Latest Blogs

 
Be the first person to recommend this.
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 ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
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 ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
​ On June 22, 2020, President Trump signed a presidential proclamation entitled Proclamation Suspending Entry of Aliens Who Present a Risk to the U.S. Labor Market Following the Coronavirus Outbreak , which extends the April 22, 2020, proclamation regarding the entry of certain immigrants and adds new restrictions for nonimmigrant workers who “pose a risk of displacing and disadvantaging United States workers during the [coronavirus] recovery,” including H-1B, H-2B, J, and L nonimmigrant workers. Effective June 24, 2020, at 12:01 a.m. EST the proclamation will limit entry into the United States of any alien seeking entry pursuant to any of the following nonimmigrant ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
​ On June 18, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked the Trump administration’s rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The program protects undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children, known as “Dreamers.” The 5-to-4 decision , Department of Homeland Security v Regents of the Univ of California, No 18–587, ___ US ___, ___ S Ct ___ (June 18, 2020), was written by Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., and joined by the court’s four liberal justices. The decision means that Dreamers across the country will continue to have temporary protection from deportation. The Supreme Court held that the government’s effort to ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
On June 5, 2020, President Trump signed the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act (PPP Flexibility Act), Pub L No 116-142 , 134 Stat 641 (2020). Importantly, the PPP Flexibility Act provides the following relief for existing PPP loans: Extends the period for PPP loans from June 30, 2020, to December 31, 2020, 15 USC 636 (a) (36) (A) (iii) Extends the forgiveness covered period to the earlier of 24 weeks after the date of the loan (increased from 8 weeks) or December 31, 2020; a borrower under an existing PPP loan can elect to use the 8-week period, 15 USC 636 (a) (36) Extends the rehire exemption date from ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
Residential Eviction Moratorium On June 12, 2020, Governor Whitmer issued Executive Order 2020-118 , which extended the moratorium on most evictions in the state until June 30 at 11:59 p.m. The primary justification for the executive order is the protection a home provides from the pandemic for self-quarantined and isolated persons.  As with the prior executive orders on eviction, this order prohibits the following: removal of a tenant (or land contract vendee, or “a person holding under” either) from “residential premises,” including under an eviction order or writ of restitution, unless they “pose[] a substantial risk to another person or an imminent ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
On May 14, 2020, Governor Whitmer Issued Mich Exec Order No 2020-85 , which extended the moratorium on residential evictions through June 11, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. and rescinded Mich Exec Order No 2020-54 . Like the previous order, Mich Exec Order No 2020-85 bans residential evictions in Michigan except where a tenant poses a “substantial risk to another person or an imminent and severe risk to property.”  In summary, Mich Exec Order No 2020-85 provides that, until the expiration of the order, any demand for payment of rent “must not include a demand for possession or notice of forfeiture of executory contract, or other threat of eviction or forfeiture, based ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent executive orders from Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Michiganders are staying at home in record numbers. And while that limits the spread of illness, legal observers and advocates have also warned of an unintended consequence of the stay-at-home order: an increased safety risk to domestic violence victims. For those staying home with an abusive partner, or for domestic violence victims who can’t access courts or police departments during the pandemic, this is a dangerous time. While nearly all courts are open for emergency proceedings, access to the courts is limited during this time. This is especially true for pro per ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
On April 26, 2020, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order extending the suspension of scope of practice laws for Michigan hospitals and health care providers.  See Mich Exec Order No 2020-61 . Governor Whitmer first ordered temporary relief from certain restrictions and requirements governing the provision of medical services on March 29, 2020.  See   Mich Exec Order No 2020-30 . The original order temporarily suspended restrictions relating to the scope of practice, supervision, and delegation of health care professionals. Notably, the following practices are permitted during the COVID-19 emergency: Physician assistants may provide medical ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
Several property owners have contacted me recently to discuss the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on property values, and the possibility of appealing the assessed value on their properties.  The impact of COVID-19 on property values has been immediate, drastic, and indisputable. However, the impact of COVID-19 and those changed property values on Michigan property tax appeals is a bit more nuanced. 2020 Michigan Property Tax Appeals Tax Day The primary issue underlying any tax appeal is a challenge to the assessment assigned to your property by the local municipality.  The  assessed value purports to be 50%  of the  true cash, or market value of the ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has updated its Technical Assistance Guidance to clarify that employers may administer or require COVID-19 testing as a gateway mechanism before allowing employees to return to the workplace without violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. Screening workers for health risks is one way for businesses to meet their legal responsibility to provide employees with a safe workplace and to potentially isolate employees who carry the virus but are asymptomatic from infecting others. However, as cautioned by the EEOC, testing only confirms whether the virus is currently present. Employees may still acquire ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
On April 17, 2020, in an ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Whitmer issued Mich Exec Order No 2020-54 , extending the statewide ban on residential evictions in Michigan except where a tenant poses a “substantial risk to another person or an imminent and severe risk to property.” Mich Exec Order No 2020-54 rescinds Mich Exec Order No. 2020-19 and will expire on Friday, May 15, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. In summary, Mich Exec Order No 2020-54, is identical to Mich Exec Order No 2020-19, except for section three, that provides until the expiration of the order, any demand for payment of rent “ must not include a demand for possession, or other threat ...
0 comments

Ethics and Zoom Today

Be the first person to recommend this.
"May you live in interesting times," is an English expression that certainly applies to the practice of law in Michigan these days. Lawyers find themselves thrust into the world of remote practice, which brings with it all sorts of technology issues and challenges. One of the tools that is getting a lot of use lately by lawyers attempting to maintain client and firm contact is the Zoom app. A question raised by many attorneys, and some clients, however, is whether the use of Zoom creates any ethical problems. In this piece, I will try to briefly outline the issues and my take on the implications of using Zoom in the practice. Three of the Michigan Rules of ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
As expected, Governor Whitmer issued a new Executive Order ( 2020-54 ) that extended the moratorium on residential evictions in Michigan through Friday, May 15 at 11:59 p.m.  The order continues to prohibit a residential eviction for nonpayment of rent, and appears to prohibit all other types of eviction unless the tenant poses a substantial risk to another person or an imminent and severe risk to property.  Additionally, the new Executive Order confirms the opinion of the Attorney General that a 7 day demand for nonpayment of rent cannot include a demand for possession or other threat of eviction based on the nonpayment of rent.  Therefore, you cannot use ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
A scary and unintended consequence of stay at home orders is a marked increase in incidents of domestic violence. Hotlines around the world are reporting a huge surge in the number of calls reporting both physical and psychological abuse. People often assume that domestic violence only refers to physical violence, but other common forms of abuse include isolation from friends, family and employment; physical and electronic surveillance;  and restricted access to money, food, clothing and sanitary facilities. Being isolated in homes nearly 24 hours a day provides abusers with the perfect opportunity to exert power and control. Survivors – often women and children ...
0 comments
1 person recommends this.
In the wake of COVID-19 and Governor Whitmer's Executive Orders 2020-21 and 2020-42 , millions of people find themselves with limited or no income. What does this mean for their existing child and spousal support orders? Current orders remain in place, and arrears will accrue based on the amount ordered. The Family Support Act requires the Friend of the Court offices to review child support orders not less than every three years, however, the act allows for more frequent reviews upon a substantial change in circumstances. If the payor and payee can reach agreement for temporary modifications, they should put them in writing and submit revised Uniform Child ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
Congress recently enacted broad relief legislation, known as The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the “ CARES Act ”), to provide emergency assistance to individuals, families and businesses affected by the 2020 coronavirus pandemic.  Included in the CARES Act are various provisions which temporarily amend the Bankruptcy Code.  From a business bankruptcy perspective, the CARES Act amends the newly enacted Small Business Reorganization Act of 2019 (the “ SBRA ”), which itself became effective February 19, 2020.  Generally, the SBRA created a new subchapter of chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code (Subchapter 5—Small Business Debtor Reorganization).  ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
As anticipated, on April 5, 2020, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued Executive Order 2020-38 suspending “strict compliance” with the required response periods under the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”), 1976 PA 442, as amended, MCL 15.235(2), 15.240(2) and 15.240(a)(2). Mich Exec Order No 2020-108 extends the suspension until June 10, 2020, at 11:59 p.m.  FOIA currently requires certain public bodies to provide access to certain public records, through inspection, copying or receiving copies, upon receipt of a written request for a public record. FOIA requires a public body to respond to a request for a public record within five business days after ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
On Friday, April 3, 2020, Governor Whitmer issued Executive Order 2020-36 .  This recent Executive Order focused primarily on the employment setting and also stressed that those who have been infected or in close contact with someone who was infected, stay home unless absolutely necessary and then, wear a mask.  Focusing on the employment issues, the Governor’s order addresses the topics of retaliation, leave, and quarantine restrictions.  Anti-Retaliation Provisions Executive Order 2020-36 specifically prohibits an employer’s ability to “discharge, discipline, or otherwise retaliate against an employee” when an employee: stays “home when he or ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
On March 27, 2020 the House passed and the President signed into law the CARES Act intended to provide economic and financial relief to American families and businesses impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic. A key component of the Act will be the almost immediate payment of income tax credits that will be available to Americans who have a social security number or adoption identification number, for children in the adoption process. All US citizens and residents (who are not claimed as a dependent on another’s return and not estates or trusts) will be entitled to a maximum payment of $1,200 per adult and $500 per child. For the adults, joint filers will be entitled ...
0 comments