Varnum LLP

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333 Bridge Street NW
Grand Rapids, Michigan 49504, United States
Contact: Tamara Bergstrom, Marketing Manager
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

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

See all updates »

Recent Legislation Offers Small Employers a New HRA Option

A health reimbursement arrangement (HRA) is a funding arrangement under which employers fund health care expenses for their employees on a pre-tax basis. Prior to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), HRAs were popular among small…more

Affordable Care Act, Employee Benefits, Health Insurance, Health Insurance Exchanges, Healthcare

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

See all updates »

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

See all updates »

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

See all updates »

BoozeLaw: Automated Service of Beer and Wine Available to Michigan Licensees

Fifty years in the future, historians will likely consider this decade (incidentally, there should be a more a creative moniker for this period than the "20-10s" or "10s") as the advent of true automation. Following regulatory…more

Beer, Breweries, Licensing Rules, Restaurant Industry, Retail Market

See all updates »

Citing Regulatory Freeze, IRS Stops Issuing Administrative Guidance

One of President Trump's signature campaign issues involved relief from "burdensome federal regulations," without a lot of detail about what regulations in particular he had in mind. Soon after the inauguration, he issued an…more

Administrative Proceedings, Deregulation, Executive Orders, IRS, Regulatory Freeze

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Looming Takata Bankruptcy Presents Risk and Uncertainty to Trade Creditors

In the latest sign of the Takata Corporation airbag fall-out, on December 26, 2016 BMW announced that it will recall nearly 200,000 of its cars in China with Takata airbags. Takata and its 19 OEM customers face potential…more

Airbags, Automobile Recall, Automotive Industry, Commercial Bankruptcy, Debt Restructuring

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Using “Finders” to Find Capital: Avoiding Problems for Your Company

Raising money for your startup can be hard. Not every entrepreneur can walk into Silicon Valley with a business idea and walk out with multiple VC term sheets in hand. Sometimes the only path to financing your startup is through…more

Broker-Dealer, Capital Raising, Crowdfunding, Early Stage Companies, Finders

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

See all updates »

Recreational UAS Registration Rule Struck Down

On Friday, May 19, 2017, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down FAA’s registration rule for recreational unmanned aerial system (drone) users, also called model aircraft…more

Airspace, Drones, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Registration Requirement, Technology Sector

See all updates »

Review of Dodd-Frank: Another Ride on the Regulatory Roller-Coaster?

The recent Executive Order seeking to curtail financial regulation put in place in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis will undoubtedly have widespread implications for credit unions. Such regulation – notably the Dodd-Frank…more

Bailout, Dodd-Frank, Executive Orders, Financial Institutions, Financial Markets

See all updates »

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

See all updates »

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

See all updates »

Consider These Year-End Strategies to Address Proposed Tax Changes

Recently, the House and the Senate passed bills that could create major changes to our current tax laws. They are now working to reconcile the bills, with the goal of having the legislation signed by December 25. If legislation…more

Charitable Donations, IRA, Legislative Agendas, Local Taxes, Proposed Legislation

See all updates »

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 »

USCIS to Increase Scrutiny of Employment Based Visa Extension Petitions

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that officers are directed to apply the same level of scrutiny to both initial petitions and extension requests…more

Employment Eligibility Verification, Extensions, Foreign Workers, Immigrants, Immigration Procedures

See all updates »

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)

See all updates »

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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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

See all updates »

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

See all updates »

Who Will Bear the Brunt of a NAFTA Renegotiation?

President Trump's plans to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) give rise to a number of questions about the future of trade between the United States, Mexico and Canada. While such a move might…more

Agricultural Sector, Canada, Cross-Border Transactions, Export Controls, Exports

See all updates »

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

See all updates »

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 »

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 »

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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Is Your Neighbor’s Dock on Your Property?

I've always envied accountants because their busy season ends when the weather starts to get nice. As a riparian rights attorney, I have the opposite problem. When lake season approaches, and docks and lifts are installed, my…more

Apportionment, Inland Waterways, Private Property, Real Estate Market, Riparian Rights

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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

See all updates »

Apology? In Litigation? Really?

Countless clients have begun our relationship with this simple statement. Why wouldn’t a person who caused an accident resulting in serious injury say this simple thing? There are a lot of reasons. First, the insurance company…more

Client Services, Elder Care, Health Care Providers, Litigation Strategies, Long Term Care Facilities

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South Dakota Nexus Law Held Invalid in Violation of Quill

Like many states, South Dakota recently enacted an aggressive sales and use tax nexus statute requiring certain out-of-state retailers with no physical presence in South Dakota to collect and remit tax on sales made to South…more

Economic Presence Nexus, Internet Retailers, Interstate Commerce, New Legislation, Nexus

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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

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

See all updates »

U.S. Supreme Court Rejects Race-Based Challenge to ICWA

The Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (ICWA) was enacted to address the high rates of Indian children being separated from their Indian families and Indian communities. The stated intent of Congress under ICWA was to “protect the…more

Child Custody, Constitutional Challenges, Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (ICWA), Native American Issues, Parental Rights

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 »

New EPA air emissions reporting requirements start Nov. 15

Beginning Nov. 15, many livestock farms releasing hazardous substances to the air from animal waste are required to begin reporting air emissions. In 2008, the EPA finalized a rule exempting almost all livestock farms from…more

Agricultural Land, Agricultural Sector, Air Quality Standards, CERCLA, Environmental Policies

See all updates »

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

See all updates »

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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Michigan Treasury Issues Revised Interpretation of Unitary Business Groups Following LaBelle Decision

On February 28, 2017, the Michigan Department of Treasury issued guidance in response to the Supreme Court's denial of Treasury's application to appeal LaBelle Management, Inc v Michigan Department of Treasury, 315 Mich App 23…more

Corporate Taxes, Established Business Relationship, Internal Revenue Code (IRC), Tax Liability, Unitary Business

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

See all updates »

Recording Conversations with Your Cellphone: with Great Power Comes Potential Legal Liability

In the cellphone age, nearly everyone walks around with a multi-tasking recording device in their pocket or purse, and it comes in handy for many of our modern problems: Your dog suddenly started doing something adorable? Open…more

Admissible Evidence, Audio Recording, Cell Phones, Child Custody, Civil Liability

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Raising Capital from Individual Investors Using Regulation A+

Raising capital is essential to startups, and a new option to fundraising allows you to raise money from individual investors through the Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) Regulation A+. We'll explore the different…more

Capital Raising, Crowdfunding, Emerging Growth Companies, Offerings, Regulation A

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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)

See all updates »

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

See all updates »

Franchising – What Is It and Is It for You?

As an entrepreneur or person interested in starting a new business or growing an existing one, franchising might be an option for you to enter the market more quickly or grow more aggressively, and perhaps increase your…more

Franchise Agreements, Franchise Disclosure Document, Franchises, Marketing

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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 »

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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Managing a Dairy in Crisis: A Lender’s Guide

Managing a failing dairy is always a challenge for agricultural lenders. The complexity of large dairies, the nature of the collateral (live animals and perishable feeds), and the tight margins that exist when milk prices fall…more

Agricultural Land, Agricultural Sector, Dairy Farmers, Farms, Food Supply

See all updates »

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

See all updates »

Legal and Tax Conversions: Changing Your Company Structure Without Changing Your Company

Do you remember talking with your co-founders, your attorney and your accountant about what type of entity you should choose for your new company? And all of that discussion about limited liability, governance structure,…more

Business Entities, Conversion, Corporate Governance, Limited Liability Company (LLC)

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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 »

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

See all updates »

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

See all updates »

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

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

See all updates »

IRS Signals Intent to Aggressively Pursue Undisclosed Offshore Accounts

At the recent National Institute on Criminal Tax Fraud and Tax Controversy, senior IRS and Department of Justice (Tax) officials sounded the proverbial warning alarm to taxpayers with undisclosed or offshore financial accounts…more

DOJ, Enforcement Actions, Income Taxes, IRS, John Doe Investigation

See all updates »

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 »

Two Employment Law Issues Startups Should Know About

It's no secret that the first year of operation can make or break a startup. Don't let overlooked employment issues be your startup's downfall. Below is a brief overview of two major issues startups face in their first year…more

Exempt-Employees, Hiring & Firing, Independent Contractors, Intellectual Property Protection, Minimum Wage

See all updates »

Kidde Fire Extinguishers Recalled: Check Your Household/Consumer Fire Extinguishers!

A major manufacturer of fire extinguishers has issued a recall after hundreds of reports of failed or limited fire extinguisher activation and at least one death, in which emergency responders could not get the recalled fire…more

Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Manufacturers, Product Defects, Product Recalls, Retail Market

See all updates »

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

See all updates »

How to Get the Best Price for Your Cell Tower Lease

Property owners with cell towers on their buildings or land are routinely approached to sell their cell lease and future leasing rights, which typically sell in the range of 15 to 20 times annual revenues, sometimes more. …more

Cell Phones, Cell Towers, Leases, Property Owners, Real Estate Market

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 »

State Seeks to Avoid TB ‘Nuclear Option’

According to the Michigan Ag Connection and Michigan Farm News, Michigan livestock farmers are closely monitoring current discussions between Michigan and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) concerning ongoing efforts to…more

Agricultural Land, Agricultural Sector, Cattle, Farm Animals, Farms

See all updates »

Consider These Year-End Strategies to Address Proposed Tax Changes

Recently, the House and the Senate passed bills that could create major changes to our current tax laws. They are now working to reconcile the bills, with the goal of having the legislation signed by December 25. If legislation…more

Charitable Donations, IRA, Legislative Agendas, Local Taxes, Proposed Legislation

See all updates »

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

See all updates »

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

See all updates »

Michigan Treasury Issues Revised Interpretation of Unitary Business Groups Following LaBelle Decision

On February 28, 2017, the Michigan Department of Treasury issued guidance in response to the Supreme Court's denial of Treasury's application to appeal LaBelle Management, Inc v Michigan Department of Treasury, 315 Mich App 23…more

Corporate Taxes, Established Business Relationship, Internal Revenue Code (IRC), Tax Liability, Unitary Business

See all updates »

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

See all updates »

IRS Signals Intent to Aggressively Pursue Undisclosed Offshore Accounts

At the recent National Institute on Criminal Tax Fraud and Tax Controversy, senior IRS and Department of Justice (Tax) officials sounded the proverbial warning alarm to taxpayers with undisclosed or offshore financial accounts…more

DOJ, Enforcement Actions, Income Taxes, IRS, John Doe Investigation

See all updates »

Six Days In Court – Almost As Fun As A Christmas Party

I missed the office Christmas party. Doing so was one benefit of having a six-day trial 116 miles away. It wasn't just me who missed the holiday luncheon. My partners Joe and Tim and a legal assistant named Cheri each…more

Confidential Information, Damages, Hiring & Firing, Intellectual Property Protection, Litigation Strategies

See all updates »

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

See all updates »

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 »

Pending House Legislation May Dramatically Change Michigan’s Current Child Custody Laws

Late this spring, members of the Michigan House of Representatives introduced House Bill No. 4691, the Michigan Shared Parenting Act. The proposed legislation stands to fundamentally change Michigan's child custody law. Some of…more

Child Custody, Co-Parenting, Custody, Divorce, Parenting Plans

See all updates »

Kidde Fire Extinguishers Recalled: Check Your Household/Consumer Fire Extinguishers!

A major manufacturer of fire extinguishers has issued a recall after hundreds of reports of failed or limited fire extinguisher activation and at least one death, in which emergency responders could not get the recalled fire…more

Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Manufacturers, Product Defects, Product Recalls, Retail Market

See all updates »

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

See all updates »

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 »

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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Kidde Fire Extinguishers Recalled: Check Your Household/Consumer Fire Extinguishers!

A major manufacturer of fire extinguishers has issued a recall after hundreds of reports of failed or limited fire extinguisher activation and at least one death, in which emergency responders could not get the recalled fire…more

Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Manufacturers, Product Defects, Product Recalls, Retail Market

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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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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

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

See all updates »

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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USCIS to Increase Scrutiny of Employment Based Visa Extension Petitions

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that officers are directed to apply the same level of scrutiny to both initial petitions and extension requests…more

Employment Eligibility Verification, Extensions, Foreign Workers, Immigrants, Immigration Procedures

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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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What’s the Big Deal? The Importance of Having an Operating Agreement for Your LLC

So, you've started a business with your buddy. Enthusiasm is high, things look promising, and you've decided to formally register your business as a limited liability company (or, ahem, if you haven't formally registered your…more

Corporate Governance, Limited Liability Company (LLC), Operating Agreements

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How to Qualify as a Women-Owned Small Business

Last year, we wrote about the opportunities available to businesses owned by service-disabled veterans. There are also programs available to provide similar advantages to women-owned businesses. One such program is the…more

SBA, Small Business, Women-Owned Businesses, WOSB

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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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Kidde Fire Extinguishers Recalled: Check Your Household/Consumer Fire Extinguishers!

A major manufacturer of fire extinguishers has issued a recall after hundreds of reports of failed or limited fire extinguisher activation and at least one death, in which emergency responders could not get the recalled fire…more

Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Manufacturers, Product Defects, Product Recalls, Retail Market

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

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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