General Civil Appeals
In the Matter of William Petit, COA No. 322333 (2015)
Our client had lived with the decedent for many years in her home. When she asked him to begin contributing his fair share to the household expenses, he instead cancelled a land contract and gave that property to our client free and clear. After he died, the decedent's daughter objected and claimed the property remained part of the estate. The trial court agreed and refused to hold an evidentiary hearing regarding the decedent's intent. Our client hired our office to appeal. Once the appellate brief was filed, the matter promptly settled and our client received the property and all other funds to which she was entitled.
Bakian v Nat'l City Bank (In re Estate of Moukalled), 269 Mich App 708 (2006)
Petitioner and decedent had, without attorneys, drafted promissory notes and a security agreement in which the decedent agreed to apply all of his personal and real property assets to secure a loan from petitioner. Following decedent’s death, Nat’l City Bank, a competing creditor, objected to the petitioner's claim. In an appeal from the Oakland County Probate Court, the Michigan Court of Appeals held that Article 9 of the UCC did not reference transactions intended to create a security interest in real estate or land and that decedent's interest in vacant lots was, as a matter of law, not an interest in personal property but an interest in realty. The Court further held, however, that the petitioner had successfully asserted an equitable lien on the decedent’s real property through the security agreement because the agreement reflected a clear intent by the parties to use an identifiable piece of property as security for the promissory note.
Laier v Kitchen, 266 Mich App 482, 484; 702 NW2d 199 (2005)
Plaintiff's decedent was killed in an accident on defendant's property while assisting defendant with repairs on a front-end loader. During the repairs, the bucket loader dropped, killing the decedent. In addition to alleging premises liability, plaintiff alleged that the defendant owed a duty to the plaintiff to use due care and caution in operation and control of the tractor and bucket. The Washtenaw County Trial Court dismissed plaintiff's claims under the open and obvious doctrine. The Michigan Court of Appeals held that the claim was one of ordinary negligence because the defendant's conduct was the alleged basis of liability, independent of premises liability. The Michigan Court of Appeals held that the open and obvious doctrine is inapplicable to an ordinary negligence claim as distinguished from a premises liability.
Kallabat v State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 256 Mich App 146 (2003)
In this no-fault action, plaintiff insured sought payment from his insurer of reasonably necessary medical expenses under MCL § 500.3107. The Michigan Court of Appeals held that the plaintiff was not required to submit direct evidence from the treating physician that the expenses incurred were both reasonable and reasonably necessary in order for the plaintiff to prevail. Rather, the jury is entitled to consider all the evidence, including circumstantial evidence and the permissible inferences arising therefrom, to decide whether the plaintiff had proven by a preponderance that the expenses were reasonable and necessary. The insured was held to have presented sufficient circumstantial evidence that expenses incurred with two treating physicians were reasonable and necessary so as to survive the insurer's motion for directed verdict and motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict where testimony from a third treating physician permitted the jury to reasonably infer that the treatment rendered by the other two physicians was necessary and related to the accident, and where the insured provided the jury with itemized bills for every expense.
City of Kalamazoo v Department of Corrections, 229 Mich App 132 (1998)
The City of Kalamazoo filed a complaint for injunctive and declaratory relief seeking to prevent the Michigan Department of Corrections from locating a new community corrections center on the grounds of a psychiatric hospital after the DOC had received funds under an appropriations act requiring the DOC to first obtain approval of the placement by the local governing body.In the first appeal, a panel of the Michigan Court of Appeals held that the appropriations bill was constitutional under the Title-Object Clause of the state constitution, and therefore validly placed a condition on defendant's use of appropriations for community corrections facilities, and that the trial court had erred in dismissing the city's complaint.On remand, the trial court improperly revisited the issue of legislative intent and ruled that the DOC's authority to control the placement of the community corrections center was not subject to the express condition contained in the appropriations bill, failing to follow the law of the case established in the city's first appeal.In this second appeal, the Michigan Court of Appeals held that no exception to the Law of the Case Doctrine applied because there was no change in the relevant law and a "change" in the language of the appropriations acts referred to in the trial court's opinion occurred before the initial decision of the appellate court. The judgment of the trial court, which dismissed the city's action against the department of corrections for declaratory and injunctive relief, was reversed.
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