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Clark Hill's Charley Lawler Victorious in Michigan Court of Appeals Foreclosure Case

December 21, 2020

Lansing Member-in-Charge Charley Lawler successfully persuaded a Michigan Court of Appeals panel to reverse an Ingham Circuit Court ruling that granted relief to a respondent who claimed he wasn’t provided ample notice to foreclosure proceedings in Feb. 2018.

While representing the Ingham County Treasurer, Lawler argued that a notice of delinquent taxes and imminent foreclosure was sent to a recorded ownership interest in the property and to the occupant at the property in question. The COA noted that a notice of foreclosure proceedings was posted at the property and published in a local newspaper.

The respondent did not participate in Feb. 21, 2018 proceedings that resulted in a foreclosure judgment. In June 2018, the respondent filed for and was granted relief from the judgment by claiming that he wasn’t properly notified of the proceedings. The respondent held an unrecorded land contract and previously paid taxes on the property in 2016 for the tax year 2014.

In agreeing with Lawler, the COA concluded the Treasurer did not need to send additional notice because the respondent admitted that his ownership interest was not recorded, and the one-time tax payment in 2016 was not sufficient to identify ownership interest.

The COA ultimately determined that the treasurer fulfilled its statutory notice requirements of the General Property Tax Act and that the trial court erred in granting relief.

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