COA: Judgment interest is not included with a sanctions award

In order to recover judgment interest in a civil action, the party must be granted a civil award that is more than an order directing an act be done, says the Court of Appeals in Lech II v Huntmore Estates Condominium Assoc., No. 320028.  The court held that Defendants, Jacobson Ore Creek Land Development and Scott R. Jacobson, are not entitled to recover judgment interest on their sanctions award under MCL 600.6013, because a money judgment may be treated differently than other civil awards.  MCL 600.6013 provides that “interest is allowed on a money judgment recovered in a civil action,” but the court awarded a sanctions order directing payment of a party’s attorney fees and costs, not an order providing for a money judgment. Read More

COA: Closed informal sessions do not violate the Open Meetings Act

The Michigan Constitution allows governing boards of public universities some latitude to define what constitutes a “formal session” that must be held in public, says the Court of Appeals in Detroit Free Press v University of Michigan Regents, No. 328182.  Plaintiffs, Detroit Free Press, Inc. and Federated Publications, Inc., publish or operate two major newspapers in the state of Michigan.  Defendant, the University of Michigan Regents, is a constitutional corporation and public body responsible for governing the University of Michigan.  Plaintiffs contend that Defendant’s “closed informal sessions” violate the Open Meetings Act (OMA), MCL 15.261 et seq. and Article 8, § 4 of the Michigan Constitution. 
The Court of Claims denied Plaintiff’s motion for summary disposition and request for an injunction, and granted summary disposition in favor of Defendant.  The court determined that the Michigan Constitution insulates Defendant from being required by the OMA to open its informal meetings to the public, otherwise, OMA would essentially dictate how the university operated on a day-to-day basis.  Plaintiff appealed and the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial courts determination.  The court reasoned that the Michigan Constitution permits informal meetings in private and only requires formal meetings to be held in public. Read More

COA: DHHS must conduct an individualized assessment before terminating the rights of a cognitively impaired parent

A parent who is cognitively impaired requires different accommodations than a parent with average cognitive abilities, the Court of Appeals held in In re Hicks/Brown Minors, No. 328870.  Absent individualized accommodations, terminating the rights of a parent with a cognitive impairment is a violation of the statutory duty to make reasonable efforts to reunite the family. Read More

COA – No contract was ever formed in loan modification agreement left partially unsigned by home owner and unsigned by loan servicer

Where a loan modification agreement was returned partially unsigned by the home owner, totally unsigned by loan servicer, and conditions precedent were not met, no contract was ever formed, held the Michigan Court of Appeals in Rodgers v. Ocwen Loan Servicing LLC, No. 327403Read More

“Legal act” requirement still met when conspiracy participants agree to commit an illegal act in an illegal manner

In People v. Seewald, No. 150146, the Michigan Supreme Court decided the meaning and effect of “legal act” under Michigan’s conspiracy statute, MCL 750.157a, which provides that a person is guilty of conspiracy when he or she conspires with one or more persons to commit a legal act using illegal means.  In particular, the Court looked at whether the commission of an illegal act using illegal means constitutes the crime of conspiracy.  The Michigan Supreme Court held that the term “legal act” is properly interpreted as referring to the lawfulness of the act in general, and thus, conspiracies to commit an illegal act in an illegal manner falls within the statute.
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Driving drunk in driveway is not operating while intoxicated

In People v. Rea, No. 324728, the Michigan Court of Appeals held that driving a car while intoxicated while in the upper portion of one’s own driveway is not a criminal offense.  Defendant was charged with operating while intoxicated, MCL 257.625(1), which provides that a person shall not operate a vehicle “upon a highway or other place open to the general public or generally accessible to motor vehicles” if the person is operating while intoxicated.  In the presence of a police office, Defendant—while intoxicated—drove his car from within his garage twenty-five feet down his driveway and then back into his garage.  The circuit court granted Defendant’s motion to quash the information, resulting in the charges being dismissed, which the Court of Appeals affirmed.
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Conviction for armed robbery does not require victim to have reasonable belief that defendant possesses weapon

In People v. Henry, No. 325144, the Michigan Court of Appeals held that a conviction for armed robbery does not require the victim to have a reasonable belief that the defendant was armed with a dangerous weapon.  Defendant entered a fast-food restaurant and demanded all of the money in the register while his hands were in the pocket of his hoodie.  The victim testified that Defendant’s hands were bulging forward, but was unsure whether Defendant had a weapon.  Defendant was convicted by a jury of armed robbery, and he appealed claiming that there was insufficient evidence that the victim had a reasonable belief that he possessed a dangerous weapon.
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Defendant not guilty of home invasion for breaking into room of a house where defendant was lawfully present.

In People v. Bush, No. 326658, the Michigan Court of Appeals reviewed whether the term “dwelling” as used in MCL 750.110a, the home invasion statute, is meant to separately include each of the internal components of the dwelling in addition to the exterior or “envelope” of the “dwelling.”  The Court concluded that the plain language of the statute indicates that “dwelling” only refers to the whole structure or shelter, and therefore, a person could not be convicted of home invasion for breaking into an inner room of a dwelling if that person was already lawfully present in the dwelling.
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COA rules that a witness may be accompanied by a support animal when testifying

In People v. Johnson, No. 325857, the defendant made numerous challenges to the relatively new courtroom procedure of allowing a testifying witness to be accompanied by a support animal.  While no Michigan court had previously addressed this issue, the Court of Appeals agreed with the holdings in other jurisdictions which allowed this procedure as part of a trial court’s inherent authority to control the courtroom.  Read More

“Cousins by marriage” are not treated as a “relative” under no-fault

Two relatives completely unrelated by blood, but who have other blood relatives that married each other, do not satisfy the definition of “relative” under no-fault, according to the Michigan Court of Appeals in Lewis v. Farmers Insurance Exchange, No. 324744Read More
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