Vinson Selected for Life Membership in Sixth Circuit Judicial Conference

Ethan Vinson, a partner in the Firm’s Livonia office, was selected for Life Membership in the Sixth Circuit Judicial Conference by the United States Court of Appeals.  Life members are recognized for their integrity, honesty, capability, civility and dedication to the administration of justice.

Mr. Vinson practices in the areas of civil rights law, employment and labor law, police liability, education law and is a litigation specialist.

He can be reached at (734) 261-2400 or

Clark Selected as 2013 Top Rated Lawyer in Land Use and Zoning

Jeff Clark, a partner in our Livonia office, was recently selected as a 2013 Top Rated Lawyer in Land Use and Zoning by American Lawyer Media and Martindale-Hubbell. According to Martindale-Hubbell, “attorneys recognized as ‘Top Rated Lawyers’ have achieved significant leadership status and are highly regarded by their peers for both their legal ability and high ethical standards.”

Mr. Clark concentrates his practice on municipal law, land use and zoning, personal injury defense and litigation. He counsels and defends municipal clients in all aspects of municipal operations. He has served as a member of a local planning commission and devotes a substantial portion of his practice to planning and zoning issues for cities and townships throughout the state.

He can be reached at (734) 261-2400 or

Tax Breaks Extended to Avoid Fiscal Cliff

This is a follow-up to the “2012 Tax Planning for Fiscal Cliff” article published in CMDA’s On Law newsletter (December 2012) and on our website.

On January 1, 2013 Congress passed the American Tax Relief Act extending many of the individual and business tax breaks reviewed in the article. As a supplement to the Article, below is a list of some of the significant tax changes.

Individual Income Taxes

Federal income tax rates for most individuals will continue at 10 %, 15 %, 25 %, 28 %, 33% and 35 %, as was applicable in 2012, however, a rate of 39.6 % will be added in 2013 for married couples with income that exceeds $450,000.

Withholding Taxes for Social Security. The employee’s share of withholding taxes for social security was increased from 4.2 % to 6.2%.

Discharge of Home Mortgage Debt. Mortgage debt on a qualified principal residence which is released or discharged before 2014, up to $2,000,000, is not subject to income tax.

Qualified Dividends. The tax on Qualified Dividends will be increased to 20% (up from 15%), for taxpayers with income in excess of $450,000 for married individuals. Taxpayers with income less than $450,000 will be subject to a 15 % tax rate on capital gains and dividends. As a reminder, the 3.8% Medicare Contribution Tax is applicable for married couples with adjusted gross income of $250,000 or more, will apply so the effective tax rate will be 23.8% and 18.8%.

Estate and Gift Taxes

The new Act continues with the $5,000,000 exemption amount for estate taxes, gift taxes and generation skipping taxes which is the same exemption amount that was in effect in 2012. The top tax rate for estate and gift taxes is increased to 40 % (up from 35%) beginning in 2013.

Business Taxes

The first year bonus depreciation is extended for an additional year, which allows 50% first year bonus depreciation for qualified property acquired and placed into service before January 1, 2014.
Section 179 allows a business to deduct as an expense, rather than depreciate, the cost of new or used tangible personal property placed into service during the year. In 2012, the amount allowed to be expensed was $139,000, which under the new Act was increased to $500,000.

Also, the Act allows certain qualified property to be depreciated over 15 years. Qualified property includes qualified leasehold improvements, qualified restaurant property and qualified retail improvement property.

Christopher G. Schultz is a partner in our Livonia office where he concentrates his practice on corporate and business law, commercial litigation and estate planning. Additionally, Mr. Schultz is a Certified Public Accountant. He can be reached at (734) 261-2400 or

Ferrand Selected as 2013 Top Rated Lawyer in Labor and Employment

Congratulations to Tim Ferrand, a partner in our Clinton Township office, who has been selected as a 2013 Top Rated Lawyer in Labor & Employment by American Lawyer Media and Martindale-Hubbell. Furthermore, Mr. Ferrand has achieved the AV Preeminent® peer review rating, which is the highest rating in legal ability and ethical standards.

Mr. Ferrand is a senior trial attorney specializing in municipal liability defense. He has counseled and defended counties, cities, townships and community colleges throughout the state of Michigan on matters arising out of employment, police practices, Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment claims, First Amendment claims, tort liability and class action litigation.

He serves as legal counsel to municipalities and wholesale customers of water and waste water services. Mr. Ferrand has served as City Attorney and Assistant City Attorney, counseled City Commissions and Boards and is always available to provide pre-litigation advice. Insight born from years of experience has enabled many of his clients to avoid unnecessary litigation. However, once litigation is initiated Mr. Ferrand’s goal is to be better prepared than the opponent, providing a unique advantage.

He received a Juris Doctor and Bachelor’s degree from Wayne State University. He is a member of the Michigan Bar Association, American Bar Association, Macomb County Bar Association, Michigan Trial Lawyers Association, Wayne State University Alumni Association, Macomb County Chamber of Commerce and the Trinity Lutheran Church.