Hirzel Wins Court of Appeals Case for Homeowner Clients

Kevin Hirzel_8x10@300Kevin Hirzel, a partner in our Livonia and Clinton Township offices, recently won a Court of Appeals case in which he represented the homeowner defendants.

In December 2010, plaintiff purchased three adjacent parcels of vacant property in Northville. When plaintiff attempted to sell the property, it was discovered that improvements to defendants’ adjacent property encroached onto the plaintiff’s property.

A portion of defendants’ garage, which had been extended from a two-car garage to a three-car garage in 1978, and the accompanying driveway both encroached onto plaintiff’s property (the “disputed area”). In addition, defendants had removed a shed that their predecessors had constructed in the disputed area, but continued to use the location for a sitting area. Defendants and their predecessors had continuously maintained and landscaped the disputed area since at least 1978.

Plaintiff brought this action to quiet title to the disputed area, along with seeking monetary damages of more than $350,000, and defendants brought a counter-complaint asserting ownership to the disputed area pursuant to the doctrines of adverse possession and acquiescence. Defendants filed motions for summary disposition with respect to plaintiff’s claims and their counterclaim. The trial court granted the motions pursuant to MCR 2.116(C)(10), and quieted title to the disputed area in favor of defendants pursuant to the doctrine of adverse possession. Defendants also requested sanctions under MCR 2.114(E) and MCL 600.2591, on the ground that plaintiff’s claims for conversion, tortious interference with a contract or business expectancy, and trespass were frivolous. The trial court summarily denied defendants’ request for sanctions.

The case was brought before the Court of Appeals who affirmed the trial court’s summary disposition orders; ruled that two of plaintiff’s claims, conversion and tortious interference, were frivolous; and therefore remand for determination of an appropriate award of sanctions.

Mr. Hirzel is a partner at CMDA and practices out of both our Livonia and Clinton Township office locations.  He concentrates his practice on commercial litigation, community association, condominium law, construction law and real estate law.  He may be reached at (734) 261-2400 or khirzel@cmda-law.com.