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156708 - Matthew T. Theil v David L. Goyings

Matthew T. Thiel and Nikole M. Thiel,

 

Jill Wheaton

Todd Schebor

 

Plaintiffs/Counterdefendants-Appellees,

 

and

(Appeal from Ct of Appeals)

 

 

Allegan – Bakker, M.)

 

William Traywick and Marcia Traywick,

 

 

 

Intervening Plaintiffs/Counterdefendants-Appellees,

 

v

 

 

 

 

 

David L. Goyings and Helen M. Goyings,

 

Paul Hudson

 

Defendants/Counterplaintiffs-Appellants.

 

Summary

Defendants David and Helen Goyings purchased a lot in the Timber Ridge Bay subdivision and then designed a “system-built” home that included three modules built off-site, transported to their lot, affixed permanently to the foundation, and incorporated into the final stick-built project. Plaintiffs Matthew and Nikole Thiel, who also own a home in the subdivision, filed this lawsuit, alleging that defendants were in violation of the subdivision’s restrictive covenants that prohibit a “modular home.” Plaintiffs sought a court order for removal of defendants’ home. Following a bench trial, the trial court determined that defendants’ home did not violate the restrictive covenants because the uncontroverted testimony was that the home would be a visually attractive home of equal or superior quality to other homes that could have been entirely stick-built on site. The court also found that defendants’ system-built home was not a “modular home” because it was primarily stick-built on site, and because the modules were not a complete residence upon delivery. The court further noted that other homes in the area included components that were prefabricated, and no objection had been raised. Thus, the court denied plaintiffs’ request for an order directing defendants to remove the home. Plaintiffs appealed. The Court of Appeals reversed in an unpublished opinion, ordering removal of the home. The Supreme Court has directed oral argument on defendants’ application for leave to appeal to address: (1) whether defendants’ home is a “modular home” as defined by Timber Ridge Bay’s “Declaration of Restrictions, Covenants and Conditions”; and (2) if so, whether the violation was a technical violation that did not cause substantial injury, Cooper v Kovan, 349 Mich 520, 530 (1957).​