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Property owners ordered to maintain drain to divert water from neighboring property

The court held that the defendants-Pastors waived their standing and statute of limitations defenses. It also held that the trial court's finding that the Pastors failed to maintain the drain in compliance with the 2000 court order was not clearly erroneous. Finally, the trial court did not clearly err when it found that the Pastors' defense of the action was partly frivolous. Thus, the court affirmed the trial court's judgment in favor of the plaintiffs (the Herrs). The Herrs own property to the west of the Pastors. Due a fill operation by the Pastors, standing water accumulated on the Herrs' property. The Township sued the Pastors, resulting in the 2000 order, which required them to maintain a drain across their property. The trial court held that they violated that order. On appeal, the Pastors contended that the trial court erred by failing to dismiss the Herrs' claims because (1) the Herrs lacked standing and (2) MCL 600.5805 and MCL 600.5807 barred their claims. The Pastors raised their standing defense for the first time in their response to the Herrs' motion for summary disposition. "They did not raise their defense that the Herrs lacked standing in their first responsive pleading or in a motion under MCR 2.116(C)(5)." Thus, they waived this defense. Also, they never raised MCL 600.5805 or MCL 600.5807 before the trial court. The "entirety of the Pastors' affirmative defense on the statute of limitations grounds was that '[t]he period of limitations for enforcement of the Judgment, MCL [600.]5809(3), has expired.'" The trial court rejected this statute of limitations as a defense, and they did not raise or argue the application of MCL 600.5809 on appeal. Because they did not raise defenses under MCL 600.5805 or MCL 600.5807, they were waived. The Pastors contended that "the Herrs did not sufficiently prove their case because there was evidence that other problems caused the drainage issue and the Herrs did not take steps to resolve the problems." Witnesses presented conflicting evidence as to the causes of the drain's blockage. A worker for a sanitary service (D) testified that "the drain was blocked by dirt and debris because of a broken area in the 'cleanout' near the Pastors' home." D testified that "repairing the broken section would make the drain work correctly. In contrast, Pastor testified that the drain did not have a 'cleanout' and could not get clogged with dirt." The case came down to the trial court's determination of which witnesses to believe. It "rejected Pastor's assertion that Herr caused the drain to clog with grass clippings from Herr's lawn." Testimony from Herr, D, and M (the Township Supervisor) "supported the trial court's finding that the Pastors had failed to maintain the drain and that the drain was filled with dirt and debris." No record evidence supported the rest of the Pastors' assertions. The court was "not definitely and firmly convinced that the trial court made a mistake."

PROBATE 51: Trust filed a petition to determine title to credit union account.

The probate court explained that the owners of the account are S and J. When S passes, J becomes the owner of the account. J is the one who had the authority to make the designation. Nowhere in any documents is there a designation by J that SJ be the owner -- or the beneficiary of the account. The designation made by his father was no longer binding because he was no longer the owner at the time J passed away.

Invoking Your Right to Remain Silent

Originally posted on 07/19/2017 While the “right to remain silent” represents one of your most inalienable rights, many people have a few misconceptions about how it works. Many people receive their understanding of this...

Arrests made by tracking cell phones may be illegal

Originally posted on 02/10/2017 Law enforcement agencies are always looking for an edge in fighting crime. As cell phones have become an indispensable part of life for many people, authorities have taken to using these devices to track...

Could I lose my job over a drunk driving arrest?

Originally posted on 01/20/2017 When potential clients ask us questions about criminal defense representation (particularly for drunk driving offenses) one of the most common is whether they will lose their job.  Naturally, this...

FAMILY LAW 77: Court awarded plaintiff sole legal custody; defendant was unwilling to work with plaintiff.

For joint custody to work, parents must be able to agree with each other on basic issues in child rearing including health care, religion, education, day to day decision making and discipline and they must be willing to cooperate with each other in joint decision making. If two equally capable parents are unable to cooperate and to agree generally concerning important decisions affecting the welfare of their children, the court has no alternative but to determine which parent shall have sole custody of the children.

CRIMINAL 19: Sentencing guidelines are advisory.

The sentencing guidelines are advisory, and although a trial court must determine the applicable guidelines range and take it into account when imposing a sentence, the court is not required to sentence a defendant within that range.

Basic responsibilities of an executor

Originally posted on 01/11/2017 The emotional toils of dealing with the death of a loved one can be considerably difficult. Nevertheless, perseverance is paramount; especially if you are appointed to be an executor to one’s...

What you need to compliment your will

Originally posted on 02/08/2017 Making end-of-life plans usually end with a will, but they shouldn't. Some believe that simply having a will is enough. However, this post will briefly explain how having other estate planning...

The benefits of home health care providers

Originally posted on 03/22/2017 As we get older or suffer an injury, we need a little extra help. Home health care providers or caregivers can provide the assistance needed to handle your or your loved one's health and safety...

What to know about bail conditions

Originally posted on 03/06/2017 If you have been arrested and are being held on the suspicion that you have committed a particular crime, chances are that the only thing you are thinking about is getting out of jail as soon as possible and...

College students and estate planning

Originally posted on 12/16/2016 With college semesters starting up in Michigan, it may not be so easy to get college students to think responsibly. This time can be especially tough with the need of moving back to school and getting...

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