Aimee Stephens worked as a funeral director for R.G. and G.R. Harris Funeral Home in Garden City, Michigan for several years. Throughout that time, she struggled with her gender identity and, in 2013, she began dressing as a woman at work. The funeral home’s dress code was strictly gender-based and Stephens’ refusal to dress as a man, in compliance with the gender-based dress code, resulted in her termination (see more information here). Aimee Stephens filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (the “EEOC”), alleging her termination was the result of unlawful sex discrimination. The EEOC brought a lawsuit against the funeral home in the Eastern District of Michigan and the case is now in front of the United States Supreme Court, with oral arguments recently heard on October 8, 2019 (see more information here). Read more
Category Archives: Michigan Real Estate Cases
In Michigan, a significant portion of commercial and residential real estate development occurs through the creation of either subdivisions or condominiums. Typically, an owner of a large parcel of land will establish a condominium or subdivision as a means of dividing the land into various smaller lots (called “units” in a condominium) that can be individually sold. Although the more recent trend, particularly in residential developments, is to create condominiums, most older developments were done through creating platted subdivisions under the Michigan Land Division Act, MCL 560.101, et seq., or one of its predecessor statutes.
Restrictive covenants in Michigan are valuable property rights and have been effectively used to assist in the orderly development of Michigan communities. The rights contained in restrictive covenants are used by developers to implement their community visions and by property owners to protect and enhance the value of their homes. Once adopted these provisions often require unanimous consent to change or modify by default, however, in many cases the original declarant includes an amendment provision to permit a stated percentage of lot owners (or other interested parties), less than all, to adopt an amendment. The effective date of an amendment, even if validly adopted, may be subject to interpretation if the restrictive covenant creates successive terms. Any party seeking to adopt an amendment to its declaration should be aware of these risks and the potential impact of the expiration of a period of time contained in their declaration. Read more
MICHIGAN COURT OF APPEALS RULES IN FAVOR OF TOWNSHIP IN ZONING ORDINANCE DISPUTE OVER SHORT-TERM RENTALS
On October 25, 2018, the Michigan Court of Appeals issued an unpublished opinion in the matter of Concerned Property Owners of Garfield Township, Inc v Charter Township of Garfield, unpublished per curiam opinion of the Court of Appeals, issued October 25, 2018 (Docket No. 342831). The Garfield case involved the interpretation of a zoning ordinance that addressed short-term rentals of residential properties in certain districts. In Garfield, a number of homeowners frequently rented out their homes for short-term intervals, usually for about one week in duration. In September 2013, the Garfield Township Zoning Administrator expressed an opinion that the zoning ordinance then in effect, called “Ordinance 10”, permitted short-term rentals.
In Deghetto v Beaumont’s Seven Harbors White and Duck Lack Association, issued June 22, 2017 (Docket No. 330972) (Unpublished Opinion), the Michigan Court of Appeals recently ruled that a homeowners’ association could not continue to collect assessments after the restrictive covenant expired.
In Case of First Impression, Michigan Court of Appeals Rules that Foreclosure by Advertisement Sale Surplus Funds Must Be Distributed According to Priority of Interests in the Foreclosed Property
On May 9, 2017, the Michigan Court of Appeals issued an opinion in ‘In re $55,336.17 Surplus Funds. The Surplus Fund case is important as the Court was called on to interpret the procedure for distributing foreclosure sale surplus funds and determining the priority of parties claiming an interest in the surplus funds.
At some point in their lives, most adults have signed a lease agreement, whether it be the leasing of an automobile, an apartment on campus while attending college or renting a home. Since most of these leases are standard forms offered on a “take it or leave it” basis by the lessor or landlord, negotiating the base rent and term of the lease is typically the main and only focus for the lessee.
Michigan Court Reaffirms Mortgagor’s Right to Contest Validity of Foreclosure by Advertisement in Summary Proceeding Action
On January 12, 2017, the Michigan Court of Appeals issued an unpublished opinion in the matter of JPMorgan Chase Bank v Zair. The Zair case is important as a reminder that a mortgagor may, for the first time in any proceedings, contest the validity of the foreclosure by advertisement sale in the summary proceeding.
The case involves real property located in West Bloomfield. Defendants Kays Zair and Patrice Zair (“Zair”) were the record title owners of the real property and executed a promissory note and mortgage against the property in favor of Peoples State Bank in April of 2002 (“Peoples mortgage”). In December of 2006, the Zairs executed a promissory note and mortgage in favor of JPMorgan Chase Bank (“JPMorgan mortgage”). JPMorgan Chase claimed that a subordination agreement was entered into between Peoples State Bank and JPMorgan Chase Bank so that the Peoples mortgage was made subordinate to the JPMorgan mortgage, placing the JPMorgan mortgage in a first/senior lien position against the property.
A quiet title action is a type of lawsuit that resolves a dispute as to the ownership of real estate or resolves a dispute regarding an interest in real estate relating to somebody that may not be the owner of the real estate. Quiet title actions are often necessary to ensure that a property owner retains possession of their property and to ensure that the property owner has marketable title that can later be transferred. In Michigan, a quiet title action is authorized by statute. MCL 600.2932 provides as follows: Read more