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A plaintiff who disputed his student loan obligations due to the defense of infancy, was precluded from bringing a second action regarding the same claim when his first action failed

The court held that the Court of Claims did not err by granting the defendant-university's motion for summary disposition on the basis that the plaintiff's claims were barred by res judicata. The court noted that plaintiff's state claims were "a mere repackaging of" his federal claims. "Although plaintiff's current claims view his challenge of the contract through a negligence framework, the essential ingredient in every one of plaintiff's claims is that he was unable to contract due to his infancy at the time he signed the promissory note for the purposes of his federal educational loan. It is not dispositive that plaintiff argued in federal court that the contract was voidable due to infancy and in state court argued that the infancy precludes a finding of mutual assent to form a valid contract, because, as the Court of Claims concluded, the operative facts giving rise to all of plaintiff's claims occurred in the spring of 2004 when he signed the loan documents." Further, to the extent that his claims differed "in any meaningful way, [he] has 'offered no justification for' his failure to bring the claims in the prior action." The Court of Claims "correctly concluded that plaintiff's knowledge of the present claims is irrelevant in determining whether he could have brought his claims in the prior action." Finally, the court found that "the federal court did assume jurisdiction over plaintiff's state-law claims, which it justified by considering judicial efficiency and the fact that plaintiff's state-law claims would fail because" the HEA "preempts state-law infancy defenses." Thus, it was "unnecessary to consider whether the federal court would have exercised supplemental jurisdiction over plaintiff's current state-law claims." Further, the current claims were properly considered the same as the state-law claims asserted in the federal action for the purposes of res judicata, "and thus, because the federal district court has already adjudicated those claims on their merits, it would be counter to the fundamental principle" of res judicatato allow him to "relitigate claims actually litigated in a prior suit." 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

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What to Look for in a Criminal Defense Attorney

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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

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Arrests made by tracking cell phones may be illegal

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Could I lose my job over a drunk driving arrest?

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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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