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REAL ESTATE 38: Plaintiff fails to make land contract payments.

This case arises from a land contract and quitclaim deed that plaintiff signed with T Company on October 22, 2010. 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. If that occurred, plaintiff would be deemed a tenant and would continue to make monthly payments if she continued to occupy the real property.

Plaintiff failed to make a payment and T Company executed the quitclaim deed. T Company then executed a quitclaim deed.

On December 18, 2013, T company initiated an eviction proceeding against plaintiff in the district court. In that action, plaintiff and defendant entered a consent judgment under which plaintiff agreed to pay $4,033 in unpaid rent. Plaintiff did not appeal the consent judgment and eventually surrendered the real property after failing to make the payment.

Subsequently, plaintiff filed this lawsuit against defendant and alleged fraud, forgery, fraud on the court, and fraudulent inducement of the land contract. Defendant filed a motion for summary disposition, arguing that plaintiff’s claims were barred by the doctrine of res judicata.

Defendant asserted that plaintiff could have brought her fraud claims in the first lawsuit. Plaintiff argued that she was not aware of her potential fraud claims until 2015, and that she could not have brought those claims earlier.

The trial court held that plaintiff’s claims were barred by the doctrine of res judicata because plaintiff could have raised the claims in one of the earlier lawsuits.

The doctrine of res judicata is employed to prevent multiple suits litigating the same cause of action. A second action is barred when (1) the first action was decided on the merits, (2) the matter contested in the second action was or could have been resolved in the first, and (3) both actions involve the same parties.

All the elements of res judicata were present, and the trial court properly granted defendants’ motion for summary disposition based on the doctrine of res judicata.

Are you involved in a land contract dispute in Michigan? Are you seeking an efficient and effective resolution to a property litigation matter?

To schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced real estate litigation attorneys, contact our law office in Plymouth, Michigan.

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REAL ESTATE 44: Rule of acquiescence in boundary disputes.

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FAMILY LAW 37: Referee recommended against changing legal custody or parenting time.

Plaintiff requested sole legal custody, arguing that she and defendant had difficulty co-parenting and that defendant would not agree to medical treatment for the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD, need for orthodontic work, and need for vision testing and glasses. Plaintiff also requested an alternating weekly or biweekly schedule during the summer, which would increase her overall parenting time.

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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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).

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