A meeting is set next week by the Howell Public Schools Board of Education with just one item on the agenda; a lawsuit filed by a real estate broker and agent.

North American Brokers, a real estate agent and real estate broker, filed suit against Howell Public Schools in 2015, alleging that they had engaged a buyer to purchase the former Latson Road Elementary School property owned by the district but received no broker commission for the sale. St. John Providence, which purchased the land and constructed a medical center on the site, is also named as a defendant.

Livingston County Circuit Court Judge Michael Hatty previously granted a motion by the school district to dismiss the case, citing the statute of frauds which requires certain types of agreements be in writing. The brokers’ case essentially relied on the understanding of a verbal agreement. But the Court of Appeals reversed Hatty’s decision, which was backed up by the Michigan Supreme Court, upholding the concept of promissory estoppel; the legal principle that a promise is enforceable by law, even if it’s made without formal consideration. The lawsuit was then allowed to proceed to trial.

With a status conference in the case set for January 29th in front of Judge Hatty, the Howell school board scheduled a special meeting for Wednesday, January 23rd to discuss the litigation in closed session. When asked if a potential settlement was in the works, district spokesman Tom Gould told WHMI that all he could say was, “the Board has scheduled a closed session to discuss the pending case with our attorney.” (JK)