River House suit advances
The litigation between purchasers of condominiums at River House and the building’s ownership entity is moving on to the next legal level.
Kent County Circuit Court Judge Donald Johnston signed an order Aug. 14 that granted a summary disposition from a motion made by some of the buyers. In his ruling, Johnston found the purchase agreements to be invalid and unenforceable, and he dismissed a complaint made against the buyers.
Bridgewater Condos LLC, headed by developer Robert Grooters, filed lawsuits against 36 potential buyers earlier this year for allegedly not following through on commitments to purchase units in the high-rise, luxury residential building at 335 Bridge St. NW.
Fifteen of the buyers filed a suit in 17th Circuit Court claiming the purchase agreement they signed violated Public Act 59 of 1978 — also known as the Condominium Act — because the document only contained the name of the escrow agent and not the agent’s name and address as required.
On June 22, Johnston ruled in favor of the buyers. The case now moves on to the appellate level — at least partially, because the decision didn’t close the case.
“There are matters left undone by the court, which are held back pending our application. What we’re going to try to do is an interlocutory appeal to get this question answered before we go on to litigate the rest of the issues,” said Gary Schenk, a partner at Schenk, Boncher & Rypema, the firm representing Bridgewater Condos.
“What that means is, while the case has been partially resolved by summary disposition, there are other issues that are left to be tried. As a consequence, we don’t have an automatic right of appeal to the court of appeals at this stage. So we have to ask the court for permission to hear the appeal on one item of the litigation and convince them there is a reason to take that, currently,” he explained.
Schenk said the rest of the case will sit on the sidelines until the Michigan Court of Appeals decides what action to take on the interlocutory appeal, which he plans to file in the near future.