UPDATE: HALTED: NEW OVERTIME RULES EFFECTIVE DECEMBER 1, 2016.

The new overtime rules setting a $913.00/week salary level (up from $455.00/week) to become effective on December 1, 2016 has been stopped in a case brought by 21 states against the US Department of Labor. State of Nevada, et al v. US Department of Labor, et al, Case No. 4:16-cv-00731.

The U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Texas issued a nationwide preliminary injunction saying the Department of Labor’s rule exceeded the statutory authority of the agency.

It is still too early to determine what, if any, posture the Donald Trump administration will take in the shift away from centralized power in our nation’s capital. The Trump campaign has spoken out against Obama-backed government regulation and generally aligns with the business groups that stridently opposed the overtime rule.

The US Department of Labor said in a statement on 11/22/2016:

“We strongly disagree with the decision by the court, which has the effect of delaying a fair day’s pay for a long day’s work for millions of hardworking Americans. The department’s overtime rule is the result of a comprehensive, inclusive rulemaking process, and we remain confident in the legality of all aspects of the rule.”

Stay tuned for the rest of the story.

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When Can you Throw Away the Tenant’s Stuff?

What does a Landlord do, if they think the Tenant has moved out, but there are still some items remaining in the property?

Here are two (2) situations very instructive on this common occurrence:

(1) Lawyers in our firm represented a Landlord who believed a tenant had moved out. The only items left in the apartment were 10 large garbage bags; which the Landlord promptly threw out.

The next thing the Landlord knew, they were being sued by the Tenant who claimed he had $10,000 worth of collectible baseball cards in those bags, and he was entitled to damages—actually triple damages!—for the Landlord throwing them away.

The Landlord hired us, and we found ourselves deep in litigation over these alleged baseball cards. Of course, we couldn’t prove it was just garbage (the trash was long since hauled away), and we suspected the tenant was simply making this up.

The law states the Landlord must “believe in good faith” the property was abandoned and entitled to throw the items out. The court was sympathetic to the tenant—we ended up settling the matter by paying the Tenant.

(2) A Tenant retained us because his landlord had obtained Judgment of Possession, entered the house, and threw away or removed numerous electronics, furniture and other items. The Tenant provided us with pictures of the property—there were still pictures on the walls, cleaning products in the cupboards and food in the refrigerator.

We placed the Landlord on notice these pictures would demonstrate it did not act “in good faith” by claiming the property was abandoned. The Landlord paid a large sum for his actions.

The lesson is simple—if the Landlord intends to throw out the Tenant’s items, it had better do it correctly.

Recently, the Michigan Court of Appeals decided Anderson v Chaudy (.pdf) where the Landlord obtained a Judgment of Possession and even obtained an Order of Eviction. In executing the Order of Eviction, the Tenant’s personal property was initially placed on the front lawn, and then subsequently removed and destroyed.

The court held the Tenant may have a right to claim damages—even triple damages—for the removed property since the removal was not “necessary to effect the eviction nor incidental to the process of eviction.” The court would allow the matter to proceed through litigation.

It is important to provide the appropriate provisions within the Lease to protect the Landlord. We often see Leases that are form documents the Landlord obtained through a friend, or on-line, and these Leases rarely cover this common occurrence.

We have developed a lease designed to protect Landlords from these (and numerous other) situations. Call (248) 643-9530 or email info@zeiglerlaw.com to schedule a consultation.

Account of Convenience or Joint Account?

             This daughter, Anne, caused an expensive mess when her Dad added Anne’s name to their Dad’s bank account. The original purpose of adding Anne’s name to the account was for her to help Dad pay his bills.

             Creating a joint bank account allows that new joint owner to take the money in the joint account for any purpose.  Here, in this case, Anne was added to an account of her father and then she used the money for purposes of buying things for herself and her daughter.  So, Anne used Dad’s money for her own purposes and not for the purposes with which Dad intended – not for his own use.

            The Court framed the legal inquiry as: “Was Dad’s money used for the purposes of caring for Dad?”  If not, then the Court will impose a constructive trust on the money in the joint bank account and then the wrongfully acting child (Anne) will have to repay the money into the estate of the Dad, so that the rest of the children or heirs can receive what they are entitled to receive, by will or intestasy.

            In this case, Anne did not treat the joint account like an account of convenience, the new joint owner (Anne) took money for the purposes of buying things for her and her daughter, and now will have to repay that money to the estate of her late father. In short, the evidence showed that Dad intended that Anne help him pay his bills, and the money in the bank account was not intended as a gift.

See case [ http://www.michbar.org/e-journal/eJournalDate/08312016]

For more information regarding the risks of joint ownership bank accounts visit our website at http://www.zeiglerlaw.com/how-to-avoid-probate.html

Or call (248) 643-9530 or email info@zeiglerlaw.com to schedule a consultation.