|Case Forum:||Michigan Supreme Court|
|Keywords:||quiet title, adverse possession, Land Division Act (LDA)|
Andrew J. Mulder | Vincent L. Duckworth | Cunningham Dalman, P.C. | 321 Settlers Road | Holland, MI 49422-1767 | 616-392-1821
1. Michigan Township Association (MTA)
Amicus counsel argues that the Michigan Court of Appeals erred in deciding that the plaintiff may assert a claim of title and exclusive possession to dedicated streets in a plat without filing an action to vacate, correct, or amend such plat pursuant to the requirements of the Land Division Act (LDA), and should therefore, be reversed. Amicus counsel argues that the Trial Court improperly granted an action to quiet title in this case because an adverse possession claim filed in circuit court constitutes an action to vacate, correct or revise a plat and therefore, must comply with the requirements of the LDA. The result of such a claim is that of a change in title and exclusive possession to dedicated streets in a plat. This clearly falls within a vacation, correction or revision, which requires the Plaintiff to comply with the LDA. Michigan’s recording statutes, and its case law, support this conclusion. Additionally, the Court of Appeals failed to recognize that an adverse possession claim requires the court to make a present day alteration of a recorded plat, as such, the procedural requirements of the LDA must be followed in order to provide notice to the public regarding such changes. An adverse possession claimant seeking judicial recognition of vested property rights may not decide at his or her own discretion whether to follow the procedural requirements of the LDA. Moreover, certain public policy concerns are implicated when there is a change of title and exclusive possession to dedicated streets in a recorded plat without the procedural requirements of the LDA being complied with. Such subversive changes in land ownership are contrary to the legislative intent of Michigan’s Congress, and undermine the ability of municipalities to competently conduct their public service obligations.
In an opinion by Chief Justice Young, joined by Justices Marilyn Kelly, Hathaway, Mary Beth Kelly, and Zahra, the Supreme Court held:
|MSC requested LDF amicus brief?||Yes|
Florence Beach brought an action in the Washtenaw Circuit Court against Lima Township and Jeffrey Munger, seeking to quiet title to three streets dedicated on a plat recorded