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Michigan Department of Transportation awarded $93,000 in damages from billboard owner cutting and removing trees

The court held that the plaintiff-DOT could only recover damages for the defendant-billboard owner's cutting and removing of foliage alongside the highway under the HAA only, and not under the RJA and NREPA. It also held that plaintiff could recover under the common law, but was not entitled to exemplary damages. Plaintiff sued defendant under the RJA, the HAA, the NREPA, and common law, alleging that defendant unlawfully cut and removed foliage from plaintiff's land adjacent to the freeway. The trial court ruled for plaintiff and awarded it $93,200 in damages. On appeal, the court agreed with defendant that plaintiff was limited to damages under the HAA only, noting that "[i]ts provisions prohibit sign owners from trimming or removing shrubs around their signs, MCL 252.311, which is precisely what occurred" here. The "HAA is the more specific provision, and prevails over the damage provisions in the RJA or NREPA." However, it rejected defendant's argument that plaintiff could not recover under a common-law trespass claim, finding that defendant failed to show that "recovery under the common law and the HAA is double recovery, as a party is specifically permitted to recover under both." The court agreed with defendant that the trial court erred in awarding plaintiff exemplary damages, holding that plaintiff failed to produce any "evidence that the loss of roadside vegetation has caused it harm beyond for which the statutory provisions already compensates it." Affirmed in part and remanded in part.

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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