Acho Recipient of Community Service and Dedication Award

We are pleased to announce that Ronald G. Acho, a Co-founder and Partner of the Firm, is the recipient of the Community Service and Dedication Award by the Chaldean-American Bar Association (CABA). He was selected and unanimously approved by the Board to receive this award for his many years of legal service to the Chaldean community and to the members of CABA.  His litigation and mediation talents are well known to many throughout the community.

On receiving this prestigious award, Mr. Acho explained, “This award is very special to me, but really it is more than an award for an individual. This is an award for the entire law firm of Cummings, McClorey, Davis & Acho. The success we achieve in life, just as in the practice of law, is almost always a group effort. What makes our Firm special is the fact that we have top-notch attorneys and an excellent staff, which is what led to me receiving this award.”

Mr. Michael J. George, Sr., community advisor, client and friend of Mr. Acho’s for many years offered the following thoughts: “Ron Acho is a man of integrity who understands the importance of mediation rather than litigation; and he is also a humanitarian that helps the deprived with humility and compassion.”

He will be honored at the CABA’s Third Annual Awards and Scholarship Ceremony on May 30, 2012. Keynote addresses will be made by U.S. Senator Carl Levin and State Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, and a short video presentation will honor Mr. Acho with the 2012 Annual Award.

Please join us in congratulating Mr. Acho on this impressive and richly deserved award. Mr. Acho can be reached at (734) 261-2400 or racho@cmda-law.com.

Acho Represent Recent NFL Draft Pick Mike Martin

Our Firm has a long track record of representing those in the sports world. Among the current athletes for whom CMDA serves as legal counsel is recent NFL draft pick Mike Martin. (CMDA is not in the agency business, but serves as legal counsel.)

Jim Acho, a Senior Attorney in our Livonia office, oversees the review of all of Mr. Martin’s contracts and appearances. Chris Schultz, a Partner in our Livonia office, will be setting up and overseeing Mr. Martin’s charitable foundation, as he has for other NFL players, such as Larry Foote.

Jim attended Mr. Martin’s draft party with another CMDA client, John Cuschieri, owner of Minnesota Title Agency, who will be handling Mike’s real estate investments.

Mr. Martin, who was a three-year starter for the University of Michigan and a team captain in 2011, was the first Michigan player taken in the 2012 NFL Draft, going to Tennessee in the third round at pick No. 82 overall. CMDA wishes him all the luck in his quest for stardom at the NFL level and continuing to change lives for the better.

Insurance Companies May Now Avail Themselves of the Traditional Legal and Equitable Remedies when Faced with Fraud

The Michigan Supreme Court has discarded the 36-year-old doctrine that once prevented insurance companies from denying claims based on fraudulent statements made in an insured’s application.  Previously, the law stated that an insurer could not deny liability in the event of fraud found on an insured’s application if the fraud would have been “easily ascertainable” by the insurer.  Now, fraud, if proven, can serve as a complete bar to recovery.  Insurance companies no longer have the duty to investigate and may rely solely on the insurance application.

In the case of Titan Insurance Company v Hyten, Hyten’s driver’s license had been suspended.  Her mother had been informed that insurance could not be provided until Hyten’s license was reinstated.  So, with the help of the insurance agent, Hyten’s mother completed a back-dated insurance application, attesting there were no unlicensed drivers in the household.  Previously, because an insurer could have easily verified the status of Hyten’s driver’s license, this fraud would not serve has a bar to recovery.  Now, insurance companies may deny such claims.

To prove fraud now, insurance providers need only prove the following: the customer made a 1) material (mis)representation; 2) the representation was false; 3) the customer knew the representation was false when she made it; 4) the customer made the misrepresentation with the intent the insurance company would rely on it; and 5) the insurance company suffered damages as a result.

While the insurance company enjoys the lower burden of proving “actual reliance,” the insured must meet the higher burden of proving that they “reasonably relied” on the insurance agent’s representations, if they wish to bind the insurance company under agency law. This is significant, and the Court does not explain why insurance companies face only a subjective standard, while the insured that rely on what their agents say face a tougher, objective standard.

Linda Davis Friedland is an attorney in our Livonia office where she concentrate her practice on Commercial Litigation, Employment and Labor Law, Corporate and Business Law, Estate Planning, Utilities Law and Municipal Law. She can be reached at (734) 261-2400 or lfriedland@cmda-law.com.