Latest Blogs

 

Move out!

Be the first person to recommend this.
Generally, eviction cases do not hit the media. However, when the landlords are forced to involve the court system to evict their son, the story will get play. A New York Supreme Court judge recently ordered the eviction of a 30-year-old man from his parents’ home. Michael Rotondo had lived in a room in his parents’ home for the past 8 years. His parents left him five written notices to leave the premises within two weeks before involving the court. They provided advice for their son in the notices, as well as $1,100 to find a new place. Some of the parental advice included the following: Sell the other things you have that have any significant ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
         Unless you’ve spent the last month living under a rock, you’ve almost certainly heard that the United States Supreme Court recently issued a decision allowing states to impose tax on internet transactions. [1]   Wayfair is arguably the most important state tax case to be decided in the past two decades and fundamentally changes the liability for, and collection of, state sales and use taxes.  Specifically, on June 21, 2018, the Supreme Court issued its decision in South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc. (Supreme Court Docket No. 17–494).  A copy of the Wayfair decision is available here .           In 1992, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
The Supreme Court handed down its decision in Carpenter v United States on June 22, 2018, holding that law enforcement does not have warrantless access to cell phone location data (also referred to as cell site location information or CSLI). This holding may translate into a new trial for Mr. Carpenter, who received a 100-year sentence for masterminding a string of robberies of Radio Shacks and (ironically enough, as noted by Justice Roberts) T-Mobile stores in Detroit. I was under the impression from watching Breaking Bad that criminal masterminds used burner phones. Maybe they didn’t do that back in 2011 when all of this happened. The opinion talks ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
This past spring I participated in an expungement clinic organized by a local legal aid office. I quickly realized that the experience offered so much more than just the positive feelings that come from volunteering in one’s community. Let me first pause to say that I have no prior experience with criminal expungement matters. My small firm practice focused on health care law. So on this particular Saturday morning, I had the chance to learn about a new area of practice that was an interest of mine back in law school. The legal aid staff provided concise, practical on-site training before we met with the clinic clients. Then, volunteer attorneys met with clients ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
Magistrate Judge Elizabeth A. Stafford , United States District Court--Eastern District of Michigan  Magistrate Judge Elizabeth A. Stafford joined the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan in 2014. Judge Stafford previously worked at a private law firm, as a career law clerk for Judge Victoria A. Roberts, and as a prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office. What is the worst thing a lawyer can do in court? The worst thing a lawyer can do is become belligerent with a judge. This is especially true when the judge is trying to explain something or ask a particular question and the lawyer is not really listening. The lawyer can’t ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
Kaitlyn Cramer with Novara Tesija & Catenacci PLLC weighs in on the recent  Bazzi  opinion.  The Supreme Court delivered its long-awaited opinion in Bazzi v Sentinel Insurance Company on July 18, 2018, holding that the innocent third-party rule did not survive previous decisions, but that any effort to rescind an insurance policy was no longer an “automatic remedy” even if fraud in the application had been found. Background             By way of background, the plaintiff, Alli Bazzi, sued Sentinel and Citizens Insurance Company for PIP benefits after he was injured in an accident while driving his mother Hala’s vehicle. Hala’s vehicle was insured ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
​ We all like to think we make rational, measured decisions—after all, our legal training taught us how to analyze issues and act effectively on behalf of our clients. But have you ever considered how hunger affects your work? Recent advertisements have played up the idea that you are “not yourself” when hungry, and the term “ hangry ” is increasingly used to describe being irritable due to hunger. There seems to be some science backing the idea that we should not make tough decisions on an empty stomach. A few years ago, I read about a study that found hunger affected judges’ parole decisions. The Science of Justice: I Think It’s Time We Broke for Lunch, ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
The vast majority of Americans use the Internet, e-mail , and Facebook . It is entirely likely that the defendant in your newly filed complaint is somewhere online. But can you legally serve the person online? Some courts are saying maybe. As early as 2008, the Civil Court of New York allowed service of process to the only address the plaintiff had: e-mail. The opinion goes on to discuss additional conditions placed on the plaintiff to help ensure that “cyber-notice” would be as reliable as traditional methods of service. Earlier this year, a Canadian lawyer who was unable to serve a defendant in traditional ways found her defendant on Instagram. ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
Hon. Cynthia A. Lane, St. Clair County Circuit Court Judge Lane sits on the bench of the  St. Clair County Circuit Court . She was elected to this position on November 2, 2010, effective January 1, 2011. She replaced retired Judge Peter Deegan. Lane received her law degree from the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law and was licensed to practice law in 1980. Lane practiced law for 30 years before her election to the Circuit Court bench. At that time, she was serving as am attorney and circuit court mediator in St. Clair County. Hon. Cynthia A. Lane on Ballotpedia What is the worst thing a lawyer can do in court? The worst thing a lawyer ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
​ I ran into an old friend the other day who also happens to be an attorney at a national title company based in Michigan. He mentioned that he had had a number of transactions in recent months in which someone attempted wire fraud. In one case, the fraud was easily preventable, but the attorney handling the transaction refused to get on the telephone with the title company to confirm wire instructions. As a result, over $2 million was diverted, and the attorney was likely responsible. These incidents are on the rise, and they are the fastest growing form of real estate cybercrime in the United States according to an analysis by the Miami Herald . FBI information ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
Let’s say Michigan voters decide to legalize recreational marijuana use this November, or the legislature decides to approve it even sooner . What will happen to all of the people with felony or misdemeanor convictions, some of whom are serving jail time? Other states that have recently legalized the recreational use and possession of marijuana have begun grappling with this issue. In Vermont, prosecutors are holding “Expungement Day” workshops to help people with paperwork to clear their records of minor marijuana convictions. Vermont Legal Aid is also assisting. Other states such as Oregon, Colorado, and Maryland have taken a similar approach, allowing ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
A couple of happenings this spring may make it easier to restore suspended driver’s licenses for clients. First, the legislature passed amendments to eliminate driver responsibility fees by September 30, 2018. See 2018 PA 50 . The Secretary of State (SOS) assesses these fees against drivers who commit certain offenses, including operating while impaired. Driver responsibility fees are levied in addition to the statutory penalties prescribed for the offense and can range from $100 to $2,000. The additional financial burden has led to license suspensions for thousands of Michigan drivers, and the suspensions are indefinite, irrespective of the individual’s ...
1 comment

Passing Bicycles

1 person recommends this.
I’ve done my share of riding bicycles and my share of what could be characterized as complaining about bicycles. I still remember the impact of losing a traffic lane to a bike lane on my route out of town. So the headline about a new proposed state law that would take effect in August 2019 and require automobiles to leave a specified gap when passing a bicycle caught my eye. The Michigan House of Representatives has passed House Bill 4265 , which would require automobiles to maintain a 3-foot distance when passing a bicycle traveling in the same direction. The automobile can cross the center line even in a no-passing zone if it is safe to do so. If it ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
Lawyers are supposed to be emotionally distant so that they can make objective legal arguments and represent their clients better, right? Maintaining this emotional distance may not help lawyers—professionally or personally. But the other end of the spectrum—extreme emotions—may cause even more problems. So where’s the happy medium? Emotional intelligence may provide lawyers with a starting point for recognizing and understanding their emotions, as well as the emotions of clients and colleagues. Emotional intelligence allows a person to identify and discriminate between an individual’s own emotions and those of others to best guide their thoughts, decisions ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
Judge Judith E. Levy , United States District Court—Eastern District of Michigan   Judge Levy is a district judge whose primary chambers are in Ann Arbor. Judge Levy was appointed to the federal bench in 2014. Before serving on the Eastern District Court, Judge Levy was an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of Michigan. She received her law degree from the University of Michigan.     What are the worst and best things a lawyer can do in your court?   The best things a lawyer can do are arrive on time, be prepared for the matter by knowing both the facts and the law applicable to the case, and be respectful of everyone she or he ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
“I suffer from depression,” reported Joseph Milowic, a partner at the Quinn Emanuel , just last March in his article in the New York Law Journal . What prompted his disclosure? Milowic hopes to remove the stigma associated with discussing mental illness in the legal profession. What better way to do that than by having a partner at a large international law firm admit to the diagnosis? So far the impact seems to be significant. American Bar Association President Hilarie Bass commented that Milowic’s confession was a call to action. She urged law firms to focus and educate about attorney well-being and to emphasize that mental health is “an indispensable ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
I always thought it was a nice coincidence that the acronym for the California Air Resources Board —CARB—also happens to be the nickname for the carburetors we all used to have on our cars. That agency is responsible for driving * up national vehicle emissions standards by setting very strict state standards (*intentional pun). The net result of California’s standards is that, since no automaker makes “California-only” cars, all new cars end up complying with the more stringent state standard even though the national standards are much lower. The national standards are referred to as the Corporate Average Fuel Economy or CAFE standards. (Café is not a car-related ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
The Michigan Court of Appeals has issued an opinion regarding the appropriateness of using probate court protective orders to obtain spousal support orders in situations where such orders impact the calculation of a nursing home resident’s Medicaid “patient pay amount.” The outcome is 80% good for planners, and as such is a refreshing break from the series of punishing COA opinions that have been issued in recent years with respect to Medicaid planning cases. The case, In re Estate of Joseph VamSach Jr . , and   In re Estate of Jerome R. Bockes . is published, lengthy and involved.   For the uninitiated, a “patient pay amount” is the portion of a person’s ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
The 2012 Netflix documentary Somm recently uncorked the world of wine exams for me. Somm follows four American wine professionals preparing for the Court of Master Sommelier exam. While I watched the four men tirelessly and obsessively study for the exam, I was sent back to the days leading up to my bar exam. In order to become a Master Sommelier , one must have successfully passed all four examinations: (1) Introductory Sommelier Course and Exam, (2) Certified Sommelier Exam, (3) Advanced Sommelier Course and Exam, and (4) Master Sommelier Diploma Exam.  The Master-level exam is invite-only. In order to apply, applicants must pass the first ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
Here’s a hypothetical (loosely based on true event s ) for you: Pat and Cameron are struggling to start a family. They have gone through two grueling years of fertility treatments at Hope Clinic. Their insurance does not cover the treatments, so the couple has spent $22,000 on medicine, doctor visits, and procedures. Their first attempt at in-vitro fertilization recently failed, but they paid a monthly fee to store the remaining viable embryos in Hope’s on-site freezer. Just as Pat and Cameron were preparing to go forward with the frozen embryos, the freezer failed and all of the eggs and embryos were lost. Pat and Cameron don’t have the money or the emotional ...
0 comments