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BUSINESS LAW 12: Dispute involving the distribution of assets in which plaintiff and defendant were both members of the LLC.

This case arises from a dispute involving the distribution of assets of LLC (the company), in which plaintiff and defendant were both members.

Plaintiff and defendant established the company in December 2012 to engage in the rental and sale of single-family residences in the Southeastern Michigan area.

In May 2017, plaintiff filed for an accounting of the company’s assets, judicial dissolution of the company, and appointment of a receiver.

Plaintiff had filed an accounting with the trial court.

Defendant argues that there is no evidentiary support for the trial court’s findings with respect to defendant (1) withdrawing $53,384.73 in unverified expenses from the company’s bank account, and (2) improperly receiving $4,550 in land contract payments. Defendant contends that the trial court’s factual determination that the company owed plaintiff $45,646.77 for loans is without evidentiary support.

Plaintiff testified at trial that the tenant, at defendant’s request, had sent $4,550 in land contract payments to a secret post box number owned by defendant. Plaintiff’s testimony supports the trial court’s findings with respect to the land contract payments.

During the third day of trial, plaintiff presented exhibits, which includes two ledger sheets documenting $53,584.73 that defendant had withdrawn from the company’s bank account by checks for alleged expenses. Plaintiff explained that defendant could not provide invoices for these checks and, in response to plaintiff’s queries, defendant merely stated that the undocumented expenses were for unspecified repairs. To the extent defendant now maintains that the monetary amounts listed in the ledger are not supported by evidence of record, the review of the exhibit reveals that each amount listed on the ledger corresponds to an actual withdrawal documented in the company’s bank account statements. Plaintiff provided examples of this during his trial testimony. Review of a sampling of the withdrawals from the company’s bank account confirms plaintiff’s testimony.

Given plaintiff’s testimony regarding the loans and the documentary evidence confirming the amounts of the loans that were taken to fund the company’s business, the trial court found that the company still owed plaintiff.

After conducting a three-day bench trial, the court entered a written opinion and order determining the assets and liabilities of the company and ordering the distribution of the company’s assets in conformance with the company’s operating agreement.

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

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