Appeals and Litigation

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Appeals

Attorneys in the Appeals and Litigation group at Cummings, McClorey, Davis & Acho, P.L.C. (CMDA) are dedicated to providing clients with superior legal services on a timely, effective, and cost-efficient basis while maintaining the highest standards of professional integrity. We realize that to reach this goal, we need to communicate effectively and immediately.

Appeals are a unique type of litigation involving specialized rules and courts. CMDA’s appellate practice encompasses full-time appellate practitioners who specialize in handling litigation in the appellate courts.

Effective appellate representation requires different skills than those needed by litigation attorneys. Unlike many law firm appellate practices, which are made up of lawyers who only occasionally handle appeals, CMDA’s appellate practice encompasses full-time appellate practitioners who specialize in handling litigation in the appellate courts.

Our appellate attorneys handle appeals before the United States Supreme Court, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, Michigan Supreme Court, and Michigan Court of Appeals. In addition, the Appellate Advocacy Group works closely with clients and trial counsel to devise cost-effective litigation strategies, conduct legal research, prepare and argue important pre-trial and post-trial motions, and ensure that issues are preserved for appeal.

Our appellate attorneys are also skilled at preparing and filing amicus (friend of the court) briefs on behalf of clients who are not parties to an appeal, but wish to be heard on an important legal issue. The preparation of these briefs requires not only a keen understanding of the pertinent legal issues, but a working knowledge of the client’s business and the particular industry involved.

Litigation

Attorneys in the Appeals and Litigation group at Cummings, McClorey, Davis & Acho, P.L.C. (CMDA) are dedicated to providing clients with superior legal services on a timely, effective, and cost-efficient basis while maintaining the highest standards of professional integrity. We realize that to reach this goal, we need to communicate effectively and immediately.

Lawsuits come in many shapes and sizes. Our attorneys handle many different types of lawsuits, including business/commercial litigation, civil rights litigation, construction litigation, contract dispute litigation, employment litigation, errors and omissions litigation, no-fault litigation, personal injury litigation, and probate litigation.

Business/Commercial Litigation
Civil Rights Litigation
Construction Defect Claims/Litigation
Contract Dispute Litigation
Employment Litigation
Errors and Omissions Litigation
Motor Vehicle Liability and No-Fault Litigation
Personal Injury Litigation
Probate Litigation

  • Cautionary Tale – Employee’s Profanity Laced Facebook Post is Protected Activity in a Recent Federal Court Decision Elizabeth Rae-O'Donnell
    On April 21, 2017, the Second Circuit Court of appeals in NLRB v. Pier Sixty, LLC, 855 F.3d 115 (2nd Cir. 2017), upheld the National Labor Relations Board’s conclusion that a terminated employee’s profanity based comments about his supervisor on Facebook were not so egregious as to exceed protection under the National Labor Relations Act ...
  • Supreme Court Opinion Released: Fry, IDEA, FAPE and Administrative Remedies Christopher McIntire
    A school district refuses to allow the service dog of a student with disabilities into the classroom because the student was assigned a one-on-one instructional aide by the school district, rendering the service dog superfluous. The parents remove their child from the school district and ultimately sue the school district and the school’s principal for ...
  • Grant Obtains Dismissals on behalf of Judge and Prosecutor CMDA Law
    Greg Grant, an attorney in our Traverse City office, recently obtained dismissals on behalf of a Northern Michigan judge and prosecutor in two separate civil rights cases. In both cases, the courts awarded his clients all of their attorney fees and costs. Mr. Grant aggressively defends judges, attorneys, and municipalities as a regular part of ...
  • Sixth Circuit Reinforces the Importance of Protecting the Identities of Confidential Informants Matt Cross
    In Nelson v. City of Madison Heights, et al., while conducting a narcotics investigation at a motel police walked by the room of Shelly Hilliard (“Hilliard”) and spotted a bag of marijuana through the window. After obtaining her consent to enter the room, police found the bag of marijuana. In order to avoid arrest, Hilliard ...
  • Grant Obtains a No Cause of Action Verdict in Federal Court CMDA Law
    Greg Grant of the Traverse City office recently obtained a no cause of action verdict in an excessive force trial in federal court.  Mr. Grant represented four corrections officers whom the plaintiff alleged used excessive force against him while he was inmate in a Michigan county jail.  Specifically, the plaintiff claimed that he was maced ...
  • Cross Obtains Favorable Arbitration Award for Concert Promoter CMDA Law
    After a prolonged dispute, Matt Cross obtained an arbitration award for a valued client, a Detroit-based concert promoter.  The promoter paid the producer of the show a $40,000 deposit in five installments to perform its show in Detroit last year.  The producer pulled out last minute and refused to return the promoter’s deposit, citing the ...
  • The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals Expands an Employer’s Defenses to a Claim of Discrimination Gerald C. Davis
    In the case of Richardson v Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, which includes the state of Michigan, interpreted, clarified and enlarged the defendant employer’s defense to a claim of age discrimination under the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act. The Court of Appeals confirmed that the 62-year old plaintiff, Richardson, ...
  • Physical Disabilities in a Virtual World Christopher McIntire
    Businesses and public entities who routinely utilize their website to conduct business should be aware that there has been a steady increase in the number of lawsuits filed by disabled customers who cannot access websites.  The complaints have ranged from websites that could not be navigated without a mouse, websites disabling or otherwise making it ...
  • Michigan COA: Seller of Boat was not Owner during Accident Jennifer Richards
    The sale of a boat is a commonplace transaction in Michigan, especially during the summer months. According to the United States Coast Guard 2014 Recreational Boating Statistics, Michigan had 789,458 registered watercraft, one of the highest numbers of registrations in the country. As we near the end of the 2016 boating season, the Michigan Court of ...
  • Sixth Circuit Holds Dismissal of Firefighter’s Retaliation Complaint Elizabeth Rae-O'Donnell
    On June 22, 2016, the Sixth District Court of Appeals unanimously issued a decision and order affirming the United States District Court’s dismissal of a firefighter’s two count retaliation complaint against a local municipality, four former and current Trustees, and the Fire Chief. Plaintiff, who is of Asian descent, submitted an application for the vacant Fire ...
  • Sixth Circuit Holds that Police Must Protect Free Expression of Unpopular Views Douglas Curlew
    The “freedom of speech” protected by the First Amendment encompasses both actual speech and expressive conduct.  R.A.V. v. City of St. Paul, Minn. (S.Ct. 1992).  Embodied within the concept of “free speech” is recognition that advocates of unpopular views must be protected, even though their speech may provoke anger in persons who hear it.  Terminiello ...
  • Department of Education and Transgender Facilities Elizabeth Rae-O'Donnell
    May 13, 2016 the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Education issued a “Dear Colleague” letter to all schools in the country receiving money from the federal government directing that “when a school provides sex-segregated activities and facilities, transgender students must be allowed to participate in such activities and access such facilities ...
  • CMDA Now Handles Patents Christopher G. Schultz
    We are pleased to announce the addition of Patent Law services to the Firm’s established intellectual property practice group. Michael O. Cummings, an experienced and skillful Patent Law attorney, has joined our Firm. Mr. Cummings understands and appreciates the importance of Patents for commercial success. Patents are valuable assets, and he is committed to protecting ...
  • An Employee’s Motivation is No Longer Determinative in a Whistleblower Protection Claim Suzanne Bartos
    The Michigan Supreme Court has recently held that the employee’s motivation is no longer a determining factor in whether the Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA) protects the employee from an adverse employment action. Since the underlying purpose of the Act is to protect the public, municipalities are most vulnerable to a WPA claim. If government officials, who ...
  • Land Owner has a Higher Duty than an Injured Party Robert L. Blamer
    In a recent case, a woman fell and injured her back when brick and mortar steps beneath her crumbled.  The land owner brought, and was awarded, a summary disposition dismissing the case at the trial level. Upon appeal, the Court of Appeals held that the land owner has an actual duty to take reasonable steps to ...
  • Plaintiffs May be Able to Recover on a Slip and Fall on a Foreign Substance on Floor Robert L. Blamer
    As in all premises liability cases, a dangerous condition is open & obvious if “an average user with ordinary intelligence would have been able to discover the hazard and risk presented upon casual inspection.”  The Court of Appeals and Supreme Court have been using this defense to have cases tossed out of court and many ...
  • Attorney Inducted into Maritime Law Association of the United States Gregory R. Grant
    Congratulations to Greg Grant, an attorney in our Traverse City office, who was recently inducted into the Maritime Law Association of the United States (MLA). Mr. Grant is one of only 17 attorney members admitted to the association in Michigan. The MLA is the oldest and most recognized maritime legal organization in the United States, ...
  • In the Wake of Two Recent Rulings, Attorneys Offer Advice to Law Enforcement on Avoiding Liability James R. Acho
    Jim Acho, Doug Curlew and Jennifer Richards, all attorneys in our Livonia office, co-wrote an article highlighting two recent cases that impact law enforcement agencies. The article was published in the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police’s publication Michigan Police Chiefs. The article, “Unfavorable Outcome Affects Law Enforcement” summarizes two recent cases from the United ...
  • Attorney Outlines Recent COA Decision: Major Victory for Associations and Property Managers Joe Wloszek
    Joe Wloszek, an attorney in our Livonia office, recently wrote an article on the potential consequences of a co-owner slipping and falling on a condominium premises.  The article was published in the Michigan Chapter of the Community Associations Institute’s publication Community Association News. In “What Happens When Someone Slips and Falls on Condominium Property?” Mr. Wloszek ...
  • Attorneys Presenting on Drones at Upcoming MACP Conference Christopher G. Schultz
    Attorneys Karen Daley and Ethan Vinson will be presenting “Drones: Can We Control the Invasion?” at the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police (MACP) 2016 Winter Professional Development Conference in Grand Rapids on February 4, 2016. If you are attending the Conference, please consider attending their presentation and also stop by and visit several attorneys from ...
  • Can State and Local Governments Regulate the Use of Drones? Karen M. Daley
    Drones – also referred to as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), and remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) – are essentially aircraft without a human pilot aboard. Regardless of what they are called, one thing is clear: drones are here to stay and will increasingly be used for nonmilitary, domestic applications. The Federal ...
  • 2015 Year in Review: Monumental Milestone Recognized, Skilled Attorneys Hired, and Remarkable Anniversaries Celebrated Christopher G. Schultz
    As a new year is upon us, we reflect back on 2015 and the successful year we had at CMDA. We recognized a monumental milestone, hired several attorneys, and celebrated some remarkable anniversaries. CMDA was honored to have celebrated our 50th Anniversary in 2015. This monumental anniversary would not have been possible without Owen Cummings, the ...
  • Public Act 133: Pharmacy Technician Licensure Karen M. Daley
    Governor Rick Snyder recently signed several bills into law affecting local municipalities. The bills are aimed at clarifying the operations of local municipalities and should make it easier for counties, cities, townships, and villages to file documents and save money at the local government level. Karen Daley, an attorney in our Livonia office and head of ...
  • Public Act 131: E-Signatures Accepted at Register of Deeds Karen M. Daley
    Michigan Governor Rick Snyder recently signed several bills into law affecting local municipalities. The bills are aimed at clarifying the operations of local municipalities and should make it easier for counties, cities, townships, and villages to file documents and save money at the local government level.   Karen Daley, an attorney in our Livonia office and ...
  • Michigan Legislation Update: Recently Enacted Michigan Laws Karen M. Daley
    Governor Rick Snyder recently signed several bills into law affecting local municipalities. The bills are aimed at clarifying the operations of local municipalities and should make it easier for counties, cities, townships, and villages to file documents and save money at the local government level. E-Signatures Accepted at Register of Deeds Generally, an instrument conveying real property ...
  • Attorney Joins Livonia Office Christopher G. Schultz
    We are pleased to announce that Jennifer A. Richards has joined our Firm as an attorney in our Livonia office. She focuses her practice on municipal law, insurance defense, law enforcement defense, and litigation and appeals. Ms. Richards writes briefs for submission to all levels of state and federal courts, arguing cases in all levels of ...
  • California Legislation Update Jennifer Sherman
    RECENTLY ENACTED CALIFORNIA LAWS Amendments to FEHA In August 2015, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law amendments to the California Fair Employment and Hous­ing Act (FEHA) that will provide additional protection for employees who make a request for an accommodation for a dis­ability or religion. Assembly Bill 987 (AB 987) was initiated in reaction ...
  • Attorneys Win Case for Local Municipality: Plaintiff Sought $1,020,000 in Damages, Awarded $0 Linda Davis Friedland
    In a case recently won by Linda Davis Friedland and Elizabeth Rae O’Donnell, a firefighter sued a local municipality, five former and current Trustees, and the Fire Chief, under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA).  Plaintiff sought $1,020,000.00 in damages and was awarded nothing. Plaintiff, who ...
  • Attorneys Selected as 2015 Michigan Super Lawyers & Rising Stars Christopher G. Schultz
    We are pleased to announce that several CMDA attorneys have been selected for inclusion in the 2015 Michigan Super Lawyers & Rising Stars List.  Please join us in congratulating the following attorneys: 2015 Michigan Super Lawyers Jeff Clark, Top Rated State, Local and Municipal Attorney Allan Vander Laan, Top Rated State, Local and Municipal Attorney Haider Kazim, Top Rated ...
  • Attorney Jim Acho Predicts NLRB Ruling on College Athletes’ Unions James R. Acho
    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 ...
  • Acho Interviewed by Law360 Magazine on Deflategate Case James R. Acho
    Jim 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 ...
  • Appellate Attorneys: A Valuable Part of the Litigation Team Karen M. Daley
    Appellate advocacy is a distinct and specialized area of practice that draws upon talents and skills very different from trial skills. Appeals tend to be research intensive and require different skills than a trial attorney. Trials typically take place before juries, who determine factual issues. In contrast, appeals require the appellate attorney to make intellectual ...
  • Litigation: How to be Better Prepared Douglas Curlew
    Under the American legal system, there is no realm of human activity that fails to spawn litigation. The financial cost of a potential judgment is easily recognized. Less understood is the cost of time, energy, and resources (financial and human) of the litigation process itself. Even the defendant who avoids judgment by “winning” his case ...
  • Differences between Trial and Appellate Courts Karen M. Daley
    There are three major differences between trial courts and appellate courts: (1) witnesses and exhibits, (2) judges, and (3) juries. Witnesses and Exhibits A trial court is the court where a case starts. In the trial court, both sides present evidence to show their version of what happened. Most of the evidence presented in the trial court ...
  • Your Attorney Needs You Gregory R. Grant
    Communication with your attorney is the key to a successful litigation outcome. The following are some tips to follow that will help your attorney to be a more effective advocate on your behalf. These tips will not only save you time and money, but will also certainly result in a more positive outcome for you ...
  • How a Bill Becomes a Law Karen M. Daley
    It is the primary responsibility of the Michigan Legislature to formulate solutions to problems facing Michigan’s citizens. The Legislature does this by enacting laws designed to regulate and protect the activities of the people, business and government of the State. Below is a general and very brief description of the major steps of the legislative ...
  • What is the Difference Between Trial Courts and Appellate Courts? Karen M. Daley
    There are three major differences between trial courts and appellate courts: (1) witnesses and exhibits, (2) judges and (3) juries. Witnesses and Exhibits A trial court is the court where a case starts. In the trial court, both sides present evidence to show their version of what happened. Most of the evidence presented in the trial court ...
  • Attention Business Owners: Legal Research and Writing Services Available Karen M. Daley
    Did you know attorneys in the Firm’s Appellate Department also provide legal research and writing services to clients? To avoid a potential lawsuit or being held liable for a particular issue, it is important for business owners to know the law. The services provided by our Appellate Department range from researching complex and subtle legal issues ...
  • Firm’s Appellate Group Successfully Represents Clients in Appellate Proceedings Karen M. Daley
    In addition to the wide range of legal services CMDA provides to our clients, our Firm has a team of accomplished and talented attorneys who exclusively handle appellate matters. An appeal often gives a second chance to a losing party. However, appellate procedures can be complicated, confusing and time consuming. For these reasons, it is crucial ...