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A Better Partnership

November 2016

Nov 2016
November 29, 2016

COA reinforces publication requirement for slander of title claim and holds that deed restrictions recorded outside the chain of title cannot impact a property interest

In Petersen Financial LLC v. Twin Creeks, Nos. 329019 and 329622, the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court orders in favor of defendants on plaintiff’s claim for slander of title and tortious interference with business expectancy (No 329019); and in favor of plaintiff regarding quiet title, specifically, that certain deed restrictions do not apply to their property (No. 329622).  

Nov 2016
November 23, 2016

COA holds that filling activities on owner’s wetland are not considered farming activities for purposes of NREPA

In Department Of Environmental Quality v. Hernan F Gomez, No. 328033, the Court of Appeals held that the Defendants’ filling activities on their wetland property were prohibited and were not considered farming activities.  Accordingly,  because Defendants did not acquire a permit prior to filling in a wetland area, they violated the National Resources and Environmental Protection Act (NREPA). 

Nov 2016
November 21, 2016

COA holds that a custom-furnishings carpenter is liable for use tax as construction contractor

A company in the business of producing and installing custom office furnishings and interior finishes is a contractor liable for use tax, and not a retailer liable only for sales tax, said the Michigan Court of Appeals in Brunt Associates, Inc. v. Department of Treasury, No. 328253. Further, it is not an industrial processor entitled to an exemption under the Use Tax Act (UTA). Ultimately such a company affixes its product to real estate for its customers, no matter how unobtrusive the hardware used to attach its products is or how easily those products may be removed.

Nov 2016
November 17, 2016

Sixth Amendment is not violated where court relies on judicial fact-finding to impose consecutive sentencing, says COA

The Sixth Amendment, in conjunction with the Due Process Clause, requires that each element of a crime be proved to the jury beyond a reasonable doubt, but that requirement does not apply to the consecutive sentencing statute, according to People v Deleon, No. 329031.  MCL 750.520b(3) allows a term of imprisonment imposed for first-degree criminal sexual conduct to be “served consecutively to any term of imprisonment imposed for any other criminal offense arising from the same transaction.”  In Deleon, the trial judge found that the defendant’s criminal sexual conduct convictions (CSC I and CSC II) both arose from the same transaction and therefore imposed consecutive sentencing.  The court of appeals held that this did not violate the Sixth Amendment right to trial by jury.

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