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Eviction of all occupants proper where only one occupant is named in eviction order

Holding that the plaintiffs-former tenants did not have a meritorious claim because they were not improperly ejected from the property, the court affirmed the trial court's judgment for the defendants-Griffins after a bench trial and its grant of summary disposition to defendant-PCI. An order of eviction was entered providing "an instruction to the 'court officer' requiring that the officer restore the Griffins, as landlords of the property, to 'full possession' of the property." An employee of PCI executed the eviction order. Plaintiffs' complaint requested that "the trial court award plaintiffs three times the amount of damages they suffered and restoration of their possession of the property under MCL 600.2918." They argued that they and their children lived at the property at the time of the eviction and that the plaintiff-wife (Suzzette) had a business located at the property. They contended that "the eviction order did not refer to Suzzette, her children, or her business," and thus, that "Suzzette's eviction and the eviction of her children and business were unlawful." The court noted that plaintiffs were correct that only the plaintiff-husband's (Owen) name explicitly appeared on the eviction order. "The fact that only Owen's name appears on the eviction order is likely because he had the land contract with the Griffins at the time of the entry of the eviction order. Regardless, the eviction order instructed the court officer (here, PCI) to 'restore the [Griffins] to, and put the [Griffins] in, full possession of the premises.' This would have been impossible if only Owen had been evicted from the property. Suzzette's eviction, the eviction of her children and business, and Owen's eviction were lawful because they were conducted pursuant to a court order." Plaintiffs also argued that "the execution of the eviction order was unlawful because PCI removed plaintiffs' personal property, placed the items outside, and then posted 'no trespass' signs on the property, embarrassing plaintiffs and preventing plaintiffs from removing their belongings. However, the removal of plaintiffs' personal property was necessary to comply with the order mandating that the Griffins receive full possession of the property." Thus, although the "removal or destruction of personal property can constitute unlawful interference under MCL 600.2918(2), PCI and the Griffins were immune under MCL 600.2918(3) to a claim of unlawful interference because their actions were undertaken pursuant to an order of eviction."


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