Greenville, MI asked in Real Estate Law, Appeals / Appellate Law and Land Use & Zoning for Michigan

Q: Can a judge grant riparian rights to lake front property owners if that land has always been public use and county owned

Townline Lake, Belvidere Township, Lakeview MI. The lakeshore in Belvidere township has been public use since the 20s. A few lake front property owners went to a judge and got granted riparian rights up to the lakeshore even though it’s public property and is recorded as a park in the plat. How is that legal or possible? Should the ruling be overturned? The judge only granted the people who filed riparian rights, not the whole lakeshore property owners. I have read the court documents and even the judge referred to the property as the park. The judge even granted riparian rights to a public right away to one lakeshore property owner. This effects everyone even though we’re not listed on the court papers because now all lakeshore owners think they have riparian rights and threaten people with trespassing. A lot of property owners even took down the public access signs at each of the right of ways. I can send the court papers if you request by email. Thank you

2 Lawyer Answers
Kenneth V Zichi
Kenneth V Zichi
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Fowlerville, MI
  • Licensed in Michigan

A: A judge with equitable powers can do a lot of things, but without seeing the actual order (Courts 'speak' only through their written orders) it is hard to say what is going on here.

Indeed sometimes trial judges exceed their authority or make 'legal errors' and that is what appeals courts are all about. But again, without seeing the written order, it is hard to say what is going on here.

Courts generally only have 'jurisdiction' over people before them so, absent a class action finding, the ruling won't impact other's specific property rights but again, without seeing the written order .... (are you sensing a pattern?)

If you believe something is amiss, it would make sense to take the written order to a local real estate attorney to review and determine if something improper really happened. There is no 'one size fits all' rule here!

-- This answer is offered for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney/client relationship.

I am licensed to practice in Michigan only. Please seek competent local legal help if you feel you need legal advice

Anthony M. Avery
Anthony M. Avery
  • Appeals & Appellate Lawyer
  • Knoxville, TN

A: You might want to go to Court and read the Case File verbatim that you are talking about. It might explain what happened and why, which you might also want to follow up on. The Clerks can be irritable about anyone looking at Case Files, including attorneys, but they are almost always public records.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.