Please click here to read an article in the Dallas News regarding Jim Acho recently filing a concussion suit on behalf of Pat Summerall.
Please click here to read an article in the Dallas News regarding Jim Acho recently filing a concussion suit on behalf of Pat Summerall.
CMDA invites you to attend a free educational workshop on Conquering the Challenges of Medicare, Medicaid and Veterans Benefits on Wednesday, September 19th at 10:30 a.m. at the Sterling Heights Senior Center.
Attorney Gene Richards will share insights and practical strategies on how to qualify for government-funded, long-term care benefits and ways to avoid common mistakes that disqualify people from maximum Medicare, Medicaid and Veterans benefits.
The following attorneys have been selected to the 2018 Michigan Super Lawyers list:Â
Jim Acho, Top Rated Civil Litigation
Jeff Clark, Top Rated State, Local & Municipal
Haider Kazim, Top Rated State, Local & Municipal
Allan Vander Laan, Top Rated State, Local & Municipal
Each year, no more than five percent of the lawyers in the state receive this honor.
The following attorneys have been selected to the 2018 Michigan Super Lawyers Rising Stars list:Â
Matt Cross, Top Rated Civil Litigation
Jennifer Richards, Top Rated Civil Litigation
Braeden Willoughby, Top Rated Personal Injury
Each year, no more than 2.5 percent of the lawyers in the state receive this honor
Christopher G. Schultz, managing partner of the Firm, explains, â€śHaving several attorneys at CMDA named as Super Lawyers and Rising Stars is a great honor that mirrors the high standards of excellence our attorneys set for themselves. It is also a testament to the hard work, dedication and success they strive to provide clients. Having three attorneys named as Rising Stars is a positive reflection of the Firmâ€™s future direction and leadership.â€ť
Most parents know â€” in theory, at least â€” that their children are no longer children when they turn 18. They are considered legal adults with legal responsibilities. This is an abrupt transfer of power and the full significance may not be apparent until something happens that drives that reality home.
The start of the school year is right around the corner, which means many recent high school graduates will soon be heading off to college. Before parents drop off their children on campus, I strongly recommend having them obtain a medical durable power of attorney and a general durable power of attorney.
Medical Durable Power of Attorney
The following is a difficult sentence for many parents to digest: Just because you are the parent, and just because you provide the financial support, does not mean you have any legal rights for your son or daughter after they turn 18 years old- even if you are paying their college tuition, and even if they are on your health insurance plan, and even if you claim them as a dependent on your tax returns. If your son or daughter gets into a car accident the day after they turn 18 and suffers severe brain damage, without a medical durable power of attorney, you have no rights to sign them up for benefits and you could even be kept in the dark on their medical condition.
I recommend having college-aged young adults, along with young adults who are still dependents, sign a medical durable power of attorney. This document allows a parent to be designated as a patient advocate to make future medical decisions in the event that their son or daughter is unable to make medical decisions on their own.
General Durable Power of Attorney
Another legal document that I recommend having college-aged young adults obtain is a general durable power of attorney. This document goes above and beyond medical decisions and gives a parent â€“ or another trusted adult â€“ the authority to make financial decisions, business decisions, and conduct transactions on behalf of their son or daughter in the event some sort of accident leaves them unable to handle their own affairs. It could be dealing with the bank or even with the university they attend. Having a general durable power of attorney allows a trusted adult to step in without getting judges, courts, and lawyers involved.
Weâ€™ve Streamlined the Process for Busy Families
Having college-aged children myself, I know preparing for college life is very hectic for both parents and their children, therefore I have implemented a streamlined process for young adults to quickly obtain these important legal documents before they head off to school. After a brief phone consultation, the parent and their child will come into our Livonia office where I will explain the legal significance of both documents in clear and straightforward language to ensure all family members understand the legal rights a parent has â€“ and does not have â€“ once these documents are signed. Both the young adult and the parent will then be asked to sign the documents. While I will spend as much time as needed, most appointments take less than 30 minutes. There is still time to get this done before school starts, even for those with nearly full calendars.
Special Pricing: Two Offers
Offer #1: If you have a child heading off to college or an adult child who is still a dependent, I will prepare a complimentary medical durable power of attorney or a general durable power of attorney for every client that schedules an appointment to have their current estate plan reviewed. Keep in mind, if your child was a minor when you first created your estate plan and he/she is now over 18 years old, it is wise to review and update your estate plan.
Offer #2: If you are not in need of an estate plan review at this time, but have a child heading off to college or a young adult who is still a dependent, I am offering special â€śback to schoolâ€ť pricing to prepare these documents. The cost to obtain a medical durable power of attorney is $75/per child. The cost for a durable power of attorney is $100/per child. The cost to get both documents at the same time is $150/per child.
Taking the simple steps to obtain these important legal documents before your child heads off to college will provide parents with an overall peace of mind and, should an accident occur, eliminate the stress and confusion when your son or daughter needs you the most.
The two special offers are only valid through September 31, 2018. Please contact Norman (Gene) Richards or his legal assistant, Rita Turner, to schedule an appointment. They may be reached at (734) 261-2400 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Gene is available to meet throughout the day and on select evenings.
Norman E. Richards (Gene) is a partner in our Livonia office where he focuses his practice on estate planning and elder law. He assists clients with the development of customized estate plans to address their specific needs, including family owned businesses, senior adults concerned about long term care needs, and special needs trusts for children with special needs. He may be reached at (734) 261-2400 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ken Callicutt was a great college running back, Clemson’s MVP in 1976 and 1977, and MVP of The Senior Bowl in 1977. Unfortunately though, after being drafted by Detroit, Callicutt found himself behind a stable of highly-drafted, superbly-skilled running backs like Lawrence Gaines, Dexter Bussey, Horace King and Billy Sims. Callicutt and Rick Kane–talented backs in the own right–were forced to find other ways to contribute, and contribute Callicutt did in a big way, carving out a niche as one of the NFL’s most dangerous special teamers. Detroit’s Special Teams MVP every year from 1978-1983, Callicutt was a deadly wedge buster, an act that involved kamikaze-like jettisoning of his body head-first into a group of players, often knocking them over like bowling pins, and, while it made Callicutt invaluable, it also ended his career prematurely and has caused him physical and cognitive issues over the past two decades. Callicutt had a successful business career post-football, rising to an executive level at Bally’s (nee Vic Tanny) under Bally’s President Mike Lucci, an ex Lion who knew how intelligent and hard-working Callicutt was. But even Ken’s work career began to suffer, and Callicutt was forced to stop working well before his time. Finally frustrated beyond measure, Ken hired Jim Acho in 2015 upon recommendation of ex-Lions Tom Skladany and Mike Lucci, in order to pursue a concussion claim against the NFL. After countless hours of testing through several respected doctors (namely, Dr. Stephen Schechter, head of neurology at Beaumont Hospital, and Dr. Charles Seigerman, a noted neuropsychologist who has seen numerous military veterans and ex-NFL players through his private practice and through the Eisenhower Center in Ann Arbor) over two years, Ken was diagnosed with severe cognitive impairment.
Jim Acho and Jennifer Richards of CMDA’s Livonia office filed Ken’s claim and assumed that of all the claims they’d filed, this one was a sure-fire winner. Callicutt’s claim was initially denied, though, something CMDA is used to in dealing with NFL concussion cases, but this case was appealed and it was felt this would be a mere formality, since the testing results were so clear-cut. This was a “slam dunk” if there ever was one, according to Callicutt’s doctors. Shockingly, the appeal was denied, and Acho was so incensed at what he viewed was a miscarriage of justice that he took the measure of trying this matter in the court of public opinion. As such, he reached out to HBO Real Sports, who, after reviewing Ken’s case, immediately agreed to do a segment on it along with 2 other players who had been wrongfully denied. One of them, Scott Brantley, is best-known for a hit he put on another CMDA client of Jim Acho, ex-Lions quarterback Eric Hipple. It is considered the hardest hit in NFL history ever captured on film. (CMDA suggests you Google the Brantley hit on Hipple.) The HBO piece on Callicutt and Brantley aired in July, 2018.
Less than one week after the HBO piece aired, the NFL Claims Administrator reversed itself and unilaterally awarded Ken Callicutt monetary compensation for his cognitive impairment. This was (is) heretofore unprecedented in the annals of this concussion class action case. To its credit, the NFL did not object or appeal the reversal of the award. (Acho points this out because the NFL and its lawyers often look for any reason to fight claims, and Acho bases this on nearly 2 decades of representing ex-players in a myriad of issues be it pension, disability, 88 Plan or concussion.) While CMDA is thankful to HBO the question remains: if this piece does not get aired, is Ken Callicutt still left out in the cold? This is why CMDA and Jim Acho continue to fight for ex-players..so that eventually nobody who built the game is left out in the cold.
Jim Acho wishes to thank: Jennifer Richards, Julia Callahan (paralegal extraordinaire), Dr. Steve Schecter, Dr. Chuck Seigerman, Lisa Cruz and ex-Lion Eddie Murray (the Detroit Lions liasions for ex-player issues), Mike Lucci for his never-ending support of all ex-players, Eric Hipple for always being there to help ex-players (and military vets) with anxiety, depression and PTSD, HBO Real Sports Producer Evan Burgos, Mary Callicutt for being a rock of gibraltar for her husband, Kyra Callicutt and Ken Callicutt, Jr. (and his better half) for being a tremendous support to their dad, and of course Ken Callicutt himself for being a courageous man in the face of adversity. Keep on keepin on, big man!
The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) Corporation, Securities & Commercial Licensing Bureau (CSCL) recently announced that 2018 annual reports for nonprofit corporations have been mailed to resident agents on record with the CSCL Corporations Division. Nonprofit corporations are required to file their annual report by October 1, 2018.
Nonprofit corporations are those formed in which members may not receive any profits of the corporation. A nonprofit corporation is formed under the Michigan Nonprofit Corporations Act. Some purposes for which nonprofit corporations are commonly formed are those involving religious, educational and charitable activities. A total of 62,202 Michigan nonprofit corporations and 1,582 foreign corporations are receiving 2018 annual reports.
Section 911 of the Nonprofit Corporation Act provides that all domestic nonprofit corporations and foreign nonprofit corporations authorized to transact business in Michigan are required to file an annual report each year.
(1) Each domestic corporation and each foreign corporation authorized to conduct affairs in this state shall file a report with the administrator not later than October 1 of each year. The report shall be on a form approved by the administrator, signed by an authorized officer or agent of the corporation, and contain all of the following information:
Â (2) A corporation is not required to file a report required under this section in the year of incorporation or authorization if the corporation was formed or authorized to do business on or after January 1 and before October 1 of that year.
(3) If there are no changes in the information provided in the last filed report required under subsection (1), the corporation may file a report that certifies to the administrator that no changes in the required information have occurred since the last filed report. A report filed under this subsection shall be on a form approved by the administrator and filed not later than the date required in subsection (1).
Section 922 of the Nonprofit Corporation Act provides that if a domestic nonprofit corporation neglects or refuses to file a report or pay a fee required by this act for two years, the nonprofit corporation will be automatically dissolved. It also provides that if a foreign nonprofit corporation neglects or refuses to file a report or pay a fee required by this act for one year, the nonprofit corporationâ€™s certificate of authority is subject to revocation under section 1042.
(1) If a domestic corporation neglects or refuses to file its annual report under section 911 or pay any annual filing fee or a penalty added to the fee required by law, and the neglect or refusal continues for a period of 2 years from the date on which the annual report or filing fee was due, the corporation is automatically dissolved 60 days after the expiration of the 2-year period. The administrator shall notify the corporation of the impending dissolution at least 90 days before the 2-year period expires. Until a corporation is dissolved under this subsection, it is entitled to issuance by the administrator, on request, of a certificate of good standing that states that the corporation was validly incorporated as a domestic corporation and that it is validly in existence under the laws of this state.
(2) A charitable purpose corporation that is dissolved under subsection (1) shall within 90 days after the date of the dissolution comply with the dissolution of charitable purpose corporation act, 1965 PA 169, MCL 450.251 to 450.253, or renew its corporate existence under section 925. This subsection does not prevent a corporation that is dissolved under subsection (1) from renewing its corporate existence under section 925 at any time.
(3) If a foreign corporation neglects or refuses for 1 year to file its annual report under section 911 or pay the annual filing fee required by law, its certificate of authority is subject to revocation under section 1042.
Until revocation of its certificate of authority, or its withdrawal from this state or termination of its existence, the foreign corporation is entitled to issuance by the administrator, on request, of a certificate of good standing that states that it was validly authorized to conduct affairs in this state and that it holds a valid certificate of authority to conduct affairs in this state.
(4) The administrator may electronically transmit a notification of pending dissolution described in subsection (1) to the resident agent of the corporation in the manner authorized by the corporation.
Please contact our Firm if you have need additional information or have any questions regarding annual report filing for nonprofit corporations.
Christopher G. Schultz, managing partner of the Firm, focuses his practice on business law, real estate law, and estate planning.
He represents and counsels nonprofit corporations as well as manufacturers, financial service institutions, small and large businesses in the retail and service sectors in many areas, including entity election, start-up issues, shareholder and owner relationships, employment matters, mergers, acquisitions, real estate matters, and business succession planning. Additionally, he assists clients with estate planning matters, including wills, trusts, charitable giving, estate administration, irrevocable trusts, gifting and special needs trusts. He may be reached at (734) 261-2400 or email@example.com.
Jim Acho, a partner in our Livonia office and the attorney who heads-up the NFL concussion litigation at CMDA, appeared at the Annual NFL Alumni dinner on July 16, 2018 at Tam O’ Shanter Country Club.Â He provided NFL retirees with an update on the concussion litigation. CMDA is pleased to have successfully recovered millions of dollars for former NFL players thus far and hope to continue to do so in the future.
Jim Acho may be reached at (734) 261-2400 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Recently, two separate courts agreed with CMDA that the lawsuits two former community college instructors filed against the college should be dismissed.
The underlying facts showed that two full-time instructors were involved in a series of conflict resolution sessions where both parties were advised to be civil and follow the rules of the college. The evidence also showed that when one of the full-time instructors was going up for tenure, the two plaintiffs, a former full-time tenured instructor and a former part-time instructor, engaged in a whisper campaign to disparage and discredit the instructor who was trying to achieve tenure status. The two plaintiffs involved students in their efforts to compromise the other instructorâ€™s efforts to attain tenure. The solicited students wrote anonymous and negative e-mails to the collegeâ€™s administration at the same time the instructor was going up for tenure. When the instructor seeking tenure filed complaints about their behavior, the collegeâ€™s internal investigations resulted in recommendations that both plaintiffs be terminated.
Following their terminations, both plaintiffs sued. The part-time instructor alleged in a federal court lawsuit that she was retaliated against and fired contrary to the anti-retaliatory provisions of Title IX because she gave favorable witness statements on behalf of her colleague for the underlying Title IX investigation. This plaintiffâ€™s economist expert quoted her damages as exceeding $300,000. The full-time instructor filed a lawsuit in state court alleging that he was a â€śwhistleblowerâ€ť who was fired in retaliation for making a FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, 20 U.S.C. Â§1232g) complaint with the college. This plaintiffâ€™s economist expert quoted his damages as exceeding $1.5 million. The unfortunate part of the case was that the identity of the anonymous students was outed and that is why the plaintiff filed a FERPA complaint. As it turns out, however, had the plaintiff not involved students in his efforts to discredit the tenure seeking instructor, the students would not have been drawn into an employment dispute at the college in the first place.
Both the Federal Court and the State Court granted the collegeâ€™s Motions for Summary Judgment and Summary Disposition respectively. The Federal Court Judge found that the plaintiffâ€™s evidence did nothing to show that her Title IX testimony in support of her colleague was a significant factor contributing to the recommendation that her part-time teaching position not be renewed. Further, the Court found that the college articulated legitimate and non-discriminatory reasons for not re-appointing the plaintiff and that there was no illegal pretext discrimination.
Likewise, the State Court Judge found that the plaintiff had not presented a prima facie case of whistleblower retaliation because he could not prove through direct or circumstantial evidence that he was fired because he made a FERPA complaint. The Court agreed that the evidence undisputedly and objectively demonstrated through the findings of the internal investigations, that the plaintiff should be terminated because of egregious behavior toward a fellow colleague, violations of confidentiality and inappropriately engaging students in an employment dispute.
One plaintiff in this case has very recently filed an appeal, which CMDA is currently vigorously defending.
Elizabeth Rae-Oâ€™Donnell is an attorney in our Livonia office where she concentrates her practice on municipal law, employment and labor law, and education law. She may be reached at (734) 261-2400 or email@example.com.
Stanley I. Okoli joined our Firm as an attorney in our Livonia office where he focuses his practice on research and writing, as well as plaintiffâ€™s personal injury and litigation. He writes briefs for submission to all levels of state and federal courts, argues cases in both the state and federal courts of appeals, and performs research for all areas of law handled by our Firm. Mr. Okoli has taken over 30 cases to Michigan Court of Appeals and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and has handled 14 jury trials.
He assists clients with many types of negligence actions, workersâ€™ compensation claims, and social security disability claims. Mr. Okoli is a strong advocate for his clients and vigorously fights to obtain favorable lawsuit settlements and verdicts. He has the experience, resources, and written and oral advocacy skills necessary to help clients recover full and fair compensation for lost wages, property damage, medical care, pain and suffering, and more. Further, he is well-versed in issues involving law enforcement and qualified immunity.
He previously worked as a law clerk for the honorable Judge Frank Szymanski at the Wayne County Probate Court and for the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office.
He may be reached at (734) 261-2400 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals (the Federal Appeals Court which includes Michigan) recently reviewed the firing of a male funeral home director transitioning to female. Ms. Stephens was fired after she advised the funeral home owner, Mr. Rost, that she was intending to live as a woman including utilizing a female name, dressing in womenâ€™s clothing and using the womenâ€™s restroom. Litigation was filed against the funeral home by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) claiming that Ms. Stephens was discriminated against due to her gender in violation of Title VII. In response to the lawsuit, Mr. Rost asserted that he was Christian and believed that his highest priority was to honor God and that since he believed that a personâ€™s gender was a gift from God, changing that gender would be a sin. As a Christian he felt that allowing the employee to alter her gender at work was supporting that sin and not honoring God. Mr. Rost also argued that since his funeral home was a religious institution it was exempt from enforcement of the requirements of Title VII.
Title VII is the federal law that prohibits discrimination (termination from employment) based upon a personâ€™s race, color, nationality, religion or sex/gender. Gender has been defined to include how a person perceives the gender, its stereotypes. In lay terms this means that you cannot discriminate against a person for being a certain sex and also you cannot discriminate against a person for not meeting your own expectations or stereotypes of how that gender should dress, act, speak, etc. In other words, you cannot fire a female because you believe that she should be wearing makeup or fire a male because you believe that he is perhaps speaking or walking in a feminine manner. Utilizing this definition, the Court of Appeals found that Ms. Stephens was terminated based upon her gender since she was terminated after she announced that she would no longer meet the stereotype beliefs of Mr. Rost as to how a male should dress and act. The Court believed that Ms. Stephensâ€™ gender was relevant to the employment decision and, therefore, the employment decision was made â€śbecause of her sexâ€ť which made it a violation of Title VII.
Having found a violation of Title VII the Court then considered Mr. Rostâ€™s argument that the company was precluded from liability under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) since it was a religious institution and the firing was based on a sincere religious belief. The RFRA applies when the government is attempting to intrude on a personâ€™s religious freedoms, here the EEOC was requiring Mr. Rost to allow his male employee to present as a female at work. The RFRA states that a religious institution can, in effect, discriminate against a person in an employment situation without violating antidiscrimination laws, such as Title VII, if conforming to that Act would create a substantial burden in carrying out the religious exercise of the institution. A simple example is the Catholic Church is not violating the law by not allowing women to attend the seminary because this is based upon the tenant that only a man can be a priest.
In this case, for the funeral home to rely on this exemption it had to show that employing a transgender funeral director would impose a substantial burden on its ability to carry out the self-proclaimed religious exercise of the business of â€ścaring for the grieving.â€ť Mr. Rost argued that Ms. Stephens would cause a distraction and this distraction would interfere with the customerâ€™s grieving process.
The Court found that Mr. Rost could not rely on a customerâ€™s potential biases to establish a substantial burden. In other words, any possible distraction Ms. Stephens may cause was not a reason to terminate her. The Court also disagreed that allowing Ms. Stephens to present as a female was not at odds with Mr. Rostâ€™s religious beliefs and, therefore, it was not a substantial burden in carrying out the religions exercise. Tolerating Ms. Stephensâ€™ gender identity decisions was not the same as supporting these decisions so this would not be against his religious belief that challenging oneâ€™s gender was a sin.
There are two important takeaways from this ruling: (1) a business cannot allow an employeeâ€™s gender, or how a gender is expressed, to be a reason for an employment decision and, (2) in todayâ€™s culture of demanding tolerance of self-expression, the courts will bend the laws beyond their original intent to find discriminatory conduct. Discriminatory conduct goes beyond not approving of women in the workplace or not approving of who one chooses to love to not approving of how someone does not conform to your stereotypical beliefs.
If you have any questions regarding this matter, how it may impact your employment decisions, or any question on an employment issue please contact me at your convenience.Suzanne P. Bartos is a partner in our Livonia office where she focuses her practice on employment and labor law, insurance defense, municipal law, education law, and litigation.
She has a wealth of experience negotiating grievance arbitrations, contract negotiations, and other labor related issues. Ms. Bartos routinely provides assistance in employment relations matters, including defending claims in state and federal courts involving civil rights, wrongful discharge, discrimination, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). She may be reached at (734) 261-2400 or email@example.com.