Choppy water: Backlot owners win dispute over lake dock

PUTNAM TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Just in time for the holiday, the Michigan appeals court has ruled in favor of dozens of property owners in a dispute over a dock at a Livingston County lake.

James and Barbara McEwen own a lot at Patterson Lake, 30 miles northwest of Ann Arbor. They sued backlot owners over a dock that has been assembled each season. Disputes over lake access are common in Michigan, especially when properties change hands or relationships turn sour.

The appeals court says nothing in legal records allowed the permanent mooring of boats by backlot owners at Patterson Lake. But the court notes there’s a decades-long history of a seasonal dock at the end of Lakeview Drive.

In a 3-0 decision, the court says that history helps owners qualify for an easement.

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