Saturday, May 10, 2008

Circuit Court Retains Jurisdiction Over $15,000 Contract Claim, Even When Lien Claim is Dismissed

Section 118(1) of the Michigan Construction Lien Act requires that an action to foreclose a construction lien be brought in the circuit court for the county where the real property is located. For smaller liens, this provision overcomes the requirement that claims in circuit court exceed $25,000. Thus, a lien claimant can pursue a foreclosure action in circuit court even where the amount in controversy is less than $25,000.

But what happens if the claim of lien is dismissed? Does this divest the circuit court of jurisdiction over the remaining claims, and require that the case be remanded to the district court? In a recent unpublished decision, the Michigan Court of Appeals considered this issue, and held in the negative. The remaining claims can proceed to trial:

"As a rule, when a court of competent jurisdiction becomes possessed of a case, its authority continues until the matter is finally and completely disposed of, and no court of co-ordinate authority is at liberty to interfere with its action."

Maidaniuc v. Country Pond, L.L.C., 2008 Mich. App. LEXIS 861 (Mich. Ct. App. Apr. 29, 2008). A copy of the slip opinion can be found here.

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