David G. Michael Selected to Moderate Panel Discussion On the Opportunities and Challenges Facing Urban Farmers

David MichaelDavid G. Michael, an attorney specializing in Real Estate law at Lipson, Neilson, Cole, Seltzer, Garin, P.C., has been selected by the Oakland County Bar Association’s Real Estate Committee to moderate a panel of industry experts during a seminar titled “Planting City Roots: Advising the Urban Agriculture Enterprise.”

Held on June 22, 2017, this seminar provided attendees with an interactive discussion of the challenges faced by urban agriculture enterprises, as well as the legal and business issues that need to be addressed by these enterprises.

Topics of discussion included:

  • The case for welcoming agriculture to urban neighborhoods and communities.
  • The legal and public policy issues facing urban agriculture enterprises large and small.
  • Agrihoods: The latest trends in urban revitalization, from farm-to-table.
  • Regulating medical marijuana growers under the revised Medical Marijuana Act.

David G. Michael practices law in many different areas including commercial litigation, real estate transactions, and commercial leasing. He also works with landlord-tenant and condominium law and litigation. David is a member of the Oakland County Bar Association, where he is a contributor to LACHES Magazine and he stands as the Real Estate Committee Vice-Chair. He is also a member of the State Bar of Michigan in the Information Technology Law and Real Property Law sections.

Founded in 1985, Lipson, Neilson, Cole, Seltzer, Garin, P.C. is an AV rated law firm with offices in Michigan, Nevada and Arizona. To learn more about the firm and its attorneys please visit www.lipsonneilson.com.

Contact: David G. Michael
Phone: 248-593-5000
Email: dmichael@lipsonneilson.com

Steven Malach Administers Multi-Million Dollar Charitable Estate Plan and Trust for Prominent Judge

Steven MalachSteven Malach, Founder and Director of the Center for Estate Planning (CEP), a subsidiary of the Lipson Neilson law firm, has completed the administration of the multi-million dollar estate plan and trust of the Honorable Judge Michael Stacey. This estate plan and trust provided for numerous charitable endeavors including:

  • Increasing care for those suffering the ravages of Alzheimer’a in the metro-Detroit area through the Dorothy and Peter Brown Adult Care program in West Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.
  • Establishing Palliative care as a go between medical and hospice care for individuals via the Jewish Hospice & Chaplaincy Network in West Bloomfield, Michigan.
  • Supporting child cancer research at the St. Jude’s Hospital.
  • Variety: The Children’s Charity
  • Yad Ezra food pantry for impoverished people who rely heavily on government assistance programs, including food stamps.
  • ENSURE: A non-profit charity that specifically supports pediatric surgical research at Children’s Hospital of Michigan.

Judge Michael Stacey graduated from Wayne State University Law School and was admitted into the State Bar of Michigan in 1951. Before becoming a judge, he was in private practice and ran one of the first mediation panels in Michigan. Judge Stacey was appointed by Michigan Governor William Milliken to the Wayne County Circuit Court in January, 1974. He retired from the bench in 1994 and continued in private practice as a pre-eminent Mediator and Arbitrator.

An attorney for more than 30 years, who has handled cases in every county in Michigan, Mr. Malach heads Lipson, Neilson, Cole, Seltzer, & Garin, P.C.’s estate planning practice group and is the founder of the Center For Estate Planning (CEP). With offices in Michigan and Arizona, the CEP specializes in all aspects of estate planning, from estate administration to lifetime counsel and probate administration work. CEP attorneys work with individuals, closely-held businesses and charitable organizations. Mr. Malach’s practice specializes in elder law, estate planning, probate, wills, trusts and trusts administration.

Contact: Steven Malach
Phone: 248-593-5000
Email: SMalach@lipsonneilson.com

Steven Malach Participates in 2017 NAELA Annual Conference

Steven MalachSteven Malach, who heads up the Probate, Trust and Estate Planning section of Lipson Neilson, recently attended the 2017 Annual NAELA (National Association of Elder Law Attorneys) Conference in Boston, Mass. Mr. Malach participated with attendees from across the country in various sessions led by experts in their respective fields including the following topics:

  • The future of aging.
  • Fiduciary access to digital assets.
  • 50 Shades of Gray Hair; Romance in the Nursing Home.
  • Updates on Litigation to ensure a client’s wishes are upheld.

The above meetings were held against the backdrop of the historical local background in pursuing life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Mr. Malach is a twenty year active member of NAELA which is active legislatively at the local, State and Federal levels.

Summary Dismissal Victory Achieved by Phillip E. Seltzer and Shawn Grinnen In Defense of Lawyer on Claim of Legal Malpractice

Phil and Shawn PhotoA first responsive motion for summary dismissal of a legal malpractice claim was recently granted in favor of a Defendant-Lawyer represented by Lipson Neilson attorneys Phillip E. Seltzer and Shawn Grinnen. The Defendant-Lawyer represented Plaintiff in a prior criminal proceeding involving his alleged failure to register as a sex offender for a prior offense and engaging in sexually abusive conduct with a minor over Facebook. After waiving the preliminary hearing and obtaining discovery, the Plaintiff decided to terminate Defendant-Lawyer and new counsel was appointed. Defendant-Lawyer formally withdrew via court order.

Over a month later, while represented by successor counsel, Plaintiff entered into a voluntary plea agreement, admitted his guilt of the criminal charges on the record, admitted to the location of the crimes, affirmed that his decision to plead guilty was voluntary and without threats or other inducements, and that he was knowingly waiving his right to trial and defend. While serving a four-year sentence, Plaintiff sued Defendant-Lawyer for malpractice, claiming that the waiver of the preliminary exam was critical since the alleged crimes occurred in a different county and no jurisdictional basis existed for his prosecution or guilty plea in the County Court where he was charged.

As an initial response to the Complaint, the Lipson Neilson team filed a motion for summary dismissal arguing that the claim of legal malpractice was barred because: (i) Plaintiff’s voluntary plea of guilty cut off all causation for Plaintiff’s injuries (wrongful incarceration and loss of business and loss of income) as a matter of law, and (ii) Plaintiffs’ statements on the record, concerning his guilt and the location of the underlying crimes, judicially estopped Plaintiff from asserting the crimes occurred elsewhere or that Defendant-Lawyer failed to raise a jurisdictional argument at the preliminary exam. Additionally, during the dismissal motion hearing, Plaintiff’s asserted for the first time that his plea agreement was not voluntary and he lied under oath because his lawyer supposedly told him to so in order to get a more lenient sentence.

As a result, the Lipson Neilson defense counsel spontaneously argued that the legal malpractice claim was also barred under the the doctrine of in pari delicto – the wrongful conduct rule – because Plaintiff’s criminal conduct in committing perjury at his plea hearing was the central cause of his incarceration and consequential damages. Accordingly, such wrongful conduct prohibited Plaintiff from pursuing any civil remedy. The Trial Court granted the motion, adopting the legal grounds presented, and summarily dismissed the case.

Steve Malach Participates in Casey Kasem’s Seminar

Steven Malach, who heads up the Probate, Trust and Estate Planning section of Lipson Neilson, recently attended a webinar narrated by Casey Kasem’s daughter, discussing the unfortunate circumstances involving the late Casey Kasem’s affairs. Mr. Kasem passed away on Father’s Day of 2015. He was an iconic disc jockey of national renown and known for the Casey Kasem top 100 song countdown.

In addition to suffering the ravages of dementia, his children were isolated and told they were not allowed to see their father by his second wife. This is an unfortunate textbook example of what can go wrong with or without an estate plan that can lead to very dramatic and dynamic probate related litigation during a person’s lifetime or even after they passed away.

Phillip Seltzer and Shawn Grinnen Successfully Defend Law Firm Client Against Tortious Interference and Slander of Title Claims

Victory Achieved by Phillip E. Seltzer and Shawn Grinnen In Defense of a Law Firm Client against Tortious Interference and Slander of Title Claims

Phil and Shawn PhotoThe client-Law Firm, which specializes in representing condominium and community entities, initiated a lawsuit against a condominium developer seeking monetary and declaratory relief. The suit was based on a statute that appeared to mandate the automatic reversion of legal title of unbuilt condominium units to the Condo Owner Association if, after ten years, the Developer failed to build and complete those units per a filed Master Plan.

After a ten-year building hiatus, the Developer began undertaking the build out of three lots (out of dozens still unbuilt) and was in the process of selling one of the lots. The Law Firm, citing the statute, filed a Claim of Interest in the real estate records, on behalf of its client (the Condo Owner Association), asserting property rights in all unbuilt lots, including the three under construction.

A lawsuit followed by the client-Law Firm (on behalf of the Condo Association) against the Developer. Developer filed separate legal claims against the Law Firm claiming that its legal advice and actions constituted slander of title and tortious interference with contractual relations and interference with the economic expectancies of the Developer.

The Lipson, Neilson team argued that no improper tortious interfering conduct existed to sustain the interference claims, only lawful and professional legal advice to clients proffered in good faith to assist in protecting disputed property rights. The trial judge agreed and dismissed the interference claims, noting that the filing of a lawsuit to declare disputed property rights is the essence of proper – not tortious – conduct. The Trial Court also agreed that no slander of title claims could survive because of the lack of legal malice – namely, the law firm engaged in a good faith interpretation of a statute that had never been the subject of a legal opinion by any appellate court or the Michigan Supreme Court.

Under this circumstance, malice did not exist when the position advocated by the law firm is in good faith and posited a reasonable belief in a valid protectable property interest. The non-existence of malice was underscored by the lack of any existing legal authority to contradict the Law Firm’s reasoned belief (even if it is later determined to be legally inaccurate.)

Don’t Let the Debt Racked Up by a Deceased Spouse Catch You Unaware

by Steven Malach, Chair of the Estate Planning and Elder Care practice at the Lipson Neilson law firm, and founder of the Center for Estate Planning (CEP).

When dealing with the extremely emotional implications of the death of a spouse, dealing with debt left by your loved one is probably not your first concern. However, you need to know this is a crucial issue that does need to be taken seriously going forward.

The best advice in this situation is to not be intimidated by creditors. Be aware that there are financial institutions (Credit Card Companies, Loan originators, etc.) that will take advantage of your vulnerable state.

Seek advice from an attorney who specializes in estate matters and a certified financial planner for your specific responsibilities. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act was enacted by the Federal Trade Commission to protect consumers against illegal collection tactics.

Remember – during your grief, the law protects you from being taken advantage of.

Bloomberg BNA’s Tax Management Memorandum Publishes Article by Sandra D. Glazier

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished Especially When Acceptance Means a Target on One’s Back: Defending Breach of Fiduciary Duty Claims in the Context of Trust and Estate Administration By Sandra D. Glazier, Esq., Lipson, Neilson, Cole, Seltzer & Garin, P.C.

Sandy Glazier BNA April 2017 Family members or trusted family consultants are often honored when they learn they’ve been nominated to act as a trustee. They take the appointment seriously, but may not have a background in trust administration. Perhaps they perused or read the pertinent instrument in its entirety when they accepted the appointment. They might interpret oft included boilerplate language as instilling them with broad (if not unlimited) powers. The enumeration of powers might lead non-professional fiduciaries to the mistaken belief that they can handle the assets as they do their own — or in the same fashion that the settlor did.

Since they view themselves as ‘‘reasonable’’ they may believe that they need only to xercise their discretion as they deem appropriate. They may even believe they know what the settlor wanted and adapt their decision making accordingly. For purposes of these materials, we will generally assume that the trustee acted in good faith. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for nonprofessional trustees to be unaware of statutory and common law that may supersede, supplement or otherwise override provisions contained within the trust instrument.

Further complicating this area may be that the settlor was the glue that held the family together. When the settlor is no longer able to manage his own affairs, no longer has capacity, has otherwise become vulnerable or has died, familial rivalries may find a new forum in which to play out. Litigation in this arena often is more than just about the money. It’s often emotionally charged and, even if carefully managed, such litigation can result in irreparable family rifts…Click here for full article.

Victory Upheld in Defense of Lawyer for Phillip E. Seltzer, C. Thomas Ludden and Samantha Heraud

By order dated April 4, 2017, the Michigan Supreme Court recently ruled to let stand a prior victory achieved in the Michigan Court of Appeals in the matter of Boladian et al v. Thennisch, et al, Unpublished Mich. Ct. of App., issued April 12, 2016 (Docket #No. 324737). In Boladian¸ a lawyer was sued for, among other things, malicious prosecution, abuse of process and defamation, arising from the failed prosecution of civil matters against a music publishing company and its owner. The Lispon Neilson legal team of Phillip E. Seltzer, C. Thomas Ludden, and Samantha Heraud, obtained summary dismissal of the referenced claims in the trial court and defended that result on ensuing appeals.

The Boladian Court of Appeals panel affirmed the trial court’s rulings. Boladian is the first Michigan case to reject a multiplicity of legal proceedings as constituting a “special injury” — a necessary requirement to prove a malicious prosecution claim. Noting Michigan’s “special injury” requirement, the Court of Appeals refused to expand the notion of “special injury” beyond the English common law rule – previously adopted in Michigan — which does not include defending multiple legal proceedings (or, in this case, multiple post judgment motions that sought relief from various settlements in different civil lawsuits involving plaintiffs).

Furthermore, the Court of Appeals affirmed summary dismissal of the abuse of process claim against the attorney, determining that an alleged settlement demand for $1 million in exchange for a promise of not filing a damaging and supposedly defamatory affidavit, failed to demonstrate the required ulterior or collateral purpose necessary to sustain the tort. Demanding settlement is not collateral to maintaining a lawsuit, especially one that seeks monetary damages. Further, no showing was made that the demand was beyond the realm of potential damages in the underlying case.

The Boladian Court also rejected the argument that there was an “ulterior motive” based on the desire of the lawyers to “drum up business” by leaking an alleged defamatory story about Plaintiffs’ business practices to the media, finding that this was either a part of a time barred defamation claim that had previously been dismissed and, further, because supplying information to the media is “action outside legal proceedings” and not applicable to an abuse of process claim.

To learn more about this case, please contact Phillip E. Seltzer at 248-593-5000.

Medicare Starter Kit

8 Does and Don’t of signing up for Medicare:

  1. Do give yourself time to learn about Medicare:
  2. Don’t expect to be notified when it’s time to sign up:
  3. Do enroll when you’re supposed to:
  4. Don’t despair if you haven’t worked long enough to qualify:
  5. Don’t worry that poor health will affect your coverage:
  6. Do remember that Medicare is not free:
  7. Don’t assume that Medicare covers everything:
  8. Don’t expect Medicare to cover your dependents:

CEP-Logo2

The Center for Estate Planning is a leader in Michigan for many areas of estate planning, from estate administration to lifetime counsel and probate administration work. We focus on individuals and closely-held businesses and charitable organizations, working closely with our clients to provide top level advice.

Since Lipson Neilson acquired the the Center for Estate Planning, the firm has greatly enhanced its depth of expertise and practice disciplines. To learn more please visit www.CEPlawyers.com