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REAL ESTATE 39: Defendant argues genuine issues of material fact regarding ownership of property.

Defendant argues that the trial court erred by granting plaintiff summary disposition because there were genuine issues of material fact regarding the legal ownership of property located in Detroit, Michigan (the Property), and because discovery was not yet complete. Defendant also argues that summary disposition was inappropriate because plaintiff had unclean hands.

In 2002, defendant sold the Property to F Company (F Company). F Company financed the purchase by obtaining a mortgage from CIT. F Company failed to pay property taxes in 2007, and in 2009, the Wayne County Treasurer (County Treasurer) forfeited the property and sought a judgment of foreclosure. The trial court entered a judgment of foreclosure in 2010, which vested absolute fee simple title to the County Treasurer and extinguished the mortgage.

The judgment of foreclosure was recorded with the Wayne County Register of Deeds. In December 2010, the County Treasurer quitclaimed the property to plaintiff, and the quitclaim deed was recorded with the Wayne County Register of Deeds.

However, in 2012, F Company quitclaimed the property to defendant, and the quitclaim deed was recorded with the register of deeds in 2015. In 2017, defendant paid outstanding property taxes from 2013, which were ultimately refunded. These bills raised concern with the County Treasurer regarding the ownership of the property. Thus, plaintiff filed a complaint to quiet title, as well as a motion for summary disposition. The court granted plaintiff summary disposition and entered a judgment quieting title in its favor.

A motion for summary disposition under MCR 2.116(C)(10) should be granted if the evidence submitted by the parties fails to establish a genuine issue of a material fact, and the moving party is entitled to judgment or partial judgment as a matter of law. A genuine issue of material fact exists if, after viewing the record in a light most favorable to the nonmoving party, reasonable minds could differ on an issue.

Plaintiff presented sufficient evidence to establish a prima facie case of title to the Property. The County Treasurer recorded the notice of the judgment of foreclosure with the Wayne County Register of Deeds on September 18, 2010, thereby extinguishing any claims to the Property. On December 18, 2010, the County Treasurer quitclaimed the Property to plaintiff, which was recorded with the Wayne County Register of Deeds the same day.

Defendant fails to present any evidence to demonstrate a superior right or title in itself.

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

If you are facing a residential or commercial real estate, seek the advice of an experienced and skilled real estate litigation attorney at Aldrich Legal Services in Plymouth.

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