving notice or conducting a hearing. Thus, the court vacated that order and remanded. Plaintiffs-Slaters filed an action asserting adverse possession, acquiescence, and trespass. Defendants filed a countercomplaint for the same counts in addition to quiet title. After a bench trial, the trial court entered a judgment ruling for “plaintiffs on their acquiescence claim, concluding that they were ‘entitled to quiet title of the disputed area.’” It concluded that they “proved by a preponderance of the evidence that ‘the parties recognized and treated the black line on the Plot Plans (Slaters’ Exhibits 2 and 16) as the boundary line between their’” homes. It directed the parties to file amended deeds to show the new boundary. When they were unable to agree on the location of the new boundary line, defendants moved to enforce the judgment and the trial court appointed a special master to review the matter. The special master hired a surveyor to complete a survey. After a status conference, the trial court entered an order adopting the special master’s recommendation and setting the boundary line between the properties according to the court-ordered survey. Defendants unsuccessfully moved for reconsideration on the basis that the boundary line established by the survey did not comport with the judgment because it “was a curved line—not a straight line as set forth in the plot plans that were incorporated into” the judgment. The court found that the change between the judgment and the later order “was substantive, rather than clerical, in nature.” When it appointed the special master and authorized the hiring of a surveyor, “the trial court specifically stated in its order that the physical placement of the boundary line had to conform precisely with [its] judgment. The resulting curved boundary line obviously did not conform with [its] judgment; thus, by adopting that curved boundary line the trial court” sua sponte modified the judgment, and it lacked authority to enter the order under MCR 2.612.

    Full Text Opinion

    Full Text Opinion

    e-Journal #: 73303
    Case: White v. Riness
    Court: Michigan Court of Appeals ( Unpublished Opinion )
    Judges: Per Curiam – Murray, Ronayne Krause, and Tukel
    Issues:

    Alleged property rights to sand & gravel on foreclosed real property; Senters v. Ottawa Sav. Bank, FSB; MCL 600.3236; Piotrowski v. State Land Office Bd.; Trademark Props. of MI, LLC v. Federal Nat’l Mtg Ass’n; Whether the lease interest was extinguished upon expiration of the redemption period after the foreclosure; Schaffer v. Eighty-One Hundred Jefferson Ave. E. Corp.; Tilchin v. Boucher; Hanson v. Huetter; Personal property; Blough v. Steffins; Saveski v. California Fed. Sav. & Loan Ass’n; Amendment of the pleadings; MCR 2.118; MCR 2.116(I); Easement right to access personal property; Implied easement; Charles A Murray Trust v. Futrell; Theory of a profit à prendre; Hubscher & Son, Inc. v. Storey; VanAlstine v. Swanson; Stockdale v. Yerden; Stevens Mineral Co. v. Michigan; Whether MCL 565.81 precludes a mortgagee from accepting a pledge of oil & gas rights; Extent of a bank’s security interest; Due process; Right to notice of the foreclosure; U.S. Const. amend. XIV; Const. 1963, art. 1, § 17; In re Keyes Estate; Cheff v. Edwards; Whether the purchase agreement excluded sand & gravel interests; Damage; Abandoning issues by failing to support the argument; VanderWerp v. Plainfield Charter Twp.

    Summary:

    The court held that the trial court did not err when it found that plaintiff-White’s “lease interest was extinguished when the property was not redeemed following the foreclosure sale; plaintiff entered into the lease after the property was already mortgaged to” defendant-JP Morgan and there was no evidence that it consented to the lease. But the court remanded as to the issue of plaintiff’s personal property he was allegedly denied the right to retrieve. Plaintiff, proceeding in propria persona, filed this case against JP Morgan and defendants-Riness (who purchased the property from JP Morgan) to enforce alleged property rights to sand and gravel on the foreclosed real property. Plaintiff argued, among other things, that his rights under the lease were not terminated by the foreclosure. Defendants relied “on MCL 600.3236 in support of their argument that plaintiff’s lease interest in the subject property was extinguished upon expiration of the redemption period after foreclosure.” The court held that “language in MCL 600.3236, that a grantee receives ‘all the right, title, and interest which the mortgagor had at the time of the execution of the mortgage,’ supports defendants’ position that upon the foreclosure sale, any lease rights acquired after execution of the mortgage are extinguished, and the purchaser receives full title and rights originally obtained by the mortgagor.” However, plaintiff focused “on the phrase, ‘or at any time thereafter’ to argue that subsequent events affecting the mortgagor’s right, title, and interest also affect the grantee’s interest.” The court concluded that case law did not support his position. The decisions in Schaffer, Tilchin, and Hanson supported “defendants’ position that plaintiff’s lease interest was extinguished at the close of the redemption period. The holding in Schaffer that the tenants were not necessary parties to the foreclosure implies that they had no legally cognizable expectation to continue their leases. The holding in Tilchin directly states that the plaintiff’s lease interest was terminated. The holding in Hanson” as to termination of the easement applied “by analogy to plaintiff’s lease interest.” Affirmed in part and remanded to allow him “to amend his complaint to assert a claim related to any tangible personal property on the foreclosed property which he was not afforded a reasonable opportunity to remove.”

    Full Text Opinion

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