Attorney Jim Acho Predicts NLRB Ruling on College Athletes’ Unions

On August 17, 2015 the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) blocked a historic bid by Northwestern University football players to form the nation’s first college athletes’ union, dealing a blow to a labor movement that could have transformed amateur sports. It cites the fact that labor law only allows the NLRB to look at private-sector work places, but that most college football programs are at state schools. Of the 125 schools eligible to play in a college football bowl, only 17 are private schools like Northwestern University.

Jim Acho, a senior attorney in our Livonia office and sports law professor at Madonna University, predicted last year on ESPN radio and multiple other shows, that the NLRB regional director’s ruling would be overturned. He felt it would be overturned because allowing college athletes to unionize would mean the end of college athletics as we know it. It would dismantle the entire system and ruin college athletics for 90% of all universities, as most would not be able to afford to engage in collective bargaining and all that comes with it–compensation structure, worker’s comp, pensions, 401(k) long-term health benefits, etc. It would disrupt the competitive balance in collegiate athletics and make college sports, especially football, available to only a handful of select schools. Further, it would allow athletes to be available to the highest bidder with the best compensation package. As Acho explained, this would have rendered it professional sports and do away with amateurism, and, as long as these are student-athletes, this cannot abide. The NLRB panel agreed in a unanimous decision and even used some of the language in their Opinion that Acho used last year in his reasoning for why he predicted it would be overturned.

Acho appeared on ESPN radio and national and local radio shows, including the Frank Beckmann show on WJR, this week regarding the ruling.

Secretary Celebrates 25th Anniversary at CMDA

kathyanniversary2 We are pleased to announce that Kathy Ueberroth recently celebrated her 25th anniversary with the Firm.  Kathy is a legal secretary in our Livonia office and has worked with Mr. Acho for the past 22 years.  She is the only employee in our Firm whose birthday and work anniversary fall on the same day.  kathyanniversary

Chris Schultz, managing partner of the Firm, explains, “Kathy’s dedication to her job and the Firm over the years is appreciated.  She has given countless hours during the day and the weekends to make this a better place to work.  We thank Kathy for all of her efforts and for taking on such a large role in the Firm.”

Acho Interviewed by Law360 Magazine on Deflategate Case

Jim AchoJim Acho, a senior attorney in our Livonia office, was interviewed by Law360 Magazine regarding the Tom Brady Deflategate issue and professional athletes’ options in federal court. The article, Even in Deflategate Pro Athletes’ Court Protection Limited, outlines how federal courts have recently played a large role in professional athletes’ employee disputes as NFL players Tom Brady and Adrian Peterson have both appealed league discipline to the courts. Brady is appealing a four-game suspension for his role in Deflategate, in which underinflated New England Patriots’ footballs were used during a playoff game. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell upheld the suspension.

Acho explained, “It is common in business for employees to enter into agreements with employers to submit all disputes to arbitration. It is viewed as a less-costly and more efficient way to resolve issues. It avoids the costly nature of litigation and the delays that come with it. The process is cheaper to both parties and you can get a ruling quicker usually. The catch to this is … that the arbitration ruling is final and cannot be reviewed.”

The article appears in the August 12 edition online and the September 1 print edition of Law360 Magazine. For more of Jim’s takes on the issue, click here (must be a subscriber):

Secretary Celebrates 25th Anniversary at CMDA

IMG_8742We are delighted to announce that Marie Jones recently celebrated her 25th anniversary with the Firm.  Marie is a legal secretary in our Livonia office and has worked with Mr. Cummings for the past 12 years.  It is no wonder that Marie and Mr. Cummings work so well together, as they are both kind, caring and always willing to assist others.  IMG_8740

Chris Schultz, managing partner of the Firm, explains, “We have been very fortunate to have Marie at the Firm for the past 25 years and appreciate all that she does for us. It is because of people like Marie that make CMDA a great place to work.”

August’s 50 a Month Donation

CMDA is honored and appreciative for the trust our clients have placed in our Firm since 1965.  As a way to give back to the community as we celebrate our 50th anniversary, every month throughout 2015 the Firm will be donating 50 items (or more) to a local charity.

In August, we are collecting school supplies for Taylor International Academy, which is a K-8th grade school comprised of children from Detroit, Southfield and other nearby communities.  Specific supplies the school would appreciate receiving include:

  • markers
  • glue sticks
  • pencils
  • colored pencils
  • crayons
  • twistable crayons
  • children’s scissors (blunt tip)
  • erasers
  • 2-pocket folders
  • hand soap
  • rulers
  • composition notepads (black marble cover)
  • backpacks (if you find a good deal)

If you are interested in donating, please stop by our Livonia office with your contribution.  Thank you for your support!

Michigan Case Law Update: DeMartin v. University of Michigan Regents


DeMartin v. University of Michigan Regents

2015 WL 2412450 (May 19, 2015)

This is a governmental immunity case where the issue is whether the public building exception applies to defeat governmental immunity. In this case, the Plaintiff and her daughter were leaving the University of Michigan Dental Clinic through an automatic door operated by a push button device. Before the Plaintiff could clear the door, it began to close, striking the Plaintiff on her right shoulder and knocking her down to the ground. The door had its hydraulic closing mechanism replaced in March of 2012 due to reports that the door was slamming closed. A police officer who responded to the scene did not detect any abnormal operation of the door. The Court of appeals dismissed the case finding that the building exception to governmental immunity did not apply. The court noted that the Plaintiff failed to establish a genuine issue of material fact as to whether a defect existed in the door that struck her. Although a work order

indicated that the door was fixed in March of 2012, there was no evidence that the door remained defective in April of 2012 when the Plaintiff sustained her injury. Finally, the Court stated that the Defendant was not aware of any defect or that Defendant failed to repair it.

Patrick R. Sturdy is a partner in our Livonia office where he concentrates his practice on intellectual property, business law, education law, and employment and labor law. He may be reached at (734) 261-2400 or