Backlot owners win lake dock dispute

PUTNAM TOWNSHIP (AP) — The Michigan Court of Appeals 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 noted 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.