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DECISIONS a trial court did not abuse its discretion when it refused to set aside a default allegedly caused by attorney abandonment where there was proof of active representation, the Michigan Supreme Court on July 17 said. Amco Builders & Developers Inc. v. Team Ace Joint Venture, No. 120459. During litigation over a construction contract, the attorney for Amco Builders failed to comply with the judge’s order to produce a witness for deposition. The judge entered a default, and then awarded the plaintiffs a judgment of nearly $600,000 when the lawyer failed to show for the damages phase of the proceeding. The lawyer later said that he was preoccupied with his son’s health and hadn’t represented the company well, but the trial court denied Amco’s motion to set aside the judgment. An intermediate court reversed, saying that the lawyer’s actions amounted to abandonment. Reversing again, the state’s high court acknowledged that abandonment is a recognized ground for setting aside a default, but it ruled that the trial court had not abused its discretion when it determined that this attorney’s actions did not amount to abandonment. Citing his repeated interaction with the judge, the court said that it found ample evidence that the lawyer had not truly abandoned the suit.

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