Five Stories That Matter in Michigan This Week – April 26, 2024

  1. FTC Issues Final Rule Banning Non-Compete Agreements Nationwide

On April 23, 2024, in a 3-2 vote, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a final rule banning non-compete clauses in most employment agreements nationwide. The rule is scheduled to go into effect 120 days after it is published in the Federal Register.

Why it Matters: Under the final rule, “Non-compete clause” is defined as “a term or condition of employment that prohibits a worker from, penalizes a worker for, or functions to prevent a worker from: (i) seeking or accepting work in the United States with a different person where such work would begin after the conclusion of the employment that includes the term or condition; or (ii) operating a business in the United States after the conclusion of the employment that includes the term or condition.” Read more from your Fraser Trebilcock attorneys.

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  1. State and Local Governments Subject to ADA Website Rules

On April 23, 2024, in a 3-2 vote, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a final rule banning non-compete clauses in most employment agreements nationwide. The rule is scheduled to go into effect 120 days after it is published in the Federal Register.

Why it Matters: While staffing at many schools has grown due to pandemic relief funding, student enrollment has dwindled. This report comes on the heels of another report – this one from the Michigan Center for Data and Analytics – projecting the state population could decline by nearly 700,000 residents by 2050.

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  1. Michigan 04/20 Sales Hits All-Time High

Per data from Michigan Cannabis Regulatory Agency, sales of cannabis topped $28.5 million on April 20, 2024, an increase from the reported $21.6 million in sales from the year prior.

Why it Matters: Marijuana sales remain strong in Michigan, particularly for recreational use. However, there still are significant concerns about profitability and market oversaturation that the industry is contending with. Contact our cannabis law attorneys if you have any questions.

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  1. The Limitations of Federal Bankruptcy Law for Marijuana Businesses

Under the federal Controlled Substances Act, marijuana remains classified as a Schedule I drug, making it illegal at the federal level. This creates a unique challenge for marijuana businesses operating legally within their state’s framework, as they are unable to avail themselves of federal bankruptcy protection.

Why it Matters: Federal bankruptcy courts have been reluctant to provide relief to debtors engaged in activities that are illegal under federal law, even if those activities are legal under state law. As a result, marijuana businesses are often left without the benefits of bankruptcy protection, such as the automatic stay, discharge of debts, and court-supervised reorganization.

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  1. Fraser Trebilcock Attorney Secures Victory for Firm Client

Fraser Trebilcock attorney Andrew J. Moore was successful in obtaining summary disposition on behalf of the firm’s client. Plaintiff and their spouse applied for credit life insurance from the firm’s client, a prominent independent insurance company, in conjunction with an RV they purchased.

Why it Matters: The spouse misrepresented their medical history and was in fact diagnosed with and treating for a disqualifying medical condition. The spouse died of heart attack two months after purchase. The firm’s client rescinded the credit certificate, then was sued. Plaintiff claimed RV salesman misrepresented application, eligibility, insurability, and coverage limits, while simultaneously claiming RV salesman was an “agent” of the firm’s client such that they should be held liable for their misrepresentation. After discovery and at summary disposition, the Judge ruled in favor of the firm’s client and dismissed all counts. Learn more.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Business & Tax | Robert Burgee
Labor, Employment & Civil Rights | David Houston
Business & Tax | Andrew Martin
Cannabis Law | Sean Gallagher
Insurance Law | Andrew Moore

Five Stories That Matter in Michigan This Week – April 19, 2024

  1. Michigan Schools Face Budget Shortfalls, Many May Have to Cut Staff

A new report by the Citizens Research Council of Michigan suggests that Michigan schools may have to cut more than 5,000 teacher jobs over the next several years to balance budgets as pandemic-related funding comes to an end.

Why it Matters: While staffing at many schools has grown due to pandemic relief funding, student enrollment has dwindled. This report comes on the heels of another report – this one from the Michigan Center for Data and Analytics – projecting the state population could decline by nearly 700,000 residents by 2050.

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  1. Fraser Trebilcock Attorney Secures Victory for Firm Client

Fraser Trebilcock attorney Andrew J. Moore was successful in obtaining summary disposition on behalf of the firm’s client. Plaintiff and their spouse applied for credit life insurance from the firm’s client, a prominent independent insurance company, in conjunction with an RV they purchased.

Why it Matters: The spouse misrepresented their medical history and was in fact diagnosed with and treating for a disqualifying medical condition. The spouse died of heart attack two months after purchase. The firm’s client rescinded the credit certificate, then was sued. Plaintiff claimed RV salesman misrepresented application, eligibility, insurability, and coverage limits, while simultaneously claiming RV salesman was an “agent” of the firm’s client such that they should be held liable for their misrepresentation. After discovery and at summary disposition, the Judge ruled in favor of the firm’s client and dismissed all counts. Learn more.

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  1. Michigan CRA Publishes March ’24 Data: Average Price Decreases

Per data released by the Cannabis Regulatory Agency (CRA), the average retail price for adult-use sales of an ounce of cannabis in March was $90.70, a decrease from $91.94 in February. This is an increase from March 2023, where the average price was $86.87.

Why it Matters: While the prices of cannabis and cannabis-related products continue to decrease and make consumers happy, growers on the other hand are seeing profits decrease resulting in them seeking ways to halt new licenses to be granted in an effort to steady prices. Contact our cannabis law attorneys if you have any questions.

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  1. April Business Education Series

In the dynamic landscape of business, where adaptability is key, the importance of having robust Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) cannot be overstated. SOPs serve as the backbone of organizational efficiency, ensuring consistency, compliance, and continuous improvement.

Why it Matters: The April Business Education Series, “Optimizing Operations: The Crucial Role of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs),” led by Brittany Parks, founder and principal Consultant, Brittany Parks Process Consulting, is designed to equip participants with the knowledge, skills, and tools to harness the transformative power of SOPs in their respective organizations. Learn more and to register.

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  1. Ten Reasons Why You May Want to Consider a Family Cottage Succession Plan

The goal of cottage succession planning is to set up legal ground rules that provide the best chance to keep a cottage in the family for future generations.

Why it Matters: A cottage plan usually addresses concerns through the creative use of a limited liability company (LLC), or a trust (typically used for more favorable treatment associated with the uncapping of taxable value), to own the property. Learn more from cottage law attorney Mark Kellogg.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Insurance Law | Andrew Moore
Cannabis Law | Sean Gallagher
Cottage Law | Mark Kellogg

Five Stories That Matter in Michigan This Week – March 22, 2024

  1. The Uniform Power of Attorney Act

The Uniform Power of Attorney Act (UPOAA or Act), 2023 PA 187, was signed into law in November 2023 and goes into effect July 1, 2024. It repeals Michigan’s current statutory law on durable powers of attorney, specifically Sections 700.5501-700.5505 of the Estates and Protected Individuals Code (EPIC). The UPOAA is not part of EPIC, instead, it is a stand-alone statute located at MCL 556.201 et. seq.

Why it Matters: The UPOAA will apply to all powers of attorney in Michigan beginning July 1, 2024, with certain exceptions. Read more from attorney Melisa M.W. Mysliwiec.

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  1. Can an Out-of-State Patent Attorney Represent Me?

Securing a patent for an innovative idea involves maneuvering through a complex, multifaceted process. And having the right guide—patent legal counsel—is an essential part of the process. A common misconception is that a party hoping to secure a patent must turn to a local attorney for help. This belief, while understandable considering that many legal matters require local expertise and licensing, overlooks the dynamics of how things work with patent law.

Why it Matters: The truth is, in the digital age, the geographical location of your patent attorney matters less than their expertise, experience, and ability to navigate the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (“USPTO”) requirements. Learn more from attorney Andrew Martin.

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  1. Michigan CRA Publishes February Data: Average Price Decreases

Per data released by the Cannabis Regulatory Agency (CRA), the average retail price for adult-use sales of an ounce of cannabis in February was $91.94, a decrease from $93.20 in January. This is an increase from February 2023, where the average price was $86.00.

Why it Matters: While the prices of cannabis and cannabis-related products continue to decrease and make consumers happy, growers on the other hand are seeing profits decrease resulting in them seeking ways to halt new licenses to be granted in an effort to steady prices. Contact our cannabis law attorneys if you have any questions.

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  1. CRA Warns of Scam Targeting Michigan Cannabis Businesses

On March 8, the Michigan Cannabis Regulatory Agency (CRA) sent out an advisory bulletin warning cannabis businesses of an individual posing as an agent of the CRA demanding payment of license fees under the threat of revoking their license(s).

Why it Matters: The CRA noted, “Licensees and applicants are reminded that administrative rules require they notify the CRA and local law enforcement within 24 hours of becoming aware – or within 24 hours of when they should have been aware – of the theft or loss of any product or criminal activity at the marijuana business.”

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  1. Fraser Trebilcock Attorneys Secure Summary Disposition for Firm Client

Fraser Trebilcock attorneys Danielle Lofton and Gary C. Rogers have obtained summary disposition and dismissal of a lawsuit in favor of the firm’s client in a personal injury case pending before the Kalamazoo County Circuit Court.

Why it Matters: Attorney Lofton successfully argued the motion, convincing the trial court that the plaintiff’s injuries did not rise to the level of serious impairment of body function, following mediation in which the plaintiff, who was represented by a prominent plaintiff’s personal injury firm, rejected the settlement recommended by a mediator, and wanted to proceed to trial before a jury. Instead of accepting the mediator’s recommended settlement amount, the plaintiff will now receive nothing. Learn more.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Trusts & Estates | Melisa M.W. Mysliwiec
Intellectual Property | Andrew Martin
Cannabis Law | Sean Gallagher
Insurance Law | Danielle Lofton
Insurance Law | Gary Rogers

Five Stories That Matter in Michigan This Week – March 15, 2024

  1. Michigan Senate Passes Bill to Require Dyslexia Screening in Schools

On March 12, the Michigan Senate overwhelmingly (37-1) passed a bill that would require schools to screen all students for signs of dyslexia. It would also require programs to educate prospective teachers on dyslexia’s characteristics.

Why it Matters: This bill is part of a larger effort to improve reading in Michigan. In spring 2023, one-third of Michigan third grade students scored not-proficient in reading.

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  1. Michael E. Cavanaugh Selected as a Member of Michigan Lawyers Weekly “Hall of Fame Class of 2024”

Fraser Trebilcock attorney Michael E. Cavanaugh has been selected as a member of Michigan Lawyers Weekly “Hall of Fame Class of 2024.” This special award recognizes esteemed members of the legal profession who have been in practice for at least 30 years. “I am extremely honored to be recognized by Michigan Lawyers Weekly as a member of their Hall of Fame Class of 2024,” said Mr. Cavanaugh.

Why it Matters: Michigan Lawyers Weekly’s annual “Hall of Fame” award recognizes Michigan’s legal leaders who have been in practice for 30 years, highlighting their successful careers and valuable contributions to the community. These legendary lawyers have made their mark, either in the courtroom or the boardroom, in their law firms or legal departments, with community organizations, and with local, state and national bar associations. Read more.

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  1. Fraser Trebilcock Attorneys Secure Summary Disposition for Firm Client

Fraser Trebilcock attorneys Danielle Lofton and Gary C. Rogers have obtained summary disposition and dismissal of a lawsuit in favor of the firm’s client in a personal injury case pending before the Kalamazoo County Circuit Court.

Why it Matters: Attorney Lofton successfully argued the motion, convincing the trial court that the plaintiff’s injuries did not rise to the level of serious impairment of body function, following mediation in which the plaintiff, who was represented by a prominent plaintiff’s personal injury firm, rejected the settlement recommended by a mediator, and wanted to proceed to trial before a jury. Instead of accepting the mediator’s recommended settlement amount, the plaintiff will now receive nothing. Learn more.

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  1. Can an Out-of-State Patent Attorney Represent Me?

Securing a patent for an innovative idea involves maneuvering through a complex, multifaceted process. And having the right guide—patent legal counsel—is an essential part of the process. A common misconception is that a party hoping to secure a patent must turn to a local attorney for help. This belief, while understandable considering that many legal matters require local expertise and licensing, overlooks the dynamics of how things work with patent law.

Why it Matters: The truth is, in the digital age, the geographical location of your patent attorney matters less than their expertise, experience, and ability to navigate the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (“USPTO”) requirements. Learn more from attorney Andrew Martin.

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  1. Corporate Transparency Act ‘Unconstitutional’ says Federal District Judge

A U.S. District Court in Alabama has determined that Congress overstepped its constitutional authority in passing the Corporate Transparency Act (“CTA”) (see National Small Business United v. Yellen, No. 5:22-cv-01448 (N.D. Ala.)). The CTA requires the disclosure of the Beneficial Ownership Information (“BOI”) of millions of American corporations, limited liability companies, and other entities.

Why it Matters: In the wake of this decision, FinCEN seems to have accepted the decision but only insofar as it affects its enforcement of the CTA against the named plaintiffs. The reporting obligations for the remaining 30 million or so entities is unchanged. Time will tell if FinCEN will appeal the decision and/or how it will deal with the seemingly inevitable series of similar cases that will start filling up courts across the country. Read more from attorney Bob Burgee.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Labor, Employment & Civil Rights | Michael E. Cavanaugh
Insurance Law | Danielle Lofton
Insurance Law | Gary Rogers
Intellectual Property | Andrew Martin
Business & Tax | Robert Burgee

Five Stories That Matter in Michigan This Week – January 12, 2024

  1. Cannabis Regulatory Agency Announces $1 Million Social Equity Grant Program

Michigan’s Cannabis Regulatory Agency (CRA) announced a $1 million grant program to applicants who have a recreational marijuana license, have eligible Social Equity Program participants, and participate in the CRA’s “Social Equity All-Star Program.”

Why it Matters: The program is intended to encourage participation in the industry by people from communities that have been disproportionately impacted by marijuana prohibition and enforcement.

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  1. Fraser Trebilcock Welcomes Danielle Lofton to the Firm

We are pleased to announce the hiring of attorney Danielle Lofton who will work primarily in the firm’s Lansing office, focusing her practice on insurance defense.

Why it Matters: Ms. Lofton represents clients with personal injury claims including no-fault cases for several years. She has routinely secured early dismissals through successful motions and negotiated favorable settlements for her clients. Learn more.

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  1. Department of Labor Issues New Rule on Independent Contractors

This week, the US Department of Labor issued a new rule modifying its analysis for determining whether a worker is an employee, or an independent contractor under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The final rule is effective on March 11, 2024.

Why it Matters: We previously reported on the Department of Labor publishing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding classification of employee or independent contractor under the FLSA. Under this final rule effective on March 11, 2024, it will provide clearer guidance for employers and how they determine their workers’ classifications, and further protect employees from misclassification.

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  1. Fraser Trebilcock Attorney Andrew J. Moore Elected to Board of Directors of Catholic Bar Association

We are pleased to announce that attorney ​Andrew J. Moore has been elected to the Board of Directors for the Catholic Bar Association, a national bar association with members in all 50 states. “I am honored to be elected to the Board of Directors, and I look forward to continuing the mission of the Catholic Bar Association,” said Andrew Moore.

Why it Matters: Andrew focuses his practice on general litigation matters, insurance defense, estate and trust administration, real estate transactions, family law, and criminal defense. His experience covers a range of practice areas, from out of court matters such as assisting clients in estate planning and business and tax matters to representing clients at trial in insurance, divorce, and criminal defense proceedings. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Lansing Catholic Lawyers Guild. Read more.

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  1. Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission Required to Redraw Seven House Districts

A three-judge panel ordered this week that the Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission redraw seven state House districts by February 2nd, after it was ruled unconstitutional.

Why it Matters: Last year, a group of voters sued the Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission alleging that the Commission had violated the federal Voting Rights Act by drawing maps that impacted black voters’ opportunity to elect their preferred candidates.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Cannabis Law | Sean Gallagher
Insurance Law | Danielle Lofton
Labor, Employment & Civil Rights | David Houston
Litigation | Andrew Moore
Election Law

Five Stories That Matter in Michigan This Week – September 22, 2023

  1. Ten Michigan Colleges Will Accept Any State High School Graduate with GPA of 3.0 or Higher

A coalition of 10 public colleges announced this week they will admit any in-state student with at least a 3.0 GPA for admission next fall. The colleges, including Central Michigan University and Eastern Michigan University, also formed the Michigan Assured Admission Pact.

Why it Matters: The Michigan economy requires a well-educated workforce, including high school graduates who are motivated to attend college. According to the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, the number of high school graduates in Michigan has been declining since 2008.

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  1. Michigan Supreme Court Modifies Open and Obvious Legal Doctrine

Recently, the Michigan Supreme Court significantly modified a decades old legal doctrine that will have wide reaching impacts on property owners and lessees. In its decision in a pair of consolidated cases (Kandil-Elsayed v F & E Oil, Inc and Pinsky v Kroger Co of Mich), the state’s high court effectively abrogated a legal doctrine known as “open and obvious.”

Why it Matters: Now, in light of the Kandil-Elsayed and Pinsky decisions, the nature of an open and obvious condition is evaluated as an element of comparative fault that may reduce a plaintiff’s recovery but will not act as complete bar to recover. Moreover, the issue of comparative fault is a question of fact (that is a determination to be made by the jury). Learn more.

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  1. Attorney Michael H. Perry Honored as “Lawyer of the Year” in Environmental Law in Lansing

Fraser Trebilcock attorney Michael H. Perry has been named the Best Lawyers in America© 2024 Environmental Law “Lawyer of the Year” in Lansing. This is a high distinction, as only one attorney in each practice area in each community is identified as “Lawyer of the Year.”

Why it Matters: “I am honored to be recognized by Best Lawyers© as a 2024 ‘Lawyer of the Year’ for Environmental Law in Lansing,” said Mike Perry. Because lawyers are not required or allowed to pay a fee to be listed, inclusion in Best Lawyers© is considered a singular honor. Only five percent of attorneys in Michigan are awarded the honor. Read more about Mike.

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  1. CRA Publishes August 2023 Data; Average Price Decreases

Per data released by the Cannabis Regulatory Agency, the average retail price for adult-use sales of an ounce of cannabis is $94.16, a decrease from $98.65 in July. This is still a large decrease from August 2022, where the average price was $116.84.

Why it Matters: While the prices of cannabis and cannabis-related products continue to decrease and make consumers happy, growers on the other hand are seeing profits decrease resulting in them seeking ways to halt new licenses to be granted in an effort to steady prices. Contact our cannabis law attorneys if you have any questions.

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  1. Business Education Series – Practical A.I. Business Solutions

Explore the transformative potential of Artificial Intelligence in the business landscape during our Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce Business Education Series.

Why it Matters: From understanding the capabilities of AI models like ChatGPT to creating customized workflows using API integrations and automation tools, discover how AI can drive innovation and efficiency across industries. Learn more.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Higher Education | Ryan Kauffman
Insurance Law | Ryan Kauffman
Environmental Law | Mike Perry
Cannabis Law | Sean Gallagher

Michigan Supreme Court Modifies Open and Obvious Legal Doctrine

Recently, the Michigan Supreme Court significantly modified a decades old legal doctrine that will have wide reaching impacts on property owners and lessees. In its decision in a pair of consolidated cases (Kandil-Elsayed v F & E Oil, Inc and Pinsky v Kroger Co of Mich), the state’s high court effectively abrogated a legal doctrine known as “open and obvious.” Generally speaking, under this doctrine as it had previously been applied in Michigan, a premises possessor (whether that is the landowner, land contract vendee, lessee, or other party with the right to possess the property) did not have a duty to warn invitees of potentially dangerous conditions on the premises if the condition was “open and obvious.”

In practice, the open and obvious doctrine made it a question of law (that is a determination to be made by the judge, rather than the jury) as to whether the condition that caused an injury was discoverable by a person of average intelligence upon casual inspection. The doctrine was often applied in slip-and-fall and other personal injury cases and acted as an initial barrier for plaintiff’s claims. Defendant premises possessors would bring a motion (typically for summary disposition) and ask the judge to rule on whether the condition was open and obvious. If it were, the case would end there, and the plaintiff’s recovery would be barred. In fact, many premises liability claims likely never made it to the court to begin with, because plaintiff’s attorneys recognized the difficulty in getting past the open and obvious doctrine.

Now, in light of the Kandil-Elsayed and Pinsky decisions, the nature of an open and obvious condition is evaluated as an element of comparative fault that may reduce a plaintiff’s recovery but will not act as complete bar to recover. Moreover, the issue of comparative fault is a question of fact (that is a determination to be made by the jury). In other words, juries can consider the premises possessor’s failure to warn in their comparative fault determinations and still award a plaintiff a portion of their damages even when the condition on the premises that caused the injury was open and obvious. Now, when some is injured as the result of a fall, the claim is much more likely to go to the jury.

What happens next is anybody’s guess, but likely effects of this decision include an increase in the number of personal injury lawsuits filed, an increase in the number of personal injury cases going to trial, and across the board increases in property insurance rates for commercial and residential property owners. If you have questions, or require assistance, please contact your Fraser Trebilcock attorney.

This alert serves as a general summary and does not constitute legal guidance. Please contact us with any specific questions.


Ryan K. Kauffman is a Shareholder at Fraser Trebilcock with more than a decade of experience handling complex litigation matters. You can contact him at rkauffman@fraserlawfirm.com or 517.377.0881.

Five Stories That Matter in Michigan This Week – August 11, 2023

  1. CRA Issues Bulletin, Recalling Vape Cartridges Due to Possible Presence of Banned Chemical

On July 21, 2023, the Cannabis Regulatory Agency (“CRA”), issued a public health safety bulletin, recalling more than 13,000 vape cartridges “due to the possible presence of banned chemical residue exceeding the established action limits.”

Why it Matters: Sky Labs, LLC, is the licensed marijuana processor who manufactured the three batches of vape cartridges that were recalled. Businesses operating in the cannabis market are required to adhere to strict rules and regulations laid out by the CRA. Failure to do so can result in steep fines, recalled product, and potential loss of license(s).

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  1. Business Education Series – Setting Meaningful Goals and Time Blocking for Success

On August 22, 2023, gain valuable knowledge and skills to set meaningful goals, establish priorities, and effectively manage their time through the practice of time blocking.

Why it Matters: Participants will learn practical strategies and techniques to enhance their goal-setting abilities, develop a clear sense of direction, and optimize their productivity. Learn more.

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  1. Michigan Supreme Court Alters Premises Liability Framework

Michigan courts have long held that premises owners generally have no duty to protect invitees from “open and obvious” hazards. In a recent decision (Kandil-Elsayed v F&E Oil, Inc and Pinsky v Kroger Co of Michigan), the Michigan Supreme Court held that whether a hazard is open and obvious is not an integral part of duty but is instead “relevant to breach and the parties’ comparative fault.” The Court overruled the special-aspects exception, holding that “when a land possessor should anticipate the harm that results from an open and obvious condition, despite its obviousness, the possessor is not relieved of the duty of reasonable care.”

Why it Matters: This decision significantly changes the legal standards in premises liability cases, particularly slip-and-fall cases.

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  1. Fraser Trebilcock Attorney Thaddeus Morgan Obtains Summary Judgment for Firm Client; Sixth Circuit Affirms Dismissal

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirmed a decision by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan, which granted summary judgment for the firm’s client, who was represented by Fraser Trebilcock attorney Thaddeus Morgan.

Why it Matters: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit did not find either of the district court’s decisions erroneous, affirming the denial of the Plaintiff’s motion to amend and granting summary judgment to the defendants.

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  1. Michigan Supreme Court Rules that New No-Fault Law Does Not Apply Retroactively

On July 31, 2023, the Michigan Supreme Court affirmed, in part, a court of appeals decision ruling that medical cost controls in Michigan’s new no-fault auto insurance law do not apply retroactively to car crash victims whose accidents occurred prior to the change in the law.

Why it Matters: As a result of the ruling, drivers who were catastrophically injured in accidents prior to the no-fault must be paid at full rates and not be subject to new cost controls for medical services.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Cannabis Law | Sean Gallagher
Business & Tax | Ed Castellani
Insurance Law | Gary Rogers
Litigation | Thaddeus Morgan

Five Stories That Matter in Michigan This Week – August 4, 2023

  1. Michigan Supreme Court Rules that New No-Fault Law Does Not Apply Retroactively

On July 31, 2023, the Michigan Supreme Court affirmed, in part, a court of appeals decision ruling that medical cost controls in Michigan’s new no-fault auto insurance law do not apply retroactively to car crash victims whose accidents occurred prior to the change in the law.

Why it Matters: As a result of the ruling, drivers who were catastrophically injured in accidents prior to the no-fault must be paid at full rates and not be subject to new cost controls for medical services.

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  1. Marijuana Business Can’t Sue State Authority Due to Federal Illegality of Marijuana

On July 31, 2023, US District Court Judge Paul Maloney dismissed a lawsuit filed by Viridis Laboratories against four employees working for the state’s Cannabis Regulatory Agency stemming from a 2021 recall the agency issued against Viridis, pulling nearly $230 million worth of marijuana from retail shelves.

Why it Matters: In Viridis’s lawsuit, it claims that the recall violated its right to due process under the U.S. Constitution when it was unable to challenge the allegations in court. However, federal law prohibits marijuana and characterizes it as illegal contraband, leading to Judge Maloney dismissing the lawsuit on grounds that constitutional protections do not apply to illegal entities. Learn more.

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  1. Second Quarter Surpasses First Quarter for Michigan Marijuana Sales in 2023

Per data from the Cannabis Regulatory Agency, the second quarter total sales of both medical and adult-use marijuana sales totaled $752,771,513.25, surpassing the first quarter total sales of $673,367,341.50.

Why it Matters: While the prices of cannabis and cannabis-related products continue to decrease and make consumers happy, growers on the other hand are seeing profits decrease resulting in them seeking ways to halt new licenses to be granted in an effort to steady prices. Contact our cannabis law attorneys if you have any questions.

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  1. Keep Your Michigan Cottage in the Family

The family cottage is a place for fun and relaxation in Michigan. For many, the family cottage becomes the meeting place for generations and where lifelong memories are made. As a result, it’s often the intent of the owner to pass the cottage on to future generations to enjoy. Unfortunately, challenges such as high property taxes and family disputes can prevent that from happening. These obstacles can be overcome through careful cottage succession planning.

Why it Matters: If you own a cottage in Michigan, our Cottage Law team can help you think through the issues and take the actions necessary to create a cottage plan. A cottage plan usually addresses the concerns through the creative use of a limited liability company (LLC) or a trust to own the property. Learn more from your cottage law attorney.

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  1. Business Education Series – Setting Meaningful Goals and Time Blocking for Success

On August 22, 2023, gain valuable knowledge and skills to set meaningful goals, establish priorities, and effectively manage their time through the practice of time blocking.

Why it Matters: Participants will learn practical strategies and techniques to enhance their goal-setting abilities, develop a clear sense of direction, and optimize their productivity. Learn more.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Insurance Law | Gary Rogers
Cannabis Law | Sean Gallagher
Cottage Law | Mark Kellogg
Business & Tax | Ed Castellani

Five Stories That Matter in Michigan This Week – July 7, 2023

  1. NLRB’s Atlanta Opera Ruling Imposes Stricter Independent Contractor Test on Employers

On June 13, 2023, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) ruled in the closely watched The Atlanta Opera, Inc. case, restoring the multifactor common-law framework the NLRB established in 2014 for worker classification.

Why it Matters: The ruling is significant because it establishes the test for classifying workers as either employees or independent contractors under the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”); the test—a return to pre-2019 standards—makes it harder to classify workers as independent contractors, and independent contractors are excluded from the NLRA’s protections for labor organizing activities. Learn more on the subject.

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  1. New Federal Law Expands Rights for Pregnant and Nursing Mothers in the Workplace

The federal Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (“PWFA”) took effect on June 27, 2023, and requires employers with 15 or more employees to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant workers, such as providing more frequent bathroom breaks.

Why it Matters: The PUMP Act requires employers to provide a private lactation space and break times during work for nursing mothers. Contact a Fraser Trebilcock employment law attorney with questions or for assistance.

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  1. U.S. Supreme Court Rules on Affirmative Action

The United States Supreme Court struck down affirmative action in a ruling recently, when they ruled against the admissions plans of two colleges, Harvard and the University of North Carolina.

Why it Matters: The ruling is causing higher education institutions to review their own admissions process in seeking out a diverse student body. Contact your Higher Education Fraser Trebilcock attorney for any questions.

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  1. $82 Billion State Budget Approved for Fiscal Year 2024

Last week, the Michigan State Legislature with some bipartisan support approved the $82 billion state budget that will take effect later this year on October 1.

Why it Matters: Looking into the budget, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will receive more than $36 million more in funding than last year, the public universities located across the state will receive $2.2 billion, including $482 million from the School Aid Fund under the School Bus budget bill. Community colleges will receive $544 million from the School Aid Fund.

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  1. Michigan’s New Distracted Driving Law Took Effect June 30

In an effort to mitigate the risks associated with distracted driving, Michigan recently enacted legislation meant to deter and punish instances of distracted driving. Michigan is the 26th state in the United States to pass a hands-free driving law, signifying the growing national consensus around the importance of focused driving.

Why it Matters: The new law, which took effect June 30, 2023, makes holding and using a mobile electronic device while operating a motor vehicle illegal. Learn more about the new law from your Fraser Trebilcock attorney.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Labor, Employment & Civil Rights | Dave Houston
Higher Education | Ryan Kauffman
Business & Tax | Ed Castellani
Insurance Law | Gary Rogers