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A court properly held that an employee does not have a vested right in certain employee benefits

The court held that when "¶ 4.B of the 2010 MOU is read in its entirety, the paragraph is unambiguous and it does not create the vested right asserted by" plaintiff/counter-defendant-Cass. This was a breach of contract action involving a contract between defendant/counter-plaintiff-MSU and the defendant/cross-defendant-Coalition. Cass was a former employee and member of a union that is part of the Coalition. The gist of his claim was that he, "as a former employee, accrued certain benefits under a contract between MSU and the Coalition, and that the Coalition's decision to disburse those benefits to a group of employees that did not include him improperly divested him of this benefit." He claimed a breach of the 2010 MOU, a contract between MSU and the Coalition, to which he was not a party. Paragraph 4.B capped MSU's healthcare costs at a 5% increase each year. During each of the pertinent years, healthcare costs increased by less than 5%, resulting in an accumulation of over $7 million. Cass contended that because he would have had to pay for the increase in healthcare costs if that increase was above 5%, "he should be entitled to any savings generated under ¶ 4.B." The court held that "the Court of Claims did not err by determining that the meaning of ¶ 4.B was plain and unambiguous, and that it did not create in Cass any vested right to receive a payment from the healthcare savings fund." Immediately following "the phrase indicating that a fund 'shall accrue' to the benefit of Coalition-represented employees, is a grant of discretion to the JHCC" as to the funds. The 2010 MOU "provides that the fund 'shall accrue to the benefit of the employees represented by the Coalition as determined by the JHCC.'" The "identity of the employees represented by the Coalition was clear from the contract; the employees represented by the Coalition were those belonging to the unions expressly listed in the prelude to the 2010 MOU. Thus, the discretion given to the JHCC in this passage is to make a determination about the money that 'shall accrue' under ¶ 4.B." That discretion tended to "cut against the notion that the word 'accrue' refers to the creation of a vested right, and lends credence to the idea that the word 'accrue' was simply the accumulation of a fund, i.e., the accumulation of healthcare savings." Further, the next sentence in ¶ 4.B conclusively rejected the "notion that any employee had a vested right in any accumulated healthcare savings." Affirmed. 

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.

What to Do When Homeowners Insurance Denies Your Claim

Since 1955, homeowners insurance has helped owners protect their property and belongings against damages and theft. According to the Insurance Information Institute, over 93% of homeowners in the US have homeowners insurance coverage, paying around...

What to Look for in a Criminal Defense Attorney

Originally posted on 10/20/2017 If you are charged with a crime, you could face severe penalties that could include financial fines, public service, or even jail time. For those in the Michigan area, hiring an attorney experienced in...

PROBATE 51: Trust filed a petition to determine title to credit union account.

The probate court explained that the owners of the account are S and J. When S passes, J becomes the owner of the account. J is the one who had the authority to make the designation. Nowhere in any documents is there a designation by J that SJ be the owner -- or the beneficiary of the account. The designation made by his father was no longer binding because he was no longer the owner at the time J passed away.

Invoking Your Right to Remain Silent

Originally posted on 07/19/2017 While the “right to remain silent” represents one of your most inalienable rights, many people have a few misconceptions about how it works. Many people receive their understanding of this...

Arrests made by tracking cell phones may be illegal

Originally posted on 02/10/2017 Law enforcement agencies are always looking for an edge in fighting crime. As cell phones have become an indispensable part of life for many people, authorities have taken to using these devices to track...

Could I lose my job over a drunk driving arrest?

Originally posted on 01/20/2017 When potential clients ask us questions about criminal defense representation (particularly for drunk driving offenses) one of the most common is whether they will lose their job.  Naturally, this...

FAMILY LAW 77: Court awarded plaintiff sole legal custody; defendant was unwilling to work with plaintiff.

For joint custody to work, parents must be able to agree with each other on basic issues in child rearing including health care, religion, education, day to day decision making and discipline and they must be willing to cooperate with each other in joint decision making. If two equally capable parents are unable to cooperate and to agree generally concerning important decisions affecting the welfare of their children, the court has no alternative but to determine which parent shall have sole custody of the children.

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