Vandeveer Garzia - Attorneys and Counselors - Servicing the Troy and Metro Detroit Area

Practice Areas

Full range of legal services.

We offer a wide range of professional legal services with a strong emphasis on litigation. Our attorneys are licensed to practice in all courts and administrative tribunals in the state of Michigan and in all United States District Courts in the state of Michigan.

Alternative Dispute Resolution

A number of our attorneys are often selected to serve as mediators and arbitrators based on their expertise in a given area of practice. These attorney of Vandeveer Garzia can provide the knowledge and guidance necessary to resolve difficult and ofter confrontational disputes. These attorney have earned the respect of their fellow attorneys who regularly select them to serve this important legal function.

In addition to participating as mediators and arbitrators, all of the attorney in our firm are committed to the most cost-effective method of resolving disputes. This often involves mediation prior to the filing of a lawsuit and after filing but before trial. It also involves agreeing to arbitration in lieu of trial.

Our experience in mediation and arbitration includes all forms of litigation including construction, insurance coverage, professional malpractice, employment, and environmental.

Appellate Practice

Vandeveer Garzia’s Appellate practice includes all types of civil appeals in all of the firm’s practice areas, including tort, product liability contract, commercial law, insurance policy coverage and indemnity cases.

The firm handles appeals in all of Michigan’s courts, and at all federal levels, including the Sixth Circuit. Its personnel and research resources enable it to handle a broad range of appeals and do so expeditiously.

Vandeveer Garzia’s Appellate Department handles appeals, not only within the firm, but in cases referred by other law firms that lack sufficient resources or have need of the specialized experience Vandeveer Garzia offers.

Associated Attorneys

Aviation Law and Litigation

Since the early years of commercial aviation Vandeveer Garzia has been actively involved in Aviation Litigation representing a number the major air carriers. We were one of the first law firms in Michigan to specialize in Aviation Litigation. Our attorneys have been actively involved in several Multi-District Litigation matters involving airline disasters.

In addition to mass tort claims, we handle aviation matters from small baggage claims to serious personal injury and property damage claims. With the assistance of our construction attorneys we have also represented owners, design professionals and contractors in disputes and litigation related to the design and construction of airport facilities.

Business and Commercial Law and Litigation

In today’s complex and competitive business climate, deals are frequently consummated without due consideration for all contingencies and consequences. The attorneys at Vandeveer Garzia can provide advice and consultation at the onset of a business relationship designed to avoid conflict or costly litigation. An appropriately drafted contract, which specifically delineates the rights and obligations of the parties, will prevent difficult business partners from attempting to avoid their responsibilities or making unreasonable demands. Such an agreement will also promote better harmony between business partners, as clearly defined roles are the cornerstone of a solid and continuing relationship.

In the event that litigation does arise, the attorneys of Vandeveer Garzia are uniquely suited to handle such matters in an aggressive, but cost-effective, manner. Unfortunately, too often the only winners in commercial litigation are the attorneys. The attorneys of Vandeveer Garzia are mindful of the ultimate goal of commercial litigants, which is to extricate themselves from costly and distracting litigation in a quick and economic fashion. Through the use of early Alternative Dispute Resolution alternatives, clients of Vandeveer Garzia have been able to put litigation behind them. In the event that early resolution is not possible, the attorneys of Vandeveer Garzia aggressively pursue the interests of their clients, while keeping the clients fully informed and involving the clients in significant strategic decisions. Unfortunately, there is an increasing propensity for business relationships to end up in litigation. The attorneys of Vandeveer Garzia fully understand the economic and emotional importance to their clients of prevailing in such litigation.

Construction Law and Litigation

Vandeveer Garzia has a long history of representing owners, general contractors and trade contractors in construction related litigation, including payment disputes, contract claims, defective work claims, property damage claims and personal injury lawsuits. The firm's construction clients run the gamut from small, family owned companies to large, national residential and commercial contractors.

Our attorneys have a wealth of experience in the litigation of construction related claims. Many of our successes are memorialized in appellate court decisions which now serve the basis of construction law within the State of Michigan. We are also well versed in the use of Alternative Dispute Resolution to resolve claims in a cost efficient manner.

We also have the knowledge and experience necessary to assist our clients in drafting and interpreting construction contracts, whether it is a standard AIA or AGC contract or one drafted from the ground up. We work closely with our Insurance Defense Group to insure the proper application and interpretation of indemnity and/or insurance clauses.

Our expertise in the area of construction is recognized by attorneys throughout Michigan, as our attorneys are often retained to act as mediators, facilitators and/or arbitrators in construction disputes.

Design Professional Representation

For more than fifty years Vandeveer Garzia has represented design professionals including architects, engineers and land surveyors, in all aspects of their work. We have been actively involved in the preparation of construction contracts, interpretation of construction contracts, dispute resolution, and litigation. We have the knowledge necessary to assist the design professional in preparing and interpreting the contract whether a standard AIA or AGC contract or any hybrid. It is our job to assure that our clients are fully protected in the event of a dispute, default, termination, or litigation. We work closely with our Insurance and Indemnity attorneys to make sure that the proper language is included in the construction contract.

As skilled and experienced trial attorneys we are not only able to assist our design professionals in litigation avoidance but to represent them should they become a party to a lawsuit. We have the resources and know how to defend the design professional no matter what type of claim may be brought or who may be involved in the litigation.

Our attorneys have tried lawsuits for design professionals throughout the state of Michigan and in both state court and federal court. As such we are well aware of the hazards of litigation and are active in Alternative Dispute Resolution.

Dram Shop and Liquor Liability

This specialty area of law has changed in a rather dramatic fashion since the Michigan Supreme Court opinion in Reed v. Brenton, 475 Mich. 531 (2006). In Reed, the Court embraced the rebuttable presumption of non-liability as well as the adequacy of proofs required to show the driver’s alleged visible intoxication under the law (clear and convincing evidence is required). That said, there are pitfalls for the inexperienced practitioner. Finding an attorney with a great deal of experience in Dram Shop litigation is rare given the limited number of cases filed each year. We offer extensive experience in this area of the law. We have represented Dram Shop defendant’s throughout southeastern Michigan in cases involving a wide range of legal issues, from multiple deaths to gunshot wounds. We are often consulted pre-suit to gather and preserve evidence essential to the successful defense of a Dram Shop claim.

Examples of the Dram Shop claims we have handled include:

  • The allegedly intoxicated person (AIP) shot the plaintiff after an altercation in a bar. The issue in the case was whether the AIP was served prior to the shooting.
  • The AIP and plaintiff were both ejected from a vehicle at a high rate of speed killing both occupants. The issue in the case was whether plaintiff or the passenger was driving the vehicle at the time of the crash.
  • The plaintiff failed to provide notice of the claim as required by MCLA 436.1801(4).
  • The plaintiff failed to include necessary parties as required by the Court Rules.
  • The plaintiff’s claimed injuries were not proximately caused by the alleged violation of the Dram Shop act.

Employment Law and Litigation

The attorneys of Vandeveer Garzia advise and represent clients in employment matters on a regular basis. We represent clients involved in claims and law suits. We advise and represent clients in employment matters at times when litigation is anticipated or threatened. Those matters could involve disputes between employers and employees, discrimination matters, employee termination and harassment. We also advise clients on the application and impact of insurance issues and insurance coverage related to employment claims.

Many claims and rights in the area of employment law involve very short deadlines, response times or time frames in which an employee or employer must act. If an employment claim, matter or issue arises, or is anticipated, contact us as soon as possible.

Environmental Law, Asbestos, and Toxic Torts

Environmental law involves claims and cases related to conditions and to the quality of the air, land and water. An environmental law case could involve a landfill, a leaking underground tank, toxic emissions, and mold in a private residence or building. Toxic tort cases involve hazards associated with conditions and products in the work place and elsewhere.

The attorneys of Vandeveer Garzia are proficient in handling environmental law and toxic tort cases. We represent clients who are involved in litigation. We can also step in when litigation is threatened and work with clients on a consulting basis to prevent problems.

Environmental claims and toxic tort cases often raise insurance coverage issues. In addition to representing clients who are involved in actual litigation in connection with insurance coverage arising out of these matters, we work with clients in regular reviews of their policies to evaluate the sufficiency of insurance coverage. We also advise clients concerning the application and impact of insurance when litigation is threatened. We regularly provide legal opinions on the viability of insurance coverage related to environmental claims.

If you are concerned about an existing case or a threatened claim in the areas of environmental law and toxic torts, contact us.

Government and Mass Transit Liability

Vandeveer Garzia has a long history of representing governmental entities and mass transit operators. Attorneys from the firm have represented counties and cities in all aspects of litigation, including police claims, employment claims, environmental and land use claims as well as claims arising out of contractual and statutory issues. Our attorneys are well-versed in Governmental Immunity and the notice/prejudice arguments that arise under those statutes.

Vandeveer Garzia attorneys have been city prosecutors for civil infraction and misdemeanor actions, and have long acted as primary panel counsel for a number of communities.

Mass Transit entities represent a particular specialty for the firm’s attorneys. Vandeveer Garzia recognizes that mass-transit vehicles represent both vehicle and premises claims and that even minor variations in the facts of particular incidents can turn into major victories for our clients. As governmental agencies themselves, in many cases, mass transit authorities are well-served by a relationship with our firm.

Insurance Coverage and Indemnity Law

A substantial part of Vandeveer Garzia’s practice relates to indemnity and insurance coverage issues in a wide variety of cases and policies, ranging from homeowner, automobile and commercial general liability policies (primary, excess and special excess) to specialized policies for risk retention groups, and involving personal injury, construction litigation, environmental claims and intellectual property cases.

The Insurance and Indemnity Law Group handles a broad range of issues involving insurance policy coverage, contractual indemnity clauses, and the operation of the two together.

The group handles declaratory judgment actions on behalf of insurers, both asserting and defending coverage issues.

In addition, members of the group provide coverage opinions where there is a question or dispute about coverage that has not reached the stage of litigation. These coverage opinions involve cases arising under Michigan law, and also laws of other states.

Another service the group provides is a review of a business’s insurance policies and contractual indemnity language in light of the business’s potential liability exposure.

Intellectual Property and Trademark Litigation

Intellectual property results from intellectual activity in industry, science, literature, and the arts. Ideas related to appearance, innovation, design, form, and color can be far more valuable than tangible property. The attorneys of Vandeveer Garzia are proficient in handling claims and litigation involving intellectual property.

Claims, disputes and resulting litigation in the area of intellectual property can arise from the copyright, patent and trademark statutes and laws of the United States, from the statutes and laws of the individual states and from the common law. Such cases could involve claims of infringement and unfair competition. Intellectual property disputes are often charged with emotion. The parties can take a great deal of pride in their ideas and creations. Handling such cases requires not only an understanding of the law but of the thoughts, ideas, and concerns of the parties. Intellectual property litigation can be expensive and complicated. It can disrupt normal business and divert valuable business resources to legal activities. We believe that once a dispute arises, prompt action and early intervention, including alternative dispute resolution, can provide acceptable solutions. If such efforts are not successful, we are fully prepared to represent our clients in all aspects of intellectual property disputes including injunctions, summary judgment motions, trials, and appeals.

We advise and represent clients with respect to the application of insurance coverage in connection with intellectual property claims and disputes. That advice and analysis could include issues involving advertising injury coverage under general liability insurance policies and coverage under any other applicable insurance policies.

Associated Attorneys

No-Fault and Motor Vehicle Litigation

The attorneys of Vandeveer Garzia are experts in legal matters related to motor vehicles. That expertise involves all aspects of motor vehicle and automobile litigation as well as insurance coverage matters.

Firm attorneys regularly represent clients in motor vehicle cases at all stages including initial investigation, pretrial activities, trials, and, if necessary, appeals. This representation could involve claims related to uninsured and under-insured motorists’ insurance coverage including claims submitted to arbitration pursuant to the provisions of any applicable insurance policies.

Our attorneys are proficient at handling cases and claims involving insurance benefits under Michigan’s no-fault insurance laws, so-called “first party” claims. In addition to handling litigated cases we render legal opinions relating to no-fault claims on a regular basis.

Legal services that we provide with respect to cases and claims involving motor vehicles include interpreting insurance policy provisions and rendering opinions with regard to the validity of insurance policy language in various situations.

Automobile and motor vehicle cases and claims are one of our primary areas of expertise. We have specialized in this area of the law since the beginning of the firm.

Premises Liability

Vandeveer Garzia attorneys represent clients in every kind of claim, case and legal matter relating to the possession, control, ownership, and condition of land, buildings and related structures. Our expertise stems from a long history of litigating these types of cases and claims in state and federal courts throughout the state of Michigan.

In premises cases over the years we have represented individuals, home owners, business owners, land owners, landlords, public utilities, contractors and governmental entities.

Premises liability claims could involve slips, trips and falls. They could arise out of construction site injuries, maintenance matters, elevators and other equipment malfunctions. They could involve dog bites, hidden defects or recreational vehicle accidents.

Our attorneys are equipped to advise individuals, premises owners and contractors on liability issues as well as all aspects of contract law, insurance and indemnity issues involving premises claims.

When an incident occurs that could result in a premises liability claim, the condition of the premises at the time of the incident could change quickly. Evidence could be lost, surveillance tapes destroyed and repairs performed. Prompt investigation and evaluation is important.

Product Liability

The attorneys of Vandeveer Garzia have represented clients in Product Liability litigation for many years. We have defended the manufacturers of all types of consumer and industrial products, ranging from cosmetics, clothing and lighters to home appliances to giant power presses and heavy cranes. We have been involved in cases concerning aircraft, railroad cars, boats, ships, trucks and automobiles. The defense of these cases requires an understanding of the engineering required to design and manufacture the items, together with knowledge and experience in the dynamics of presentation of complex and often highly charged emotional issues to a jury of untrained lay people.

This process necessarily involves working closely with the client to obtain a full understanding of the product, its history and its development to be able to prepare, in a cost-effective manner, a compelling presentation for the jury, all the while communicating constantly with the client. We recognize that clients can make the best possible decisions regarding litigation when armed with the best possible information, and a large part of our efforts are dedicated to providing that information at all stages of the case.

Professional Liability

Malpractice claims are very stressful to the individuals and organizations confronted with them. Vandeveer Garzia has the experience and trained professionals to navigate through various malpractice claims. Over the hundred years of Vandeveer’s existence it has represented professionals from every field including: accountants, chiropractors, dentists, lawyers, nurses, pharmacists, physicians, physician assistants, and podiatrists. It has also represented professional organizations such as nursing homes, hospitals and medical clinics.

Records are gathered, reviewed and analyzed. Appropriate experts are obtained. Perhaps, most importantly, the defendant professional is thoroughly prepared to face the questioning of opposing counsel. All of this serves a single purpose: to present a strong defense which, in turn, will lead to a successful outcome. The specialized knowledge of the firm’s attorneys who handle the professional liability claims are an asset in the defense of the claims.

The firm’s years of experience can benefit the professional to minimize the risk of liability exposure. Assisted living centers, nursing homes and other long term care facilities is an area that can particularly benefit from this approach.

Real Estate Liability and Transaction Work

Vandeveer Garzia attorneys have extensive experience in real estate transaction and litigation work. Its attorneys regularly assist clients of all capacities in residential, industrial, and commercial transactions. We have represented sellers, buyers, lienholders, and every type of interest in transactional work, making sure that the transaction is structured correctly from the beginning.

Vandeveer Garzia attorneys regularly assist individual, commercial and governmental clients in resolving title issues and ownership disputes in all of the federal and state courts. Its attorneys are well-versed in issues of property assessment, tax and foreclosure that can arise in the complicated real estate market and in property records.

In addition to assisting clients in transactional matters, Vandeveer Garzia also regularly represents real estate agents and brokers in litigation arising from their roles in facilitating transactions in real property. We are well-versed in the complicated fiduciary duty rules facing these professionals in their day-to-day work. Vandeveer Garzia has litigated many important cases involving alleged malfeasance and misrepresentation against brokers and their agents, as well as against property inspectors and appraisers.

Associated Attorneys

Transportation, Trucking and Highway Liability

Vandeveer Garzia to defends all forms of trucking litigation and all kinds of trucking companies, including national and local companies, in interstate and intrastate trucking. Our work involves all aspects of federal motor carrier safety regulations and state law regarding contractual relations of trailers, tractors and “carriers”.

The concept of Trucking and Highway Liability encompasses litigation of claims based on assertions of failure to maintain the traveled portion of the roadway in a manner consistent with the safe passage of traffic. The attorneys of Vandeveer Garzia have successfully handled litigation involving various aspects of these issues. These range from representing contractors involved in highway construction projects to county road commissions to such well-known establishments as the Ambassador Bridge in Detroit and the Mackinac Bridge linking the lower and upper peninsulas of Michigan. Such cases may entail complex issues of civil engineering, vehicle dynamics and governmental immunity in addition to the medical and economic issues that accompany serious personal injury litigation.

Workmen's Compensation

For more than 50 years, Vandeveer Garzia has been representing employers and insurance companies in every Workmen’s Compensation bureau across the State of Michigan. We have prosecuted cases under every section of the statute, from the simple contest of disability to litigating the less common issues of “frolic and detour,” requiring participation in vocational assessment and rehabilitation, and whether employment exists at all. Vandeveer Garzia has litigated all of these issues to successful conclusions through trials.

We push for the speedy and economical resolution of cases at all levels of these administrative courts.

Not only do our firm attorneys also defend claims in the Appellate Commission, the Court of Appeals, and the Michigan Supreme Court, but Vandeveer Garzia been instrumental in defining concepts from the statute in the Circuit Courts, including the very definition of “employee” itself.

The firm also defends employers in related Unemployment and MESC hearings.

In addition to directly defending Workmen’s Compensation claims and representing employers, Vandeveer Garzia regularly asserts and collects Worker’s Compensation liens against employees’ actions in tort brought in the Michigan Circuit Courts. In doing so, we take an active role in monitoring the discovery and negotiations to make sure our client’s interests are never underestimated or compromised in any way.

Associated Attorneys

  • Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • Appellate Practice
  • Aviation Law and Litigation
  • Business and Commercial Law and Litigation
  • Construction Law and Litigation
  • Design Professional Representation
  • Dram Shop and Liquor Liability
  • Employment Law and Litigation
  • Environmental Law, Asbestos, and Toxic Torts
  • Government and Mass Transit Liability
  • Insurance Coverage and Indemnity Law
  • Intellectual Property and Trademark Litigation
  • No-Fault and Motor Vehicle Law
  • Premises Liability
  • Product Liability
  • Professional Liability
  • Real Estate Liability and Transaction Work
  • Transportation, Trucking and Highway Liability
  • Workmen's Compensation

We offer a wide range of professional legal services with a strong emphasis on litigation. Our attorneys are licensed to practice in all courts and administrative tribunals in the state of Michigan and in all United States District Courts in the state of Michigan.

 

  • Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution

    A number of our attorneys are often selected to serve as mediators and arbitrators based on their expertise in a given area of practice. These attorney of Vandeveer Garzia can provide the knowledge and guidance necessary to resolve difficult and ofter confrontational disputes. These attorney have earned the respect of their fellow attorneys who regularly select them to serve this important legal function.

    In addition to participating as mediators and arbitrators, all of the attorney in our firm are committed to the most cost-effective method of resolving disputes. This often involves mediation prior to the filing of a lawsuit and after filing but before trial. It also involves agreeing to arbitration in lieu of trial.

    Our experience in mediation and arbitration includes all forms of litigation including construction, insurance coverage, professional malpractice, employment, and environmental.

    Associated Attorneys

    Donald C. Brownell

    Adam K. Gordon

    William L. Kiriazis

    John J. Lynch

    Thomas M. Peters

  • Appellate Practice
  • Appellate Practice

    Vandeveer Garzia’s Appellate practice includes all types of civil appeals in all of the firm’s practice areas, including tort, product liability contract, commercial law, insurance policy coverage and indemnity cases.

    The firm handles appeals in all of Michigan’s courts, and at all federal levels, including the Sixth Circuit. Its personnel and research resources enable it to handle a broad range of appeals and do so expeditiously.

    Vandeveer Garzia’s Appellate Department handles appeals, not only within the firm, but in cases referred by other law firms that lack sufficient resources or have need of the specialized experience Vandeveer Garzia offers.

    Associated Attorneys

    Christine M. Battle

    Sarah L. Gordon

    Jeffrey R. Murray

  • Aviation Law and Litigation
  • Aviation Law and Litigation

    Since the early years of commercial aviation Vandeveer Garzia has been actively involved in Aviation Litigation representing a number the major air carriers. We were one of the first law firms in Michigan to specialize in Aviation Litigation. Our attorneys have been actively involved in several Multi-District Litigation matters involving airline disasters.

    In addition to mass tort claims, we handle aviation matters from small baggage claims to serious personal injury and property damage claims. With the assistance of our construction attorneys we have also represented owners, design professionals and contractors in disputes and litigation related to the design and construction of airport facilities.

    Associated Attorneys

    William L. Kiriazis

    Anthony J. Kostello

  • Business and Commercial Law and Litigation
  • Business and Commercial Law and Litigation

    In today’s complex and competitive business climate, deals are frequently consummated without due consideration for all contingencies and consequences. The attorneys at Vandeveer Garzia can provide advice and consultation at the onset of a business relationship designed to avoid conflict or costly litigation. An appropriately drafted contract, which specifically delineates the rights and obligations of the parties, will prevent difficult business partners from attempting to avoid their responsibilities or making unreasonable demands. Such an agreement will also promote better harmony between business partners, as clearly defined roles are the cornerstone of a solid and continuing relationship.

    In the event that litigation does arise, the attorneys of Vandeveer Garzia are uniquely suited to handle such matters in an aggressive, but cost-effective, manner. Unfortunately, too often the only winners in commercial litigation are the attorneys. The attorneys of Vandeveer Garzia are mindful of the ultimate goal of commercial litigants, which is to extricate themselves from costly and distracting litigation in a quick and economic fashion. Through the use of early Alternative Dispute Resolution alternatives, clients of Vandeveer Garzia have been able to put litigation behind them. In the event that early resolution is not possible, the attorneys of Vandeveer Garzia aggressively pursue the interests of their clients, while keeping the clients fully informed and involving the clients in significant strategic decisions. Unfortunately, there is an increasing propensity for business relationships to end up in litigation. The attorneys of Vandeveer Garzia fully understand the economic and emotional importance to their clients of prevailing in such litigation.

    Associated Attorneys

    David B. Timmis

    Timothy J. Connaughton

    Christian E. Hildebrandt

    David Q. Houbeck

  • Construction Law and Litigation
  • Construction Law and Litigation

    Vandeveer Garzia has a long history of representing owners, general contractors and trade contractors in construction related litigation, including payment disputes, contract claims, defective work claims, property damage claims and personal injury lawsuits. The firm's construction clients run the gamut from small, family owned companies to large, national residential and commercial contractors.

    Our attorneys have a wealth of experience in the litigation of construction related claims. Many of our successes are memorialized in appellate court decisions which now serve the basis of construction law within the State of Michigan. We are also well versed in the use of Alternative Dispute Resolution to resolve claims in a cost efficient manner.

    We also have the knowledge and experience necessary to assist our clients in drafting and interpreting construction contracts, whether it is a standard AIA or AGC contract or one drafted from the ground up. We work closely with our Insurance Defense Group to insure the proper application and interpretation of indemnity and/or insurance clauses.

    Our expertise in the area of construction is recognized by attorneys throughout Michigan, as our attorneys are often retained to act as mediators, facilitators and/or arbitrators in construction disputes.

    Associated Attorneys

    William L. Kiriazis

    Donald C. Brownell

    Anthony J. Kostello

    Beth A. Andrews

    Jeffrey R. Murray

    Roger A. Smith

  • Design Professional Representation
  • Design Professional Representation

    For more than fifty years Vandeveer Garzia has represented design professionals including architects, engineers and land surveyors, in all aspects of their work. We have been actively involved in the preparation of construction contracts, interpretation of construction contracts, dispute resolution, and litigation. We have the knowledge necessary to assist the design professional in preparing and interpreting the contract whether a standard AIA or AGC contract or any hybrid. It is our job to assure that our clients are fully protected in the event of a dispute, default, termination, or litigation. We work closely with our Insurance and Indemnity attorneys to make sure that the proper language is included in the construction contract.

    As skilled and experienced trial attorneys we are not only able to assist our design professionals in litigation avoidance but to represent them should they become a party to a lawsuit. We have the resources and know how to defend the design professional no matter what type of claim may be brought or who may be involved in the litigation.

    Our attorneys have tried lawsuits for design professionals throughout the state of Michigan and in both state court and federal court. As such we are well aware of the hazards of litigation and are active in Alternative Dispute Resolution.

    Associated Attorneys

    William L. Kiriazis

    Anthony J. Kostello

  • Dram Shop and Liquor Liability
  • Dram Shop and Liquor Liability

    This specialty area of law has changed in a rather dramatic fashion since the Michigan Supreme Court opinion in Reed v. Brenton, 475 Mich. 531 (2006). In Reed, the Court embraced the rebuttable presumption of non-liability as well as the adequacy of proofs required to show the driver’s alleged visible intoxication under the law (clear and convincing evidence is required). That said, there are pitfalls for the inexperienced practitioner. Finding an attorney with a great deal of experience in Dram Shop litigation is rare given the limited number of cases filed each year. We offer extensive experience in this area of the law. We have represented Dram Shop defendant’s throughout southeastern Michigan in cases involving a wide range of legal issues, from multiple deaths to gunshot wounds. We are often consulted pre-suit to gather and preserve evidence essential to the successful defense of a Dram Shop claim.

    Examples of the Dram Shop claims we have handled include:

    • The allegedly intoxicated person (AIP) shot the plaintiff after an altercation in a bar. The issue in the case was whether the AIP was served prior to the shooting.
    • The AIP and plaintiff were both ejected from a vehicle at a high rate of speed killing both occupants. The issue in the case was whether plaintiff or the passenger was driving the vehicle at the time of the crash.
    • The plaintiff failed to provide notice of the claim as required by MCLA 436.1801(4).
    • The plaintiff failed to include necessary parties as required by the Court Rules.
    • The plaintiff’s claimed injuries were not proximately caused by the alleged violation of the Dram Shop act.

    Associated Attorneys

    Adam K. Gordon

    Maxwell P. Sanders

    Ashley A. Slaght

    Roger A. Smith

  • Employment Law and Litigation
  • Employment Law and Litigation

    The attorneys of Vandeveer Garzia advise and represent clients in employment matters on a regular basis. We represent clients involved in claims and law suits. We advise and represent clients in employment matters at times when litigation is anticipated or threatened. Those matters could involve disputes between employers and employees, discrimination matters, employee termination and harassment. We also advise clients on the application and impact of insurance issues and insurance coverage related to employment claims.

    Many claims and rights in the area of employment law involve very short deadlines, response times or time frames in which an employee or employer must act. If an employment claim, matter or issue arises, or is anticipated, contact us as soon as possible.

    Associated Attorneys

    David B. Timmis

    Timothy J. Connaughton

    David Q. Houbeck

    Jeffrey R. Murray

  • Environmental Law, Asbestos, and Toxic Torts
  • Environmental Law, Asbestos, and Toxic Torts

    Environmental law involves claims and cases related to conditions and to the quality of the air, land and water. An environmental law case could involve a landfill, a leaking underground tank, toxic emissions, and mold in a private residence or building. Toxic tort cases involve hazards associated with conditions and products in the work place and elsewhere.

    The attorneys of Vandeveer Garzia are proficient in handling environmental law and toxic tort cases. We represent clients who are involved in litigation. We can also step in when litigation is threatened and work with clients on a consulting basis to prevent problems.

    Environmental claims and toxic tort cases often raise insurance coverage issues. In addition to representing clients who are involved in actual litigation in connection with insurance coverage arising out of these matters, we work with clients in regular reviews of their policies to evaluate the sufficiency of insurance coverage. We also advise clients concerning the application and impact of insurance when litigation is threatened. We regularly provide legal opinions on the viability of insurance coverage related to environmental claims.

    If you are concerned about an existing case or a threatened claim in the areas of environmental law and toxic torts, contact us.

    Associated Attorneys

    Shelley K. Miller

    Sarah L. Gordon

    Eleanore M. Schroeder

  • Government and Mass Transit Liability
  • Government and Mass Transit Liability

    Vandeveer Garzia has a long history of representing governmental entities and mass transit operators. Attorneys from the firm have represented counties and cities in all aspects of litigation, including police claims, employment claims, environmental and land use claims as well as claims arising out of contractual and statutory issues. Our attorneys are well-versed in Governmental Immunity and the notice/prejudice arguments that arise under those statutes.

    Vandeveer Garzia attorneys have been city prosecutors for civil infraction and misdemeanor actions, and have long acted as primary panel counsel for a number of communities.

    Mass Transit entities represent a particular specialty for the firm’s attorneys. Vandeveer Garzia recognizes that mass-transit vehicles represent both vehicle and premises claims and that even minor variations in the facts of particular incidents can turn into major victories for our clients. As governmental agencies themselves, in many cases, mass transit authorities are well-served by a relationship with our firm.

    Associated Attorneys

    David B. Timmis

    Christian E. Hildebrandt

    David Q. Houbeck

    Deborah Mares Bricely

  • Insurance Coverage and Indemnity Law
  • Insurance Coverage and Indemnity Law

    A substantial part of Vandeveer Garzia’s practice relates to indemnity and insurance coverage issues in a wide variety of cases and policies, ranging from homeowner, automobile and commercial general liability policies (primary, excess and special excess) to specialized policies for risk retention groups, and involving personal injury, construction litigation, environmental claims and intellectual property cases.

    The Insurance and Indemnity Law Group handles a broad range of issues involving insurance policy coverage, contractual indemnity clauses, and the operation of the two together.

    The group handles declaratory judgment actions on behalf of insurers, both asserting and defending coverage issues.

    In addition, members of the group provide coverage opinions where there is a question or dispute about coverage that has not reached the stage of litigation. These coverage opinions involve cases arising under Michigan law, and also laws of other states.

    Another service the group provides is a review of a business’s insurance policies and contractual indemnity language in light of the business’s potential liability exposure.

    Associated Attorneys

    Donald C. Brownell

    Anthony J. Kostello

    Adam K. Gordon

    Timothy J. Connaughton

    Beth A. Andrews

    Christine M. Battle

  • Intellectual Property and Trademark Litigation
  • Intellectual Property and Trademark Litigation

    Intellectual property results from intellectual activity in industry, science, literature, and the arts. Ideas related to appearance, innovation, design, form, and color can be far more valuable than tangible property. The attorneys of Vandeveer Garzia are proficient in handling claims and litigation involving intellectual property.

    Claims, disputes and resulting litigation in the area of intellectual property can arise from the copyright, patent and trademark statutes and laws of the United States, from the statutes and laws of the individual states and from the common law. Such cases could involve claims of infringement and unfair competition. Intellectual property disputes are often charged with emotion. The parties can take a great deal of pride in their ideas and creations. Handling such cases requires not only an understanding of the law but of the thoughts, ideas, and concerns of the parties. Intellectual property litigation can be expensive and complicated. It can disrupt normal business and divert valuable business resources to legal activities. We believe that once a dispute arises, prompt action and early intervention, including alternative dispute resolution, can provide acceptable solutions. If such efforts are not successful, we are fully prepared to represent our clients in all aspects of intellectual property disputes including injunctions, summary judgment motions, trials, and appeals.

    We advise and represent clients with respect to the application of insurance coverage in connection with intellectual property claims and disputes. That advice and analysis could include issues involving advertising injury coverage under general liability insurance policies and coverage under any other applicable insurance policies.

    Associated Attorneys

    James K. Thome

    David Q. Houbeck

  • No-Fault and Motor Vehicle Litigation
  • No-Fault and Motor Vehicle Litigation

    The attorneys of Vandeveer Garzia are experts in legal matters related to motor vehicles. That expertise involves all aspects of motor vehicle and automobile litigation as well as insurance coverage matters.

    Firm attorneys regularly represent clients in motor vehicle cases at all stages including initial investigation, pretrial activities, trials, and, if necessary, appeals. This representation could involve claims related to uninsured and under-insured motorists’ insurance coverage including claims submitted to arbitration pursuant to the provisions of any applicable insurance policies.

    Our attorneys are proficient at handling cases and claims involving insurance benefits under Michigan’s no-fault insurance laws, so-called “first party” claims. In addition to handling litigated cases we render legal opinions relating to no-fault claims on a regular basis.

    Legal services that we provide with respect to cases and claims involving motor vehicles include interpreting insurance policy provisions and rendering opinions with regard to the validity of insurance policy language in various situations.

    Automobile and motor vehicle cases and claims are one of our primary areas of expertise. We have specialized in this area of the law since the beginning of the firm.

    Associated Attorneys

    Donald C. Brownell

    Timothy J. Connaughton

    Adam K. Gordon

    Anthony J. Kostello

    David B. Timmis

    Beth A. Andrews

    Andrew E. Barrett

    Christine M. Battle

    Brian V. Boehne

    Samantha N. Boyd

    Deborah Mares Bricely

    Michael D. Cavanagh

    Matthew J. Chapin

    Sarah L. Gordon

    Armin Halilovic

    David Q. Houbeck

    Sajid M. Islam

    Ashley L. Jarjis

    Daniela T. Karmo

    Alicia Siefer LaBeau

    Jennifer M. LeGault

    April N. Malak

    James L. McCoy

    Karolina M. McGovern

    Kaitlynn M. Milroy

    Peter R. O'Toole

    Derek G. Russaw

    Maxwell P. Sanders

    Daniel R. Siefer

    Ashley A. Slaght

    Roger A. Smith

    James K. Thome

    Nicolas A. Vesprini

  • Premises Liability
  • Premises Liability

    Vandeveer Garzia attorneys represent clients in every kind of claim, case and legal matter relating to the possession, control, ownership, and condition of land, buildings and related structures. Our expertise stems from a long history of litigating these types of cases and claims in state and federal courts throughout the state of Michigan.

    In premises cases over the years we have represented individuals, home owners, business owners, land owners, landlords, public utilities, contractors and governmental entities.

    Premises liability claims could involve slips, trips and falls. They could arise out of construction site injuries, maintenance matters, elevators and other equipment malfunctions. They could involve dog bites, hidden defects or recreational vehicle accidents.

    Our attorneys are equipped to advise individuals, premises owners and contractors on liability issues as well as all aspects of contract law, insurance and indemnity issues involving premises claims.

    When an incident occurs that could result in a premises liability claim, the condition of the premises at the time of the incident could change quickly. Evidence could be lost, surveillance tapes destroyed and repairs performed. Prompt investigation and evaluation is important.

    Associated Attorneys

    Donald C. Brownell

    Timothy J. Connaughton

    Adam K. Gordon

    William L. Kiriazis

    Anthony J. Kostello

    David B. Timmis

    Beth A. Andrews

    Andrew E. Barrett

    Brian V. Boehne

    Samantha N. Boyd

    Deborah Mares Bricely

    Michael D. Cavanagh

    Matthew J. Chapin

    Sarah L. Gordon

    Armin Halilovic

    Sajid M. Islam

    Ashley L. Jarjis

    Daniela T. Karmo

    Alicia Siefer LaBeau

    Jennifer M. LeGault

    April N. Malak

    Anthony J. McEachrn

    James L. McCoy

    Karolina M. McGovern

    Kaitlynn M. Milroy

    Peter R. O'Toole

    Derek G. Russaw

    Maxwell P. Sanders

    Ashley A. Slaght

    Roger A. Smith

    Nicolas A. Vesprini

  • Product Liability
  • Product Liability

    The attorneys of Vandeveer Garzia have represented clients in Product Liability litigation for many years. We have defended the manufacturers of all types of consumer and industrial products, ranging from cosmetics, clothing and lighters to home appliances to giant power presses and heavy cranes. We have been involved in cases concerning aircraft, railroad cars, boats, ships, trucks and automobiles. The defense of these cases requires an understanding of the engineering required to design and manufacture the items, together with knowledge and experience in the dynamics of presentation of complex and often highly charged emotional issues to a jury of untrained lay people.

    This process necessarily involves working closely with the client to obtain a full understanding of the product, its history and its development to be able to prepare, in a cost-effective manner, a compelling presentation for the jury, all the while communicating constantly with the client. We recognize that clients can make the best possible decisions regarding litigation when armed with the best possible information, and a large part of our efforts are dedicated to providing that information at all stages of the case.

    Associated Attorneys

    William L. Kiriazis

    Anthony J. Kostello

    Beth A. Andrews

    Michael D. Cavanagh

    Roger A. Smith

    David B. Timmis

  • Professional Liability
  • Professional Liability

    Malpractice claims are very stressful to the individuals and organizations confronted with them. Vandeveer Garzia has the experience and trained professionals to navigate through various malpractice claims. Over the hundred years of Vandeveer’s existence it has represented professionals from every field including: accountants, chiropractors, dentists, lawyers, nurses, pharmacists, physicians, physician assistants, and podiatrists. It has also represented professional organizations such as nursing homes, hospitals and medical clinics.

    Records are gathered, reviewed and analyzed. Appropriate experts are obtained. Perhaps, most importantly, the defendant professional is thoroughly prepared to face the questioning of opposing counsel. All of this serves a single purpose: to present a strong defense which, in turn, will lead to a successful outcome. The specialized knowledge of the firm’s attorneys who handle the professional liability claims are an asset in the defense of the claims.

    The firm’s years of experience can benefit the professional to minimize the risk of liability exposure. Assisted living centers, nursing homes and other long term care facilities is an area that can particularly benefit from this approach.

    Associated Attorneys

    William L. Kiriazis

    Anthony J. Kostello

    Christian E. Hildebrandt

    Gary A. Miller

  • Real Estate Liability and Transaction Work
  • Real Estate Liability and Transaction Work

    Vandeveer Garzia attorneys have extensive experience in real estate transaction and litigation work. Its attorneys regularly assist clients of all capacities in residential, industrial, and commercial transactions. We have represented sellers, buyers, lienholders, and every type of interest in transactional work, making sure that the transaction is structured correctly from the beginning.

    Vandeveer Garzia attorneys regularly assist individual, commercial and governmental clients in resolving title issues and ownership disputes in all of the federal and state courts. Its attorneys are well-versed in issues of property assessment, tax and foreclosure that can arise in the complicated real estate market and in property records.

    In addition to assisting clients in transactional matters, Vandeveer Garzia also regularly represents real estate agents and brokers in litigation arising from their roles in facilitating transactions in real property. We are well-versed in the complicated fiduciary duty rules facing these professionals in their day-to-day work. Vandeveer Garzia has litigated many important cases involving alleged malfeasance and misrepresentation against brokers and their agents, as well as against property inspectors and appraisers.

    Associated Attorneys

    Christian E. Hildebrandt

  • Transportation, Trucking and Highway Liability
  • Transportation, Trucking and Highway Liability

    Vandeveer Garzia to defends all forms of trucking litigation and all kinds of trucking companies, including national and local companies, in interstate and intrastate trucking. Our work involves all aspects of federal motor carrier safety regulations and state law regarding contractual relations of trailers, tractors and “carriers”.

    The concept of Trucking and Highway Liability encompasses litigation of claims based on assertions of failure to maintain the traveled portion of the roadway in a manner consistent with the safe passage of traffic. The attorneys of Vandeveer Garzia have successfully handled litigation involving various aspects of these issues. These range from representing contractors involved in highway construction projects to county road commissions to such well-known establishments as the Ambassador Bridge in Detroit and the Mackinac Bridge linking the lower and upper peninsulas of Michigan. Such cases may entail complex issues of civil engineering, vehicle dynamics and governmental immunity in addition to the medical and economic issues that accompany serious personal injury litigation.

    Associated Attorneys

    Donald C. Brownell

    Timothy J. Connaughton

    Adam K. Gordon

    William L. Kiriazis

    Anthony J. Kostello

    David B. Timmis

    Christian E. Hildebrandt

  • Workmen's Compensation
  • Workmen's Compensation

    For more than 50 years, Vandeveer Garzia has been representing employers and insurance companies in every Workmen’s Compensation bureau across the State of Michigan. We have prosecuted cases under every section of the statute, from the simple contest of disability to litigating the less common issues of “frolic and detour,” requiring participation in vocational assessment and rehabilitation, and whether employment exists at all. Vandeveer Garzia has litigated all of these issues to successful conclusions through trials.

    We push for the speedy and economical resolution of cases at all levels of these administrative courts.

    Not only do our firm attorneys also defend claims in the Appellate Commission, the Court of Appeals, and the Michigan Supreme Court, but Vandeveer Garzia been instrumental in defining concepts from the statute in the Circuit Courts, including the very definition of “employee” itself.

    The firm also defends employers in related Unemployment and MESC hearings.

    In addition to directly defending Workmen’s Compensation claims and representing employers, Vandeveer Garzia regularly asserts and collects Worker’s Compensation liens against employees’ actions in tort brought in the Michigan Circuit Courts. In doing so, we take an active role in monitoring the discovery and negotiations to make sure our client’s interests are never underestimated or compromised in any way.

    Associated Attorneys

    Christian E. Hildebrandt