Become a mentor! The Mentor Center needs experienced attorneys to offer support & advice to young attorneys.
 
  • In Memoriam

    Glenn S. Arendsen
    Patricia A. Cooley
    William J. Coyle
    George F. deClaire
    Lawrence B. DiBasio
    Lori L. Gibson
    Mark D. Goodman
    Michael J. Haddad
    Peter Hodges
    Hon. Karen M. Fort Hood
    Robert K. Huber
    Dennis D. James
    James B. Johnson
    Jack Eddy Kerr
    David J. Knoll
    Joseph P. Kwiatkowski
    Richard M. Lewiston
    Ronald L. Losinski
    Ross R. Luxon
    James Tod Macauley
    Michael A. Makulski
    Richard A. Mastaw
    Thomas J. McDonald
    Hon. Norene S. Redmond
    Christine L. Schofield Mills
    Milton Silverman
    Hon. Isidore Torres
    John E. Tosch
    William A. Van Eck
    John R. Whitehouse
    Avery K. Williams
    Dennis A. Wilson

  • News and Moves

    D. Jennifer Andreou
    Geaneen M. Arends
    Marc M. Bakst
    Casey W. Callahan
    Scott Goodwin
    Philip T. Haywood
    Lee Hornberger
    Mary Massaron
    Michigan Auto Law
    Jamileh M. Naboulsi
    Jerome P. Pesick
    Claudia Rast
    Edward Sadik
    Beth Schlosser
    Michael Stewart

 

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summaries of opinions as they are released from the Michigan Supreme Court, Michigan Court of Appeals (published & unpublished), and selected U.S. Sixth Circuit.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

Includes summaries of two Michigan Supreme Court opinions under Constitutional Law/Municipal and Criminal Law.


Cases appear under the following practice areas:

  • Alternative Dispute Resolution (1)

    Full Text Opinion

    This summary also appears under Contracts

    e-Journal #: 75871
    Case: Advanced Integration Tech., Inc. v. Rekab Indus. Excluded Assets, LLC
    Court: Michigan Court of Appeals ( Unpublished Opinion )
    Judges: Per Curiam – Riordan, M.J. Kelly, and Shapiro
    Issues:

    Confirmation of an arbitration award; Whether the underlying contract was ambiguous; Whether there was a genuine issue of material fact when it terminated; Whether the arbitrator committed an error of law & exceeded his authority; Scope of the contract; Motion to vacate the award due to clear errors on its face; The trial court’s authority to remand to the arbitrator for clarification; MCL 691.1700(4); Whether the arbitrator exceeded the scope of the remand order

    Summary:

    The court concluded there was no merit to plaintiffs’ arguments that the underlying contract terminated when they vacated defendant’s building and that “the arbitrator erred by granting summary disposition on liability because there was a genuine issue of material fact as to when” it terminated. Their assertions that the arbitrator committed an error of law and exceeded his authority, and that there were clear errors of law on the face of the arbitration award, also failed. Further, the circuit court did not err in remanding for clarification rather than vacating the award. Thus, the court affirmed the order granting defendant’s motion for summary disposition to confirm the award. The contract at issue referred to defendant as Baker Machining & Mold Technologies. It provided that plaintiffs would use defendant’s building and agreed “to offer first right of refusal on machining work that is selected to be outsourced to” Baker. There was no dispute that they outsourced machining work to defendant after vacating the building, or that they “were offering machining work to companies other than defendant.” Defendant sued, asserting that they “breached the agreement to offer defendant the right of first refusal on all machining work being outsourced by plaintiffs. The parties stipulated to dismiss the case and to arbitrate the matter.” The arbitrator granted defendant summary disposition on liability, and later awarded it $3,243,690. Plaintiffs sought to vacate the award. The trial court remanded the matter to the arbitrator for clarification, and the arbitrator issued a clarifying order. As to when the contract terminated, as it “did not contain any term, duration, or manner of termination indicating when, or for what reason, the right of first refusal would terminate, . . . the arbitrator did not err by concluding that it would terminate upon revocation by either party.” Further, the arbitrator did not error in finding “there was no genuine issue of material fact that the agreement for the right of first refusal terminated on” 3/24/13, when plaintiff-Hutton sent an email “stating that defendant should ‘find something’ other than outsourced machining work from plaintiffs ‘to look forward to.’”

    Full Text Opinion

  • Attorneys (1)

    Full Text Opinion

    This summary also appears under Litigation

    e-Journal #: 75868
    Case: Mobile MRI Staffing, LLC v. Auto-Owners Ins. Co.
    Court: Michigan Court of Appeals ( Unpublished Opinion )
    Judges: Per Curiam – Riordan, M.J. Kelly, and Shapiro
    Issues:

    Denial of motion for a determination & enforcement of a prior sanctions award without conducting a hearing; Preservation requirements for appellate review; Burden of proving the reasonableness of requested attorney fees; Smith v Khouri; Denial of request for attorney fees

    Summary:

    The court found that defendants failed to preserve their argument about the necessity of a hearing on their motion for a determination and enforcement of a prior sanctions award, and that they were not entitled to an evidentiary hearing as their fee request was unopposed. It further held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying them attorney fees. The case arose from a no-fault action filed by plaintiff “for the collection of assigned insurance benefits.” Defendants successfully moved for summary disposition, and the trial court granted their request for sanctions “with the caveat that the amount of sanctions to be awarded must be pursued by a separate (supported) motion within 28 days of the entry date of this Opinion and Order or” they would be deemed abandoned. Defendants later unsuccessfully “filed two uncontested motions for the determination and enforcement of sanctions” (only the first was filed within the 28-day period). They never requested a hearing in the trial court as to the determination and enforcement of the prior sanctions award, and even if the court overlooked the preservation requirements, their contention as to the necessity of an evidentiary hearing lacked merit. They presented evidence to the trial court in an effort “to meet their burden to establish the reasonableness of the requested attorney fees. However, plaintiff did not oppose the fee request and did not request an evidentiary hearing to contest the evidence” they presented. Thus, the trial court did not plainly err in denying their motion without conducting a hearing. Limiting its analysis to their initial motion, the court noted that they did not offer any evidence as to “the skill involved in litigating the matter, the likelihood that acceptance of the employment precluded other employment by the attorneys, the time limitations imposed by the client or the circumstances, the nature and length of the professional relationship with the client, or the professional standing and experience of the attorneys. Most notably, defendants failed to present any evidence regarding the fee customarily charged in that locality for similar services.” Affirmed.

    Full Text Opinion

  • Constitutional Law (1)

    Full Text Opinion

    This summary also appears under Municipal

    e-Journal #: 75934
    Case: Taxpayers for MI Constitutional Gov't v. State of MI
    Court: Michigan Supreme Court ( Opinion )
    Judges: Cavanagh, McCormack, Bernstein, Clement (except as to Part VIII), and Welch; Concurring in part, Dissenting in part - Viviano and Zahra; Separate Concurring in part, Dissenting in part – Clement
    Issues:

    Calculation of “total state spending to all units of Local Government” under § 30 of the Headlee Amendment; Proposal A payments to school districts & Headlee Amendment § 29 state spending to fund state-mandated local services & activities; Whether Public School Academies (PSAs) (commonly referred to as charter schools) are “school districts” as the term is used in the Headlee Amendment; Whether PSAs are political subdivisions of the state for purposes of the Headlee Amendment; Mandamus

    Summary:

    The court held that Proposal A payments to school districts and § 29 state spending to fund state-mandated local services and activities are both properly counted in the calculation of “total state spending to all units of Local Government” under § 30 of the Headlee Amendment. Thus, it affirmed Part III(B) and reversed Part III(D) of the Court of Appeals opinion. Also, it held that the Court of Appeals erred in ruling that PSAs are “school districts” as the term is used in the Headlee Amendment and reversed that determination reached in Part III(C) of the opinion. It further held that “PSAs themselves are not political subdivisions of the state for purposes of the” Amendment. But it remanded “to the Court of Appeals to consider whether PSA funding should be counted as spending paid to a unit of ‘Local Government’ if the authorizing body of the PSA is a school district, intermediate school district, or community college.” Finally, it vacated Part III(E) of the opinion without prejudice and remanded for the Court of Appeals to “clarify its grant of mandamus relief or take other action not inconsistent with this opinion.” At issue was a dispute over what monies should be included in calculating “total state spending paid to all units of Local Government” under § 30. Plaintiffs argued that “the state is shortchanging units of local government by improperly inflating that figure.” Specifically, they alleged that Proposal A payments that the state directs to school districts pursuant to § 11 “should not be counted and that neither should state spending for state-mandated local services and activities under” § 29. The court disagreed, holding that both “are properly counted as part of total state spending paid to units of local government for purposes of the Headlee Amendment.” Section 25 “is not an independent source of a substantive right on which plaintiffs can rely, and their arguments find no support in the plain language of § 30.”

    Justice Viviano, joined by Justice Zahra, concurred in the majority’s decision in all respects except as to Part VI as to funding for PSAs/charter schools. They dissented, believing that “PSAs, as a category, are political subdivisions of the state under” § 33. Thus, they believed that "state spending for PSAs is properly considered ‘spending paid to all units of Local Government’ for purposes of” § 30.

    In a separate opinion, Justice Clement concurred in full with the court’s resolution of the substantive Headlee Amendment claims. She dissented “only as to the Court’s disposition of the state’s challenge to the writ of mandamus issued by the Court of Appeals (acting as a trial court) in Docket No. 160660.” She found that this aspect of plaintiffs’ case was inadequately pled.

    Full Text Opinion

  • Contracts (1)

    Full Text Opinion

    This summary also appears under Alternative Dispute Resolution

    e-Journal #: 75871
    Case: Advanced Integration Tech., Inc. v. Rekab Indus. Excluded Assets, LLC
    Court: Michigan Court of Appeals ( Unpublished Opinion )
    Judges: Per Curiam – Riordan, M.J. Kelly, and Shapiro
    Issues:

    Confirmation of an arbitration award; Whether the underlying contract was ambiguous; Whether there was a genuine issue of material fact when it terminated; Whether the arbitrator committed an error of law & exceeded his authority; Scope of the contract; Motion to vacate the award due to clear errors on its face; The trial court’s authority to remand to the arbitrator for clarification; MCL 691.1700(4); Whether the arbitrator exceeded the scope of the remand order

    Summary:

    The court concluded there was no merit to plaintiffs’ arguments that the underlying contract terminated when they vacated defendant’s building and that “the arbitrator erred by granting summary disposition on liability because there was a genuine issue of material fact as to when” it terminated. Their assertions that the arbitrator committed an error of law and exceeded his authority, and that there were clear errors of law on the face of the arbitration award, also failed. Further, the circuit court did not err in remanding for clarification rather than vacating the award. Thus, the court affirmed the order granting defendant’s motion for summary disposition to confirm the award. The contract at issue referred to defendant as Baker Machining & Mold Technologies. It provided that plaintiffs would use defendant’s building and agreed “to offer first right of refusal on machining work that is selected to be outsourced to” Baker. There was no dispute that they outsourced machining work to defendant after vacating the building, or that they “were offering machining work to companies other than defendant.” Defendant sued, asserting that they “breached the agreement to offer defendant the right of first refusal on all machining work being outsourced by plaintiffs. The parties stipulated to dismiss the case and to arbitrate the matter.” The arbitrator granted defendant summary disposition on liability, and later awarded it $3,243,690. Plaintiffs sought to vacate the award. The trial court remanded the matter to the arbitrator for clarification, and the arbitrator issued a clarifying order. As to when the contract terminated, as it “did not contain any term, duration, or manner of termination indicating when, or for what reason, the right of first refusal would terminate, . . . the arbitrator did not err by concluding that it would terminate upon revocation by either party.” Further, the arbitrator did not error in finding “there was no genuine issue of material fact that the agreement for the right of first refusal terminated on” 3/24/13, when plaintiff-Hutton sent an email “stating that defendant should ‘find something’ other than outsourced machining work from plaintiffs ‘to look forward to.’”

    Full Text Opinion

  • Criminal Law (1)

    Full Text Opinion

    e-Journal #: 75931
    Case: People v. Arnold
    Court: Michigan Supreme Court ( Opinion )
    Judges: Viviano, Zahra, Bernstein, and Welch; Concurring in the judgment – Clement, McCormack, and Cavanagh
    Issues:

    Sentencing; Indecent exposure as a sexually delinquent person (MCL 750.335a); Conflict between the “1 day to life” sentence in § 335a(2)(c) of the Penal Code & the sentence in §§ 16q and 62 of the guidelines in the Criminal Code of Procedure; The “Title-Object” & “Reenact-Publish” Clauses of the Michigan Constitution

    Summary:

    Holding that “the guidelines do not create an alternative sentence that can be imposed instead of the ‘1 day to life’ sentence in § 335a(2)(c)[,]” the court concluded that defendants found guilty of indecent exposure as a sexually delinquent person can be sentenced to the penalties in § 335a as well as “any applicable enhancements, as discussed in” its opinion in a prior decision involving this defendant, Arnold I. Thus, it reversed the Court of Appeals and remanded for resentencing. In Arnold I, the court determined that a person convicted under § 335a(2) “could be sentenced either to a nonmodifiable term of ‘1 day to life’ or to the other applicable statutory penalties established by that statute. However, according to the Court of Appeals’ interpretation on remand, such a person would also have to examine MCL 777.16q and MCL 777.62 . . . because the guidelines purport to apply to individuals in defendant’s circumstances and suggest that he could face a radically different penalty—imprisonment for life or any term of years.” The court noted that it had previously declined to decide whether the guidelines or § 335a applied in such circumstances. Confronting “the clear conflict between the ‘1 day to life’ sentence in § 335a(2)(c) of the Penal Code and the sentence in §§ 16q and 62 of the guidelines[,]” the court concluded that defendants “convicted of an indecent-exposure offense under § 335a as sexually delinquent persons must be sentenced pursuant to the penalties prescribed in that statute as described in” its earlier opinion. The court noted that a determination “that §§ 16q and 62 are not substantive penalty provisions” was supported by case law from across the country. Given that §§ 16q and 62 could not “be read to authorize sentence ranges that serve as an alternative to the penalty laid out in § 335a(2)(c)[,]” it followed that “the reference in § 16q to § 335a(2)(c) is nugatory and that § 62 . . . does not apply to individuals found guilty under § 335a(2)(c).” The court held that a “court may impose (1) the applicable penalty laid out in § 335a(2)(a) or (b), along with any applicable sentence enhancements or (2) the ‘1 day to life’ sentence in § 335a(2)(c).” Defendant’s sentence was “not to either of these options.” In light of the court’s ruling that the guidelines were inapplicable, he was entitled to resentencing.

    Concurring in the judgment vacating defendant’s sentence and remanding for resentencing, Justice Clement (joined by Chief Justice McCormack and Justice Cavanagh) agreed with the majority’s result – “defendant must either be given a term-of-years sentence under MCL 750.335a(2)(b), or a ‘1 day to life’ sentence under MCL 750.335a(2)(c). Because his sentence of 25 to 70 years in prison exceeds the permissible term of years sentence authorized by MCL 750.335a(2)(b) (as potentially enhanced by being a fourth-offense habitual offender,”), it was invalid. But they found a constitutional objection “to the effect of MCL 777.16q on the meaning of MCL 750.335a a more compelling rationale for negating the expressed intent of the Legislature than the majority’s explanation.”

    Full Text Opinion

  • Family Law (1)

    Full Text Opinion

    e-Journal #: 75862
    Case: Muschegian v. Esparza
    Court: Michigan Court of Appeals ( Unpublished Opinion )
    Judges: Per Curiam – Riordan and M.J. Kelly; Concurring in part, Dissenting in part – Shapiro
    Issues:

    Custody; Physical custody & parenting time; The statutory best-interest factors (MCL 722.23); Legal custody; MCL 722.26a(1); Bofysil v Bofysil; Attorney fees; MCR 3.206(D); Myland v Myland; Loutts v Loutts

    Summary:

    The court concluded that the trial court’s assessment of the statutory best-interest factors, except for factor (e), was not against the great weight of the evidence, and that its error as to (e) was harmless given that so many of the other factors weighed in favor of its decision to grant plaintiff-father physical custody of the parties’ children (twins). It also upheld the denial of defendant-mother’s request for attorney fees. But it held that the trial court erred in granting plaintiff sole legal custody. Thus, it vacated the ruling as to legal custody, affirmed in all other respects, and remanded for reconsideration of the issue of legal custody based on up-to-date information. It agreed with defendant that the trial court’s analysis of factor (e) “missed the mark. It is difficult to understand how the paternity of defendant’s other children has any significance to the permanence of the family unit, when” two of those children (K and M) lived exclusively with defendant and had “always been a part of the twins’ lives. It does not appear that the trial court gave any weight to the twins’ sibling relationship with” K and M, despite the relationship’s permanence “and undisputed evidence that the four siblings shared a loving bond with one another.” Noting the value it has traditionally “placed on the importance of maintaining strong sibling relationships,” the court agreed “that the trial court’s determination that factor (e) favored plaintiff was against the great weight of the evidence.” However, this error was harmless given that “the vast majority of the remaining best-interest factors supported the trial court’s decision to grant plaintiff primary physical custody. Ultimately, the trial court engaged in a reasonable and detailed analysis of each relevant factor and did not abuse its discretion by granting plaintiff primary physical custody and granting defendant parenting time every other weekend and limited weekday parenting time.” But as to legal custody, the court concluded that the evidence showed “the parties were generally able to cooperate and make important decisions about the twins together.” There were many examples in the record of their ability to work together on important issues. Finally, the court found that the trial court’s denial of defendant’s request for attorney fees was “within the range of reasonable outcomes.”

    Full Text Opinion

  • Insurance (1)

    Full Text Opinion

    e-Journal #: 75867
    Case: Jagannathan Neurosurgical Inst., PLLC v. Geico Indem. Co.
    Court: Michigan Court of Appeals ( Unpublished Opinion )
    Judges: Per Curiam – Riordan, M.J. Kelly, and Shapiro
    Issues:

    Former MCL 500.3163(1); Domicile at the time of a car accident; Grange Ins Co of MI v Lawrence

    Summary:

    Holding that there was no genuine issue of material fact on the dispositive issue of whether the owner and operator of the vehicle involved in the accident at issue was domiciled in Michigan at the time of the accident, the court affirmed summary disposition for defendants-insurers. It determined that there was no underlying factual dispute, and that viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to plaintiff-provider (assignee of plaintiff-Marlene Holbrook), reasonable minds could not differ as to whether William (her husband) was domiciled in Michigan at the time of the accident. On the way from the airport to the Michigan home, while William was driving, the Holbrooks were involved in a car accident, and Marlene was injured. They were covered by a Florida auto insurance plan issued by defendants. Marlene was billed for more than the covered amount in medical care, some of which was provided by plaintiff. Plaintiff sued when defendants refused to cover all of her care, arguing there was evidence William was still domiciled in Florida at the time of the accident. They purchased the Michigan house in 2017, and their testimony reflected their intent to make it their permanent residence. They sold their Florida home in anticipation of the move. But due to “pending litigation and Marlene’s medical issues, they purchased another house in Florida.” Then, in 11/18, “William drove to Michigan with a number of their belongings. He testified that his intent at that point was to live in Michigan and not return to Florida.” Days later, “Marlene took a one-way flight to Michigan.” It was undisputed that she intended to live here “permanently and not return to the Florida home.” While William intended to return to the Florida home, their testimony showed that this “was to prepare the home for sale and move more of their personal belongings from Florida to Michigan.” Finally, before Marlene flew to Michigan, they “completed change-of-address forms with the post office and updated their address with their bank to reflect their Michigan address.” The fact that they owned a home in Florida and had property there was not reflective of his “intent to reside permanently or indefinitely in Florida because the uncontradicted evidence shows that the Florida home was purchased as a temporary residence while the Holbrooks prepared for their intended permanent move to Michigan.” The court held that taking “a trip from Michigan to Florida to retrieve belongings and to finalize the sale of the Florida home is not reflective of an intent to” indefinitely reside there. Affirmed.

    Full Text Opinion

  • Litigation (2)

    Full Text Opinion

    This summary also appears under Real Property

    e-Journal #: 75870
    Case: Dubois St. Church of the Living God, C.W.F.F v. Church of the Living God
    Court: Michigan Court of Appeals ( Unpublished Opinion )
    Judges: Per Curiam – Riordan, M.J. Kelly, and Shapiro
    Issues:

    Real property dispute; Real party in interest; Timeliness of a summary disposition motion; Whether plaintiff was entitled to summary disposition because defendants did not respond to its request to admit; Motion for reconsideration

    Summary:

    In this dispute over real property, in Docket No. 354254 the court held that the trial court did not err by concluding that plaintiff-Dubois Street Church was not the real party in interest, and affirmed the dismissal of its complaint. In Docket No. 355895, it vacated the part of the trial court’s order requiring plaintiff to vacate the properties at issue, affirmed in all other respects, and remanded. Plaintiff claimed that defendants sold property belonging to it “without plaintiff’s authorization or consent.” It sought relief under conversion and quiet title theories. Defendants sought “dismissal on the basis that plaintiff was comprised of imposters who were former members of the actual Dubois Street Church that left to form a different church in 2017.” The trial court held, based on the documentary evidence, “that plaintiff was not the real party in interest, but was instead comprised of former members of the Dubois Street Church that had joined an affiliated, but legally distinct church.” Through documentary evidence, defendants showed that “the Dubois Street Church was formed in 1975, and continued to exist throughout the lower court proceedings.” They also showed that “the filings with the State of Michigan listed defendants as the officers, directors, and resident agent of the Dubois Street Church. These official documents were not controverted or disputed by plaintiff, other than through conclusory allegations that” they were improperly filed with the State. Defendants also presented evidence that “the individuals claiming to represent plaintiff were former members of the Dubois Street Church that left to start a new church. . . .” Plaintiff did not dispute the authenticity of social media posts indicating this, but insisted that it was the real party in interest, relying on affidavits of people who claimed to be current trustees of the Dubois Street Church. However, these affidavits did “not create a genuine issue of material fact as to whether plaintiff is the real party in interest in that they only set forth the assertion that defendants were not entitled to sell the properties under the bylaws.” There were no facts in them that “would have provided the trial court with any ability to conclude plaintiff was, in fact, the real party in interest.” The trial court did not err when it held that, “on the basis of the evidence presented to it, plaintiff was not the real party in interest.”

    Full Text Opinion

    Full Text Opinion

    This summary also appears under Attorneys

    e-Journal #: 75868
    Case: Mobile MRI Staffing, LLC v. Auto-Owners Ins. Co.
    Court: Michigan Court of Appeals ( Unpublished Opinion )
    Judges: Per Curiam – Riordan, M.J. Kelly, and Shapiro
    Issues:

    Denial of motion for a determination & enforcement of a prior sanctions award without conducting a hearing; Preservation requirements for appellate review; Burden of proving the reasonableness of requested attorney fees; Smith v Khouri; Denial of request for attorney fees

    Summary:

    The court found that defendants failed to preserve their argument about the necessity of a hearing on their motion for a determination and enforcement of a prior sanctions award, and that they were not entitled to an evidentiary hearing as their fee request was unopposed. It further held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying them attorney fees. The case arose from a no-fault action filed by plaintiff “for the collection of assigned insurance benefits.” Defendants successfully moved for summary disposition, and the trial court granted their request for sanctions “with the caveat that the amount of sanctions to be awarded must be pursued by a separate (supported) motion within 28 days of the entry date of this Opinion and Order or” they would be deemed abandoned. Defendants later unsuccessfully “filed two uncontested motions for the determination and enforcement of sanctions” (only the first was filed within the 28-day period). They never requested a hearing in the trial court as to the determination and enforcement of the prior sanctions award, and even if the court overlooked the preservation requirements, their contention as to the necessity of an evidentiary hearing lacked merit. They presented evidence to the trial court in an effort “to meet their burden to establish the reasonableness of the requested attorney fees. However, plaintiff did not oppose the fee request and did not request an evidentiary hearing to contest the evidence” they presented. Thus, the trial court did not plainly err in denying their motion without conducting a hearing. Limiting its analysis to their initial motion, the court noted that they did not offer any evidence as to “the skill involved in litigating the matter, the likelihood that acceptance of the employment precluded other employment by the attorneys, the time limitations imposed by the client or the circumstances, the nature and length of the professional relationship with the client, or the professional standing and experience of the attorneys. Most notably, defendants failed to present any evidence regarding the fee customarily charged in that locality for similar services.” Affirmed.

    Full Text Opinion

  • Municipal (1)

    Full Text Opinion

    This summary also appears under Constitutional Law

    e-Journal #: 75934
    Case: Taxpayers for MI Constitutional Gov't v. State of MI
    Court: Michigan Supreme Court ( Opinion )
    Judges: Cavanagh, McCormack, Bernstein, Clement (except as to Part VIII), and Welch; Concurring in part, Dissenting in part - Viviano and Zahra; Separate Concurring in part, Dissenting in part – Clement
    Issues:

    Calculation of “total state spending to all units of Local Government” under § 30 of the Headlee Amendment; Proposal A payments to school districts & Headlee Amendment § 29 state spending to fund state-mandated local services & activities; Whether Public School Academies (PSAs) (commonly referred to as charter schools) are “school districts” as the term is used in the Headlee Amendment; Whether PSAs are political subdivisions of the state for purposes of the Headlee Amendment; Mandamus

    Summary:

    The court held that Proposal A payments to school districts and § 29 state spending to fund state-mandated local services and activities are both properly counted in the calculation of “total state spending to all units of Local Government” under § 30 of the Headlee Amendment. Thus, it affirmed Part III(B) and reversed Part III(D) of the Court of Appeals opinion. Also, it held that the Court of Appeals erred in ruling that PSAs are “school districts” as the term is used in the Headlee Amendment and reversed that determination reached in Part III(C) of the opinion. It further held that “PSAs themselves are not political subdivisions of the state for purposes of the” Amendment. But it remanded “to the Court of Appeals to consider whether PSA funding should be counted as spending paid to a unit of ‘Local Government’ if the authorizing body of the PSA is a school district, intermediate school district, or community college.” Finally, it vacated Part III(E) of the opinion without prejudice and remanded for the Court of Appeals to “clarify its grant of mandamus relief or take other action not inconsistent with this opinion.” At issue was a dispute over what monies should be included in calculating “total state spending paid to all units of Local Government” under § 30. Plaintiffs argued that “the state is shortchanging units of local government by improperly inflating that figure.” Specifically, they alleged that Proposal A payments that the state directs to school districts pursuant to § 11 “should not be counted and that neither should state spending for state-mandated local services and activities under” § 29. The court disagreed, holding that both “are properly counted as part of total state spending paid to units of local government for purposes of the Headlee Amendment.” Section 25 “is not an independent source of a substantive right on which plaintiffs can rely, and their arguments find no support in the plain language of § 30.”

    Justice Viviano, joined by Justice Zahra, concurred in the majority’s decision in all respects except as to Part VI as to funding for PSAs/charter schools. They dissented, believing that “PSAs, as a category, are political subdivisions of the state under” § 33. Thus, they believed that "state spending for PSAs is properly considered ‘spending paid to all units of Local Government’ for purposes of” § 30.

    In a separate opinion, Justice Clement concurred in full with the court’s resolution of the substantive Headlee Amendment claims. She dissented “only as to the Court’s disposition of the state’s challenge to the writ of mandamus issued by the Court of Appeals (acting as a trial court) in Docket No. 160660.” She found that this aspect of plaintiffs’ case was inadequately pled.

    Full Text Opinion

  • Negligence & Intentional Tort (1)

    Full Text Opinion

    e-Journal #: 75873
    Case: Walker v. Hela Mgmt., LLC
    Court: Michigan Court of Appeals ( Unpublished Opinion )
    Judges: Per Curiam – M.J. Kelly and Shapiro; Concurring in the result only – Riordan
    Issues:

    Premises liability; MCL 554.139 (landlord’s duty to keep premises in reasonable repair); Mullen v Zerfas; “Licensee”

    Summary:

    Holding that plaintiff was not a “licensee” as that term is used in MCL 554.139, and that the trial court properly determined that she did not have a cause of action under MCL 554.139, the court affirmed. She stepped on a broken piece of tile and fell down the basement stairs in an apartment owned by defendant-The D Portfolio and managed by defendant-Hela Management. Plaintiff claimed that “she should be considered a tenant considering the evidence that defendants or their agent knew that she was residing in the apartment.” Specifically, she was “the only contact person for negotiating and entering the lease, she met with defendants’ representatives at the rental home to tour it, and she communicated with defendants on maintenance requests at the rental home after she had moved into it and during her tenancy.” Defendants disputed that she was a tenant but, even if she was, they contended that she was not a party to the lease and thus, was not a “contracting party” under Mullen. It bore mentioning that the plaintiff in Mullen “was a true social guest rather than a residential family member. Further, MCL 554.139 makes no mention of ‘contracting parties,’ and the Supreme Court did not expressly consider in its peremptory order that the statute is to be liberally construed. And Mullen’s interpretation of the statute suggests that landlords owe no duty under MCL 554.139 to any members of the lessee’s resident family, including children, who are incapable of contracting.” It was not clear to the court that “this was the intent of the Legislature and, were we considering the statute on a blank slate, we might reach a different result.” The slate was not blank, however, and the court held that it was “bound by the Supreme Court’s conclusion that the statute applies only to ‘contracting parties’ to the lease, which plaintiff indisputably was not.” Regardless whether or not she met the definition of a tenant, she “did not have any contractual duties to defendants; if the amount owed for the rental home was not paid, defendants had no right to collect that payment from plaintiff. Likewise, plaintiff did not have any contractual rights under the lease agreement; for instance, plaintiff had no right to claim a deposit paid for the rental home. There was also no consideration between plaintiff and defendants for plaintiff to reside in or use the" home. Even assuming that they knew she was residing there, "they had not entered into an agreement with her such that plaintiff could be considered a contracting party.”

    Full Text Opinion

  • Real Property (1)

    Full Text Opinion

    This summary also appears under Litigation

    e-Journal #: 75870
    Case: Dubois St. Church of the Living God, C.W.F.F v. Church of the Living God
    Court: Michigan Court of Appeals ( Unpublished Opinion )
    Judges: Per Curiam – Riordan, M.J. Kelly, and Shapiro
    Issues:

    Real property dispute; Real party in interest; Timeliness of a summary disposition motion; Whether plaintiff was entitled to summary disposition because defendants did not respond to its request to admit; Motion for reconsideration

    Summary:

    In this dispute over real property, in Docket No. 354254 the court held that the trial court did not err by concluding that plaintiff-Dubois Street Church was not the real party in interest, and affirmed the dismissal of its complaint. In Docket No. 355895, it vacated the part of the trial court’s order requiring plaintiff to vacate the properties at issue, affirmed in all other respects, and remanded. Plaintiff claimed that defendants sold property belonging to it “without plaintiff’s authorization or consent.” It sought relief under conversion and quiet title theories. Defendants sought “dismissal on the basis that plaintiff was comprised of imposters who were former members of the actual Dubois Street Church that left to form a different church in 2017.” The trial court held, based on the documentary evidence, “that plaintiff was not the real party in interest, but was instead comprised of former members of the Dubois Street Church that had joined an affiliated, but legally distinct church.” Through documentary evidence, defendants showed that “the Dubois Street Church was formed in 1975, and continued to exist throughout the lower court proceedings.” They also showed that “the filings with the State of Michigan listed defendants as the officers, directors, and resident agent of the Dubois Street Church. These official documents were not controverted or disputed by plaintiff, other than through conclusory allegations that” they were improperly filed with the State. Defendants also presented evidence that “the individuals claiming to represent plaintiff were former members of the Dubois Street Church that left to start a new church. . . .” Plaintiff did not dispute the authenticity of social media posts indicating this, but insisted that it was the real party in interest, relying on affidavits of people who claimed to be current trustees of the Dubois Street Church. However, these affidavits did “not create a genuine issue of material fact as to whether plaintiff is the real party in interest in that they only set forth the assertion that defendants were not entitled to sell the properties under the bylaws.” There were no facts in them that “would have provided the trial court with any ability to conclude plaintiff was, in fact, the real party in interest.” The trial court did not err when it held that, “on the basis of the evidence presented to it, plaintiff was not the real party in interest.”

    Full Text Opinion

Ads