Las Vegas Office Adds Attorney Karen Kao

karen-kao-006-web-res-resizedLipson, Neilson, Cole, Seltzer, Garin, P.C. announced today that attorney Karen Kao has joined the firm’s Las Vegas office as an associate attorney. Ms. Kao’s practice focuses primarily in the areas of General Liability Insurance Defense, and Homeowner and Community Association law.

Ms. Kao received a B.A. in Criminology, Law, and Society from the University of California, Irvine, and a Juris Doctor degree from the Valparaiso University School of Law. While in law school, Ms. Kao externed with the Honorable Judge David Barker, and the Honorable Gloria Sturman in the Eigth Judicial District Court for Clark County, Nevada.

Prior to joining the firm, Ms. Kao clerked at the Los Angeles county District Attorney’s office, and a private general litigation firm in the San Gabriel Valley. She is fluent in conversational Mandarin.

About Lipson Neilson
Founded in 1985, Lipson, Neilson, Cole, Seltzer, Garin, P.C. has offices in Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Bloomfield Hills. The firm is widely known for its excellence in the professional liability lines, offering invaluable insight and experience to its clients across all industries. The firm represents clients in Nevada, across the USA and around the world.

Contact: Joe Garin – Managing Partner of Lipson Neilson’s Las Vegas office.
Phone: 702-382-1500
Email: JGarin@lipsonneilson.com

Attorney Brent Demmitt Joins Lipson Neilson’s Phoenix Office

Brent Demmitt linkedin photo resizedBrent Demmitt has joined the firm’s Phoenix office as an associate attorney. Brent’s practice focuses primarily in the areas of real estate litigation, insurance defense, and commercial litigation. He also has experience in the areas of bankruptcy, environmental law, and sports law.

Brent received a B. A. in Economics from Kansas State University, a Masters in Sports Administration from Florida State University, and a Juris Doctor degree from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University where he achieved the CALI Excellence for the Future Award, an honor given to the highest grade in Legal Writing. He was also honored as a Willard H. Pedrick Scholar.

While in law school, Brent externed for the Honorable Madeleine C. Wanslee with the United States Bankruptcy Court, Arizona Division. Additionally, he was an extern at the Department of the Interior, Office of the Solicitor, in the Phoenix, Arizona field office.

Brent is a board member for Playworks Arizona, a non-profit that teaches conflict resolution in elementary schools. He is a coach of a high school mountain biking team, and formerly held the position of vice-president of the Phoenix Women’s Sports Association.

About Lipson Neilson
Founded in 1985, Lipson, Neilson, Cole, Seltzer, Garin, P.C. has offices in Phoenix, Las Vegas and Bloomfield Hills. The firm is widely known for its excellence in the professional liability lines, offering invaluable insight and experience to its clients across all industries. The firm represents clients across the USA and around the world.

Sandra D. Glazier Featured Speaker at Wilmington Trust’s 2017 Summer Symposium for Trusts & Estates Professionals

SG001_SQ_eSandra D. Glazier, author of Testimony from Beyond the Grave – The Gravamen of the Attorney-Client Privilege in Will and Trust Contests, will be a featured speaker on this topic during Wilmington Trust’s 2017 Summer Symposium for Trusts & Estates Professionals. This symposium will be held on July 19, 2017 at Christie’s in New York City. Ms. Glazier’s presentation has qualified for one Ethics CLE credit in New York and New Jersey.

An attorney for more than 35 years, Ms. Glazier is known for her expertise and successful track record in probate litigation, estate planning, trust and estate administration, and family law matters. The cases she works on tend to be very complex and require technical as well as legal expertise. Ms. Glazier has represented contestants and proponents of estate planning documents, as well as fiduciaries, in significant trust litigation proceedings. An AV Preeminent® rated attorney, she has also been recognized as a “Top Lawyer” by DBusiness, in the areas of probate, estate and family law.

Ms. Glazier has had numerous articles published by some of the legal industry’s leading publications. In addition, she has presented on estate planning and probate litigation related topics for the American Bar Association, Notre Dame Tax and Estate Planning Institute, Kansas City Estate Planning Symposium, Michigan’s Institute of Continuing Education, Oakland County Bar Association, Wilmington Trust’s New York Trust Symposium and the Bloomberg BNA Estate and Gift Tax Advisory Board. She has taught “Valuation for Federal, Estate and Gift Tax Purposes” in a Masters level course. Ms. Glazier is a principal of Lipson, Neilson, Cole, Seltzer, Garin, P.C. and practices out of their Bloomfield Hills, Michigan office.

Contact: Sandra D. Glazier
Phone: 248-593-5000
Email: sglazier@lipsonneilson.com

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.