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161017 - Thomas Haan v Lake Doster Lake Assn

Thomas Haan, Connie Haan, Kristin Brooks, and Jill Rhodes,

 

Robert Riley

 

Plaintiffs/Counterdefendants-Appellees,

 

and

 

 

 

 

 

William Rhodes, Casey Allen, Laura Allen, Travis Stephenson, Marciann Stephenson, Kevin Marcy, and Susan Marcy,

 

 

 

Plaintiffs/Counterdefendants,

 

v

(Appeal from Ct of Appeals)

 

 

(Allegan – Baillargeon, W.)

 

Lake Doster Lake Association,

 

Robb Krueger

 

Defendant/Counterplaintiff-Appellant.

 

Summary

Lake Doster is a man-made lake in Allegan County.  Property owners without direct access to Lake Doster obtained permission from the developer’s Building Control Committee to build and maintain docks on common property and conveyed the docks with their properties before the formation of defendant Lake Doster Lake Association and the transfer of the developer’s rights to the defendant.  After a conflict arose over the defendant’s plan for the placement and sharing of docks, the plaintiffs filed a lawsuit contending that the plan would revoke and substantially impair their vested rights and diminish the value of their properties.  The plaintiffs asserted that association member applications created a contract under which the plaintiffs’ past permitted rights to build and maintain docks became binding on the defendant.  The defendant filed a counterclaim for declaratory judgment.  The trial court denied the plaintiffs’ motion for summary disposition, but granted summary disposition in favor of the defendant under MCR 2.116(C)(10).  Some of the plaintiffs appealed, and the Court of Appeals, in a 2-1 unpublished opinion, reversed and remanded the case to the trial court for entry of judgment for those plaintiffs.  The Supreme Court has ordered oral argument on the application to address whether the Court of Appeals:  (1) erred by determining that the dedication and recorded restrictions did not prevent the plaintiffs from claiming an easement for the maintenance of the plaintiffs’ docks; (2) erred by determining that the plaintiffs’ requests for placement of docks under the recorded covenants and restrictions constituted more than a permissive and revocable license and expanded into an enforceable easement; (3) erred by determining that the application for membership constituted an enforceable contract conferring on the plaintiffs an easement for the permanent maintenance of docks; and (4) erroneously considered extrinsic evidence and decided questions of fact that were in dispute.​