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A Better Partnership

October 2014

Oct 2014
October 31, 2014

COA holds that specified leaseholders can challenge tax assessments

In Spartan Stores, Inc. v. City of Grand Rapids, No. 314669, the Court of Appeals answered a question of first impression and held that a “party in interest” under Michigan’s Tax Tribunal Act, MCL 205.735a(6), includes persons or entities with any property interest in the property being assessed, thus allowing both owners and specified leaseholders to challenge tax assessments directly to the Tax Tribunal.

Oct 2014
October 31, 2014

COA requires trial to prove consent as an exception to the warrant requirement under §1983

Consent to a residence search may provide police with a way around the warrant requirement under the Fourth Amendment, but it won’t get them around the need for a trial. In Lavigne v. Forshee, No. 312530, a §1983 action, the Court of Appeals ruled that where an officer is searching a residence without a warrant and factual disputes exist as to whether valid consent to the search was given, the scope of that supposed consent, or whether the consent was at any time revoked, summary disposition is improper. In addition, the court held that qualified immunity was no defense at the summary disposition phase because when viewed in the light most favorable to plaintiffs, a reasonably competent officer should know that voluntary consent cannot be inferred from mere non-verbal acquiescence to an officer’s claim of lawful authority in the absence of a warrant.

Oct 2014
October 28, 2014

MSC proposes to overhaul the rules for MSC appeals

A new sheriff arrived at the Michigan Supreme Court last year, and he's been doing a lot of work on, and a lot of thinking about, how the Court processes its own case load.  It can be no coincidence that one year after new Michigan Supreme Court Chief Clerk Larry Royster's arrival, the Court is now proposing to overhaul the 7.300 Chapter of the Rules of Court.  The Court was already in pretty good shape before he arrived, as shown by the recent survey on the Court office's performance.  But there are always things to improve and modernize.  The new rules are just a proposal at this point, but a significant one for those of us who regularly practice there.  Among many changes, the new rules eliminate the old-school "notice of hearing" for applications and establish firm deadlines for answers to applications.  Over the next few weeks, we'll discuss this and other significant revisions, tell you what we believe the implications are, and identify new uncertainties that will arise if the existing proposal is adopted unrevised. We invite any practitioners with similar or different insights and observations to send an email to with "7.300 overhaul" in the subject line.

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