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Deanna Swisher

Shareholder
313 South Washington Square
Lansing, MI 48933-2114
T 517.371.8136
F 517.371.8200

Overview

Deanna’s practice focuses on the areas of commercial and employment litigation and her service as general counsel to fashion designers. Deanna leads Fosterfashion, the firm’s fashion and design law team.

She also handles alternative dispute resolution, primarily through service as an arbitrator as well as representing clients in a variety of real estate, mortgage, collection and creditor rights matters. She is a member of the firm’s Banking, Finance and Real Estate Practice Group, Employment Law, S.E.E.D. and Agricultural Law Group.

Deanna handles a broad range of commercial litigation matters including breach of contract litigation, defending contract and statutory claims arising from the mortgagee/mortgagor relationship, resolving real property easement, adverse possession, boundary and title disputes, enforcing the rights of parties to secured transactions, filing and defending actions for conversion, breach of fiduciary duty, tortious interference with contract as well as other business torts.

Her work as a commercial litigator has earned the respect of her peers, as is demonstrated by her AV® Preeminent™ Martindale-Hubbell rating and Best Lawyers® in America recognition in Commercial Litigation since 2009.

Deanna also drafts and negotiates licensing agreements, commission agreements, employment and independent contractor agreements and advises clients regarding the misclassification of employees. When out-of-court efforts and administrative proceedings fail to resolve disputes, she defends employers in state and federal courts in breach of contract discrimination and retaliation actions, and she files suits to enjoin violations of, covenants not-to-compete provisions and sales commission agreements.

Deanna serves on the AAA Commercial Panel of Neutrals and serves as a mediator.

Prior to joining Foster, Swift, Deanna clerked for Ingham County Circuit Court Judge Carolyn Stell and worked for Varnum, Riddering, Schmidt & Howlet.

Admitted to practice in Michigan, she is a member of the Federal Bar Association, the American Bar Association, the State Bar of Michigan and the Ingham County Bar Association. Deanna is a member of the Fellows of the Michigan State Bar Foundation, and she is a former member of the State Bar of Michigan’s Client Protection Fund Committee and the Indiana University Law Alumni Board.

Locally, Deanna volunteers her time to a variety of Lansing and Detroit area endeavors that support start-up fashion and design businesses, artists and a wide variety of "makers." She also volunteers her time to The Friends of Reutter Park and to Operation Santa, a program that provides Christmas gifts to children of low-income families. She has served as the President of the Board of Trustees of Michigan Montessori Internationale, Inc., and she is a founding member of the Lansing Chapter of Inforum and AthenaWIN.
Born in Crawfordsville, Indiana, Deanna was a summa cum laude graduate of Ball State University, obtaining degrees in Political Science and the Honors College. She received her legal education and juris doctorate from Indiana University in 1985. She continued her legal education at Fordham Law, in 2014, attending its fashion law intensive summer program.

Honors & Recognitions

AV® Preeminent™ Martindale-Hubbell

Best Lawyers in America® 2009-2017 (Commercial Litigation)

American Arbitration Association Roster of Neutrals, Commercial Panel 

Affiliations

Memberships & Affiliations

Legal Affiliations:
  • American Bar Association
  • State Bar of Michigan
  • Michigan State Bar Foundation, Fellow
  • Federal Bar Association
Community Involvement:
  • Member, LEAP Board of Directors and Steering Committee
  • Member, Friends of Reutter Park
  • Member, Michigan Athletic Club

Experience

Representative Matters

  • Successfully defended a multi-million dollar action alleging breach of warranty, brought by a first tier supplier/manufacturer of injection molded automotive parts against a second tier supplier of thermoplastic. In addition to receiving a very favorable result, she protected proprietary client information from disclosure in federal district court by negotiating an agreement to arbitrate.
  • Obtained summary judgment for the employer/defendant in a same sex harassment and retaliation case, and successfully argued to affirm this favorable result before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • Obtained summary judgment in a variety of lawsuits involving real estate disputes, to include actions asserting adverse possession and claims arising under the Michigan Sellers' Disclosure Act.

Communications

Publications

News & Events

News

Speaking Engagements

  • Road to Retail Instructor, The Runway, Lansing's fashion incubator, June 17, 2016
  • Panel Member M-Power Your Art, Detroit Startup Week, May 24, 2016
  • A Pattern for Success, Industry Days: Design & Manufacturing, Detroit Design Festival, September 22, 2015
  • Fashion Law, The Fashion Association of Merchandising and Design at Central Michigan University, November 4, 2014
  • Proper Use of Email, Walsh College, March 10, 2011

Education

Indiana University School of Law, J.D., 1985

Ball State University, B.S., 1982, summa cum laude

Fashion Law Institute, Fordham University Law School, Summer Intensive Program, 2014

Bar and Court Admissions

Michigan

U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan

U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals

Get It in Writing: Contracts
Covenants Not to Compete
Employee Classification
Small Claims Court