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One Court of Justice Blog

Jun 2017
June 09, 2017

COA Interprets Earth Movement Exclusion As Applying to Any Earth Movement

In Home-Owners Insurance Co. v. Dominic F. Adnriacchi, No. 331260, the Court of Appeals held the plain language of an insurance contract excluding damage cause by “any earth movement” meant what it said and did not apply only to natural earth movement.  

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.

Apr 2017
April 21, 2017

COA held vested retirement rights may not be altered without the retiree’s consent

In Kendzierski v County of Macomb, No. 329576, the COA held vested retirement rights may not be altered without the retiree’s consent. The COA held the trial court properly determined retirement rights had vested, however had erred by determining that defendant may reasonably modify the scope and level of the healthcare benefits without plaintiffs’ consent.

Mar 2017
March 22, 2017

MSC denies leave after MOAA on whether attorney fees award should have been submitted to the jury

The Michigan Supreme Court has denied leave to appeal in Power Play International v. Reddy, No. 154347, following mini-oral argument on the question of whether the trial court erred in awarding attorney fees following a postjudgment hearing rather than submitting the issue to the jury as part of the plaintiffs' breach of contract claim.  

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