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One Court of Justice Blog

May 2017
May 19, 2017

COA: Unrefined - but unambiguous - contract terms do not create a ripe judicial controversy

A plaintiff’s misunderstanding of unambiguous contractual terms, which may lack technical refinement, is not sufficient to create a controversy between contracting parties, said the court of appeals in Van Buren Charter Township v. Visteon Corporation, No. 331789.  In this case, the parties' contract clearly stated that there were two conditions that must be met before the defendant was obligated to perform. The court further stated that even though a contract may not be “particularly strong, or overly beneficial to [a] plaintiff,” courts do not have the authority to “modify unambiguous contracts or rebalance the contractual equities struck by contracting parties.”  As defendant had not yet breached its conditional performance obligation, the Court found that (1) it was proper for the trial court to decline to issue a declaratory judgment regarding the parties' rights under the contract; (2) plaintiff may not recover in contract law for possible future harm and hypothetical damages; and (3) plaintiff's claim for anticipatory repudiation of the contract cannot be sustained without sufficient evidence of defendant's unequivocal declaration of an intent not to perform.

May 2017
May 19, 2017

MSC: Trial court has discretion to hold evidentiary hearing to determine if search warrant affidavit is sufficient for probable cause

In People v Franklin, No. 152840, the Michigan Supreme Court held that a trial court may exercise its discretion and hold an evidentiary hearing to review the veracity of an affidavit on which a search warrant is based to determine whether the search warrant was supported by probable cause. Under Franks v Delaware, 438 US 154 (1978), a trial court must hold a hearing at a defendant's request whenever a defendant offers evidence sufficient to demonstrate a substantial preliminary showing that the affiant made a false statement—knowingly and intentionally, or with reckless disregard for the truth—and the false statement was necessary to the finding of probable cause required to issue the warrant. However, in a unanimous opinion, the Court in Franklin determined that Franks merely governs when a trial court must hold an evidentiary hearing under the Fourth Amendment; however, even in the absence of a substantial preliminary showing under Franks, a trial court may hold an evidentiary hearing to review an affidavit supporting a search warrant to determine whether the warrant was supported by probable cause.

May 2017
May 17, 2017

Focusing on financial injury can cost you your shareholder oppression claim

A shareholder suppression claim is not all about the money.  In Frank v. Linkner, No. 151888, the Michigan Supreme Court held that a cause of action for LLC member oppression accrues when an LLC manager substantially interferes with the interests of a member as a member—even if that member has not yet incurred a calculable financial injury.  

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