734-359-7018
Now Accepting New Clients!
Blog

REAL ESTATE 63: HOLDING THAT PLAINTIFF ESTABLISHED TITLE, AND THAT DEFENDANTS DID NOT SHOW SUPERIOR TITLE, THE COURT AFFIRMED SUMMARY DISPOSITION FOR PLAINTIFF IN THIS QUIET TITLE ACTION UNDER MCL 600.2932(1).

This case arises out of a property dispute between plaintiff and defendants. Plaintiff’s property and defendants’ property back-up against one another, so the back of plaintiff’s property borders the back of defendants’ property. Both parties acquired their respective properties in 2015. Defendants’ property was previously owned by defendant’s parents. Plaintiff contends that there are several encroachments on her property: a water well, a portion of a concrete driveway, part of a shed, and an electrical conduit. The parties were unable to reach an agreement about what to do about these alleged encroachments, which led plaintiff to file this action for quiet title on January 10, 2019. On February 15, 2019, defendant counterclaimed for quiet title, and alternatively claimed that they had acquired the disputed property through adverse possession, or had acquired a prescriptive easement for the continued use of the disputed property. The parties each obtained surveys of the property. The parties filed competing motions for summary disposition. The parties appeared before the trial court on November 13, 2019, to present their arguments. During oral arguments with respect to defendants’ claim of adverse possession, defendants conceded that the well was moved in 2005 so “[f]ifteen years has not elapsed on the well.” On December 4, 2019, the trial court issued an opinion and order granting summary disposition to plaintiff. Turning to whether defendants established superior title through adverse possession or prescriptive easements, the trial court concluded that they had not. The trial court further concluded that even if defendants established privity, they could not show that their possession was notorious or adverse because plaintiff’s property was vacant before she took title, and nothing supports that plaintiff or her predecessor-in-interest had knowledge of defendants’ “or their predecessors’ hostile claim.”

STANDARD OF REVIEW

Appellate courts review de novo a trial court’s grant of summary disposition. The trial court granted defendants summary disposition under MCR 2.116(C)(10).: A motion under MCR 2.116(C)(10) tests the factual sufficiency of the complaint. In evaluating a motion for summary disposition brought under this subsection, a trial court considers affidavits, pleadings, depositions, admissions, and other evidence submitted by the parties, MCR 2.116(G)(5), in the light most favorable to the party opposing the motion.

ANALYSIS

Defendants argue that the trial court erred by granting summary disposition to plaintiff because, based on the White Survey, there is at least a question of fact whether plaintiff established title to the disputed property. We disagree. Plaintiff brought an action for quiet title under MCL 600.2932(1). “In an action to quiet title, the plaintiff has the burden of proof and must make out a prima facie case.” Plaintiff contends that she established title to the contested property by virtue of her recorded deed. In support of her claim, she produced the Kennedy Survey, which shows that there are encroachments on her property by defendants. In an attempt to counter plaintiff’s claim of title to the disputed property, defendants produced the White Survey, which they contend shows that the alleged encroachments are on their property, not plaintiff’s. Based on (1) the filing of plaintiff’s deed and (2) the Kennedy and White Surveys, there is no question of material fact that plaintiff has title to the disputed property. Once a plaintiff makes out a prima facie case of title, the defendant has the burden of proving superior title. Defendants argue that, assuming the disputed property is encompassed by plaintiff’s deed, there is at least a question of fact whether they acquired superior title to the property through adverse possession or a prescriptive easement. We disagree. Defendants acquired their property in 2015, so they could not have possessed the contested property for the required 15 years. This by itself is not dispositive, however, because “[a] party may ‘tack’ on the possessory periods of predecessors in interest to achieve this fifteen-year period by showing privity of estate.” Defendant’s deed does not reference the disputed property, and defendants do not contend that there were any parol statements made at the time of conveyance transferring the disputed property to them.  Thus, defendants cannot establish privity of estate, so they cannot tack on the possessory period of their predecessors in interest so as to satisfy the 15-year requirement for their claims of adverse possession or prescriptive easement. The trial court therefore properly dismissed defendants’ claims.

ASSISTANCE WITH PROPERTY ISSUES

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

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

Contact Aldrich Legal Services

Speak to a Pro: (734) 404-3000

FAMILY LAW 53: The trial court erred by treating the parties’ GAL as an LGAL and denying the parties the right to question her at a hearing; however, the trial court did not err in requiring the parties to compensate the GAL for her services.

Plaintiff and Defendant were never married, but share a young son who was born in 2016. The parties have battled over custody, child support, and other parenting issues ever since. In the spring of 2019, the parties filed competing motions to modify...

The Difference Between Theft, Robbery, and Burglary

Original Post: 1/11/2019 Often, burglary, robbery, and theft are used interchangeably even though there are distinct differences between all of them. Though, what all three do have in common is they may involve the unlawful taking of...

REAL ESTATE 59: Concluding that the one-year period contained in the parties’ home purchase agreement was not a statute of limitations, but rather akin to a statute of repose, and that it was plain and unambiguous, the court held that it barred plai

BACKGROUND On March 12, 2016, the parties entered into an agreement for the purchase of defendants’ home. The purchase agreement contained the following clause: TIME FOR LEGAL ACTION: Buyer and Seller agree that any legal action against...

CRIMINAL LAW 16: The trial court did not err in refusing to order a Daubert hearing as to the reliability of the DataMaster breathalyzer device as MCL 257.625a(6)(a) shows the Legislature has determined that the device’s results are valid and reliabl

UNDERLYING FACTS In the early afternoon of November 4, 2016, defendant was pulled over after an officer was dispatched for a possible drunk driver. The officer had defendant exit his vehicle and perform several field sobriety tests. Those tests...

FAMILY LAW 52: Defendant-mother was not entitled to relief on her claim the trial court did not comply with the requirements for a de novo hear, the trial court did not err in using the preponderance of the evidence standard, and its best interest f

PERTINENT FACTS In July 2017, plaintiff and defendant divorced by consent judgment. Under the judgment of divorce, the parties shared joint legal and physical custody of their three minor children. On September 24, 2018, plaintiff filed a motion...

Are you required to provide ID as a passenger?

Original Post: 05/14/2017 The preceding is for informational purposes only. Being stopped by the police is not usually a pleasant experience. Even with the most benign of infractions, the encounter can be adversarial. The idea of...

DIVORCE 45: Federal law preempts state law such that the parties’ consent judgment is unenforceable to the extent that it required defendant to reimburse plaintiff for the reduction in the amount payable to her due to his election to receive CRSC

BACKGROUND This case involves a dispute between former spouses who entered into a consent judgment of divorce (the consent judgment), which provided that defendant would pay plaintiff 50% of his military retirement benefits. Beyond that, the...

How to Choose a Criminal Defense Lawyer for a DUI

No one wants to be arrested, and if you are, especially for the first time, you can be very confused. Being arrested for Drunk Driving, Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) - formerly Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)...

What does Client and Attorney Privilege Mean?

How much should you tell your lawyer? The fifth amendment protects U.S. citizens from incriminating themselves, but how does that work with your attorney. We get this question all the time. Many people have heard about attorney confidentiality,...

Don't let a bad decision, unfair contract, or a messy divorce get in the way of a promising future!
Contact the experienced team at Aldrich Legal Services today to schedule your free initial
consultation
and secure reliable and trustworthy representation today!
Get the Help You Need From a Team You Can Truly Count On: (734) 404-3000
734-237-6482
734-366-4405