This case involves a dispute over real property located in Michigan. W and V who are D’s parents, acquired the property. In 1999, W and V conveyed the property to the Trust, to which W is the sole trustee, via a quit claim deed. At some point thereafter, V died.
In 2015, D filed a claim of interest concerning the property in the Oakland County Register of Deeds. The claim of interest, which was signed by D, provided that on or about 2003, D was assigned a certain executory contract for the sale of land, a land contract was entered.
W on behalf of the Trust, filed an action against D (quiet title action). It was alleged that the Trust was the sole owner of the property and that D was without any rights to the property. The Trust requested that the entirely false notice of claim be set aside, vacated and declared null and void and that the Trust be awarded damages as a result of D’s creation of a cloud upon the title. D answered the complaint, alleging that he had a valid interest in the property under the land contract.
After the close of discovery, W on behalf of the Trust, filed a motion for summary disposition under MCR 2.116(C)(10). It was alleged that summary disposition was proper because D was unable to produce the land contract. The trial court conditionally ordered D to file a release of the claim of interest in the Oakland County Register of Deeds.
Quiet Title Claim
Quieting title is a legal procedure to establish a right to ownership of real property against one or more adverse claimants. A quiet title action also is called a suit to remove a cloud in title. A cloud is any claim or potential claim to ownership of the property.
Burden of Proof
In this case, it was undisputed that W and V owned the property in question and that they later conveyed the property to the Trust. This is exhibited by a 1999 quit claim deed, which was recorded in the Oakland County Register of Deeds. Because the Trust established a prima facie case of title, the burden shifted to D to prove superior right or title.
Although D claimed an interest in the property under a land contract, he never produced the land contract. Instead, he argued that the contract was missing and that he could testify concerning its terms. However, in Michigan, the sale of land is controlled by the statute of frauds. A contract for the sale of land must be in writing and be signed by the seller or someone lawfully authorized by the seller in writing.
Assistance with Quiet Title Claims
Do you need to file a quiet title claim or have questions? Aldrich Legal Services represents clients in a wide range of real estate litigation. Our attorneys can help answer your questions.