Varnum LLP

Excise Tax Kicks In Jan. 1 On Certain Medical Devices

Beginning January 1, 2013, manufacturers and importers of certain medical devices will be required by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to pay a new 2.3 percent medical device excise tax on the sales of taxable medical…more

Excise Tax, FDA, IRS, Manufacturers, Medical Devices

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Federal Judge Rules BCBSM’s “Value of Blue” Report Did Not Disclose Hidden Fees

A federal judge in the case of Alma Products v. BCBSM recently agreed with arguments presented by Varnum that Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan's "Value of Blue" report did not reveal that it was charging hidden fees (often…more

Blue Cross, Health Insurance, Hidden Fees, Self-Funded Health Plans

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2017 Cost of Living Adjustments

The Internal Revenue Service has announced the 2017 cost of living adjustments to various limits. The adjusted amounts generally apply for plan years beginning in 2017. Some of the adjusted amounts, however, apply to calendar…more

401k, Compensation & Benefits, Contribution Limits, Cost-of-Living, Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA)

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It’s Official: SEC Publishes Final Rules for Investment Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding started as a way for music fans to get together and fund a tour for their favorite band, and quickly spread as a way to support an innovative business, develop an interesting project, or support a particularly…more

Crowdfunding, Funding Portal, JOBS Act, Offerings, Popular

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Michigan Legislation In 2012

Congress was not the only busy legislative body in December. Our state legislature also passed, and the Governor signed, several important bills which affect estate planning for Michigan residents. We found the following to be…more

529 Plans, Estate Planning, Estate Tax, Irrevocable Trusts, Power of Attorney

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Texas Court Permanently Strikes Down Persuader Rule

Good news for employers. On November 16, 2016, a Texas federal judge permanently enjoined the Department of Labor's ("DOL") proposed Persuader Rule. The federal court's decision to permanently block the rule ensures that…more

Attorney-Client Privilege, Collective Bargaining, Disclosure Requirements, DOL, Final Rules

See All Updates »

It’s Official: SEC Publishes Final Rules for Investment Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding started as a way for music fans to get together and fund a tour for their favorite band, and quickly spread as a way to support an innovative business, develop an interesting project, or support a particularly…more

Crowdfunding, Funding Portal, JOBS Act, Offerings, Popular

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Michigan’s BYOB Wine Legislation Now In Effect

After considerable anticipation, House Bill 5046, one of three pieces of legislation regulating Michigan liquor licensees that was approved in late 2013, is scheduled to take effect the week of March 10, 2014…more

Hotels, Resorts & Restaurants, Restaurant Industry, Wine & Alcohol

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2017 Cost of Living Adjustments

The Internal Revenue Service has announced the 2017 cost of living adjustments to various limits. The adjusted amounts generally apply for plan years beginning in 2017. Some of the adjusted amounts, however, apply to calendar…more

401k, Compensation & Benefits, Contribution Limits, Cost-of-Living, Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA)

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Is the Safe Harbor of 11 U.S.C. § 546(e) Bigger Than You Thought?

The Bankruptcy Court in the Eastern District of Michigan recently issued an opinion and granted summary judgment for the defendants in Buchwald Capital Advisors vs. Papas, et. al., Adversary Proceeding No. 10-05712 (In re…more

Bankruptcy Court, Chapter 11, Commercial Bankruptcy, Fraudulent Transfers, Redemption Agreement

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You Sold Your Startup (and Maybe Your Soul): How to Leave Your Company

A few years ago, a client sold his small startup company to a competitor. In return, the acquiring company gave him some cash, stock options, and an executive-level job. After faithfully serving his new corporate overlord for a…more

Entrepreneurs, Non-Compete Agreements, Popular, Pre-Employment Agreements, Selling a Business

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Urgent Message on Union Persuader Rules

In anticipation of the July 1, 2016 effective date of the new "persuader rules" from the U.S. Department of Labor, Varnum has prepared an agreement that would allow existing clients to avoid the new reporting requirements on…more

Collective Bargaining, Consultants, DOL, Final Rules, LMRDA

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Will New Technology, Legislation Help Drones and Airplanes Share the Sky?

On March 18, 2016, a Lufthansa Airbus A380 experienced a near miss with an unmanned aerial system (UAS or drone) while approaching LAX, 14 miles east of the airport at an elevation of 5,000 feet. The drone flew 200 feet over the…more

Aircraft, Airspace, Drones, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Registration Requirement

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Excise Tax Kicks In Jan. 1 On Certain Medical Devices

Beginning January 1, 2013, manufacturers and importers of certain medical devices will be required by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to pay a new 2.3 percent medical device excise tax on the sales of taxable medical…more

Excise Tax, FDA, IRS, Manufacturers, Medical Devices

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Restrictive Wind Zoning Struck Down By Court

A wind energy development company, Forest Hill Energy, recently won an order striking down alleged police power ordinances attempting to regulate the construction and operation of wind turbines in Clinton County, where the…more

Clean Energy, Local Ordinance, Power Plants, Renewable Energy, Wind Power

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New Regulations Expected this Fall May Limit Valuation Discounts in Certain Asset Transfers

For high-net worth individuals – particularly those whose assets include closely-held business interests or family investment entities – anticipated changes in the valuation of those assets for estate and gift tax purposes…more

Asset Valuations, Closely Held Businesses, Estate Tax, Family Businesses, Gift Tax

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Watt’s New? Michigan Energy Newsletter - December 2013

In This Issue: - Challenge to Coal Plant's Modified Air Permit Fails - Electric Reliability Project to Include Focus on Outages - Michigan Shorts - Consumers Energy May Terminate Case for New Gas Plant -…more

Air Pollution, Certificate of Need, Coal, Permits, Power Grid

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New DHS Rule Gives Employers, Employees Flexibility in the Face of Immigrant Visa Backlogs

The Department of Homeland Security published a final rule on November 18, 2016, relating to certain employment-based visa programs. The new regulations will go into effect on January 17, 2017. The rule focuses on job…more

DHS, E-1, E-2, E-3, Employment Authorization Documents (EAD)

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Growing Michigan - Fourth Quarter 2014

In This Issue: - GAPPs Improve Michigan Food Processing - 30 Projects Announced to Support Michigan Specialty Crop Growers - Proposed Privacy Fences Around Michigan Apiaries - Great Lakes Ag-Tech…more

Economic Development, Entrepreneurs, Farms, Food Manufacturers, Immigration Reform

See All Updates »

2017 Cost of Living Adjustments

The Internal Revenue Service has announced the 2017 cost of living adjustments to various limits. The adjusted amounts generally apply for plan years beginning in 2017. Some of the adjusted amounts, however, apply to calendar…more

401k, Compensation & Benefits, Contribution Limits, Cost-of-Living, Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA)

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Kid on the Hot Seat: Child Witnesses in Divorce

Recently, I have been part of more discussions than usual about the propriety of having a minor child testify as a witness in a custody dispute or divorce matter…more

Child Custody, Divorce

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Battery Currents: Advanced Energy Storage - April 4, 2013

In This Issue: - Chinese Auto Parts Maker Buys A123 Systems - Return of ARRA Funds - Tax Incentives Extended for Battery Maker - Ford Increases Electric Vehicle Dealers and Pushes Sales - Michigan Lithium-Ion…more

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Tenants Escape Liability for Fire Damage

The Michigan Court of Appeals recently found that a landlord could not pursue tenants for fire damage caused by the tenants.  In Gauthier v. Elkins, unpublished opinion* of the Court of Appeals, issued November 13, 2014 (Docket…more

Fire Damage, Landlords, Tenants

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NLRB Allows Employee Use of Employer Email System for Union Business

The National Labor Relations Board ("Board") has ruled that employees who have been provided access by their employer to an employer-owned email system are presumptively entitled to use that email system to engage in Section 7…more

Email, NLRB, Protected Concerted Activity, Purple Communications, Unions

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Texas Court Permanently Strikes Down Persuader Rule

Good news for employers. On November 16, 2016, a Texas federal judge permanently enjoined the Department of Labor's ("DOL") proposed Persuader Rule. The federal court's decision to permanently block the rule ensures that…more

Attorney-Client Privilege, Collective Bargaining, Disclosure Requirements, DOL, Final Rules

See All Updates »

2017 Cost of Living Adjustments

The Internal Revenue Service has announced the 2017 cost of living adjustments to various limits. The adjusted amounts generally apply for plan years beginning in 2017. Some of the adjusted amounts, however, apply to calendar…more

401k, Compensation & Benefits, Contribution Limits, Cost-of-Living, Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA)

See All Updates »

Michigan ATMs Hit With Class Action Lawsuits Alleging Non-Compliance With ADA Requirements

The first ATM accessibility class-action lawsuits under the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") were filed in federal district court in Michigan earlier this month. The class-action lawsuits request a permanent injunction…more

ADA, ATMs, Class Action

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Valuation Discounts to Family-Controlled Entities in Peril Under Proposed IRS Regulations

On August 4, the Internal Revenue Service finally issued much anticipated proposed regulations under Section 2704 of the Internal Revenue Code, which regulations are intended to significantly limit taxpayers' ability to apply…more

Business Succession, Business Valuations, Closely Held Businesses, Comment Period, Estate Planning

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This Land Is Your Land - I Better Keep Off

Contrary to Woody Guthrie's catchy tune, there are many good reasons to keep your property "private" and free from uninvited guests: the potential for property damage, theft, and liability for injuries to name a…more

Agricultural Land, Nuisance, Private Property, Property Owners, Trespass

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Ready for Investment? What to Expect in a Typical Preferred Stock Term Sheet

If your company is ready for investment, congratulations! You've reached a milestone. Now you must ensure that both you and your investors have a documented understanding of the terms under which they will make a financial…more

Equity Financing, Preferred Shares, Startups, Term Sheets, Venture Funding

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Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) Now in Effect

The purpose of this Client Advisory is to address the risks associated with sending commercial electronic messages without complying with the provisions of the Canada Anti-Spam Legislation of 2014 (the "CASL"), which was passed…more

Canada, CASL, Commercial Electronic Messages

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Excise Tax Kicks In Jan. 1 On Certain Medical Devices

Beginning January 1, 2013, manufacturers and importers of certain medical devices will be required by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to pay a new 2.3 percent medical device excise tax on the sales of taxable medical…more

Excise Tax, FDA, IRS, Manufacturers, Medical Devices

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Growing Michigan - Fourth Quarter 2014

In This Issue: - GAPPs Improve Michigan Food Processing - 30 Projects Announced to Support Michigan Specialty Crop Growers - Proposed Privacy Fences Around Michigan Apiaries - Great Lakes Ag-Tech…more

Economic Development, Entrepreneurs, Farms, Food Manufacturers, Immigration Reform

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Cafeteria Plans: IRS Provides New Opportunities For Some Plans

The IRS recently issued guidance providing limited relief to the “use it or lose it” rule. Under the new guidance, employers may amend their cafeteria plan to permit participants to carryover up to $500 of unused contributions…more

Cafeteria Plans, Health Insurance Exchanges, Healthcare, HSA, IRS

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Urgent Message on Union Persuader Rules

In anticipation of the July 1, 2016 effective date of the new "persuader rules" from the U.S. Department of Labor, Varnum has prepared an agreement that would allow existing clients to avoid the new reporting requirements on…more

Collective Bargaining, Consultants, DOL, Final Rules, LMRDA

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Self-Tracking Solar Panels Eliminate Costly Alignment Systems

One of the technologies showcased at ARPA-E again this year was from Glint Technology. I first spoke with this company last year, and now understand that they think their technology will be "ready for prime time" in one more…more

Emerging Technology Companies, Energy Sector, Renewable Energy, Solar Panels, Technology

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Don’t Jeopardize Your Patent Rights: Best Patent Practices for Startups

For young, startup companies, the landscape of patents can be difficult to navigate. Patents are expensive and complex and require substantial time and money that are often at a premium for startup companies. At the same time,…more

Business Assets, Entrepreneurs, Patents, Startups

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Big Changes Coming to Michigan’s Garnishment Laws

On October 1, 2015, thanks to recent changes in the law, there will be several big changes to Michigan's periodic garnishment process. Some changes will benefit creditors who are owed money, some will benefit debtors, and some…more

Creditors, Debt, Debt Collection, Garnishment

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No Prescriptive Rights Arise from Misuse of Dedicated Area

In 2012 the Michigan Legislature passed PA 56 in an attempt to stop the misappropriation of public road ends by private individuals. Though PA 56 carries criminal penalties, a recent Court of Appeals decision reflects that…more

Appropriation, Inland Waterways, Prescriptive Easements, Private Property, Real Estate Market

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School Districts and Drones: The Door Remains Open for Regulation Efforts

Unmanned Aircraft Systems ("UAS"), otherwise known as drones, are everywhere. Literally. And their recreational use is likely to become even more prevalent given the hundreds of thousands of UAS's that were projected to be…more

Airspace, Drones, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Preemption, School Districts

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Michigan Supreme Court’s Decision Order in IBM Must be Followed

Background Under Michigan's Business Tax Act ("MBT Act"), generally effective from 2008-2011, income was apportioned using a single sales factor. During the same time period, Michigan law included the Multistate Tax Compact,…more

Appeals, Apportionment, Corporate Taxes, IBM, MI Supreme Court

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Protective Order Issued in Suit to Stop EPA from Releasing Farmers’ Information

A federal district court in Minnesota recently issued a protective order prohibiting the EPA from releasing information about animal feeding operations—including farmers' names, home addresses, telephone numbers and email…more

EPA, FOIA, Protective Orders, Public Disclosure

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Hidden Threats to Your Supply Chain

In 1997, during a period of peak demand, a factory fire at Aisin Seiki Co., one of Toyota's key suppliers, shut down production of P-valves, a small but vital component in Toyota's braking systems. Toyota, champion of…more

Auto Manufacturers, Automotive Industry, Business Ownership, Distributors, Family Businesses

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New ICWA Regulations Issued

On June 8, 2016, the U.S. Department of the Interior issued new final regulations governing state court and agency child custody proceeds involving Indian children. The new regulations were formulated to ensure uniform…more

Child Custody, Department of the Interior, Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (ICWA), Native American Issues, New Regulations

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2017 Cost of Living Adjustments

The Internal Revenue Service has announced the 2017 cost of living adjustments to various limits. The adjusted amounts generally apply for plan years beginning in 2017. Some of the adjusted amounts, however, apply to calendar…more

401k, Compensation & Benefits, Contribution Limits, Cost-of-Living, Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA)

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NLRB Changes the Rules for Union Organizing Yet Again

On June 11, the National Labor Relations Board ("the Board") again changed the standard for determining bargaining units that combine temporary and permanent work-site employees at a single facility. In Miller & Anderson, Inc.,…more

Bargaining Units, Community of Interest, Employee Rights, Manufacturers, NLRB

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Top Issues Facing Automotive Joint Ventures

Joint ventures can help automotive companies expand their businesses. Sometimes forming a JV is the only way for a company to enter a foreign market. Although JVs can take multiple shapes, they generally involve pooling…more

Automotive Industry, Business Development, Corporate Dissolution, Corporate Governance, Exit Strategies

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Same-Sex Couples Should Take Exception With The Missing Exemption

In the wake of the recent determination of the unconstitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, the mind of a tax attorney begins to wonder about the practical income tax implications for same-sex couples…more

DOMA, Exemptions, Income Taxes, IRS, Marriage

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Potential Refund Opportunity: Recent Michigan Business Tax Ruling Clarifies the Meaning of ‘Indirect’ Ownership

The Michigan Court of Appeals has held that Treasury cannot use the constructive ownership rules of IRC § 318 to determine whether a group of entities meets the threshold for mandatory combined reporting under the Business…more

Business Ownership, Business Privilege Tax, Business Taxes, Internal Revenue Code (IRC), IRS

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Urgent Message on Union Persuader Rules

In anticipation of the July 1, 2016 effective date of the new "persuader rules" from the U.S. Department of Labor, Varnum has prepared an agreement that would allow existing clients to avoid the new reporting requirements on…more

Collective Bargaining, Consultants, DOL, Final Rules, LMRDA

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Fundraising By Private Companies: SEC Lifts Ban On General Solicitation

Effective September 23, 2013, the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") lifted the ban on general solicitation and advertising in connection with certain fundraising activities. This rule change was required by the…more

Advertising, Crowdfunding, Dodd-Frank, Funding, Fundraisers

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Growing Michigan - Second Quarter 2013

In This Issue: - Monsanto Wins Supreme Court Patent Case Concerning Roundup Ready Soy Beans - Farm Bill Moves Forward But Remains in Doubt - Bridge to Prosperity: New Bridge Between U.S. and Canada Approved -…more

Affordable Care Act, Bowman v Monsanto, Bridges, Canada, Farm Bill

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Prenuptial Agreement Considerations for Same-Sex Couples

Nearly everyone who is engaged to be married contemplates a prenuptial agreement at some point, even if only to acknowledge the possibility briefly and conclude that they are not a good candidate. Most young couples…more

Divorce, Prenuptial Agreements, Same-Sex Marriage, Spousal Support

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How to Mess up Buying or Selling Your Company

Buying or selling a company is exciting. Maybe you are growing your business by acquiring a competitor. Maybe you are selling a company in which you invested your life savings and decades of effort. This may be the most…more

Purchase Agreement, Selling a Business

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Leaving a Tart Taste in One Processor’s Mouth: Court Dismisses Claims of a Plaintiff Subject to the Tart Cherry Order

Agricultural law can often be complicated, but it is not always this "tart." Burnette Foods, a tart cherry processor in Michigan, has found itself in an ironic position: it is subject to a law that was enacted with significant…more

Administrative Appeals, Agricultural Sector, ALJ, Farms, Federal Rule 12(b)(6)

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Watt’s New? Michigan Energy Newsletter - December 2013

In This Issue: - Challenge to Coal Plant's Modified Air Permit Fails - Electric Reliability Project to Include Focus on Outages - Michigan Shorts - Consumers Energy May Terminate Case for New Gas Plant -…more

Air Pollution, Certificate of Need, Coal, Permits, Power Grid

See All Updates »

Urgent Message on Union Persuader Rules

In anticipation of the July 1, 2016 effective date of the new "persuader rules" from the U.S. Department of Labor, Varnum has prepared an agreement that would allow existing clients to avoid the new reporting requirements on…more

Collective Bargaining, Consultants, DOL, Final Rules, LMRDA

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IP Part 3: Enforcing Your Intellectual Property

"We are certainly flattered by your affection for the brand" - Christy Susman made news for her surprisingly kind words to Patrick Wensink, author of Broken Piano for President, in a cease-and-desist letter after…more

Automotive Industry, Cease and Desist, Infringement, Intellectual Property Protection, Patent Infringement

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District Court Dismisses Country of Origin Labeling Lawsuit

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has dismissed the lawsuit filed by meatpackers and trade groups against the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This lawsuit challenged the constitutionality of a meat labeling…more

Country of Origin, Dismissals, Food Labeling, Food Manufacturers, USDA

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Section 83(b) - Paying a Little Now Might Save You a Lot Later

Great news!  You have been granted stock in a company. Bad news: that means you are going to owe taxes. If you were granted restricted stock in a company you will want to (quickly) think about filing a Section 83(b) election…more

Capital Gains, IRC Section 83(b), Restricted Stocks, Stocks, Tax Planning

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Watt’s New? Michigan Energy Newsletter - December 2013

In This Issue: - Challenge to Coal Plant's Modified Air Permit Fails - Electric Reliability Project to Include Focus on Outages - Michigan Shorts - Consumers Energy May Terminate Case for New Gas Plant -…more

Air Pollution, Certificate of Need, Coal, Permits, Power Grid

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What Exactly Is The “Law Of The Case” Doctrine?

It's a phrase that we lawyers use all of the time, often without a second thought: the "law of the case." But Magistrate Judge Joseph G. Scoville had occasion to explain the correct usage of this doctrine in Stryker Corporation…more

Federal Rules of Civil Procedure

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Vesting 101 – Whaddya Mean I Don’t Own My Stock?

Vesting is an extremely important concept that arises (or should) among the founders when a company is formed, when equity incentives are granted and when outside investors invest. Although some founders view vesting as yet…more

Capital Gains, Equity Plans, Filing Requirements, Investment, Investors

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IRS Continues Pursuit of Undisclosed and Unreported Financial Accounts - Important New Developments

On Wednesday, the IRS announced substantial expansions of the 2012 Streamlined Filing Compliance Procedures and the 2012 Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP). The IRS first designed the 2012 Streamlined Filing…more

Compliance, IRS, Offshore Funds, OVDP, Tax Evasion

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Could You Please Be Less Specific?: How Specificity in Advertising Could Result in a “Written Warranty”

Passed in 1975, the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act ("MMWA") requires, among other things, manufacturers and sellers of consumer products to provide consumers with detailed warranty coverage information. Often, original equipment…more

Advertising, Automotive Industry, Magnuson-Moss Act, Manufacturers, OEM

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Not All Investors Are Created Equal In The Eyes of the SEC: Why You Should Consider Only Accredited Investors in Your Startup

It is exciting to have people willing to invest money into your company. But before you sell any equity to friends, family or others, consider whether they are "accredited investors."…more

Accredited Investors, Entrepreneurs, Investors, SEC, Startups

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Urgent Message on Union Persuader Rules

In anticipation of the July 1, 2016 effective date of the new "persuader rules" from the U.S. Department of Labor, Varnum has prepared an agreement that would allow existing clients to avoid the new reporting requirements on…more

Collective Bargaining, Consultants, DOL, Final Rules, LMRDA

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Employers Have An Additional Year To Comply With Key Provision Of The Affordable Care Act

A key provision of the Affordable Care Act has been delayed: The U.S. Department of Treasury announced on Tuesday that employers will have an additional year (until 2015) to comply with the requirement to provide health coverage…more

Affordable Care Act, Delays, Employer Mandates, Pay or Play, Shared Responsibility Rule

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DTSA Expands Federal Protections for Confidential Business Information, Imposes New Notice Requirements on Employers

On May 11, 2016, President Obama signed the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 ("DTSA"), significantly expanding the federal government's role in protecting confidential business information, and imposing new notice requirements…more

Asset Seizure, Confidential Information, Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA), Economic Espionage Act, Ex Parte

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2015 COLAs for Employee Benefit Plans

The Internal Revenue Service has announced the 2015 cost of living adjustments to various limits on employee benefit plans. The adjusted amounts generally apply for plan years beginning in 2015. Some of the adjusted amounts,…more

COLA, Cost-of-Living, Employee Benefits, IRS

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Sixth Circuit Affirms That Michigan’s Panhandling Statute Is Unconstitutional

Since nearly the beginning of the Herbert Hoover administration in 1929, a Michigan law has made it a criminal misdemeanor for any person "found begging in a public place." MCL 750.167(1)(h). Enforcing this law, the Grand Rapids…more

Homeless Discrimination, Homeless Issues, Misdemeanors

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IRS Continues Pursuit of Undisclosed and Unreported Financial Accounts - Important New Developments

On Wednesday, the IRS announced substantial expansions of the 2012 Streamlined Filing Compliance Procedures and the 2012 Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP). The IRS first designed the 2012 Streamlined Filing…more

Compliance, IRS, Offshore Funds, OVDP, Tax Evasion

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Urgent Message on Union Persuader Rules

In anticipation of the July 1, 2016 effective date of the new "persuader rules" from the U.S. Department of Labor, Varnum has prepared an agreement that would allow existing clients to avoid the new reporting requirements on…more

Collective Bargaining, Consultants, DOL, Final Rules, LMRDA

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As Panama Papers Illustrates, IRS Discovery of Undisclosed Assets Just a Matter of Time

As the recent leak of the "Panama Papers" reminded the world, some secrets don't keep well, particularly those related to undisclosed foreign assets. And once a person's identity is disclosed as a holder of undisclosed foreign…more

Criminal Investigations, FBAR, Foreign Financial Assets, IRS, OVDP

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Watt’s New? Michigan Energy Newsletter - December 2013

In This Issue: - Challenge to Coal Plant's Modified Air Permit Fails - Electric Reliability Project to Include Focus on Outages - Michigan Shorts - Consumers Energy May Terminate Case for New Gas Plant -…more

Air Pollution, Certificate of Need, Coal, Permits, Power Grid

See All Updates »

Best Practices for Tribes When Faced with Union Organizing Activity

Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a case involving a dispute between the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The U.S. Supreme Court's decision effectively leaves…more

Casinos, Indian Gaming, Native American Issues, NLRA, NLRB

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Potential Refund Opportunity: Recent Michigan Business Tax Ruling Clarifies the Meaning of ‘Indirect’ Ownership

The Michigan Court of Appeals has held that Treasury cannot use the constructive ownership rules of IRC § 318 to determine whether a group of entities meets the threshold for mandatory combined reporting under the Business…more

Business Ownership, Business Privilege Tax, Business Taxes, Internal Revenue Code (IRC), IRS

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We Have a Sheriff’s Deed, But Who Pays Association Assessments?

The Michigan Court of Appeals recently held that a purchaser pursuant to a sheriff's sale was responsible for condominium association fees due from and after the date of the sale. In Wells Fargo Bank v Country Place Condominium…more

Appeals, Condominium Associations, Condominiums, Delinquent Assessment Dues, Foreclosure

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How Do I Sell My Cell Lease?

Selling a cell lease and future leasing rights for the site in question usually involves three steps. First, deciding whether you want to sell. Often the first question to ask is whether you can take the money from a sale,…more

Cell Phones, Cell Towers, Leases, Telecommunications, Wireless Industry

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2017 Cost of Living Adjustments

The Internal Revenue Service has announced the 2017 cost of living adjustments to various limits. The adjusted amounts generally apply for plan years beginning in 2017. Some of the adjusted amounts, however, apply to calendar…more

401k, Compensation & Benefits, Contribution Limits, Cost-of-Living, Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA)

See All Updates »

Grower Security and Payment Protection Legislation Awaits Senate Approval

On May 5, the Senate Commerce Committee approved Senate Bills 899 and 900. The legislation would strengthen Michigan's Grain Dealer's Act and Farm Produce Insurance Act should a licensed grain dealer end up insolvent or…more

Agricultural Land, Claim Procedures, Farmers Insurance, Farms, Filing Requirements

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Watt’s New? Michigan Energy Newsletter - March 2013

In This Issue: - Highlights of MPSC Annual Report - Good Neighbor Fund Payments Made - Coal Plants Sued for Pollution Exceedances - Pure Michigan Solar Panel - New Grant for Efforts to Remove Barriers to…more

Clean Air Act, Climate Change, Coal, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Renewable Energy

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New Law Effective in 2015 is an Important Win for Cottage Owners

On October 9, 2014, PA 310 of 2014 (HB 5552) was signed into law by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder. As stated in our previous blog, "Cottage Transfers of Ownership without Uncapping Property Tax Broadened Under Michigan House Bill",…more

Cottage Properties, Estate Planning, Property Tax

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Potential Refund Opportunity: Recent Michigan Business Tax Ruling Clarifies the Meaning of ‘Indirect’ Ownership

The Michigan Court of Appeals has held that Treasury cannot use the constructive ownership rules of IRC § 318 to determine whether a group of entities meets the threshold for mandatory combined reporting under the Business…more

Business Ownership, Business Privilege Tax, Business Taxes, Internal Revenue Code (IRC), IRS

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Don’t Put Off Succession Planning for the Family Farm

With the fall harvest complete for most farmers, now is a good time to give some thought to an estate plan and farm succession plan. As farmers know, maintaining a profitable farm operation is difficult. It can become a…more

Agricultural Land, Business Ownership, Business Succession, Estate Planning, Family Businesses

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Changes to Michigan Nonprofit Corporation Act Expand Liability Protection, Authorize New Election Procedures, Ease Voting Thresholds

As you may have heard, Michigan recently enacted significant amendments to the Michigan Nonprofit Corporation Act (the "Act"). The following is a brief overview of some of the more significant of the changes effected by the…more

Articles of Incorporation, Board of Directors, Breach of Duty, Corporate Liability, Fiduciary Duty

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Michigan Supreme Court’s Decision Order in IBM Must be Followed

Background Under Michigan's Business Tax Act ("MBT Act"), generally effective from 2008-2011, income was apportioned using a single sales factor. During the same time period, Michigan law included the Multistate Tax Compact,…more

Appeals, Apportionment, Corporate Taxes, IBM, MI Supreme Court

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Of Courtroom Capers, Sanctions, and Squeezed Babies…

A lawyer friend Brian occasionally mentions the idea of "innocently" placing a colorful bag on his table during an opposing lawyer's final argument. I don't think he's ever done it, but the goal is to distract the jury while…more

Litigation Strategies

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Growing Michigan - Fourth Quarter 2014

In This Issue: - GAPPs Improve Michigan Food Processing - 30 Projects Announced to Support Michigan Specialty Crop Growers - Proposed Privacy Fences Around Michigan Apiaries - Great Lakes Ag-Tech…more

Economic Development, Entrepreneurs, Farms, Food Manufacturers, Immigration Reform

See All Updates »

Changes to the Terms of BCBSM’s Administrative Services Contracts in the Wake of Hidden Fees Suits

Effective January 1, 2016, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan ("BCBSM") will implement significant changes to the Administrative Services Contracts ("ASCs") issued to its self-funded customers. Notably, BCBSM has attempted to…more

Blue Cross, Blue Shield, ERISA, Fiduciary Duty, Healthcare

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Watt’s New? Michigan Energy Newsletter - December 2013

In This Issue: - Challenge to Coal Plant's Modified Air Permit Fails - Electric Reliability Project to Include Focus on Outages - Michigan Shorts - Consumers Energy May Terminate Case for New Gas Plant -…more

Air Pollution, Certificate of Need, Coal, Permits, Power Grid

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We Have a Sheriff’s Deed, But Who Pays Association Assessments?

The Michigan Court of Appeals recently held that a purchaser pursuant to a sheriff's sale was responsible for condominium association fees due from and after the date of the sale. In Wells Fargo Bank v Country Place Condominium…more

Appeals, Condominium Associations, Condominiums, Delinquent Assessment Dues, Foreclosure

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Watt’s New? Michigan Energy Newsletter - December 2013

In This Issue: - Challenge to Coal Plant's Modified Air Permit Fails - Electric Reliability Project to Include Focus on Outages - Michigan Shorts - Consumers Energy May Terminate Case for New Gas Plant -…more

Air Pollution, Certificate of Need, Coal, Permits, Power Grid

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Supreme Court Set to Settle Dispute over Washington Redskins Trademark Registration

There has been another twist in the story of the long battle by Native American interest groups to obtain revocation of the U.S. registration of the infamous Washington Redskins trademark. This is another step in the 20-year…more

Blackhorse v Pro-Football, Commercial Speech, Disparagement, Football, Lanham Act

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Urgent Message on Union Persuader Rules

In anticipation of the July 1, 2016 effective date of the new "persuader rules" from the U.S. Department of Labor, Varnum has prepared an agreement that would allow existing clients to avoid the new reporting requirements on…more

Collective Bargaining, Consultants, DOL, Final Rules, LMRDA

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Continuing Disclosure Misstatements – A Window Of Opportunity Before The SEC Comes Knocking

The Division of Enforcement (the “Division”) of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission recently announced the Municipalities Continuing Disclosure Cooperation Initiative (the “MCDC Initiative”)…more

Corporate Issuers, Disclosure Requirements, Estoppel, Municipalities, SEC

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Reminder: Minimum Wage in Michigan Increasing in January

On January 1, 2017, the minimum wage rate in Michigan will increase from $8.50 per hour to $8.90 per hour. This increase marks the third out of four scheduled increases which began in 2014…more

Minimum Wage, Wage and Hour, Wages

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In A Car Accident, Under-Insured Coverage Can Be As Important As Uninsured Protection

This is important for everyone to know regarding your auto insurance. We recently worked with a client who was involved in a car accident…more

Car Accident

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Keeping Good Product Records: A Manufacturer’s Primer

Are your product records a blessing or a scourge? Are they a core element of successful business operations, or a diversion of time and resources?…more

Books & Records, Manufacturers

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Reminder: Minimum Wage in Michigan Increasing in January

On January 1, 2017, the minimum wage rate in Michigan will increase from $8.50 per hour to $8.90 per hour. This increase marks the third out of four scheduled increases which began in 2014…more

Minimum Wage, Wage and Hour, Wages

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High Winds Damage Property and Interrupt Business Operations: Do You Have an Insurance Claim?

On February 18 and 19, 2016, some areas in Michigan experienced wind gusts of over 55 miles per hour. Many home and business owners where affected. Thousands were left without electricity, causing the spoilage of perishable…more

Insurance Industry, Property Damage, Severe Weather

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Changes to the Terms of BCBSM’s Administrative Services Contracts in the Wake of Hidden Fees Suits

Effective January 1, 2016, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan ("BCBSM") will implement significant changes to the Administrative Services Contracts ("ASCs") issued to its self-funded customers. Notably, BCBSM has attempted to…more

Blue Cross, Blue Shield, ERISA, Fiduciary Duty, Healthcare

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Urgent Message on Union Persuader Rules

In anticipation of the July 1, 2016 effective date of the new "persuader rules" from the U.S. Department of Labor, Varnum has prepared an agreement that would allow existing clients to avoid the new reporting requirements on…more

Collective Bargaining, Consultants, DOL, Final Rules, LMRDA

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Urgent Message on Union Persuader Rules

In anticipation of the July 1, 2016 effective date of the new "persuader rules" from the U.S. Department of Labor, Varnum has prepared an agreement that would allow existing clients to avoid the new reporting requirements on…more

Collective Bargaining, Consultants, DOL, Final Rules, LMRDA

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Should You Transfer Unused Gift and Estate Tax Exemptions to a Surviving Spouse? (Part II)

In our previous post, we discussed the advantages of portability as an estate planning tool. However, there are some non-tax reasons why a couple might not opt for planning of this type. Almost all relate in one way or another…more

Estate-Tax Exemption, Gift-Tax Exemption, Portability, Spouses

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New DHS Rule Gives Employers, Employees Flexibility in the Face of Immigrant Visa Backlogs

The Department of Homeland Security published a final rule on November 18, 2016, relating to certain employment-based visa programs. The new regulations will go into effect on January 17, 2017. The rule focuses on job…more

DHS, E-1, E-2, E-3, Employment Authorization Documents (EAD)

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Maximize Business Opportunities in Michigan as a Service-Disabled Veteran

Be as successful in business as you were in the military. Take advantage of federal, state, and local laws which provide procurement preferences for service-disabled veterans. As the following blog article will address, Michigan…more

Competitive Bidding, Federal Procurement Systems, Veterans

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2017 Cost of Living Adjustments

The Internal Revenue Service has announced the 2017 cost of living adjustments to various limits. The adjusted amounts generally apply for plan years beginning in 2017. Some of the adjusted amounts, however, apply to calendar…more

401k, Compensation & Benefits, Contribution Limits, Cost-of-Living, Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA)

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Michigan Legislation In 2012

Congress was not the only busy legislative body in December. Our state legislature also passed, and the Governor signed, several important bills which affect estate planning for Michigan residents. We found the following to be…more

529 Plans, Estate Planning, Estate Tax, Irrevocable Trusts, Power of Attorney

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Raising Capital? Don’t Forget about SEC Filings (It’s Not as Difficult as It Sounds)

The mention of "securities law and regulations" is a common, but daunting phrase that many entrepreneurs hear when they are attempting to raise money from investors for their companies. Under federal securities laws, any sale of…more

Accredited Investors, Capital Raising, Compliance, Consumer Reports, Disclosure Requirements

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Federal Court Blocks New DOL Overtime Exemption Rule from Taking Effect on December 1

In a stunning turn of events, a federal court in Texas issued a nationwide injunction last week blocking the U.S. Department of Labor's new rule on overtime exemptions from taking effect. The rule, which was slated for…more

DOL, Exempt-Employees, Final Rules, FLSA, Minimum Salary

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Western District of Michigan FBA Annual Meeting a Success

Approximately 100 members of the Western District of Michigan Chapter of the Federal Bar Association met for the chapter's Annual Meeting at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel's Imperial Ballroom on September 22, 2016. The meeting…more

Bar Associations

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Watch out for Exploding E-Cigarettes

In an effort to quit smoking and avoid the health dangers of tobacco, many people across the country are turning to electronic cigarettes, or e-cigs. In most basic terms, e-cigs work by heating a fluid placed into a small…more

E-Cigarettes, Tobacco Regulations

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Urgent Message on Union Persuader Rules

In anticipation of the July 1, 2016 effective date of the new "persuader rules" from the U.S. Department of Labor, Varnum has prepared an agreement that would allow existing clients to avoid the new reporting requirements on…more

Collective Bargaining, Consultants, DOL, Final Rules, LMRDA

See All Updates »

2017 Cost of Living Adjustments

The Internal Revenue Service has announced the 2017 cost of living adjustments to various limits. The adjusted amounts generally apply for plan years beginning in 2017. Some of the adjusted amounts, however, apply to calendar…more

401k, Compensation & Benefits, Contribution Limits, Cost-of-Living, Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA)

See All Updates »

It’s Official: SEC Publishes Final Rules for Investment Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding started as a way for music fans to get together and fund a tour for their favorite band, and quickly spread as a way to support an innovative business, develop an interesting project, or support a particularly…more

Crowdfunding, Funding Portal, JOBS Act, Offerings, Popular

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Comment Period Extended for Proposed EPA Rule Substantially Expanding Federal Jurisdiction Over Waters of the U.S., Including Creeks and Ditches

On April 21, the United States Environmental Protection Agency ("U.S. EPA") published a proposed rule that expands the federal jurisdiction over "Waters of the United States" under the Federal Clean Water Act ("CWA")…more

Clean Water Act, EPA, Jurisdiction, US Army Corps of Engineers, Water

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Contact

333 Bridge Street NW
Grand Rapids, Michigan 49504, United States

Contact: Tamara Bergstrom


Areas of Practice
  • Agriculture
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
  • Antitrust & Trade Regulation
  • Appellate Practice
  • Art, Entertainment, & Sports Law
  • Bankruptcy
  • Business Organizations
  • Civil Rights
  • Commercial Law & Contracts
  • Construction Law
  • Criminal Law
  • Debtor/Creditor
  • Education
  • Energy & Utilities
  • Environmental Law
  • Family Law
  • Finance & Banking
  • Government
  • Health
  • Immigration Law
  • Indigenous Peoples
  • Insurance
  • Intellectual Property
  • Labor & Employment Law
  • Litigation
  • Mergers & Acquisitions
  • Personal Injury
  • Products Liability
  • Real Estate
  • Securities Law
  • Taxation
  • Wills, Trusts, & Estate Planning
  • Worker’s Compensation
  • Zoning, Planning & Land Use
See more
Locations
Other U.S. Locations
  • Michigan
Number of Attorneys

100+ Attorneys

This profile may constitute attorney advertising. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Any correspondence with this profile holder does not constitute a client/attorney relationship. Neither the content on this profile nor transmissions between you and the profile holder through this profile are intended to provide legal or other advice or to create an attorney-client relationship.

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