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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."

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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