The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals Expands an Employer’s Defenses to a Claim of Discrimination

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, failed to offer either direct or indirect evidence that her job was terminated based […]

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Physical Disabilities in a Virtual World

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 difficult for accessibility software on the site visitor’s own computer to make full use of […]

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Michigan COA: Seller of Boat was not Owner during Accident

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 Appeals in Williams v. Kennedy et. al, issued Aug. 2, 2016 (Docket No. 325267), […]

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Sixth Circuit Holds Dismissal of Firefighter’s Retaliation Complaint

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 Chief position to the township Board of Trustees. During an open board meeting on […]

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Sixth Circuit Holds that Police Must Protect Free Expression of Unpopular Views

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 v. City of Chicago (S.Ct. 1949).  When a speaker passes the bounds of mere argument […]

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Department of Education and Transgender Facilities

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 consistent with their gender identity.” Gender identity refers to an individual’s internal sense of gender.  […]

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CMDA Now Handles Patents

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 them for our clients. CMDA strives to provide clients with the strongest and broadest intellectual […]

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An Employee’s Motivation is No Longer Determinative in a Whistleblower Protection Claim

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 are bound to serve the public and violate laws, designed to protect the public, […]

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Land Owner has a Higher Duty than an Injured Party

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 prevent dangerous conditions, which could include the duty to inspect.  However, an injured party’s […]

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Plaintiffs May be Able to Recover on a Slip and Fall on a Foreign Substance on Floor

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 Plaintiffs’ attorneys will not take such cases. However, inroads have been made against this open […]

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