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Township can prevent use of entire building when portions of the building violate safety hazards

Holding that nothing in "the plain language of MCL 125.541 required either the hearing officer or the Township Board to take the type of piecemeal action suggested by plaintiff and impose remedies against only certain portions of the building" (the Barnstormer), the court concluded the remedy of enjoining plaintiff's use of the entire facility was warranted. Thus, in Docket No. 313020, the court affirmed the trial court's grant of summary disposition to the defendant-Township on plaintiff's complaint and defendant's counter-complaint. As to attorney fees, in Docket No. 313483, the court affirmed in part, vacated in part, and remanded. It concluded that while defendant was not entitled to attorney fees under MCL 125.541(7) or on the basis of "plaintiff's unlawful conduct," it was impossible to ascertain whether the trial court clearly erred in denying defendant's motion for sanctions. In Docket No. 313020, plaintiff contended that summary disposition was inappropriate because, as part of its order, the trial court "enjoined plaintiff from occupying any part of the Barnstormer, including the first floor and adjacent tent structure." Without citing any supporting authority, plaintiff asserted that the trial court erred because there was no evidence before the hearing officer, the Township Board, or the trial court that the first floor or the tent structure were dangerous. Essentially, plaintiff challenged the authority of the Township Board and the trial court to enjoin the occupancy of the entire Barnstormer. The court noted that plaintiff stipulated that portions of the Barnstormer were in a condition that constituted a "dangerous building" under MCL 125.538. "As set forth in MCL 125.539, the entire building does not need to have safety violations in order for the building to be considered a 'dangerous building.'" The court concluded that "MCL 125.541(2) gives a hearing officer discretion in the remedy to impose on the dangerous building, and nothing in the plain language of the statute requires that a hearing officer restrict her orders to only those parts of the building that are considered dangerous." Further, the Township Board "is afforded the same wide breadth in determining the appropriate remedy. MCL 125.541(4) permits a 'legislative body,' - in this case, the Township Board - to 'either approve, disapprove, or modify the order' entered by the hearing officer. The legislative body then has authority to 'take all necessary action to enforce the order.'" Thus, the court held that "the plain language of MCL 125.541 authorized the hearing officer and the Township Board to take action affecting 'the building,' not portions thereof." The court also noted that plaintiff's argument was "factually flawed," as the record belied its "claim that the first floor and tent structure were safe and not in need of repairs."

FAMILY LAW 83: A trial court can terminate a parent’s rights and permit a stepparent to adopt a child.

A trial court has discretion to terminate a parent’s rights and permit a stepparent to adopt a child when the conditions of MCL 710.51(6) are met. MCL 710.51(6)(b) requires the petitioner to establish that the other parent had the ability to visit, contact, or communicate with the children, and substantially failed or neglected to do so for a period of two years.

PROBATE 53: The trust agreement included an Incontestability Provision.

A settlor’s intent is to be carried out as nearly as possible. Generally, in terrorem clauses are valid and enforceable. However, a provision in a trust that purports to penalize an interested person for contesting the trust or instituting another proceeding relating to the trust shall not be given effect if probable cause exists for instituting a proceeding contesting the trust or another proceeding relating to the trust.

FAMILY LAW 82: Court stated it would terminate the personal protection order (PPO) after the parties present documentation of the initiation of the divorce proceedings.

However, the trial court concluded that these matters should, in fact, be in the province and the jurisdiction of the Family Division and in that respect, having issued a personal protection order, the Court stated it would terminate the personal protection order after the parties present documentation of the initiation of the divorce proceedings.

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PROBATE 51: Trust filed a petition to determine title to credit union account.

The probate court explained that the owners of the account are S and J. When S passes, J becomes the owner of the account. J is the one who had the authority to make the designation. Nowhere in any documents is there a designation by J that SJ be the owner -- or the beneficiary of the account. The designation made by his father was no longer binding because he was no longer the owner at the time J passed away.

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FAMILY LAW 77: Court awarded plaintiff sole legal custody; defendant was unwilling to work with plaintiff.

For joint custody to work, parents must be able to agree with each other on basic issues in child rearing including health care, religion, education, day to day decision making and discipline and they must be willing to cooperate with each other in joint decision making. If two equally capable parents are unable to cooperate and to agree generally concerning important decisions affecting the welfare of their children, the court has no alternative but to determine which parent shall have sole custody of the children.

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