Five Stories That Matter in Michigan This Week – May 5, 2023

  1. Sixth Circuit: Employee Must Alert Employer of Need for Reasonable Accommodation to Bring a Claim of Disability Discrimination

In the case of Hrdlicka v. General Motors, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling that an employee must sufficiently inform their employer of their need for a reasonable accommodation in order to prosecute a claim of disability discrimination under state and federal law.

Why it Matters: This case serves as an important reminder that while employers must be responsive and engaged when an employee requests a reasonable accommodation for a disability, there is also a responsibility for employees to inform their employers of a disability. In this case, the plaintiff’s “purported disability was unknown to either herself or General Motors until well after her employment was terminated.”


  1. Independent Contractor Bills Introduced in Michigan House of Representatives

Even though the Michigan Legislature is currently mired in the often months-long process of passing a budget, there is a package of mostly non-spending bills in the Michigan House of Representatives that businesses should be keeping an eye on.

Why it Matters: The multi-bill package (HB 4390 et seq.) would create one of the strictest standards for defining an independent contractor and provides for significant penalties for those employers that misclassify workers. Learn more.


  1. 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.


  1. Attorney Receives Favorable Ruling for Firm Client

Fraser Trebilcock’s Litigation Department Chair Thaddeus Morgan obtained a favorable ruling for the firm’s ERISA plan client in a case brought by a no-fault provider claiming reimbursement for the plan enrollee’s treatment.

Why it Matters: The court granted the plan’s motion to dismiss finding that the provider did not have standing and the plan’s anti-assignment provision was enforceable. Learn more.


  1. Ten Reasons 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 in some cases a trust, to own the property. Here are ten reasons why you and/or your family may want to consider a family cottage succession plan. Learn more from your Fraser Trebilcock attorney.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Labor, Employment & Civil Rights | Dave Houston
Business & Tax | Robert Burgee
Cannabis Law | Sean Gallagher
Litigation | Thaddeus Morgan
Cottage Law | Mark Kellogg