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

  1. Michigan Legislature Passes Amendment to Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to Protect LGBTQ Rights

The Michigan Legislature recently passed an amendment to the state’s Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA) that explicitly includes protections against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression.

Why it Matters: Michigan entities covered by the ELCRA should ensure that their policies and practices protect against discrimination based on these amended protected categories.


  1. 2023 April Business Education Series

During the April Business Education Series, Emmie Musser, senior portfolio marketing manager, ​TechSmith, will share what we learned and best practices to positively impact employee satisfaction, job attitude, productivity, and innovation.

Why it Matters: Not all meetings can or should be replaced, but identifying which ones can and how to replace them will offer your organization greater flexibility and productivity and more dedicated “think” time. Hosted at the Lansing Regional Chamber on Tuesday, April 11. Full details and to register.


  1. Prominent Cannabis Brand Regains Control of Multiple Cannabis Stores Following Court Order

A recent court order has placed control of several cannabis stores back under Skymint’s leadership. In 2021, Skymint acquired competitor 3Fifteen Cannabis and its cannabis stores located across the state. Following reports of Skymint Brands being placed under receivership, 3Fifteen Cannabis challenged the company’s leadership and took back control of several of the stores that were acquired. However, a judge ruled that 3Fifteen Cannabis violated the receivership’s order and must relinquish control back to Skymint.

Why it Matters: The fact that Skymint’s assets were put into receivership is noteworthy, as state court receivership has become an alternative to bankruptcy for distressed cannabis companies. Because cannabis is still illegal at the federal level, companies can’t access federal bankruptcy to reorganize or liquidate.


  1. How Copyrights Protect Your Business

Copyright is the exclusive legal protection that covers an original work of authorship. Copyrights vest upon creation of the work, which means placing the work onto a tangible medium (e.g., applying paint to a canvas or words to a screenplay).

Why it Matters: As noted above, copyrights vest upon creation of the work, even if it isn’t published. Similar to trademark law, it can be difficult to enforce your copyright if the work is not registered with the U.S. Copyright Office. Learn more.


  1. Name, Image, Likeness Law for Student-Athletes in Michigan

The new law, which took effect December 31, 2022, set standards for how student-athletes can earn compensation for the use of their name, image, and likeness (“NIL”) in Michigan. The NCAA also has its own NIL policy, which took effect on July 1, 2021.

Why it Matters: It’s important that Michigan student-athletes, covered higher education institutions, and businesses ensure that NIL deals comply not only with NCAA rules and regulations, but also with the new standards that will apply in the State of Michigan. Learn more on the subject from your Fraser Trebilcock attorney.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Business & Tax | Ed Castellani
Cannabis Law | Sean Gallagher
Intellectual Property | Jared Roberts
Higher Education | Ryan Kauffman

New Guidance Confirms that Title IX Protections Apply to the LGBTQ+ Community

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (“OCR”) recently issued a “Notice of Interpetation” confirming that Title IX protects students from harassment and discrimination based on their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

This guidance is consistent with the 2020 Supreme Court decision in Bostock v. Clayton County in which the Court ruled that sex discrimination against gay and transgender employees was prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. §§ 1681-1688, prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any educational program or activity offered by a recipient of federal financial assistance.

The OCR’s interpretation may offer students another path for pursuing legal remedies under Title IX, particularly in states with fewer protections for LGBTQ+ students. It is expected that this new guidance will be used to address such issues as college sports participation and locker room and bathroom usage consistent with student identities.

In light of the guidance, colleges and universities should review their Title IX policies with legal counsel and communicate with faculty and staff about the implications of the policy. They should also consider updates to internal processes and policies to ensure compliance when claims of harassment or discrimination are brought to campus officials.

Taking proactive steps is important because the OCR warns that it will enforce Title IX to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in education programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance from the Department of Education. This includes “allegations of individuals being harassed, disciplined in a discriminatory manner, excluded from, denied equal access to, or subjected to sex stereotyping in academic or extracurricular opportunities and other education programs or activities, denied the benefits of such programs or activities, or otherwise treated differently because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

If you have any questions, or require assistance, please contact Ryan Kauffman.

Fraser Trebilcock Attorney Ryan Kauffman

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 or 517.377.0881.