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DTE's right to enter property to trim trees and conduct line clearance upheld

The court held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in granting the plaintiff-utility (DTE) a preliminary injunction to enter the defendant's property to trim trees and conduct line clearance, and did not violate his due process rights in ruling on DTE's later motion to dismiss without hearing defendant's 13 pending motions. Thus, the court affirmed the trial court's order of dismissal. There are four factors a trial court must consider in determining whether to issue a preliminary injunction. As to the first factor, "the likelihood of success on the merits, the trial court properly found that this factor favored DTE." Defendant asserted that DTE did not have an easement to conduct line clearance activities on the west side of his lot. DTE responded that it had a prescriptive easement for that area. The court held that DTE's argument had merit. "'An easement by prescription results from the use of the property of another that is open, notorious, adverse, and continuous for a period of 15 years.'" DTE asserted that "from at least 1920, the electrical wires to the west of defendant's property have been in place and that DTE (or its predecessor) accessed the property every five years to trim the trees and maintain their equipment. Thus, DTE would have used defendant's property openly, notoriously, adversely, and continuously for over 90 years. The trial court properly concluded that DTE was likely to prevail on the merits of its case." It also did not err in finding that the second factor, the danger of irreparable harm, favored DTE. DTE established that "there was a risk of irreparable injury to itself and the public if the injunction was not granted." H, a DTE employee, "testified that failing to trim the trees away from the electrical lines could result in fires, falling lines, and disruptions in service. This constitutes danger of irreparable harm." The court also concluded that "the trial court properly found that the third and fourth factors, the relative harm of the parties and the harm to the public interest, weighed in favor of DTE. There was no evidence that the public interest would be harmed if DTE succeeded in obtaining a preliminary injunction. To the contrary, DTE presented evidence that the public would be placed at great risk if the injunction was not issued." As H stated, "it is absolutely necessary to trim trees and maintain equipment on Defendant's property in order to comply with the State of Michigan requirements for line reliability and safety." H's statements also showed the potential for harm to DTE if an injunction did not issue.

Antenuptial agreement held to be valid and enforceable

The court held that the parties' antenuptial agreement was valid and enforceable, concluding that to invalidate it on the basis of one party's fault would contravene the agreement's clear and unambiguous language, and that as a matter of law, the...

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