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MICHIGAN REAL ESTATE 98: Trial court granted quiet title under the doctrine of acquiescence because the fence and post had been in place for more than 15 years.

Plaintiff and defendants are next-door neighbors in Michigan. This dispute centers on the boundary line between their properties, and whether a gate and post, and an attached chain link fence, encroach on plaintiff’s property.

Trespass and Nuisance

Defendants installed a new gate and post across their driveway after the existing post broke. Defendant believed the chain link fence marked the property line; plaintiff always maintained her side of the fence, and defendants maintained their side of the fence. Plaintiff spoke with defendant about the fence post, claiming that it encroached on her property. Plaintiff also stated that she started getting water in her basement and saw water accumulating next to her home and defendants’ driveway.

Plaintiff obtained a survey to get a permit to install a fence. Plaintiff’s survey showed that the chain link fence and post encroached on plaintiff’s recorded property line.

Quiet Title

Plaintiff filed suit against defendants for trespass and nuisance; plaintiff also sought to quiet title to the encroachments. Months later, defendants filed a countercomplaint, in which they requested an order quieting title to the disputed property in their name based on adverse possession and acquiescence.

Defendants moved for summary disposition under MCR 2.116(C)(7), (C)(8), and (C)(10). Defendants argued that plaintiff’s claims for trespass and nuisance were time-barred by the applicable statute of limitations. Finally, defendants posited that they had superior title to the disputed property. They argued that plaintiff’s quiet-title claim was barred by the applicable 15-year limitations period because plaintiff and defendants acquiesced to the fence between the properties as the actual boundary line.

Plaintiff claimed that she was the rightful owner of the disputed property based on the survey, and she requested that the court order defendants to detach the post from her fence and remove it from her property. Finally, plaintiff argued that defendants failed to establish acquiescence because she never agreed to treat the chain link fence as the property line.

Trial Court

The trial court held that plaintiff’s trespass claim, but not her nuisance claim, was barred by the three-year statute of limitations. The court still granted summary disposition on the nuisance claim, concluding that plaintiff failed to present evidence to support her assertion that a fence post installed to replace a damaged fence post caused water to intrude into her basement. Finally, the trial court granted defendants’ request to quiet title under the doctrine of acquiescence because the fence and post had been in place for more than 15 years since plaintiff bought the property.

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MICHIGAN WILLS/TRUSTS 33: Trustees required to provide notice informing recipients that they may challenge the validity of a trust and the period allowed for bringing such a challenge.

The notice sent clearly advised her that if she wanted to contest the validity of the Trust in a judicial proceeding, the law required her to do so within six months from the date of the letter. Nothing in the statute requires a trustee to inform the recipients of the specific legal consequences of not acting during the time allowed.

MICHIGAN REAL ESTATE 97: The court imposed a constructive trust on defendant’s one-half interest in the property in favor of plaintiff.

The trial court found that plaintiff sustained her burden of establishing that a constructive trust was necessary to prevent defendant from being unjustly enriched. Accordingly, the court imposed a constructive trust on defendant’s one-half interest in the property in favor of plaintiff and ordered defendant to convey his interest in the property to plaintiff.

MICHIGAN REAL ESTATE 95: Property owners did not place a condition upon the delivery of the deed; rather, they delivered the deed to themselves.

When the delivery of a deed is contingent upon the happening of some future event, title to the subject property will not transfer to the grantee until the event has occurred. However, in this case A and J did not place a condition upon the delivery of the deed; rather, they delivered the deed to themselves, then deposited the deed with their attorney with the instruction to record the deed only upon the happening of a future event, thereby placing a condition only upon the recording of the deed.

MICHIGAN PROBATE 57: Brother granted permanent guardianship of siblings.

At a multiday hearing to address the extension of the guardianship, the eldest children, the mother’s relatives and friends, and school personnel testified regarding the mother’s care of the children, appellant’s treatment of and interaction with the children, and the eldest siblings’ role in aiding the mother to raise the children.

FAMILY LAW 88: The trial court found that the children did not have an established custodial environment with defendant because, before the separation, he did not have a large role in the children’s lives.

The trial court credited plaintiff’s testimony that, before the parties’ separation, defendant spent minimal time helping to care for the children, so its finding that the children would not have looked to defendant for guidance, discipline, the necessities of life, and parental comfort during that time was not against the great weight of the evidence.

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