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BUSINESS LAW 15: Plaintiff filed a construction lien.

Plaintiff designs, fabricates, and installs food service equipment for restaurant and institutional use. Defendant operates a Mall, which includes retail stores and restaurants.

Defendant executed a lease of space at the mall, for the purpose of operating a restaurant. The restaurant’s chef approached plaintiff to provide design and installation services for the restaurant’s kitchen. Plaintiff fabricated and installed stainless steel equipment, such as a dishwashing area, a chef island, a cooking line, a salad prep station, cocktail serving stations, and a sushi station, much of which was attached to the walls with anchors or pinned to the floor.

Construction Lien

Plaintiff billed the restaurant $274,424.20 for the project, but it paid only $61,035.00 of that amount. Plaintiff filed a construction lien in the amount of $213,389.20, naming defendant as the owner of the property.

Plaintiff filed a motion for summary disposition under MCR 2.116(C)(9) and (10), requesting that the court foreclose its construction lien and enter judgment for plaintiff in the amount of $213,389.20. Defendant filed a response to the motion, asserting in part that under MCL 570.1107(1), plaintiff’s lien attached only to the restaurant’s leasehold interest, and not to defendant’s interest in the property.


Defendant’s counsel e-mailed plaintiff’s counsel, announcing defendant’s intention to evict the restaurant from the premises and to allow the restaurant to remove its equipment from the restaurant and inviting plaintiff to attend a potential walk-through of the premises to identify any equipment subject to its lien. The restaurant removed equipment and fixtures fabricated and installed by plaintiff from the premises.

No Agency Relationship

The trial court denied plaintiff’s motion for summary disposition. The evidence indicated that any improvements made to the premises by the restaurant were primarily for the benefit of the tenant, rather than the landlord, and were improvements essential to the restaurant’s business operations. The trial court also found that no agency relationship existed between defendant and the restaurant. Finding of implied agency requires a showing that the improvements are of substantial benefit to the lessor.

Litigating Business Matters

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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.

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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