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155498 - North American Brokers v Howell Public Schools

North American Brokers, LLC, and Mark Ratliff,
Richard E. Shaw
(Appeal from Ct of Appeals)
(Livingston – Hatty, M.)
Howell Public Schools,
Stacy J. Belisle
Thomas J. McGraw
St. John Providence,


Plaintiffs, a real estate agent and real estate broker, filed suit against defendant Howell Public Schools, alleging that they had engaged a buyer to purchase property owned by the school district but received no broker commission for the sale. The school district moved for summary disposition, arguing that the statute of frauds barred plaintiffs’ claims. Plaintiffs responded by relying on the promise conveyed by the “broker protected” sign on the property and oral communications with defendants. The trial court granted summary disposition to the school district on grounds that the statute of frauds barred plaintiffs’ claims. In an unpublished opinion, the Court of Appeals reversed, holding that promissory estoppel remains an exception to the statute of frauds and remanding for further proceedings. The Court of Appeals explained that it was compelled to reach this result by binding precedent, opined that it was the wrong result, and urged the Supreme Court to grant leave to appeal to address the issue. The Supreme Court has ordered oral argument on the school district’s application for leave to appeal to address whether promissory estoppel is an exception to the statute of frauds.  MCL 566.132.