LITIGATION 3: Defendant filed a counter claim to protect customer base.

In this case, plaintiff was to work full-time for Company R, and was to be paid 50 percent of the gross profits on the sales he generated. The employment agreement established a financial goal of total gross profits of $750,000 as the point at which the agreement would automatically terminate.

In September 2015, plaintiff provided a letter to defendant giving written notice expressing his intent to leave Company R and noting that he was fast approaching the $750,000 goal. He communicated his plan to continue working in a similar capacity with his current customer and vendor base under a newly formed company. Plaintiff advised defendant that he would complete all work in progress, even after transitioning to his new company. The parties began discussions on the terms of an accelerated separation process. During these discussions the parties agreed that the preliminary amount of received gross profits was $705,000 and an additional $30,000 was in process through invoice orders and work in progress. They discussed an arrangement where the remaining $15,000 would be offset against the amounts which would become payable to plaintiff from Company R as commissions.

However, prior to any formal modification of the written agreement, defendant sent plaintiff an email stating that plaintiff’s plans were in violation of their employment agreement. From that point forward the relationship between plaintiff and defendants became contentious. Defendant locked plaintiff out of all computer systems. This restriction made it impossible for plaintiff to directly access customer files or issue computer based purchase orders.  Company R ultimately received $751,000 in gross profits arising from plaintiffs’ work on.

In October 2015, plaintiff began operating under his new company and filed an action for declaratory relief seeking to have the parties’ respective rights under the employment agreement clarified. Defendant filed a counter claim for damages and injunctive relief to protect Company R’s customer base.

The trial court issued an opinion and order that held that while plaintiff did breach the employment agreement by engaging in business activities prior to reaching the goal, defendants failed to establish that they suffered any damages arising from the breach. The court declined to award monetary damages because defendants had in fact received the contractual benefit of the total gross profits of $750,000. However, the court issued an injunction pursuant to the employment agreement, ordering plaintiff to honor his contractual obligations to refrain from soliciting business from customers on defendants’ protected list.

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FAMILY LAW 37: Referee recommended against changing legal custody or parenting time.

Plaintiff requested sole legal custody, arguing that she and defendant had difficulty co-parenting and that defendant would not agree to medical treatment for the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD, need for orthodontic work, and need for vision testing and glasses. Plaintiff also requested an alternating weekly or biweekly schedule during the summer, which would increase her overall parenting time.

REAL ESTATE 40: Tax Tribunal denied petitioner’s claim of a principal residence exemption (PRE).

MCL 211.7cc(2) provides that an owner of property can claim the PRE by filing an affidavit that must state that the property is owned and occupied as a principal residence by that owner of the property on the date that the affidavit is signed and shall state that the owner has not claimed a substantially similar exemption, deduction, or credit on property in another state.

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REAL ESTATE 38: Plaintiff fails to make land contract payments.

The land contract stated that T Company sold real property to plaintiff. The land contract further stated that if plaintiff failed to make a monthly payment, T Company could execute the quitclaim deed, thereby terminating plaintiff’s rights to the real property under the land contract.

CONTRACTS 6: Do you understand the clauses in your Purchase Agreement?

The trial court granted defendants’ motion for summary disposition, concluding that the claims against the realty companies were barred by the valid release contained in the purchase agreement and that the claims against sellers were required to be resolved in arbitration because they fell within the scope of the arbitration clause in the purchase agreement.

DIVORCE 29: Spousal support in gross is non-modifiable, whereas periodic is subject to modification.

As the name implies, periodic spousal support payments are made on a periodic basis. Periodic spousal support payments are subject to any contingency, such as death or remarriage of a spouse, whereas spousal support in gross is paid as a lump sum or a definite sum to be paid in installments. In addition, one major difference between the two types of spousal support is modifiability. Spousal support in gross is non-modifiable, whereas periodic spousal support is subject to modification pursuant to MCL 555.28.1.

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PROBATE 28: Probate court enters a protective order providing support for a community spouse.

A probate court’s consideration of the couple’s circumstances cannot involve an assumption that the institutionalized spouse should receive 100% free medical care under Medicaid or an assumption that a community spouse is entitled to maintain his or her standard of living. Medicaid is a need-based program, and a Medicaid recipient is obligated to contribute to his or her care.

REAL ESTATE 36: Plaintiff argued that her claim was not time-barred because it did not accrue until the grandmother’s death.

Plaintiff’s interest in the subject property is best characterized as a remainder estate, because her right to possession of the property was postponed until the occurrence of a specific contingency, that being the deaths of the grandparents. Plaintiff pursued this action within the 15-year limitation period; accordingly, this action is not barred by MCL 600.5801(4).

LITIGATION 6: The terms of the agreement prevails over the course of performance.

The trial court determined that under the UCC, the express terms of the parties’ agreements prevailed over the course of their performance and course of dealing. Although a course of performance may show that parties have waived a specific contractual term under MCL 440.1303(6), the statute does not similarly provide that a course of dealing may demonstrate waiver.

PROBATE 27: Petitioner filed a petition for mental-health treatment.

In support of the allegations, petitioner attached clinical certificates from a physician and a psychiatrist who observed respondent at the hospital. Both doctors diagnosed respondent with bipolar disorder, determined that she displayed a likelihood of injuring herself and that she did not understand the need for treatment, and recommended a course of treatment that consisted of 60 days of hospitalization and 90 days of outpatient care.

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