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News & Articles

Scott Munzel Elected to Washtenaw County Bar Association Board of Directors

In April, the Washtenaw County Bar Association held its Award Dinner & Election. Scott Munzel, real estate lawyer in Ann Arbor at PSED was elected to serve a two-year term on the WCBA’s Board of Directors.  Scott has been a member of WCBA since 1999 and was previously Chair of the Real Estate Section.  Scott practices law in the areas of real estate law, zoning and l...

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PSED Wins Major Property Law Dispute in Pittsfield Township

In May, PSED obtained a significant favorable ruling from Judge Kuhnke of the Washtenaw County Circuit Court on behalf of a real estate developer in a complicated dispute with a condominium association.  During the housing market crash in 2008, the prior developer was not able to complete all the phases of a condominium complex and 210 unconstructed condominium units went into tax foreclosur...

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Open Meetings Act – Can Emails Between a Quorum of a Public Body Violate the OMA?

By Tom Daniels – In a case of first impression, the Michigan Court of Appeals found that a series of e-mails exchanged between four members of a seven member township parks and recreation commission constituted a violation of the Open Meetings Act (“OMA”). Markel v. Mackley, 11/1/16, 2016 Mich App LEXIS 2004. The OMA requires that all meetings of a public body be open to the public. A meet...

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“HOW TO SCORE A TOUCHDOWN WITH A LIVING TRUST”

By Marty Bodnar – To win football games, a team needs to score touchdowns, not kick field goals, when it reaches the “red zone.” Kicking field goals, not scoring touchdowns, between the 20-yard line and the end zone loses football games.A living trust is used to avoid probate court. Avoiding probate saves money and time and allows an estate to be settled privately rather than th...

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What to Do If You Get Sued

By Jeremy Kennedy – Few things can raise your anxiety levels faster or farther than being sued. The uncertainty of what will happen, the cost of hiring a lawyer, the apprehension of what happens if you lose, and the general unfamiliarity most people have with the legal system can intimidate many people. Because of this intimidation, it is important to know what steps you need to take to protec...

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The Wedding’s Off—Now Who Keeps the Engagement Ring?

By Wendy Alton You are engaged to be married, and have either bought or received a beautiful (expensive) engagement ring. Unfortunately, something happens to destroy the pre-wedding bliss and the wedding is called off for good. If the marriage never happens, who gets the engagement ring? The courts in Michigan have answered unequivocally: the person who gave the ring in anticipation of the marri...

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What to Consider Before Filing a Lawsuit

We have two separate court systems in Michigan, a state court system and a federal court system. For disputes involving amounts of $5,000 or less, you can sue in state small claims court, which is usually available in each city (at the local district court) and does not require an attorney. In fact, you cannot have an attorney in small claims court. If your dispute involves amounts over $5,000 b...

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No Common Law Marriage in Michigan

By Wendy Alton Common law marriage is the term for a “marriage” that exists solely by agreement and by cohabitation. More simply, a common-law marriage exists when two people agree to live together to be “married.” Common-law marriage is one of the fundamental rights that has existed in this country since the first settlers. In 1838, Michigan passed a law that stated that “marriages m...

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Nudes, Dudes, and Zoning Disputes

Anyone who has participated in a local zoning controversy—whether as a property owner desiring to alter the use of a parcel, a nearby property owner displeased with the proposed change, or a governmental agency (council, planning commission, zoning board of appeals) required to resolve the issue—knows full well that these matters can arouse strong emotions.   Indeed, a whole vocabulary of ...

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Oil & Gas Leases in Michigan

Many oil and gas producers have their land surveyors out looking for properties to seismically survey in Michigan now that hydraulic fracturing, otherwise known as “fracking,” has become a profitable way to extract natural gas and petroleum products from the ground.  Fracking is a process whereby hundreds of thousands of gallons, and sometimes millions of gallons, of water are injected into...

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Open and Obvious Defense in Personal Injury Cases

Business owners owe a reasonable duty of care to protect customers from unreasonable risks of harm caused by hazardous conditions on a business premises. If the operator of a business fails to comply with this duty and a hazardous condition causes a customer to suffer an injury, that customer may have a personal injury claim against the premises owner. However, it can be very difficult to succee...

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Organizational Crimes of Opportunity

It’s all over but the sentencing…. The Kwame Kilpatrick saga will soon reach its sad, yet gratifying end.   After systematically abusing the public trust while in office as mayor of Detroit, Mr. Kilpatrick will likely spend a good portion of the rest of his life in federal prison.  Politicians are often cursed by the same attributes that lead them to seek office in the first place.  Stro...

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Proof of Motivation Is Now Unnecessary in Michigan Whistleblower Cases

Under the Michigan Whistleblower’s Protection Act (“WPA”), an employer is subject to civil liability and penalties for discharging, threatening or otherwise discriminating against an employee because the employee reports or is about to report, a violation or suspected violation of a law, regulation or rule to a public body, unless the employee knows that the report is false, or because an ...

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Selecting and Registering a Trademark

Any business, whether emerging or established and looking to expand, should consider one or more trademarks to help consumers identify the source of certain goods or services.   Regardless of any formal registration, trademark rights are created through their use in commerce.  Therefore, it is possible for different entities to obtain trademark rights in the same trademark for different goods...

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Social Media and Trademarks: Understanding Your Rights in a Digital Age

The popularity of various social media applications, such as Facebook and Twitter, has grown at a rate that far exceeds the ability of courts and the legislature to keep up with regulations and their interpretation.  A user on any one of these applications is able to post a comment, a picture, a link or logo within seconds of its creation, becoming a potential advertiser for their own company o...

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Soybeans and the U.S. Supreme Court

On Tuesday, February 19, 2013, the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case of Bowman v. Monsanto, a very important case for U.S. patent law and just about every research and development institution in the country. The case centers on Monsanto’s patented soybeans that have been genetically modified to be resistant to glyphosate, an herbicide.  According to the statement of...

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Spousal Support (Alimony) is Based Upon More than Just a Difference in Income

By Wendy Alton A common misperception of people going through a divorce in Michigan is that spousal support (formerly called alimony) is based solely or mostly upon a difference in income between the spouses. While it is true that the court considers income when deciding if spousal support should be awarded—income is just 1 of 14 factors that the courts review. In deciding whether or not spous...

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The Importance of Miscellaneous Contract Provisions

We have all read those “miscellaneous provisions” portions of contracts. Those are the portions of the contract where all of the random, seemingly uninteresting provisions are found. Often those provisions include things like choice of law, jurisdictional standing, merger and integration and the like. They can also include substantive issues, such as limitations of warranty and liquidated da...

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Common Landlord-Tenant Disputes Part 1: The Security Deposit

As attorneys who frequently handle disputes arising out of residential leases, the following are the three topics we are asked about most frequently by landlords and tenants: Security deposit issues; Late fees; Repairs that the landlord must make. Each of these issues will be covered in two separate blog posts, starting with the security deposit. The Landlord and Tenant Relationships Act governs...

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Common Landlord-Tenant Disputes Part 2: Late Fees & Repairs

This blog post is the second of two parts that address the three of the topics that clients most frequently seek advice on in the residential landlord/tenant realm. Part 1 addressed what is commonly referred to as the Security Deposit Statute, and can be accessed here. This post will address the following: (1) late fees that a landlord can lawfully charge a residential tenant; and, (2) when a la...

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Divorcing? Don’t Forget the Dog

We often think that custody battles involve just children. However, pets are often cherished members of the family, and how divorcing couples share time with their pets is often of primary focus and concern. It is not uncommon to hear the following: “My dog is my baby.”Despite the close loving relationship we have with our family pets, they are considered personal property in Michigan...

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Estate Planning for Special Needs Families

Wendy Alton was honored to speak with the Down Syndrome Support Team (DSST) in Saline this past Sunday about estate planning for special needs families. Many families have children that may require or presently require assistance outside of what the family can provide. This can be either while the child is still a minor, or when they become an adult. Unfortunately many of the programs require a &...

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Good News for Business Clients: Business Courts are Finally Here!

On July 1, 2013, seventeen Michigan counties will begin accepting filings in their Business Court divisions.  Late last year, the Michigan Legislature passed a law requiring any Michigan circuit court with three or more judges to begin a docket for a business court to deal with business or commercial disputes.  These cases will include any dispute involving a business enterprise.  A business ...

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How Child Support is Calculated in Michigan

By Wendy Alton It seems like one of the biggest mysteries with family law clients is how child support is actually calculated. It is a common misperception that child support is based just on the income of both parents. While income is a factor, it is not the only consideration when child support is calculated. In Michigan, the following is a standard list of items considered to calculate child ...

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Insurance! It’s Not Just For Cars

When named as a defendant in a lawsuit, the natural instinct of most people is to panic or despair. Faced with the possibility of having a judgment entered against them and the equally daunting prospect of dealing with the legal system and having to pay for an attorney even if they win, most people understandably worry about what will happen to them, their family, and their overall well-being. E...

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Is Annulment an Option?

By Wendy Alton – In the state of Michigan, you can end your marriage by filing for one of three things: divorce, separate maintenance (legal separation), or annulment. An annulment is only granted if the marriage itself was void from the beginning or the marriage is voidable. A void marriage in Michigan is a marriage that could not have taken place legally from the beginning. What this means i...

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Legal Separation v. Divorce

One common question that is often asked is whether or not Michigan has what is called a “legal separation,” allowing a married couple to legally separate, but still remain married.The simple answer is yes, but the procedure is not so simple. Michigan has a legal action entitled “Separate Maintenance.” An action for “Separate Maintenance” is filed with the court...

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Making College Expenses a Priority after Divorce

By Wendy Alton – According to a recent study, divorced parents contribute a significant amount less toward college for their children than parents that remain married. The study was discussed in a Washington Post article, and revealed that divorced parents spend nearly 1/3 less on college expenses than married parents. Obviously this is a huge difference and disadvantage to children of divorc...

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Three Attorneys at PSED Law Receive Prestigious “Superlawyer” Award for 2013

Three attorneys at Pear Sperling Eggan & Daniels, P.C. have been awarded the prestigious “Superlawyer” peer review designation. PSED Law is proud to announce that three of its attorneys were voted by their peers onto the 2013 Michigan Superlawyers list. For the year September 2013 – September 2014, Thomas Daniels and Jerold Lax were chosen by their peers as Michigan Superlawyers, and, Wend...

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Andrew M. Eggan Awarded Five Star Estate Planning Professional Award

Pear Sperling Eggan & Daniels is proud to announce that Andrew M. Eggan, a partner in the firm’s Ypsilanti office, has been awarded the 2014 Detroit Five Star Estate Planning Professional Award. Metro-Detroit publications Hour Magazine and DBusiness compiled the lists of attorneys based on 10 objective pieces of eligibility requirements and evaluation criteria. The prestigious Five Star...

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Four Attorneys at PSED Law Awarded Prestigious “Superlawyer” Peer Review Designation

Ann Arbor, MI – Four attorneys at Pear Sperling Eggan & Daniels, P.C. have been awarded the prestigious “Superlawyer” peer review designation. PSED Law is proud to announce that four of its attorneys were voted onto the list of Michigan Superlawyers for the 2012 year, which runs from September 2012 – September 2013) by their peers. These four attorneys join Edwin Pear, the long-time mana...

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Jeremy Kennedy To Join Pear Sperling Eggan & Daniels, P.C., Ann Arbor Office

Ann Arbor, MI – Pear Sperling Eggan & Daniels, P.C., is pleased to announce that Jeremy Kennedy has joined the firm, working out of its Ann Arbor office. Jeremy primarily practices in the areas of litigation, real estate, commercial transactions, and labor and employment law. Jeremy has handled numerous complex, multi-party litigation matters in state and federal courts; lead labor negotiation...

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Jerry Lax Named to The Best Lawyers List for 2015

PSED Law is proud to announce that Jerry Lax has been named to The Best Lawyers list, one of the oldest and most respected annual attorney rankings in the country. The Best Lawyers list was released on November 3, 2014, and recognizes Jerry for his outstanding work in the following practice areas: employment law for both individuals, and businesses; land use and zoning law; and litigation. Jerry...

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Jim Nelson To Join Pear Sperling Eggan & Daniels, P.C., Ypsilanti Office

Ypsilanti, MI – Pear Sperling Eggan & Daniels, P.C., is pleased to announce that James B. Nelson will be joining the firm. Jim Nelson is a life long resident ofWashtenawCounty. Receiving his J.D. fromWayneStateUniversityin 1966 Jim has been practicing law in theAnn ArborandYpsilantiareas for over 46 years. From 1977 through 2012 he worked as one of the founding partners of theYpsilantilaw firm...

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PSED Law Awarded a Tier 1 Ranking in the 2013 Edition of U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms”

Ann Arbor, MI – Pear Sperling Eggan & Daniels, P.C. has been awarded a Tier 1 ranking in the 2013 Edition of U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms”. The US News rankings feature law firms given consistently impressive performance ratings by clients and peers. Achieving a high ranking is a special distinction that signals a unique combination of excellence and breadth of expertise. The...

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PSED Law Congratulates Attorneys Listed as ‘Super Lawyers’ For 2014

Pear Sperling Eggan & Daniels, P.C. is pleased to announce that Tom Daniels and Jerry Lax were recently named to Michigan Super Lawyers for 2014. The annual Super Lawyers list is compiled by Thomson Reuters. The rigorous multiphase selection process is made up of a nomination stage; an initial evaluation based on indicators of professional achievement; a second evaluation completed by a panel of...

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PSED Law Named to State Bar Circle of Excellence

PSED Law is proud to announce that it has been named to the State Bar of Michigan’s 2014 Circle of Excellence at the Leadership level. The Circle of Excellence recognizes firms that have exhibited a strong commitment to pro bono services in the last year. PSED Law is one of only 22 firms throughout the entire state to be named to the Circle at the Leadership level, the highest possible level w...

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PSED Law Proud Sponsor of DSST Buddy Walk in Ann Arbor, Michigan

PSED Law was a proud sponsor of the 9th Annual Down Syndrome Support Team Buddy Walk in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on September 29, 2013.  Hundreds of people gathered on a rainy cold Sunday in Gallup Park to walk a mile in order to raise money and show their support for families whose lives are touched by Down Syndrome.  Over $25,000 was raised for the Down Syndrome Support Team. The Down Syndrome S...

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PSED Law Receives Award from Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Regional Chamber

PSED Law was honored as a 2014 Business-Education Honor Roll Partner by the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Regional Chamber (A2Y Chamber). The A2Y Chamber, a community organization made up of local businesses, works to connect its members professionally, and to improve the local economy and the quality of life for Ann Arbor & Ypsilanti residents. The Business-Education Honor Roll is an A2Y Chamber program ...

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PSED Law Selected as a 2014 Top Ranked Law Firm by Martindale-Hubbell

Pear Sperling Eggan & Daniels, P.C. is pleased to announce that it has been selected by Martindale-Hubbell as a 2014 Top Ranked Law Firm.  Only 2,446 law firms have achieved this ranking.  Martindale-Hubbell chooses these firms by identifying U.S. law firms of 10 or more attorneys, where at least one-third of the attorneys in the firm achieved the AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rating.  These la...

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PSED Law Sponsors 33rd Undergraduate Symposium at Eastern Michigan University

Ypsilanti,MI– Pear Sperling Eggan & Daniels, P.C. is proud to be one of the local businesses that sponsored the 2013 Undergraduate Student Symposium, an annual Eastern Michigan University event that recognizes impressive undergraduate academic work. The EMU Undergraduate Symposium presents work in a variety of forms from a range of undergraduate programs and disciplines. The Undergraduate Symp...

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Steven P. Tramontin Joins Pear Sperling Eggan & Daniels, P.C., Ann Arbor Office

Ann Arbor, MI – Pear Sperling Eggan & Daniels, P.C., is pleased to announce that Steven P. Tramontin has joined the firm, an addition which enables the firm to provide a broad range of vigorous criminal defense representation to individuals in need. Steve Tramontin is a 2005 graduate of Wayne State University Law School.  He comes to PSED Law with over eight years of experience in the areas o...

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Thomas Daniels Presents at Michigan Local Government Management Association’s Winter Institute

January 29, 2015 Novi, MI – Thomas Daniels presented “Overview of Recent Michigan Supreme Court and Court of Appeals Decisions of Significance to Local Government Management,” at the Michigan Local Government Management Association’s (MLGMA) Winter Institute. The MLGMA’s annual Winter Institute gives MLGMA members the opportunity to network, share ideas, and learn about topics that are...

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Jerry Lax Named to The Best Lawyers in America List for 2016

PSED is proud to announce that Jerry Lax has once again been named to The Best Lawyers in America list, one of the most highly regarded and widely recognized annual attorney rankings in the country. The Best Lawyers list for 2016 was released to the public on August 17th, recognizing Jerry as one of The Best Lawyers in America in the following 7 practice areas: Employment Law for Individuals and...

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PEAR SPERLING EGGAN & DANIELS P.C. WELCOMES MARTY BODNAR

Contact: Ed PearTel: 734-645-4441Email: epear@psedlaw.comFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASETuesday, October 20, 2015PEAR SPERLING EGGAN & DANIELS P.C. WELCOMES MARTY BODNARThe law firm of Pear Sperling Eggan & Daniels P.C. announced today that Marty Bodnar, a former U-M Associate Athletic Director, and former Wolverine basketball player, has agreed to join the firm. Bodnar will concentrate his practic...

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Pre-Nuptial Agreements Provide Protection for More than just a Business

by Wendy Alton – Forbes previously published an article titled “Protecting Your Business In a Divorce: Pre-Nuptial Agreement.” It is an excellent article, but it is also a reminder that prenuptial agreements are useful for more than just protecting a business.Prenuptial agreements are agreements made between couples who are planning on getting married. The agreements will s...

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PSED Law Named to U.S. News & World Report “Best Law Firms” List

PSED Law is proud to announce that the firm has been named to the 2015 U.S. News & World Report “Best Law Firms” list. Released on November 3, 2014, the “Best Law Firms” ranking recognizes law firms that demonstrate professional excellence, and consistently receive high ratings from clients and other lawyers. The ranking is based on an evaluation process that includes ...

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Should You Change Your Name After a Divorce?

By Wendy Alton – A small but important question is always asked of the wife during divorce proceedings: Do you want to keep your married name, or go back to your maiden name? If the attorney fails to ask the wife this question, the Judge may ask the question at the final hearing.Some women have a difficult time making this decision—especially if they have children from their...

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Wendy Alton Interviewed by ABC News

Ann Arbor, MI – Wendy Alton was recently contacted by Patrick Clarke of ABC News to provide commentary on proposed Senate Bill 896, currently being processed through the Michigan Legislature. She was quoted in his article, “Michigan May Repeal Old Law Against Unmarried Living Together” on May 11, 2016. The article can be accessed at http://abcnews.go.com/US/michigan-repeal-law-u...

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Wendy Alton Speaks At U of M Dearborn Commencement

April 26, 2015 Dearborn, MI – Wendy Alton spoke at the University of Michigan-Dearborn 2015 commencement ceremony for the College of Arts, Sciences & Letters. Wendy, an alumna of the University of Michigan-Dearborn, was invited to address this year’s graduating class regarding the importance and value of mentorship. Wendy spoke alongside Michael Brown (keynote address), Benita Robinson (stud...

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Non Profit Status

501(c)(3) Non-Profit Status by Todd Chawansky, Associate Attorney and Rachel A. Hobbs, CLABeing a 501(c)(3) corporation means that organization has received a tax-exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service.  In order to obtain tax-exempt status under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, an organization must demonstrate to the IRS that the funds it receives are ...

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