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A Better Partnership
October 02, 2013

“Unusual procedural history” leads COA to uphold district court judgment of more than $220,000

In Clohset v. No Name Corporation, the Michigan Court of Appeals held that the circuit court erred in ruling on the merits of a judgment enforcement action and remanded the case to the district court for enforcement.  In this case, the parties agreed to settle a claim for unpaid rent, ultimately resulting in the district court entering a consent judgment for more than $220,000.  Nine years later, when the plaintiff sought to enforce the judgment, the district court transferred the case to the circuit court, which ruled that the judgment was void because the district court did not have jurisdiction to enter it.  However, the Court of Appeals held that the district court had specific jurisdiction to hear the case based on plaintiff’s initial pleadings.  Moreover, it noted that the defendant could not collaterally attack the consent judgment even if there was a jurisdictional issue—its only option was to challenge the district court’s exercise of jurisdiction on direct appeal (for which the time to do so had lapsed).  Finally, because the defendant originally stipulated to the consent judgment, the Court ruled that it could not now complain about the alleged jurisdictional error to the circuit court.  As such, the Court of Appeals overturned the circuit court’s ruling and remanded the case to the district court for enforcement.

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