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​ICLE's Temporary Staff Lawyer, Nick Van Erp, drafted this blog prior to his departure. We wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors!  Recently, the Michigan Supreme Court issued its opinion in Foster v Foster , No 157705 , ___ Mich ___, ___ NW2d ___ (Apr 29, 2020). Although the core ruling revolved around the constitutional issue of federal preemption of state law, the implications of Foster will primarily impact divorce cases. In Foster , defendant originally agreed to pay plaintiff 50 percent of his military retirement benefits under the consent judgment of divorce. Defendant later applied for an increased disability benefit under combat-related ...
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Governor Whitmer’s most recent Safe Start Order, Mich Exec Order No 2020-176 , effective September 4, 2020, states that Michigan has reached a plateau in COVID-19 case counts that allows leaders to “carefully and deliberately relax some restrictions.” Described as part of an “incremental approach,” the order rescinds the previous Safe Start order, Mich Exec Order No 2020-160 , and its amending order, Mich Exec Order No 2020-162 . Mich Exec Order No 2020-176 incorporates many of the prior Safe Start orders’ provisions and adds new ones relating to organized sports, gyms, and pools. Highlights of this most recently amended order include the following: ...
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Many Michigan businesses are planning for or beginning the process of reopening in some capacity. Under Mich Exec Order No 2020-176 , effective September 4, 2020, any work that is capable of being performed remotely must be performed remotely in all Michigan Regions except 6 and 8. Although not required in Regions 6 and 8, the order states that work capable of being performed remotely “should” be performed remotely. Any businesses requiring in-person work must abide by the workplace safeguards outlined in Mich Exec Order No 2020-175 , effective September 3, 2020, which include the following: Developing a COVID-19 preparedness and response plan consistent ...
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On September 1, 2020, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an   order   that halts certain residential evictions through December 31, 2020. (The CARES Act eviction moratorium expired on July 24, 2020. Pub L 116-136, 134 Stat 281 (2020).) The order cites the Public Health Service Act,   42 USC 264 , as authority for this order. The order notes that “COVID-19 presents a historic threat to public health” and that eviction moratoria can be an effective public health measure used in the context of a pandemic to prevent the spread of disease. Under the order, a landlord or owner of a residential property may not evict any “covered person” ...
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My colleagues and I recently spoke to three of the judges we previously interviewed for our Approaching the Bench blog series: Magistrate Judge Elizabeth A. Stafford of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Judge Karen Quinlan Valvo of the 15 th District Court of Washtenaw County, and Judge Paul Denenfeld of Kent County Circuit Court.   We wanted to check in to see how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted their respective courtrooms. As expected, all of the judges had a lot to say about the biggest procedural change in response to COVID-19: Zoom hearings. Below are the judges’ thoughts on the most common mistakes attorneys make ...
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Because a poll of my advisory board on their pressing concerns has (so far) elicited comments only about Zoom, I went looking for how attorneys and courts are dealing with our new Zoom universe as discussed on Above the Law . Here is what I found. Dress is now a substantial issue. One judge in Broward County felt the need to issue a letter telling attorneys to wear pants for court hearings, citing recent experiences of a shirtless man and a woman still in bed showing up for teleconferenced court hearings. These were attorneys. The pants are required presumably because everyone still needs to stand for the entrance of the judge. Job applicants also ...
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Traffic Stops

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In my younger days, I experienced more than a couple traffic stops. Reasons ranged from driving allegedly unsafe vehicles, speeding, tinted windows, and even in one bizarre interaction, not having a tailgate on my truck. The traffic stops themselves ranged from somewhat confrontational to quite pleasant. However, I am white and am well aware that this fact probably played a role in the outcome of some of these situations. The Stanford "100 million stops" study showed that nationally, minority drivers are not only more likely to get pulled over in the first place, they are more likely to be subject to searches and more likely to get a ticket. A recent Motherboard ...
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On Friday, August 7, 2020, Governor Whitmer issued   Mich Exec Order No 2020-166 , which changes the quarantine requirements for those who test positive or are symptomatic and for those who have come into close contact with someone who has tested positive or is symptomatic. The order, effective immediately, rescinds Executive Order No. 2020-36 but renews its prohibition on employers from discharging, disciplining, or retaliating against employees who stay home when they or their close contacts are sick, with some modification. Specifically, section 2 of the order requires that any individual who tests positive for COVID-19 or who displays one or more of the ...
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​ICLE's Publications Director, Cindy Huss, retired at the beginning of the year and she is much missed. This is her last blog post: As I was thinking about my own retirement, I looked into what other lawyers do. It turns out that a lot of lawyers do not retire--they work until they no longer can. Today, more than 14,000 of the lawyers licensed in Michigan are age 60 or older. That is 40.2% of the bar membership. Over 2,000 licensed lawyers are age 76 or older. Of course, some of these lawyers might not be practicing full time and may have even “retired” from their firm. According to a 2007 Altman-Weil survey , 61% of the lawyers surveyed plan to ...
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Although the COVID-19 pandemic continues to pose practice challenges for lawyers, it also presents some unique opportunities for building legal skills virtually. While ICLE resources are always your best bet for continuing legal education (check out our growing collection of certificate programs !), you might also enjoy taking a few supplemental classes at the Yada Yada Law School this summer. Created by a group of Seinfeld -obsessed law professors from across the country, the Yada Yada Law School is a self-proclaimed “fake law school where real law professors teach classes about nothing, for charity.” While the Zoom classes are all free, the school asks ...
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​ Consumer choices for personal protection insurance (PIP) benefits went into effect July 2, 2020. For individuals this means undertaking a new cost-benefit analysis when it’s policy renewal time. For no-fault lawyers it means (at minimum) a different way of thinking about how claims get paid. John Whitman and Bob Logeman recently discussed this issue in their first-party litigation update at this year’s No-Fault Summit (you can see a preview here ). John raised the interesting question—who gets the money if an individual chooses a $250,000 PIP plan? In that case, the pool of funds is limited and may be exhausted quickly if the individual is badly ...
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Governor Whitmer’s most recent Safe Start Order, Mich Exec Order No 2020-160 , marks a tightening of restrictions in the face of rising COVID-19 case counts.  Effective July 31, 2020, Mich Exec Order No 2020-160 rescinds a number of prior orders (Mich Exec Order Nos 2020-110, 115, 120, 133, and 143) and incorporates their provisions, making it a “comprehensive order governing the activities in Michigan that remain restricted on account of the pandemic.” Highlights of this most recently amended order include the following: Any work that can be performed remotely must be performed remotely. Businesses requiring in-person work must comply with the workplace ...
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On August 28, 2020, Mich Exec Order No 2020-173  rescinded and replaced Mich Exec Order No 2020-158 . The new order contains all of the provisions of the original order and extends them to September 30, 2020. Here are the highlights: Notarization.  The order provides that any notarial act required under Michigan law may be performed by a notary (with a valid commission) using two-way real-time audiovisual technology if the following conditions are met: The technology allows direct interaction between the individual, any witnesses, and the notary where all can communicate simultaneously by sight and sound. The technology can create an audio and visual ...
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​ Shareholder derivative lawsuits have long been a tool for fixing a troubled corporate culture. But now they appear to be on the rise and ripe with new theories and higher-than-ever damages claims and settlements. One need only look to the headlines to understand the magnitude of how these suits are impacting corporate America. Boeing derivative suit. Boeing was hit with a number of shareholder derivative suits last year, most of which have now been dismissed on technicalities involving forum selection. One case recently dismissed was filed by the firm of Cohen Milstein in Illinois and alleged in part that directors and officers did not disclose the following: ...
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Automakers have long built their vehicles to meet the tougher emission standards in place under California law as it is cheaper to do that than to make different cars to sell in other states without those standards. I wrote about the phenomenon of one government effectively subjecting a larger population to its laws by virtue of the larger economic factors at play a couple years ago during the implementation of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation. Last summer, the Trump administration began its efforts to roll back the federal automotive emission standards . At the same time, Ford, Honda, Volkswagen, and BMW (four of the largest automakers, ...
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On July 10, 2020, Governor Whitmer issued Mich Exec Order No 2020-147 , requiring all individuals to wear masks covering their nose and mouth while in any indoor public space, when outdoors and not able to maintain a distance of at least six feet from others, and when using public transportation. The requirements applicable to individuals are effective immediately. Exceptions include children under five years old and people who cannot medically tolerate a face covering. In addition, individuals eating or drinking while seated at a food service establishment are not required to wear a mask. Businesses must require customers to wear masks while on the business’s ...
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Medical-legal partnerships (MLPs) are making an impact in Michigan, offering support to low-income residents by integrating free, professional legal services directly into the health care setting. A recent Second Wave Michigan article noted that 86 percent of civil legal problems reported by low-income Americans receive inadequate or no legal assistance, and of these, 41 percent are directly related to health care. MLPs can increase access to legal services and help enforce existing laws to protect vulnerable people and make a meaningful impact on the social and environmental factors that contribute to health. MLPs can take on different forms—from law ...
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In issuing Michigan Executive Order 2020-134 (Eviction Diversion Program for COVID-19-Related Debtors), Governor Whitmer extended until July 16 the moratorium on most evictions (most recently declared in Mich Exec Order No 2020-118 ). Mich Exec Order No 2020-134 also fills in details of the COVID-19-related housing assistance program established by §506 of 2020 PA 123 (SB 690). 2020 PA 123 is a supplemental appropriations act that allocates $880 million of the $3.1 billion the state received from the federal CARES Act’s Coronavirus Relief Fund ( Pub L No 116-136 , §5001). This money must be spent by the end of 2020. Sixty million dollars went to a “rental ...
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The Michigan Automobile No-Fault Law, which first went into effect in October 1973, underwent major changes in May 2019. Some of those changes were implemented in June of 2019, but the most important changes go into effect on July 1, 2020 . Those changes will have a significant impact on both the injured person and the at-fault driver in an injury incident involving a motor vehicle. Here is why this matters—the type of Michigan No-Fault insurance coverage that you select will have a significant effect if you or a loved one are injured in a motor vehicle crash, struck by a car on a motorcycle, or hit by a car on a bicycle or as a pedestrian. Purchasing car ...
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​ Michigan Supreme Court Orders The  Michigan Supreme Court  has issued 19 administrative orders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which are summarized below by topic. Continuing Order Regarding Court Operations AO 2020-19 , dated June 26, 2020, rescinds AO 2020-2 , which limited trial court activity to essential functions and limited the number of people in courtrooms. Courts that are at phase 3 under AO 2020-14 must hold jury trials using standards approved by SCAO. Courts that are not yet at phase 3 can hold jury trials with SCAO’s approval. Courts must continue to expand remote participation, and AO 2012-7 (limiting when judges can preside ...
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