Business Law

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Cummings, McClorey, Davis & Acho, P.L.C. (CMDA) provides legal consultation, business, and advisory services in all areas of business law. CMDA business attorneys have extensive experience, along with legal and technical backgrounds, in public accounting, investment advisory services, securities, and tax planning. Our lawyers advise clients on issues ranging from simple business formation to complex combinations in new markets, joint ventures, and partnering with other businesses. We work to create solutions, providing value and costs savings to clients, to enhance their investments, which include tax planning and consultation, funding programs, utilizing insurance products, and investment programs.

Business law is where commerce, industry and workers organize, combine and function through principles of governance, compliance and control to achieve maximum efficiency.

Corporate and Commercial Transactions
Shareholder/Partner Relations and Business Succession Planning
Entity Structure and Governance
Start-up Business
Business Contracts
Real Estate
Tax Planning
Strategic Planning
Commercial Litigation
Non-Profit and Tax Exempt Organization
Intellectual Property
Creditors’ Rights
Sports and Entertainment Law
Health Care Law
Administrative Law

  • A Few Common Reminders of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Suzanne Bartos
    The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows an eligible employee to take an unpaid, job-protected leave for a specified family and medical reason with continuation of group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave.  A few of the common points of FMLA that may be ...
  • 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 ...
  • New Tools for Asset Protection and Estate Planning Gerald C. Davis
    Individuals in Michigan seeking to protect assets from creditors no longer have to transfer their assets to Delaware, Nevada or Alaska.  Effective February 5, 2017, the Qualified Dispositions in Trust Act, Domestic Asset Protection Trusts, Public Act 330 of 2016, will allow the owner of trust assets to retain and protect his or her assets ...
  • An Important Lesson for Condominium Developers Brandan Hallaq
    On December 15, 2016, the Michigan Court of Appeals issued an unpublished opinion in the matter of Woodland Estates, LLC v. City of Sterling Heights and County of Macomb. The Woodland Estates case should be taken as a warning to developers. This case illustrates the importance of obtaining legal advice from an attorney throughout all stages ...
  • Attorney Drafts Endorsement Agreement on Behalf of Client and NFL Player Matt Cross
    Matt Cross, an attorney in our Traverse City office, recently drafted an endorsement agreement on behalf of his client, Lawrence Hunt Fashion, Inc.  Lawrence Hunt named New York Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard as an official brand ambassador of the Detroit-based company that is known for building dress shirts with performance fabric technology making 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 ...
  • Occupational Safety and Health Act: New Rules for Injury and Illness Reporting Gerald C. Davis
    The workplace environment is governed by the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA).  The United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently issued a final order that will require employers and many high-hazard industries to electronically submit injury and illness data to OSHA.  Such reporting is already required to be tracked, but ...
  • Changes in Overtime Rules for Michigan Employers Christopher G. Schultz
    The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) has changed the overtime rules for certain salaried workers, which will be applicable to Michigan employers.  The changes are to be implemented on December 1, 2016.  Michigan business owners need to start planning now in order to avoid scrambling in November.  Many Michigan closely held businesses classify salaried employees as ...
  • U.S. Department of Labor Releases Final Overtime Rules Gerald C. Davis
    The Department of Labor recently released the final rules regarding the payment of overtime to employees, governed by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  While the new rules were to go into effect in June of 2015, a large number of modifications changed the original draft, and the final rules are now made effective December ...
  • 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 ...
  • Contributing to a Roth IRA through the Backdoor Linda Davis Friedland
    Many high income earners believe that they cannot contribute to a Roth IRA.  This is because they are unaware of the loophole they can use by contributing through the backdoor. The income limitations imposed by the Internal Revenue Service create the perceived barrier.  For 2016, the income and contribution limits for a Roth IRA are as ...
  • Attorneys Present on Bullard-Plawecki Employee Right to Know Act Andrew J. Brege
    Attorneys Haider Kazim and Andy Brege were at Bay College in Escanaba earlier this week giving a training presentation to MMRMA members. The training addressed the maintenance and disclosure of personnel files under the Bullard-Plawecki Employee Right to Know Act and highlighted the United States Supreme Court decisions of Brady v Maryland and Giglio v United ...
  • Employee Handbooks are Essential for Small Businesses Christopher G. Schultz
    Clients frequently question the value of preparing an employee handbook.  Many small business owners do not provide employees with an updated, legally-sound handbook due to the anticipated time needed to develop it and/or the belief that it is not necessary since they have good relations with their employees.  Providing all employees with information on the ...
  • Employers Face More Compliance Challenges Gerald C. Davis
    This past January, the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency (MUI) mailed a new determination to employers – Form UIA 6367, Notice of Determination of Employer Charging (Notice). The MUI uses this form to notify employers that they have the potential to be charged for (unemployment) claims for which the employer does not provide timely or adequate ...
  • 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 ...
  • Should Michigan Employers “Ban the Box” and Remove the Criminal Conviction Question from Applications? Elizabeth Rae-O'Donnell
    On November 2, 2015, President Barack Obama announced a new executive order to “Ban the Box,” which is a check off on federal job applications that requires job applicants to disclose their criminal conviction history on the face of the application. This initial disclosure often causes employers to eliminate applicants before ever considering their qualifications. ...
  • Strategies to Minimize Joint Employer Liability Gerald C. Davis
    Employers should re-evaluate the creation of indemnity with clients where workers are placed at client work sites and also analyze any existing indemnity provisions of contracts with others where either has agreed to provide indemnity. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) reversed more than 30 years of precedent in the recent case of Browning-Ferris Industries 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 ...
  • New Rules Affecting Workers and Employers by the U.S. Department of Labor Gerald C. Davis
    Many businesses, as employers, have experimented with treating their workers as independent contrac­tors in an effort to avoid withholding wages for taxes, social security (FICA) and unem­ployment insurance, as would be required for workers classified as employees. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) com­piled a new six-part test, issued under the Administrator’s Interpretation 2015-1. Is the work ...
  • EEOC Bans Discrimination against Sexual Orientation in the Workplace Elizabeth Rae-O'Donnell
    On July 16, 2015, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) ruled that all job discrimination based on sexual orientation is a form of sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This historic 3-2 decision does what Congress and most courts so far have refused to do: ban discrimination against gays ...
  • The Importance of Federal Registration Patrick R. Sturdy
    Business owners and individuals should be concerned with protecting their brand identity, which means taking active steps to protect their trademark. The best avenue of protection is Federal Registration of the business or individual’s trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The right to use a trademark does not come from Federal Registration, instead, ...
  • Intellectual Property: The Most Overlooked Asset of a Company Gerald C. Davis
    When evaluating the worth of a company, it is important to recognize the value of all assets and liabilities in determining the company’s value.  However, most overlooked are the intangibles – that is, assets that do not have a physical shape, but nonetheless contribute to the earning power of the company.  The true value of ...
  • Protecting Your Company’s Internet Presence Carla G. Testani
    A company’s name and logo make its products and services distinguishable from any other business and may be protected by a trademark registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).  A trademark is considered property of the business and has a tangible value, as it is used by the public to associate a ...
  • 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 ...
  • Telecommuting May Not be a Reasonable Accommodation Under the ADA if On-Site Attendance is an Essential Function of the Position Elizabeth Rae-O'Donnell
    On April 10, 2015, a full panel of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals (covering Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee) decided in an unpublished decision that a former Ford employee, Jane Harris, was not a qualified individual with a disability because her excessive absences prevented her from performing the essential functions of a resale buyer. ...
  • E-Verify: Understanding Responsibilities and Rights CMDA Law
    E-Verify is a federal program that employers use to verify a new employee’s employment eligibility in the United States. The use of E-Verify has grown exponentially in the last few years and its use only continues to increase. According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, just over 1,000 employers were enrolled in E-Verify ...
  • Signs of Identity Theft and How to Dispute Errors on Your Credit Report Jennifer Sherman
    Identity theft is occurring more often, due in part to the recent data breaches with merchants, hospitals, and various websites. Identity theft also results from so-called “phishing scams,” in which the victim is tricked into revealing personal information. Even if you do business only with trusted companies, and you keep your personal information to yourself, ...
  • Michigan Investment Markets Bill Would Permit Local Stock Exchanges Robert J. Hahn
    On May 22, 2014, the Michigan House of Representatives passed House Bill 5273, Michigan Investment Markets (MIM). This Bill amends the Michigan Uniform Securities Act to provide for the creation and regulation of intrastate security markets or exchanges. It is designed to complement the Michigan Invests Locally Exemption (MILE), recently signed into law by Governor ...
  • Google Glass: Use of wearable technology in the workplace creates the need for updated workplace policies CMDA Law
    Wearable technology is becoming more and more present in our technologically-based society. Google Glass is “smart eyewear” featuring a small computer built into a pair of glasses. Google Glass functions much like a smartphone, but users see a visual display in their line of vision and operate the device with voice commands. The glasses provide ...
  • New Tools for Consumers in the Fight Against Identity Theft and Credit Report Errors Linda Davis Friedland
    In the wake of the Great Recession, which, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, began in December 2007 and ended in June 2009, a flurry of federal legislation was enacted to provide support for consumers.  The Fair Credit Reporting Act, which became effective July 21, 2010, was amended to provide for “one-call fraud alerts.”  Under this ...
  • Immigration: The Effect of Slyusar v. Holder on the “Incredible” REAL ID Act CMDA Law
    What was the exact date of your first hair cut?  If you cannot remember and you are an asylum applicant, you may have just earned yourself a deportation order back to the country you were fleeing.  Under the REAL ID Act of 2005 (Act), Immigration Judges (IJ) have an “incredible” amount of power and latitude when making ...
  • Contributing to a Roth IRA through a Backdoor Option Linda Davis Friedland
    Many high income earners believe they cannot contribute to a Roth IRA because of the income limitations imposed by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).  There is a backdoor route high income earners can take, however, to accomplish the same thing as opening a Roth IRA directly. For 2014, the income and contribution limits for a Roth IRA are ...
  • Crowdfunding Bill Intended to Assist Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses Robert J. Hahn
    On December 30, 2013, Governor Snyder signed into law Public Act 264, Michigan Invests Locally Exemption (MILE), which permits crowdfunding for small business. It is an intrastate exemption from the State of Michigan and Federal securities laws, whereby Michigan residents can invest in Michigan businesses. Crowdfunding refers to funding a company by selling a small amount ...
  • Creativity, 3D Printing and the Law CMDA Law
    The marketplace for handmade and unique items is expanding thanks to websites like Etsy, eBay, and Pinterest.  These sites allow crafty entrepreneurs to reach a large network of consumers at a very low cost.  The use of 3D printers is becoming increasingly popular and has the potential to expand the marketplace for handmade and unique items even ...
  • E-3 Visas: An Alternative to the H-1B Lottery CMDA Law
    Both the H-1B visa and the E-3 visa allow U.S. businesses to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations, however the differences between the two are important for employers to understand. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) place a cap on available H-1B visas at 65,000.  Within five days from the start of the filing period, ...
  • Succession Planning: Now is the Time to Develop a Plan Christopher G. Schultz
    As the economy progresses through an economic cycle and continues to improve, business owners are seeing the value of their business recover.  Now is a good time for business owners to develop a plan for their company’s future, even if retirement is not on the horizon. A succession plan is a long-term process put in place by ...
  • Account Stated and Open Account Actions Involving Sale of Goods Subject to Michigan’s Six-Year Limitations Period Gerald C. Davis
    Whether you are a landlord, a small business owner or an individual undoubtedly you will find yourself in a position in which someone owes you or your business money. Collections can be difficult to pursue on your own, especially when the debtor is resistant to paying his or her debt. Attorneys are often contacted for ...
  • Account Stated and Open Account Actions Involving Sale of Goods Subject to Michigan’s Six-Year Limitations Period Gerald C. Davis
    Whether you are a landlord, a small business owner or an individual undoubtedly you will find yourself in a position in which someone owes you or your business money.  Collections can be difficult to pursue on your own, especially when the debtor is resistant to paying his or her debt.  Attorneys are often contacted for assistance with collecting ...
  • Employee or Independent Contractor? UIA Adopts 20-Factor Test Gerald C. Davis
    Hiring workers can involve liability for homeowners and businesses alike, even if the workers hired are only part-time or temporary.  An employer should be careful when deciding to classify a worker as an employee versus an independent contractor.  The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) imposes severe penalties upon businesses and homeowners if a worker is misclassified as an ...
  • Michigan Court of Appeals Upholds Non-Recourse Mortgage Loan Act Robert J. Hahn
    In what has been called a big victory for borrowers of commercial loans, the Michigan Court of Appeals has upheld the Michigan legislature’s recent passage of the Non-Recourse Mortgage Loan Act (NMLA). In the case of Wells Fargo Bank v Cherryland Mall Ltd Ptnsp, the Court addressed the issue of whether developer David Schostak is personally liable for ...
  • Healthcare’s Small Business Tax Credit: Is your Small Business Eligible? CMDA Law
    Healthcare’s Small Business Tax Credit: Is your Small Business Eligible? The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act includes a tax credit for small businesses that choose to offer healthcare to their employees. The tax credit has been available since 2010 and helps to offset the cost for companies providing the benefit.  Small business owners that provide ...
  • Deciphering the Healthcare Law CMDA Law
    Healthcare in the United States is changing rapidly, but the details, thus far, have been murky at best.  The passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as well as the subsequent United States Supreme Court ruling in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius have created more than their fair share of confusion.  ...
  • Know Your Business: Three Key Areas that Need Your Attention Christopher G. Schultz
    Owning a small business and living in the land of “entrepreneurial bliss” can prove rewarding, yet challenging. I have counseled many small business owners and advise them of three areas of their business that need constant attention: insurance, accounting and marketing. These areas should not be delegated to an employee or independent professional without the ...
  • Don’t Let the IRS Take 35% of Your 401(k) Linda Davis Friedland
    Pension plans are quickly disappearing in both the public and private sectors.   As a result, traditional Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) and defined contribution plans under Section 401(k) of the Internal Revenue Code (401ks) will most likely become the most significant assets in many estate plans. These assets are typically “qualified,” meaning that the money is deposited ...