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A contract which contains ambiguity is sufficient evidence as to whether a genuine issue of material fact exists

The trial court did not err when it denied plaintiff-SPE's motion for partial summary disposition on its contract claim because the language in the parties' building contract was ambiguous, and there was evidence to show that the builder, defendant-All Seasons, submitted final plans and received approval as required by the agreements. The contract to build a sunroom "require[d] that All Seasons submit 'final plans subject to . . . final approval.' However, the contract d[id] not define the phrase 'final plans' and d[id] not specify who must provide final approval. The contract also d[id] not specify whether All Seasons was required to submit final plans with regard to each level of the sunroom." Thus, genuine issues of material fact remained whether All Seasons presented final plans and whether SPE approved them. Moreover, even if it did not, "All Seasons presented evidence creating a genuine issue of material fact with regard to whether the parties waived the requirement that All Seasons provide plans for the middle level of the sunroom before beginning construction." The court also concluded that the trial court did not abuse its discretion when it granted All Seasons' motion to set aside entry of the default. All Seasons established "good cause" where there "was a substantial irregularity in the proceeding on which the default was based"-its registered agent was not served with a copy of the summons and complaint. Also, there was "a reasonable excuse for failure to comply with the requirements creating the default[]"- the parties were engaged in negotiations. The affidavit of All Seasons' resident agent also established a meritorious defense. Affirmed. 

FAMILY LAW 88: The trial court found that the children did not have an established custodial environment with defendant because, before the separation, he did not have a large role in the children’s lives.

The trial court credited plaintiff’s testimony that, before the parties’ separation, defendant spent minimal time helping to care for the children, so its finding that the children would not have looked to defendant for guidance, discipline, the necessities of life, and parental comfort during that time was not against the great weight of the evidence.

REAL ESTATE 89: RM had not included any language in the deed providing that the property was a joint tenancy with full rights of survivorship, the property instead became a tenancy in common.

RM drafted the deed without seeking counsel and mistakenly believed that, if either she or FK died, the property would fully pass to the surviving tenant. FK’s will provided that if his wife predeceased him—which she did—the personal representative of his estate should sell any residual property that he owned and divide the cash proceeds equally among his surviving children.

FAMILY LAW 83: A trial court can terminate a parent’s rights and permit a stepparent to adopt a child.

A trial court has discretion to terminate a parent’s rights and permit a stepparent to adopt a child when the conditions of MCL 710.51(6) are met. MCL 710.51(6)(b) requires the petitioner to establish that the other parent had the ability to visit, contact, or communicate with the children, and substantially failed or neglected to do so for a period of two years.

PROBATE 53: The trust agreement included an Incontestability Provision.

A settlor’s intent is to be carried out as nearly as possible. Generally, in terrorem clauses are valid and enforceable. However, a provision in a trust that purports to penalize an interested person for contesting the trust or instituting another proceeding relating to the trust shall not be given effect if probable cause exists for instituting a proceeding contesting the trust or another proceeding relating to the trust.

FAMILY LAW 82: Court stated it would terminate the personal protection order (PPO) after the parties present documentation of the initiation of the divorce proceedings.

However, the trial court concluded that these matters should, in fact, be in the province and the jurisdiction of the Family Division and in that respect, having issued a personal protection order, the Court stated it would terminate the personal protection order after the parties present documentation of the initiation of the divorce proceedings.

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