Estate of Riashi v. Frangedakis, 030398 MICA, 190819

Docket Nº190819
Opinion JudgePER CURIAM.
Party NameTHE ESTATE OF EDMUND K. RIASHI, Deceased, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. RENEE FRANGEDAKIS, Defendant-Appellant.
Judge PanelBefore: McDonald, P.J., and Saad and Smolenski, JJ.
Case DateMarch 03, 1998
CourtCourt of Appeal of Michigan (US)

THE ESTATE OF EDMUND K. RIASHI, Deceased, Plaintiff-Appellee,


RENEE FRANGEDAKIS, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 190819

Court of Appeals of Michigan

March 3, 1998


Macomb Circuit Court LC No. 92-003900-CH

Before: McDonald, P.J., and Saad and Smolenski, JJ.


Plaintiff filed the instant action seeking a judicial determination of his daughter’s interest in a certain piece of real estate and for declaration of an equitable mortgage. The trial court entered judgment in favor of plaintiff. Defendant now appeals as of right. We affirm.

On appeal, defendant argues that the trial court erred in declaring an equitable mortgage for the property and in determining the terms of the equitable mortgage. Defendant claims that plaintiff failed to meet his heavy burden and did not produce any evidence of the terms and conditions of the mortgage. We disagree.

This Court reviews a trial court’s declaration of an equitable mortgage de novo. Schultz v Schultz, 117 Mich.App. 454, 457-458; 324 N.W.2d 48 (1982). However, this Court will not reverse the trial court’s determination of an equitable mortgage unless its decision is clearly erroneous. Id .; Grant v Van Reken, 71 Mich.App. 121, 125; 246 N.W.2d 348 (1976).

A court May declare a deed absolute on its face to be an equitable mortgage. Schultz, supra at 457; Grant, supra at 125. However, a party who asserts that an absolute deed is a mortgage bears a high degree of proof and must clearly indicate to the trier of fact that the parties did not contemplate an absolute sale. Schultz, supra at 458. There are two instances under Michigan law where courts declare equitable mortgages when there is no writing to evidence an agreement. First, where a deed is executed between two parties and one party stands in a relationship of trust or guidance to the other party, but the relationship has been abused, an equitable mortgage will be declared to balance the inequities . Schultz, supra at 458. Second, courts will impose an equitable mortgage where a creditor abuses the “power of coercion” which he may have over the debtor because of the circumstances surrounding the transaction. Id. at 459. In this situation, courts will interfere between the parties’ negotiations in order to avoid oppression. Id.

In the instant case, we find that the doctrine of equitable mortgage was...

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