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Bankruptcy +

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The Michigan Marketable Record Title Act (MRTA)

Like many States, Michigan has implemented the Marketable Record Title Act (MRTA), MCL 565.101 et seq., with the goal of determining ownership interests in land by limiting the number of years during which claims like liens or land use restrictions may be asserted. This means that if an interest in land is not asserted during a specified period of time, it will be lost or extinguished by law. The...

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Utility bills as consumer debt in Bankruptcy

Unlike most consumer debts, water and sewer bills are treated differently as far as being discharged in a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.  Any unpaid balances due to the utility company would become a lien against the real property and can be enforced against the real property. A lien is usually preserved with a Financing statement and by notifying the tax assessing authority to place it on record to ...

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What’s the Difference Between Chapter 7 & Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

Are you contemplating filing for Bankruptcy? You need to understand the differences between the two main types applicable to most individual or joint debtors (persons who file a petition for discharge of their debts under the U.S. Bankruptcy law), chapter 7 and chapter 13.  In Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, also known as Liquidation, a court-appointed trustee reviews the debtor(s)’ estate for a...

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Business +

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Understanding the Rights of General Contractors and Subcontractors in Michigan

In today’s challenging and competitive economy, it’s more important than ever that general contractors and subcontractors know and understand their rights and responsibilities to ensure successful projects. The following are issues that any successful general contractor and subcontractor should review: What’s the structure of your company (corporation or limited liability compan...

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Business & Commercial Disputes in Michigan

Business and commercial disputes in Michigan are handled through the specially created Business Courts, which are specialty dockets created under MCL Section 600.8033 in 2013, and which are part of the Circuit Court System in the various Districts. This statute enumerates specific types of business and commercial disputes, and also specifically excludes disputes that don’t fall within these...

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Limited Liability Companies in Michigan

In Michigan, Limited Liability Companies are regulated under MCL 450.4101, also known as the "Michigan  limited  liability company act" (the Act). According to the Act, “ Limited  liability company" or "domestic  limited  liability company" means an entity that’s an unincorporated membership organization. The term unincorporated differ...

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How Can We Help with Business Analysis?

You should think of business analysis as a tool to aid strategic decisions and direction, understand and improve your business operational and financial position, set financial or bottom-line objectives, and facilitate organizational efficiency and effectiveness.  One way to perform business analysis is to set Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs, which measure a company's performance out...

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Bitcoin 101

Bitcoin was created in August of 2008 by a programmer or team of programmers using the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto, who outlined the technology in a paper and registered a new domain, To this day, no one knows who Satoshi Nakamoto really is.

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The Importance of Miscellaneous Contract Provisions

We have all read those “miscellaneous provisions” portions of contracts. Those are the portions of the contract where all of the random, seemingly uninteresting provisions are found. Often those provisions include things like choice of law, jurisdictional standing, merger and integration and the like. They can also include substantive issues, such as limitations of warranty and liquid...

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Criminal Defense +

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What You Need to Know About Getting a Ticket From a Moving Violation in Michigan

By:  Mark Nelson Were you pulled over and cited for a moving violation? Like most people your biggest concern is not the fine, but rather the points and the effect it will have on your insurance. Don’t worry, with a good driving record there is still hope that you won’t be penalized by your insurance company.  The first thing you need to know is that you don’t have a l...

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Criminal Charge Dismissed? What Happens to the Arrest Record?

Many criminal cases are abandoned by the prosecution prior to trial. Charges are dismissed for many reasons – including exculpatory information provided through defense investigation, the suppression of necessary evidence due to constitutional violations, and recanting or uncooperative witnesses. Prior to June 12, 2018, however, a dismissal of charges still left a lingering stain on a person’s publicly-available record in the State of Michigan.

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Estate Planning +

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Transfer of Vehicle Ownership for Descendent

The death of a spouse, parent, or friend invokes the depository provisions in one’s estate planning documents.  While the process to transfer tangible personal items can be simple, transferring an asset with a title can be more complex.   Here are common scenarios for transferring vehicles in the State of Michigan:  Spouse.  If the deceased is survived by ...

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Why Should You Have a Trust?

Trusts aren't just for the wealthy or for complicated estates. They can be helpful for "average" folks like you!  What do trusts do? How can trusts be used?

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How Cryptocurrency and NFTs Fit into Your Estate Plan

Five years ago, cryptocurrency was probably not on your radar. Today, it may be an important investment in your portfolio. You could even own some nonfungible tokens (NFTs) powered by the same blockchain-based technology. Despite the dizzying fluctuations in the value of these assets, if you own them, you should ensure that they’re included in your estate plan so you can preserve them for your loved ones.

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Don’t Risk it: Protect Your Finances From Coronavirus Complications

Many Americans spend a lot of time and effort managing their finances. While most are worried about how the coronavirus (COVID-19) will impact their income—whether that’s because they’re temporarily furloughed, find themselves suddenly without a job, or watching their investment and retirement accounts dwindle—there’s another way COVID-19 can wreak havoc on American’s finances: lack of incapacity planning.  

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Planning for Your Digital Legacy

An estate plan often focuses on tangible property such as jewelry, artwork, money, and vehicles. In this age of technology, it’s important to include your digital assets.

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“10 Things to Do Before You Die”

You may already know the importance of funding a trust as a part of preparing for your death. It’s also important to know other things you should be preparing for before you die.

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Protecting Your Finances with Estate Planning Tools

A beneficiary designation is an agreement between your estate and a financial institution to pay specific assets upon your death to a named trust or individual. For example, your life insurance policy may have your spouse or child named to receive the payout when you pass away. Coordinating your beneficiary designations with your estate planning documents is essential to protect your beneficiarie...

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Appointing a Guardian for a Child Outside a Will

Do you want to appoint guardians for your children? It’s important to have a plan in place when you have a growing family. Pear Sperling Eggan & Daniels, P.C. estate planning attorneys are here to help you plan for the unexpected.  

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Special Needs Trusts

Estate planning comes down to 2 simple questions – “Who gets what?” and “Who’s in charge”? However, if one of the beneficiaries is receiving or might receive Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) in the future, the answer to these questions gets more complicated.

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How Does Estate Planning Distributions Work?

The essence of estate planning is to direct distribution of one’s estate to his or her intended beneficiaries through “dispositive” language, including the distribution of property, whether it be personal property, investments, or liquid assets.

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To Marry or Not?

The number of unmarried partners living together in the United States is at least 17 million, which translates to 34 million individuals or approximately 7% of the total adult population.  The number continues to grow.

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Three Plays in Estate Planning

In the past we wrote on “How to Score a Touchdown with a Living Trust” and “Funding a Trust Gets You Across the Goal Line.” In keeping with the football analogy, we’re going to describe the 3 “plays” of estate planning to gain a first down. 

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What You Need to Know About Annual Gifting

Under current law, the annual gift tax exclusion is $15,000 per donor per recipient.  This means an individual can make as many gifts of $15,000 to as many people as he or she chooses, free of taxes for the recipients.

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“Funding a Trust Gets You Across the Goal Line”

In a previous blog, about “How to Score a Touchdown with a Living Trust” where we mentioned that funding a trust is important to scoring a “touchdown.” Let’s further discuss the funding process to get across the goal line and avoid probate.

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The Impact of Covid-19 on the Elderly

The laws of physics play out in our world; starting with the Newton’s Third Law of Motion, “…for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” The Stay Safe, Stay Home Order was no exception.

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Remote Signatures Under Governor's Executive Order

As a result of the Stay at Home, Be Safe executive order issued by Governor Whitmer in response to the Coronavirus virus people are required to stay home and quarantine. Did you know we’re still available via phone, Zoom or Skype to start a conversation about getting your affairs in order? In the past, we couldn’t sign the documents because the law requires the physical presence of two witnesses and a notary. Until now!  

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Coronavirus – Get Your Affairs in Order Now

I often say that parents do a lot for their child during their lifetimes. The last gift that we give to them is to make sure everything we leave behind is in order. Getting your affairs in order involves preparing for your death by signing a Last Will and Testament or a Revocable Trust and making sure your assets and beneficiaries are titled correctly.

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Inheriting a parent’s IRA or 401(k)? Here’s how the Secure Act Could Create a Disaster in Estate Planning

Beneficiaries of individual retirement accounts may not see their inheritances for a decade under the newly passed Secure Act, and when they do get the money, they may be taxed heavily for it.  Under the new retirement legislation, which was signed into law just days before Christmas, beneficiaries of inherited IRAs will need to withdraw that money within 10 years — that is, if they have access to it at all within that time. 

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Achieve A Better Life Experience (“ABLE”) Act

Over the years, the primary estate planning tool for parents with a special needs child was an Amenities Trust. This trust allows parents to provide an inheritance to their child without impacting their child’s eligibility for certain government benefits.

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How to Score a Touchdown with a Financial Power of Attorney

To win football games, a team needs to score touchdowns, not just kick field goals, when it reaches the “red zone.” Kicking field goals, rather than scoring touchdowns between the 20-yard line and the end zone loses football games. In this blog, we discuss “How to Score a Touchdown with a Financial Power of Attorney” by avoiding probate court after you become incapacitated.

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Planning for Future Health Care Decisions

You have the ability to make your own medical decisions. You can accept, refuse, or stop medical treatment. If you lose the ability to make your own medical decisions, someone else will have to make those decisions for you. The good news is that you can choose the person you want to make those decisions. That person is called your “patient advocate” and you can give them information about your preferences, values, beliefs, wishes and goals that will help him or her make the decisions you want made.

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Casket V Cremation - Who Decides?

Family disagreements often occur concerning funeral arrangements and the disposition of their loved one’s body or cremated remains. Until recently, if there was no surviving spouse, the decision rested on the majority of decedent’s living children. Now, in Michigan, an individual can designate a funeral representative in a document separate from a will or power of attorney.

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A Husband and Wife Have a Living Trust. Should Their Home be Titled in the Trust Name or Their Names?

This is a question that’s frequently asked by our clients when discussing their estate plan options. The answer depends on the facts of each case but, in general, there are good reasons to hold title in the husband’s name and wife’s name, as husband and wife, rather than in their living trust name. Property that’s in the names of both a husband and wife is considered to be...

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Estate Planning for Special Needs Families

Wendy Alton was honored to speak with the Down Syndrome Support Team (DSST) in Saline this past Sunday about estate planning for special needs families. Many families have children that may require or presently require assistance outside of what the family can provide. This can be either while the child is still a minor, or when they become an adult. Unfortunately many of the programs require a &...

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Andrew M. Eggan Awarded Five Star Estate Planning Professional Award

Pear Sperling Eggan & Daniels is proud to announce that Andrew M. Eggan, a partner in the firm’s Ypsilanti office, has been awarded the 2014 Detroit Five Star Estate Planning Professional Award. Metro-Detroit publications Hour Magazine and DBusiness compiled the lists of attorneys based on 10 objective pieces of eligibility requirements and evaluation criteria. The prestigious Five Star...

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“How to Score a Touchdown With a Living Trust"

To win football games, a team needs to score touchdowns, not kick field goals, when it reaches the “red zone.” Kicking field goals, not scoring touchdowns, between the 20-yard line and the end zone loses football games. A living trust is used to avoid probate court. Avoiding probate saves money and time and allows an estate to be settled privately rather than through the public process of probate court. But, merely signing trust documents and doing nothing else only gets you to the “red zone.”

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Family Law +

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What You Need to Know Before Changing Your Name

By:  Steven Tramontin There are many reasons why you may want to change your name, from disliking your current name, changing  your name following a divorce, and transgender name changes to reflect identity. The process to change your name can take about four to six months. Each county in Michigan has slightly different process requirements. Changing your name legally in court won&rsquo...

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What You Need to Know About Divorces with Minor Children in Michigan

Family Law cases can be complicated because emotions tend to run high.  Divorces, custody battles and parenting time cases involve those we love most and always require an adjustment to how we live our daily lives.  The three main areas of dispute usually involve divorce with children, divorce without children, and parenting time or custody matters. Divorce With Minor Children Divorces ...

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What You Need to Know About Divorces without Children in Michigan

Family Law cases can be complicated because of all the emotion involved.  Divorces, custody and parenting time cases involve those closest to us and they always require an adjustment to how we live our daily lives.  The three main areas involve divorce with children, divorce without children, and parenting time or custody matters. Divorce Without Children If you want to be granted a div...

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Custody and Parenting Time in Michigan During COVID-19

On March 23, 2020, in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Michigan Governor Whitmer issued Executive Order 2020-21 which was a “Stay Home-Stay Safe” order requiring Michigan residents to shelter in place and restrict travel.  The Order was scheduled to expire on April 12, 2020, however, the Order may be extended and Governor Whitmer indicated on April 6, 2020 that an announcement may be coming shortly. 

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Divorcing in Michigan Now Requires Full Financial Disclosures

Divorces can be expensive, especially when one spouse has to conduct extensive discovery, or in other words, send the other spouse numerous requests for information about their income and assets. While some spouses openly share this type of information, some don’t, and the lack of sharing information can be one of the leading causes of higher attorney fees.

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Can I Disinherit My Spouse by Leaving the Spouse Out of My Will?

Our clients raise this question for various reasons. They could be inquiring because they are not getting along and don’t want their spouse to receive anything from their estate when they pass away. It could be that the parties have a pre-nuptial agreement or a financial plan in place that the client wants to make certain is not subject to change by the spouse after the client dies.

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Does Remarriage Automatically Terminate Spousal Support?

One of the most frequent questions our divorce clients ask is: “Does spousal support automatically ends if the person receiving support remarries?” The law states that unless you agree to other terms in your divorce judgment, a remarriage is considered a change in circumstances. The court may terminate spousal support if the person receiving support remarries.

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The Wedding’s Off—Now Who Keeps the Engagement Ring?

You are engaged to be married, and have either bought or received a beautiful (expensive) engagement ring. Unfortunately, something happens to destroy the pre-wedding bliss and the wedding is called off for good. If the marriage never happens, who gets the engagement ring? The courts in Michigan have answered unequivocally: the person who gave the ring in anticipation of the marriage.

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No Common Law Marriage in Michigan

Common law marriage is the term for a “marriage” that exists solely by agreement and by cohabitation. More simply, a common-law marriage exists when two people agree to live together to be “married.” Common-law marriage is one of the fundamental rights that has existed in this country since the first settlers. In 1838, Michigan passed a law that stated that “marriages may be solemnized by any justice of the peace in the county in which he is chosen, and they may be solemnized throughout the state by any minister of the gospel who has been ordained.”

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Spousal Support (Alimony) is Based Upon More than Just a Difference in Income

A common misperception of people going through a divorce in Michigan is that spousal support (formerly called alimony) is based solely or mostly upon a difference in income between the spouses. While it is true that the court considers income when deciding if spousal support should be awarded—income is just 1 of 14 factors that the courts review.

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Divorcing? Don’t Forget the Dog

We often think that custody battles involve just children. However, pets are often cherished members of the family, and how divorcing couples share time with their pets is often of primary focus and concern. It is not uncommon to hear the following: “My dog is my baby.” Despite the close loving relationship we have with our family pets, they are considered personal property in Michigan—which means that a divorcing couple must come to an agreement on who is going to take the pets.

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How Child Support is Calculated in Michigan

It seems like one of the biggest mysteries with family law clients is how child support is actually calculated. It is a common misperception that child support is based just on the income of both parents. While income is a factor, it is not the only consideration when child support is calculated.

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Is Annulment an Option?

In the state of Michigan, you can end your marriage by filing for one of three things: divorce, separate maintenance (legal separation), or annulment. An annulment is only granted if the marriage itself was void from the beginning or the marriage is voidable. A void marriage in Michigan is a marriage that could not have taken place legally from the beginning. What this means is that there was consanguinity, affinity, bigamy, minority, incapacity or incompetency.

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Legal Separation v. Divorce

One common question that is often asked is whether or not Michigan has what is called a “legal separation,” allowing a married couple to legally separate, but still remain married. The simple answer is yes, but the procedure is not so simple. Michigan has a legal action entitled “Separate Maintenance.” An action for “Separate Maintenance” is filed with the court just as a Divorce action is filed.

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Making College Expenses a Priority after Divorce

According to a recent study, divorced parents contribute a significant amount less toward college for their children than parents that remain married. The study was discussed in a Washington Post article, and revealed that divorced parents spend nearly 1/3 less on college expenses than married parents. Obviously this is a huge difference and disadvantage to children of divorce. What can you do as a divorced parent to ensure that college expenses remain a priority?

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Pre-Nuptial Agreements Provide Protection for More than just a Business

Forbes previously published an article titled “Protecting Your Business In a Divorce: Pre-Nuptial Agreement.” It is an excellent article, but it is also a reminder that prenuptial agreements are useful for more than just protecting a business. Prenuptial agreements are agreements made between couples who are planning on getting married. The agreements will specify what happens with their money and property if they divorce or pass away.

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Should You Change Your Name After a Divorce?

A small but important question is always asked of the wife during divorce proceedings: Do you want to keep your married name, or go back to your maiden name? If the attorney fails to ask the wife this question, the Judge may ask the question at the final hearing. Some women have a difficult time making this decision—especially if they have children from their marriage.

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Labor & Employment +

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Forfeiture of Unemployment Insurance Benefits

The right to receive unemployment insurance benefits after an employment relationship ends depends solely on why the relationship ended. Employers and employees commonly believe that because the employee is jobless he/she is entitled by law to receive unemployment benefits from the State. However, in many situations, that’s not true.

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What You Can (Can’t) Do About a Harassing Boss!

One of the most common types of inquiries I receive is from people who claim they’re victims of workplace harassment instigated by a boss, supervisor or co-worker. Their most common question is if they can put an end to the harassment and recover money damages from the harasser. Unfortunately, the situations that afford a harassed employee a right to threaten or take legal action against a ...

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Litigation +

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What to Consider when Choosing a Lawyer

By: Natalie Lennon Choosing the right lawyer for your situation and needs is extremely important. You may be asking yourself, “What kinds of things should I consider?” Whether you’re looking for help dealing with a legal issue, estate planning, going through a divorce or starting a business, here are some key factors to consider when selecting a lawyer: Location - One of the fir...

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The Waiting is Almost the Hardest Part

Whenever someone is looking for representation on a lawsuit, whether it’s because they are considering suing someone, or they have been sued, inevitably they get to the question “So how long will this all take?”

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The Importance of Pre-Suit Preparation - Revisions to Michigan’s Discovery Rules

Starting January 1, 2020, litigants in civil cases in Michigan’s state courts will face significant changes in how cases are handled. The Michigan Supreme Court recently adopted changes to the Rules of Civil Procedure that will completely overhaul the discovery process in Michigan to bring it closer to the procedures in federal court. If you’re not familiar with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure the changes could be overwhelming, but for many litigants the changes will be welcome.

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You Have (Probably) Not Been Defamed

One of the most common type of calls we receive comes from people who believe they’ve been defamed. Almost without exception we have to turn them away, informing them that, unfortunately, even if someone said something hurtful, it’s not defamatory. This may leave clients confused, wondering why that’s the case. Going back to the roots of the United States, the protections afford...

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What to Consider Before Filing a Lawsuit

We have two separate court systems in Michigan, a state court system and a federal court system. For disputes involving amounts of $5,000 or less, you can sue in state small claims court, which is usually available in each city (at the local district court) and does not require an attorney. In fact, you cannot have an attorney in small claims court. If your dispute involves amounts over $5,000 bu...

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Proof of Motivation Is Now Unnecessary in Michigan Whistleblower Cases

Under the Michigan Whistleblower’s Protection Act (“WPA”), an employer is subject to civil liability and penalties for discharging, threatening or otherwise discriminating against an employee because the employee reports or is about to report, a violation or suspected violation of a law, regulation or rule to a public body, unless the employee knows that the report is false, or ...

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Insurance! It’s Not Just For Cars

When named as a defendant in a lawsuit, the natural instinct of most people is to panic or despair. Faced with the possibility of having a judgment entered against them and the equally daunting prospect of dealing with the legal system and having to pay for an attorney even if they win, most people understandably worry about what will happen to them, their family, and their overall well-being. Ev...

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What to Do If You Get Sued

Few things can raise your anxiety levels faster or farther than being sued. The uncertainty of what will happen, the cost of hiring a lawyer, the apprehension of what happens if you lose, and the general unfamiliarity most people have with the legal system can intimidate many people. Because of this intimidation, it is important to know what steps you need to take to protect yourself.

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Municipal +

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Possession Of A Gun On Municipal Property

The Michigan Supreme Court has ruled that a local school district may adopt a policy that prohibits the possession of a firearm on school property . The outcome of the case was in doubt considering prior appellate court rulings that a municipality may not establish gun-free zones on municipal property .  The basis for earlier rulings that address possession of a gun on public property is thr...

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Nudes, Dudes, and Zoning Disputes

Anyone who has participated in a local zoning controversy—whether as a property owner desiring to alter the use of a parcel, a nearby property owner displeased with the proposed change, or a governmental agency (council, planning commission, zoning board of appeals) required to resolve the issue—knows full well that these matters can arouse strong emotions.

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Open Meetings Act – Can Emails Between a Quorum of a Public Body Violate the OMA?

In a case of first impression, the Michigan Court of Appeals found that a series of e-mails exchanged between four members of a seven member township parks and recreation commission constituted a violation of the Open Meetings Act (“OMA”). Markel v. Mackley, 11/1/16, 2016 Mich App LEXIS 2004. The OMA requires that all meetings of a public body be open to the public.

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Personal Injury +

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Open and Obvious Defense in Personal Injury Cases

Business owners owe a reasonable duty of care to protect customers from unreasonable risks of harm caused by hazardous conditions on a business premises. If the operator of a business fails to comply with this duty and a hazardous condition causes a customer to suffer an injury, that customer may have a personal injury claim against the premises owner. However, it can be very difficult to succeed...

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Probate +

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Real Estate +

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What You Should Do if You’re the Victim of a Fraudulent Deed Scam in Michigan

In recent news, a nefarious company attempted to foreclose on Elvis Presley's former Graceland home in Memphis, Tennessee. The fraudulent investment and private lending company claimed that Lisa Marie Presley, Elvis’s only daughter, used Graceland as collateral to borrow money and failed to repay the loan. The fraudulent company forged her signature on legal documents, and eventually cl...

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What You Need to Know About Mortgage Foreclosure Sales

This is a non-judicial action to sell a property through an auction facilitated by a county Sheriff’s department. This type of action is commenced by a Mortgage company or lender (Mortgagee) when a property owner or borrower (Mortgagor) falls behind in their mortgage payments, does not make any other payment arrangements, and does not wish to keep the property and eventually, the account go...

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Facing Eviction? The State of Michigan Provides Rental Assistance Program

For over a year, the federal and state government, along with governments in many states, put in place moratoriums on evictions to help blunt the impact of the Covid pandemic. These moratoriums, along with aid to renters and other Covid assistance, helped prevent a repeat of the mass of foreclosures and evictions that marked the Great Recession.

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PSED Wins Major Property Law Dispute in Pittsfield Township

In May, PSED obtained a significant favorable ruling from Judge Kuhnke of the Washtenaw County Circuit Court on behalf of a real estate developer in a complicated dispute with a condominium association.  During the housing market crash in 2008, the prior developer was not able to complete all the phases of a condominium complex and 210 unconstructed condominium units went into tax foreclosur...

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Oil & Gas Leases in Michigan

Many oil and gas producers have their land surveyors out looking for properties to seismically survey in Michigan now that hydraulic fracturing, otherwise known as “fracking,” has become a profitable way to extract natural gas and petroleum products from the ground.  Fracking is a process whereby hundreds of thousands of gallons, and sometimes millions of gallons, of water are in...

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Common Landlord-Tenant Disputes Part 1: The Security Deposit

As attorneys who frequently handle disputes arising out of residential leases, the following are the three topics we are asked about most frequently by landlords and tenants: Security deposit issues; Late fees; Repairs that the landlord must make. Each of these issues will be covered in two separate blog posts, starting with the security deposit. The Landlord and Tenant Relationships Act governs ...

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Common Landlord-Tenant Disputes Part 2: Late Fees & Repairs

This blog post is the second of two parts that address the three of the topics that clients most frequently seek advice on in the residential landlord/tenant realm. Part 1 addressed what is commonly referred to as the Security Deposit Statute, and can be accessed here. This post will address the following: (1) late fees that a landlord can lawfully charge a residential tenant; and, (2) when a lan...

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Trademarks +

Read more about Trademarks

Protect Your Hard Work with a Trademark

Sometimes it takes a lot of time and resources to develop a unique and successful advertising scheme. Whether your business is best known for its name, logo, or catchy phrase, a business should safeguard its hard work and intellectual property. Any individual or business can file an application with the United State Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) to register its trademark and s...

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Selecting and Registering a Trademark

Any business, whether emerging or established and looking to expand, should consider one or more trademarks to help consumers identify the source of certain goods or services.   Regardless of any formal registration, trademark rights are created through their use in commerce.  Therefore, it is possible for different entities to obtain trademark rights in the same trademark for diff...

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Social Media and Trademarks: Understanding Your Rights in a Digital Age

The popularity of various social media applications, such as Facebook and Twitter, has grown at a rate that far exceeds the ability of courts and the legislature to keep up with regulations and their interpretation.  A user on any one of these applications is able to post a comment, a picture, a link or logo within seconds of its creation, becoming a potential advertiser for their own compan...

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Soybeans and the U.S. Supreme Court

On Tuesday, February 19, 2013, the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case of Bowman v. Monsanto, a very important case for U.S. patent law and just about every research and development institution in the country. The case centers on Monsanto’s patented soybeans that have been genetically modified to be resistant to glyphosate, an herbicide.  According to the state...

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