News

News

November 2017 - Janet Lanyon presented at the Oakland County Bar Association Employee Benefits Committee on the Impact of the November 2017 U. S. House Tax Reform Bill on Employee Benefits


Dean & Fulkerson and the Michigan Trucking Association presented their annual Detroit Area Trucking Seminar on November 3, 2017. The room was packed with trucking managers, safety specialists, executives and CFOs. The program included engaging discussions on damaged freight (Kevin Summers), Operating in Ohio (Richard Cuneo), the new Gordie Howe International Bridge and its impact on Cross-Border Transportation (Heather Grondin), Motor Carrier Enforcement (Lt. Steven Horwood), and Tariffs (Neill Riddell).


October 12, 2017 - Dean & Fulkerson won the 5K team competition in the 38th Annual Oakland County Bar Association Race Judicata held on October 8, 2017. Congratulations to Team D&F (Jim O’Brien, Rob Figa, Spencer Mistele and Will Jewell) for bringing home the trophy! The Firm is a proud supporter of this local institution for the eighth year in a row as a premier sponsor of the race.


September 5, 2017 - Congratulations to Jim O’Brien for being named a 2017 Michigan “Super Lawyer” in Environmental Law by Law & Politics Media, Inc. Jim was also chosen to be recognized in the 24th Edition of The Best Lawyers in America for his “high caliber of work in the practice areas of Environmental Law and Environmental Litigation.”


August 2017 - Jim Dworman is scheduled to receive the Pillars of Excellence Award from the Michigan Jewish Sports Foundation at the 33rd Annual Hall of Fame Induction Dinner in September. Jim’s been at home on the basketball court since 1994 – and the football field since 2003 and swimming pool since 2011 – officiating more than 1,000 varsity basketball games, and numerous MHSAA quarterfinal, regional, district and league championship games; state football championships, including two Prep Bowls and three KLAA championship games; as well as water polo matches and district championships. He’s also officiated women’s college basketball, four AAU National Championship tournaments, three Maccabi Games and the Special Olympics. Jim has been an attorney in private practice for 30 years, the last 26 with Dean & Fulkerson, where he serves as president and represents many of Detroit’s top sports broadcasters and writers. He’s also an adjunct professor at Western Michigan University Cooley Law School teaching sports law. Jim organized the Metro Detroit Athletic Officials, the largest MHSAA-approved officials association in the State of Michigan, and writes the law column for Referee magazine.


 

 

May 16, 2017 - We are pleased to announce that Thomas P. Christy has joined Dean & Fulkerson as a shareholder. Tom’s practice focuses on business and commercial litigation, real estate litigation, business formation, contracts and business transactions, real estate transactions and agreements, and trademark law.


 

Set and Forget? A Self-Directed 401(k) Plan Sponsor's Investment Fiduciary Obligations Under ERISA (March 2017)

Janet Lanyon's article on self-directed 401(k) plans was published in the March issue of LACHES, a publication of the Oakland County Bar Association.


 

New Overtime Rule Derailed (November 23, 2016)

A Texas federal court last night issued a preliminary injunction blocking the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) from implementing the overtime rule set to take effect December 1. The Court's ruling is a nationwide injunction, and originates from the lawsuit filed by 21 states earlier this year.

The DOL overtime rule would have more than doubled the weekly salary threshold for the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) “white collar” exemptions, from $455/week to $913/week.

The Court ruled the “state plaintiffs have established a prima facie case that the Department’s salary level under the final rule and the automatic updating mechanism are without statutory authority.” Specifically, the Court found that the DOL overstepped its authority when drafting the overtime rule by focusing on employees’ compensation instead of the work performed. The Court ruled that the increased wage levels could impermissibly supersede Congress’s intent in the FLSA exemptions to focus on the nature of the duties employees perform in determining whether they are exempt from overtime pay requirements. The Court questioned the indexing mechanism in the proposed DOL rule, which was set to automatically increase the salary threshold every three years, and observed that federal lawmakers never contemplated such increases in the FLSA.

Most employers have feverishly prepared for the December 1 effective date. The preliminary injunction is often a strong signal that the Court will permanently halt enforcement of the changes, but it should be noted that the Court's ruling is only a "preliminary" injunction, subject to change. To further complicate matter, the new Administration has hinted it would overturn the overtime rule in the first quarter of 2017.

With some uncertainty, employers can (i) undo the recent changes in their compensation structure, (ii) delay anticipated changes, or (iii) proceed as planned. Employers must also once again consider individual states’ laws. The DOL’s overtime rule is likely far from over.

If you have any questions, contact Curt Mistele.


Employers Can Use Current Form I-9 until January 21, 2017 - The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services plans to publish a new Form I-9 by November 22, 2016. The current Form I-9 can be identified by “Form I-9 03/08/13 N” in the lower left corner of the form. Employers may continue to use the current Form I-9 through January 21, 2017. After January 21, 2017, employers must use the new form.


November 2016 - Dean & Fulkerson is proud to be listed in the U.S. News & World Report’s 2017 listing of Best Law Firms. Also included in the 2017 Best Lawyers directory is Jim Dworman for Commercial Litigation; Janet Lanyon for Employment Law - Management, and Litigation - Labor and Employment; and Jim O'Brien for Environmental Law, and Litigation - Environmental.


On October 18, 2016, the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Fox v Transam Leasing, holding that a carrier violated the FMCSA Truth-In-Leasing regulations when an owner-operator lease agreement assessed a weekly chargeback for use of the carrier’s satellite communications system. Notably, the issue did not involve the satellite communications equipment itself, which the lease made clear the owner-operator was free to obtain either from the carrier or in the market. The violating chargeback instead involved a fee to access the carrier’s communications system with that equipment, regardless of the equipment’s source. For questions, contact the D&F Transportation & Logistics Group.


World Imports bankruptcy case leads to precedential decision regarding maritime liens on cargo (October 2016)

In a precedential decision arising out of the bankruptcy case of World Imports, a furniture wholesaler, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals held that an NVOCC has a maritime lien on cargo for unpaid pre-petition and post-petition freight charges, even if the carrier delivers the cargo or if the parties’ contract has a general lien clause.


Marc Swoish Joins Dean & Fulkerson (September 2016)

We are pleased to announce that Marc Swoish has joined Dean & Fulkerson as a shareholder. Marc’s practice focuses on multifaceted commercial, office and residential real estate transactions including acquisitions, financing, leasing, title actions and project development. He has specific experience in corporate law including formation, mergers and acquisitions, and commercial contracts as well as commercial real estate with focus on drafting, review, and negotiation of real estate development agreements, purchase and sale contracts, and commercial leasing.


 

DUI Arrest Could Lead to Visa Revocation for Employees in U.S. Even Without a Conviction (August 2016)

Employers should be aware that foreign nationals in the United States on nonimmigrant work visas (such as H-1B, L-1 and O-1 visas) are subject to severe consequences following an arrest for driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI), even when there is no finding of guilt. Per longstanding practice and U.S. Department of State (DOS) regulations, if the DOS discovers derogatory information about an applicant after a visa is issued, it may determine, after an evaluation of the facts, whether it is prudent to revoke the previously issued visa out of concern for public safety. In a shift from previous practice, the DOS has recently begun exercising this discretion in a more stringent manner.

If an employee is arrested or a notification of visa revocation is received, the individual and his or her employer should review their options carefully to maximize their chances of renewing the visa and maintaining or extending nonimmigrant status. If you have any questions, contact Kevin Summers.


Expedited NLRB Union Election (August 2016)

Bob Cleary successfully assisted a national manufacturing company against a recent expedited NLRB Union Election which was held a mere thirty days after the petition was filed. This relatively new election process that went into effect in 2015 was thought to favor unions in NLRB elections by expediting the election process. However, recent data released by the National Labor Relations Board show election results have been averaging about the same percentage union success rate as they did before the rule took effect which is around 64%.

Bob has advised clients in response to union organizing efforts in various states. His efforts include successfully defending against multi-site and multi-state national union organizing campaigns under the new NLRB expedited election rules, as well as designing and implementing preventive strategies for clients to avoid the prospect of a potential union petition for representation.

If you have any questions, contact Bob Cleary.


FMCSA Announces Delay of URS Implementation until 2017. On July 20, 2016, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced that it extended the dates for Unified Registration System (URS) compliance by motor carriers, freight forwarders, brokers and others under FMCSA jurisdiction. The FMCSA will be releasing the URS on January 14, 2017, with a full compliance date of April 14, 2017. URS is a mandatory online filing system that currently applies only to new applicants. This postponement delays the requirement for tens of thousands of existing registrants to use this system. If you have any questions, contact Kevin Summers.


Caution to Nonimmigrant Visas (July 26, 2016)

Individuals who hold nonimmigrant visas in the United States are likely to face severe consequences if arrested for a DUI or related offense, based on the recently released guidance from the U.S. Department of State (DOS).

Earlier this year, DOS made public all unclassified content in Volume 9 of its Foreign Affairs Manual, the policy manual for DOS and its officers. This recently revealed content provides that “DOS has the authority to prudentially revoke a visa on the basis of a potential [health-related ground of] ineligibility when DOS receives notification of an arrest or conviction of driving under the influence, driving while intoxicated or similar arrests/convictions that occurred within the previous five years.

If you have any questions, contact Kevin Summers.


Fifth Circuit Dismisses Commercial Driver’s Americans With Disabilities (ADA) Discrimination Claim (July 13, 2016)

In Williams v JB Hunt, filed on June 20, 2016, the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals found in favor of J.B. Hunt where it terminated a driver after one doctor rescinded his DOT medical certification for a diagnosis of syncope and ventricular tachycardia. Although the driver received conflicting medical evaluations from different doctors, he never filed an application for the DOT to resolve the conflict pursuant to 49 C.F.R. §391.47. After his termination, the driver filed a lawsuit alleging that he was terminated in violation of the ADA. The federal district court dismissed the case based on the driver’s failure to exhaust administrative remedies. On appeal, the Fifth Circuit held that to prove an ADA violation, plaintiff must make out a prima facie case of discrimination by showing: (1) plaintiff has a disability, or was regarded as disabled; (2) he was qualified for the job; and (3) he was subject to an adverse employment action. The Fifth Circuit Court affirmed the lower court, but not for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Instead, the Court affirmed on alternative grounds, concluding that the driver failed to establish that he was qualified for the job in question. If you have any questions about this case, contact Kevin Summers.


Persuader Rule (April 1, 2016)

The Department of Labor published its controversial new Persuader Rule, which will take effect on July 1, 2016. The DOL says the rule is needed to level the playing field between employers and employees during unionizing activities. The Rule requires that employers and the consultants they hire file reports not only for direct persuader activities (consultants talking to workers) but also for indirect persuader activities (consultants scripting what managers and supervisors say to workers). This Rule does not prohibit employers from hiring consultants, but it does require that employers report the source of campaign material and disclose expenditures on labor-management activities.

Not surprisingly, several business groups have seen fit to challenge the imposition of the new Rule by suing the Department of Labor, claiming the Rule violates employers’ First Amendment rights and due process under the Fifth Amendment by restricting employers’ ability to educate and inform their employees.

Stay tuned – the last word is yet to come. Contact Bob Cleary for additional information.


FAST ACT Update (February 25, 2016)

On the heels of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act’s (FAST ACT) December 4, 2015 signing by President Obama, the Federal Highway Administration issued a February 24, 2016 Memorandum discussing various provisions of the legislation, including size and weight restrictions for carriers operating on the interstate system. Click here to download and read a copy of the FHWA Memo. For more information, contact D&F’s Transportation and Logistics Law Group.