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REAL ESTATE 31: Bank agreed to not proceed with foreclosure if defendant made modified loan payments.

In 1998, defendant purchased the residential property at issue with a loan that was secured by a mortgage assigned to Bank A. Defendant defaulted on the loan in September 2013, and Bank A initiated this case, seeking foreclosure of the mortgage in April 2014. The trial court entered a default judgment of foreclosure in October 2014, which defendant did not appeal.

In May 2015, Bank A and defendant entered into an agreement (the Trial Plan), temporarily modifying the loan. Bank A agreed to not proceed with a foreclosure sale if defendant made payments of $1,382.62 for three months. In return, defendant would be entitled to receive a permanent loan modification. Defendant proceeded to timely remit each of the three scheduled payments to Bank A, entitling her to permanent modification of the loan.

Therefore, because of plaintiff’s compliance with the Trial Plan, Bank A cancelled its scheduled foreclosure sale. Bank A then assigned the mortgage to plaintiff, which reviewed defendant for a loan modification. The permanent loan modification was dependent upon a commitment for title insurance on the property. The commitment raised two federal tax liens in the name of defendant’s husband as exceptions to the commitment for title insurance.

Taking exception to these liens, plaintiff denied the loan modification and scheduled a foreclosure sale for December 2016. Before the scheduled sale, however, defendant obtained a temporary restraining order from the trial court.

The Internal Revenue Service eventually confirmed that the two federal tax liens did not attach to the property.

Defendant then filed a motion for summary disposition requesting reinstatement of the trial plan and preventing plaintiff from proceeding with a foreclosure sale pursuant to the terms of the trial plan. Plaintiff failed to appear at the hearing on the motion for summary disposition, and the trial court entered a judgment in favor of defendant in December 2017.

Plaintiff’s predecessor in interest entered into an agreement (the Trial Plan) with defendant to permanently modify the loan, provided that defendant made three timely payments of an adjustment amount, which she did. This permanent modification was also contingent upon a commitment for title insurance on the property and the only issue with the commitment was two federal tax liens in defendant’s husband’s name. The Internal Revenue Service confirmed that each lien did not attach to the subject property, meaning that there was no obstacle to the commitment for title insurance. Accordingly, there is no question that plaintiff was entitled to a permanent loan modification under the Trial Plan.

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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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FAMILY LAW 32: Trial court committed error in failing to address whether there was an established custodial environment.

On appeal, plaintiff argues that the trial court failed to make any findings regarding (1) the child’s established custodial environment, (2) the child’s best interests regarding the grant of primary physical custody to defendant, (3) the child’s best interests with respect to parenting time, and (4) the child’s best interests pertaining to the parties’ dispute over daycare.

PROBATE 25: Daughter removed as personal representative of the estate.

the probate court determined that Daughter J had managed the estate in a manner that promoted her own interests as a beneficiary over the interests of the estate. The probate court found that such management demonstrated mismanagement of the estate and that removal of Daughter J was therefore in the best interests of the estate.

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REAL ESTATE 32: Plaintiffs and defendants executed a second easement.

Plaintiffs requested that the trial court, either through reformation of the First Easement or interpretation of the Second Easement, quiet title in favor of plaintiffs and declare them to be the owners of an easement to access Lake Superior through the ravine on defendants’ property, enjoin defendants from interfering with their use of the easement, and order compensation for damages to the stairs.

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