Karl Butterer is an established litigator with 20 years of highly successful legal experience representing governmental entities, manufacturers, small businesses, health care providers, and large corporations. He joined the firm in 2012 and currently concentrates his practice in the areas of employment, torts, civil rights, contract disputes as well as commercial litigation. Karl has been recognized by Martindale-Hubbell and was given the top AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rating. Additionally, American Lawyer Media has selected Karl as a 2013 Top Rated Lawyer in Labor & Employment.
Karl gives employers practical advice from the initial hire to the termination of the employment relationship to help them comply with the law and avoid litigation. Recent representative matters include:
- Advised commodity trucking and harvesting company regarding wage and overtime policies to comply with Fair Labor Standards Act.
- Prepared independent contractor agreements for advertising firm's salespeople.
- Worked with manufacturing, health care, and municipal clients to develop employee handbooks and hiring procedures to facilitate human resources operations and avoid litigation.
- Developed leave policies and procedures for growing home nursing care employer to comply with Family Medical Leave Act.
- Counseled human resources directors of variety of small and medium sized businesses regarding employee disciplinary, termination, and severance issues.
- Conducted internal investigation for municipal employer regarding charges of sex discrimination and retaliation.
Karl takes a vigorous and proactive approach in pursuing his clients’ interests. Sometimes litigation is a client's best or only option. Recently, Karl litigated a variety of state, federal and administrative matters, including:
- Defended mid-sized company in National Labor Relations Board administrative proceedings against a charge that company terminated worker for engaging in activities protected by National Labor Relations Act.
- Defended majority shareholder against complaint filed by minority shareholder alleging misappropriation of corporate opportunities.
- Filed complaint and request for preliminary injunction to enforce non-compete agreement on behalf of employer health care provider.
- Defended municipal employer against gender discrimination and retaliation charges filed with Michigan Department of Civil Rights.
- Litigated property easement dispute between Lake Michigan riparian property owners.
Karl is a graduate of the University of Michigan and received his Doctor of Jurisprudence from the Indiana University School of Law. He served as a member of the Executive Committee for the Litigation Section of the Grand Rapids Bar Association. He also served on its Board of Trustees and Chaired the Membership Services Committee. Additionally, he represented the 17th Circuit as elected representative to the State Bar of Michigan Representative Assembly.
Honors & Recognitions
AV® Preeminent™ Martindale-Hubbell
Best Lawyers in America® 2020 (Commercial Litigation)
Memberships & Affiliations
- American Bar Association
- State Bar of Michigan
- State Bar Representative Assembly for 17th Circuit
- Michigan State Bar Foundation, Fellow
Industry & Professional Associations:
- Grand Rapids Bar Association, Executive Committee for Litigation Section
- Grand Rapids Bar Association, Former Board of Trustee Member and Chair of Membership Services
- Michigan Association of Municipal Attorneys
- County Road Association of Michigan, Associate Member
- Edelweiss Club of Grand Rapids
- University of Michigan Club of Grand Rapids
- The Employers' Association
- City of Grand Rapids
- Income Tax Board of Review
- Housing Appeals Board
- Best Practices Agricultural Businesses Should Follow When Creating or Revising an Employee Handbook, July 2019 Agricultural Law News, July 26, 2019
- Guidance for Our Clients Regarding Michigan's New Paid Medical Leave Act, February 2019 Employment, Labor & Benefits Law News E-blast, March 1, 2019
- Do Employees Have the Right to Electronically Monitor Their Employers?, Foster Swift Employment, Labor & Benefits News, May 1, 2017
- The Agricultural Exemption from Federal Wage and Hour Laws, Foster Swift Agricultural Law News, January 30, 2017
- Monitoring Employee Conduct Outside of the Workplace, Foster Swift Employment, Labor & Benefits News, November 17, 2016
- Can (or Should) Employers Regulate Employee Conduct Outside of Work?, Foster Swift Employment, Labor & Benefits News, August 16, 2016
News & Events
- Hiring, Investigating and Discipline/Discharge in the Law, Foster Swift: Developing Labor Law Update, May 9, 2018
- Employment and labor laws that can affect the dairy industry, Great Lakes Regional Dairy Conference (GLRDC), February 8, 2018
- Hiring, Investigating and Discipline/Discharge in the Law, Foster Swift: Developing Labor Law Update, February 7, 2018
- Employment Practices, Liability Insurance Policies and Claims; A Lawyers Perspective, Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters Society, May 23, 2017
- Stop Before You Crash: Workers' Compensation and Employment Law, March 22, 2017
- Employers, Are You Ready for 2017?, Foster Swift Collins & Smith, P.C., October 20, 2016
- 42 Foster Swift Attorneys Listed as Best Lawyers® 2020, August 15, 2019
- Foster Swift Elects Four New Shareholders, January 25, 2016
- Free Webinar Addresses How to Discipline and Terminate Employees, June 5, 2015
- Eight Foster Swift Attorneys Admitted to Practice Before Supreme Court, November 2, 2012
Indiana University School of Law, J.D., 1994
University of Michigan, B.A., 1989
Bar and Court Admissions
State Bar of Michigan
U.S. Supreme Court
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan