“Unincorporated” Boards are Legal Entities in Michigan

On May 19th, the Court of Appeals issued its decision in Suttons Bay Yacht Village Condo Ass’n v Board of Representatives of Port Sutton Community (COA No. 325327) involving whether a Board, which has not been incorporated in the state, is an entity to be involved in a legal action.

The Court of Appeals held it is a recognized entity, concluding that “Michigan caselaw and statutory law support the conclusion that an unincorporated association is a legal entity.”

Whether any group constitutes an unincorporated association requires not simply agreement in the description as such, but “associated, mutual, action of individuals.”

This is good news for Michigan property law which allows informal associations, while not formally incorporating under the Summer Cottage Act, the Non-Profit Corporation Act, or the Corporation statute, to have their day in court. It also means that property owners can take action against “associated” individuals who sometime overstep their legal authority in lake communities and subdivisions throughout Michigan.

Dock Rights May Be Established by Prescriptive Easement

A question long unanswered under Michigan law is whether the right to the placement of a seasonal dock can be established using the equitable doctrine of prescriptive easement? The answer is yesContinue reading “Dock Rights May Be Established by Prescriptive Easement”

The Land Division Act Plat Correction Procedures Cannot Create Nonexisting Property Rights

The Court of Appeals affirmed what we’ve long argued: the plat correction procedures of the Michigan Land Division Act cannot be used to create new property rights.

In Studley v Township of Hill, a lot owner who abuts a privately dedicate 16-foot wide Beachway running from the public Lake Shore Drive to the edge of Rifle Lake. It was only the private access for the backlotters of the Plat of Shady Shores Park Subdivision to access Rifle Lake. Continue reading “The Land Division Act Plat Correction Procedures Cannot Create Nonexisting Property Rights”

Rights for Docking By Overusing a Common Easement Fails in Prescription Suit

The case of O’Brien v Hicks  (COA No. 307332) involves one of two parkways located beside Otsego Lake in the Hazel Banks Plat, named “Parkway 6-7.”   Continue reading “Rights for Docking By Overusing a Common Easement Fails in Prescription Suit”

The Horseshoe Lake Corp Decision Discusses How A Park Is Different Under Riparian Law

The case of HORSEHOE LAKE CORP v CARLSON (COA No. 304695)  involves a dedicated park on Horseshoe Lake as part of the Leocadia Park subdivision.  Continue reading “The Horseshoe Lake Corp Decision Discusses How A Park Is Different Under Riparian Law”

A Private Right-of-Way Easement Leaves Owner the Right to Remaining Use of Property

In Bedford v Rogers (COA No. 299783), the individual lots in the Glen Eyrie subdivision do not extend to the shore of Crystal Lake. Rather, the plat depicts a 100-foot wide strip of land, running the entire length of the subdivision and designated as the “Lakeway,” between the south border of the platted lots and Crystal Lake dedicated to the common use of property owners in the Glen Eyrie plat.  Continue reading “A Private Right-of-Way Easement Leaves Owner the Right to Remaining Use of Property”

A Privately Dedicated Street Is Treated the Same as a Public Street for Lake Access Purposes

In Banacki v Howe (COA No. 302778), the extent of backlotters’ right to use East Court, a 25-foot wide strip of waterfront land that lies between lots 12 and 13 in the Gilmore Beach Subdivision extending to Magician Lake, was in dispute. The Gilmore Beach Subdivision contains the Van Buren County and Cass County line. Continue reading “A Privately Dedicated Street Is Treated the Same as a Public Street for Lake Access Purposes”