Newsletters & Publications
On February 22, 2017, the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education withdrew two statements of policy and guidance, issued during President Obama’s administration, concerning transgender students’ access to bathrooms and locker rooms.
As of noon on February 10, 2017 spring weight restrictions are in effect and enforced on Michigan roads. The spring weight restrictions protect the roads as the ground begins to thaw and the surface of our roads becomes unstable.
In a case involving a complex set of facts, the Michigan Court of Appeals (the “Court”) recently published an opinion concerning a priority dispute between mortgage lenders involving the doctrine of equitable subrogation (Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. Trustee v. SBC IV REO, LLC and Capitol National Bank, No. 328186, November 29, 2016).
On December 28, 2016, Governor Rick Snyder signed into law Public Act 378 of 2016 (the “Act”), which abolishes all statutory or common law rights of dower in Michigan, except in the case of a widow whose husband dies before the Act’s effective date.
Governor Rick Snyder signed into law two bills, Public Acts 330 and 331, that modernize Michigan’s trust laws by allowing domestic asset protection trusts (“DAPTs”) for the first time in the state. With its adoption of the Qualified Dispositions in Trusts Act (the “Act”) last month, Michigan joined 16 other states that allow for the creation of DAPTs. The new laws go into effect on March 8, 2017.
What happens when: (i) a mortgagor, who has defaulted, assigns her rights to any surplus proceeds from the foreclosure sale to a third party, (ii) the mortgagee submits a partial credit bid, and (iii) the property sells for more than the credit bid, but less than the amount due under the mortgage? Is the assignee entitled to the proceeds in excess of the partial credit bid, or should those excess funds go to the mortgagee?
Last year, the American Farm Bureau Federation conducted a survey of farmers with respect to Farm Data. The results of the survey revealed that many farmers are still uncertain about how their Farm Data is used and whether their data is protected. Fifty-five percent of farmers surveyed did not know whether the agreements they signed with agricultural technology providers (“ATPs”) addressed who owns collected data. Similarly, 59 percent of farmers did not know whether ATPs could use collected data to market products or services back to them.
Information technology is becoming increasingly important for agribusinesses looking to improve productivity, efficiency and effectiveness. From monitoring crops, to managing workforces, agribusinesses are adopting technological solutions to gather, analyze and use information to make decisions and optimize performance.
Citizens and visitors to Michigan have many opportunities to pursue recreational activities in natural settings. Thanks to the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act (“NREPA”), the owners, tenants, and lessees of Michigan agricultural and farm properties enjoy certain protections from liability whenever members of the public come onto their land to engage in such activities.
As a general matter, the Fair Labor Standards Act requires that an employer pay an employee the federal minimum wage plus one-and-a-half times the employee’s standard pay rate for time worked over 40 hours in a work week. The Act also creates an “agricultural exemption” from this general rule.
Governor Snyder approved a new law on Tuesday that gives municipalities a stronger defense in sidewalk-injury lawsuits. PA 419 of 2016 amends Section 2a of the Governmental Liability for Negligence Act (Act 170 of 1964), which sets forth the extent of a municipality’s duties and liability in property and personal injury claims related to sidewalk maintenance.
A new law signed by Lt. Governor Brian Calley will prohibit counties, townships, cities and villages in Michigan from adopting or enforcing ordinances that regulate in any way the use, disposition or sale of certain containers, most notably, plastic bags.
This installment discusses bonus depreciation and other tax deductions specific to farms that are available in addition to Section 179.
In an opinion released December 15, 2016, the Michigan Court of Appeals (the “Court”) ruled that Michigan state law does not preempt policies created by a Michigan school district banning the possession of firearms in schools and at school sponsored events.
Claims under the Whistleblowers Protection Act have become increasingly common. This may be because people can make the claim without exhibiting any of the characteristics at issue in other employment statutes: age is irrelevant; a showing of a disability is not necessary; nor are a person's race, sex, gender or religious beliefs relevant.
As municipal attorneys, the Michigan Campaign Finance Act (“Act”) may seem far removed from the daily business of our township, city, and county clients. But the Act applies to political activities at the local level, and our clients can violate its provisions, and face potentially serious consequences, even when acting with innocent motives.
This is a two-part series discussing year-end tax strategies available to reduce the tax liability of your business. This installment discusses the de minimis safe harbor election and bonus depreciation as two tax savings opportunities available in addition to Section 179.
Intellectual property (“IP”) rights can be the cornerstone of a business's value and competitive edge. IP rights are generally grouped into four categories: trademarks, copyrights, patents, and trade secrets.
This article is the first of a two-part series and discusses the deduction available under Code Section 179. Part 2 addresses ways the bonus depreciation rules and other farm-specific deductions can be paired with Section 179 for effective and powerful year-end tax planning.
The Persons With Disabilities Civil Rights Act protects against disability discrimination in the workplace. The Act prohibits, among other things, an employer from discriminating in hiring, recruiting, promoting, discharging, or unfairly impacting the terms, conditions, or privileges of employment on the basis of a person's disability.
The Workers' Compensation Health Care Services Rules were amended to include provisions placing limitations on physicians’ ability to receive reimbursement for opioid treatment beyond 90 days if certain requirements are not met. The requirements were implemented to address the problems associated with long-term opioid use and limit potential addiction issues.
In the not too distant past, employers and employees had a clearer idea of what was, and was not, part of the workplace. In the past two decades, both employers and employees have blurred that distinction through changing technologies and work habits. At the same time, technological leaps have made it increasingly cheap and easy for employers to electronically monitor employee conduct. Employers must consider both the benefits and risks of electronic monitoring, and respect the legal limits on such monitoring.
There are four basic statutory approaches to workers' compensation - the impairment rating approach; the loss of earning capacity approach; the bifurcated or hybrid approach, which has attributes of both the impairment rating and the loss of earning capacity systems; and, the wage loss approach.
Can Michigan voters choose to vote a "straight ticket" this November? The answer remains yes, despite litigation that recently made its way to the Supreme Court of the United States.
After devoting tremendous time, money, and effort to a political campaign, coming in second place - particularly by a close margin - is disappointing, to say the least. While the nation's eyes are on the race for the White House or any of the hotly contested Senate and House seats, candidates for local office, such as school board or library board candidates, may face even closer election results, where a mere handful of votes determine the outcome. This leads to the question: can I demand a recount?
It's not too late to join the November general election ballot in Michigan as a write-in candidate!
The list of acronyms in the law is long. For employers, some acronyms are more important than others. And in the context of employment litigation, some are crucial. In this and our next two newsletters, we discuss three state statutes that create the potential for expensive lawsuits against employers: The Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act; the Persons With Disabilities Civil Rights Act; and the Whistleblower Protection Act. These statutes are identified by the acronyms ELCRA, PDCRA, and WPA.
Design-build methodology minimizes change orders and cost overruns. When the design-build methodology is coupled with the private sector’s obligation to finance, operate, and maintain the structure, the issues of risk related to best-value procurement and optimum building durability are obtained. When design-build is coupled with private sector obligation to finance, operate, and maintain the project, it is usually described as a public private partnership (P3).
While there is no “magic bullet” available to fix a large anticipated tax bill, there are several strategies available to businesses and entrepreneurs to turn ordinary purchases into tax saving deductions.
Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court considered the issue of how freedom of speech impacts the municipal regulation of signs. Review your regulations in light of this new Supreme Court decision.
A recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit (the “Sixth Circuit”) may make it easier for plaintiffs to bring costly lawsuits against companies that allow sensitive data to fall into the wrong hands.
The United States is a party to a number of trade treaties with foreign countries. The E visa category was created to give effect to those treaties by providing reciprocal benefits to nationals of a treaty country.
The State of Michigan filed an emergency appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, seeking a decision upholding the ban on the straight-ticket voting in time for the November election.
The Michigan Supreme Court has rejected Gov. Snyder’s request to issue an advisory opinion on the constitutionality of Section 152b of 2016 PA 249, which allows general fund money (up to $2.5 million) to be allocated to nonpublic schools.
A good warranty can also be good advertising, and the difference between customers buying your product or your competitor’s may come down to who has the better warranty. It can be tempting to give your warranty a label that sounds better than your competitors, but did you know that how you label your warranties is governed by federal law?
Two studies conducted recently resulted in data-driven articles that shed greater light on the issue of when, and why, courts accept veil piercing arguments.
On September 21, Gov. Snyder signed HB 4209 (now called the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act, Public Act 281 of 2016). The Act imposes a licensure mandate and authorizes a regulatory scheme for certain medical marijuana facilities including growers, transporters, processors and dispensaries.