“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.

Supreme Court “Rail-Trail” Decision Upholds Rule of Property Law

Today, the US Supreme Court issued its 8-1 decision in Marvin M. Brandt Revocable Trust v. United States (case no. 12-1173) which held that old railroad lines created under the General Railroad Right-of-Way Act of 1875 are to be abandoned in favor of the property owner, not the Government under a theory of “implied reversion.” Critics of the decision argue that the decision jeopardizes potential rails-to-trails projects around the county. Continue reading “Supreme Court “Rail-Trail” Decision Upholds Rule of Property Law”

An Overused Private Easement Permits for an Adverse Possession Claim

The Court of Appeals in Prince v. Wedemeier has held a distinction between two types of express easements now exists: a prescriptive right by overuse is allowed for one but not the other. Continue reading “An Overused Private Easement Permits for an Adverse Possession Claim”

Be Specific in Settlement Agreements Involving Property Rights

The lesson to be learned in Arbutus Beach Ass’n v. Aguilar is to be specific in settlement agreements, as settlements are enforceable for years to come. Continue reading “Be Specific in Settlement Agreements Involving Property Rights”

Hey Hunters, Recreational Trespass Is Real and Illegal

A Michigan ‘religious’ holiday is fast approaching–Deer Day. Hunters from all over Michigan are sighting in their scopes and scoping out their spots for hunting blinds. However, hunters need to pay attention to property rights and property lines or they might find themselves afoul with the law.

Did you know recreational trespassing is both a criminal and civil wrong? Part 731 of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act makes it illegal to undertake any recreational activity or trapping on any posted or fenced-in private land; farm land including all lands contained within the farm; and all wooded areas connected to farm property. Recreational activity has long legally included hunting. Continue reading “Hey Hunters, Recreational Trespass Is Real and Illegal”