Bell v Citizens
Alicia Siefer LaBeau, Sarah Gordon and Andrew Barrett recently filed a Motion for Summary Disposition on a case in which Plaintiff was claiming entitlement to first-party No Fault benefits and uninsured motorist benefits. The Motion for Summary Disposition sought to dismiss Plaintiff’s claim for first-party benefits because the defendant insurer was not in order of priority pursuant to MCL 500.3114. Further, it was requested that the uninsured motorist claim be dismissed on the basis that the plaintiff was not an insured based on the terms and definitions as set forth in the uninsured motorist policy, and therefore, coverage did not extend to the subject loss. Ultimately, upon reviewing the Motion for Summary Disposition, plaintiff acquiesced and agreed to dismiss his claims as to our defendant in their entirety.
Attorney Deb Bricely was deployed as part of the National Disaster Medical System to provide support to the State of the Union, a National Special Security Event. She trained all day Monday, January 29, and then, as one of the health medical task forces, went through intense screening and security. Her health medical task force was in place in the Capitol during the State of Union Address and remained in the building until all occupants, including the President, had exited the building later that evening. As she was going through screening in the Hubert Humphry building on Monday, Alex Azar, the newly appointed Secretary of Health and Human Services, shook her hand. In addition to being an attorney, Deb is a Registered Nurse.
Vandeveer Garzia is pleased to announce the addition of two experienced trial attorneys, Roger A. Smith and Beth A. Andrews. Roger previously worked at Garan Lucow Miller, P.C. where for several decades he successfully litigated just about every type of tort action including municipal liability, general negligence, dram shop, construction, Section 1983, product liability and automobile negligence. Beth also worked at Garan Lucow for several decades primarily handling insurance defense law, litigating a wide range of tort and insurance coverage issues encompassing general negligence, construction, premises liability, municipal, Section 1983, product liability and automobile negligence.
Williams v Allstate
Armin Halilovic and Matt Chapin successfully obtained a Partial Summary Disposition in Wayne County Circuit Court. In representing a no-fault insurer in a consolidated action, they filed and argued a Motion for Partial Summary Disposition relative to Plaintiffs’ claims for attendant care and replacement services. Based on testimony stating there was no expectation of payment, and arguing there was a lack of reasonable proof, the court granted the Motion for Partial Summary Disposition. In winning this Motion, Armin and Matt were able to minimize potential liability.
Khemmoro v Farm Bureau
Maxwell Sanders obtained a favorable result following oral argument on a Motion for Partial Summary Disposition in the Macomb County Circuit Court. In part, Plaintiff was claiming entitlement to certain first-party No Fault benefits including, attendant care; replacement services; and wage loss benefits. Based upon testimony regarding the lack of reasonable proofs, the Court dismissed these claims. As a result of this successful motion, Max Sanders was able to limit the potential exposure to the no-fault insurer.
Carlton D. Watson was recently elected to the Board of Directors of the D. Augustus Straker Bar Association and currently serves as Treasurer. The D. Augustus Straker Bar Association was formed October 4, 1990, as a special purpose bar association recognized by the State Bar of Michigan. It was founded as a proactive organization of diverse attorneys, with a mission of promoting legal practice opportunities for minorities and women and to facilitate equal justice for all citizens in Oakland County. Membership includes a racially diverse coalition of lawyers, judges, and other legal professionals.
Vandeveer Garzia received a Certificate of Appreciation from the National Disaster Medical System signed by the Acting Director, thanking our law firm for affording Deborah Bricely the opportunity to deploy in support of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Maria. Deborah Bricely, an associate attorney with the firm is also a registered nurse. As part a Disaster Medical Assistance Team she spent two weeks helping provide care in a field hospital the team set up inside the George R. Brown convention center which housed 10,000 storm evacuees in Houston. In Puerto Rico, she and the team had to be transported via Black Hawk helicopters to an area with no water or electricity. They helped inside the damaged hospital and set up a MASH like field hospital outside as well as provided outreach strike teams to outlying devastated areas.
Karolina McGovern joined our firm as an Associate Attorney. Her practice focuses on defense litigation in the areas of first and third-party automobile negligence and premises liability. She is a graduate of the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law.
Carlton Watson recently succeeded in the Michigan Court of Appeals and the Michigan Supreme Court. In a Catastrophic First Party No-Fault Action, with over $2 Million in PIP benefits paid, Carlton represented the insurance carrier which insured Plaintiff’s mother. Carlton argued that Plaintiff was not a resident relative of her mother, notwithstanding the fact that Plaintiff, and her son, lived with her mother for approximately three months prior to the motor vehicle accident. Competing Motions for Summary Disposition were filed (by both carriers) in the Trial Court. Each was denied, finding a question of fact as to Plaintiff's domicile. On Appeal, the Court of Appeals reversed the Trial Court and fully adopted the position and arguments advanced by Carlton on behalf of the mother’s carrier. Specifically, the Court of Appeals found that that that there was insufficient evidence to show that Plaintiff intended to reside permanently with her mother and that the mother’s carrier was not liable for payment of Plaintiff’s PIP benefits. Subsequently, the ruling of the Court of Appeals was upheld by the Supreme Court
Michael Cavanagh joined the firm as Associate Attorney. His practice focuses on defense litigation in first and third-party automobile claims and premises liability. Michael is a graduate of the University of Detroit School of Law.
Daniel R. Siefer along with attorney Wayne Miller were presenters at the November 2017 meeting of the Association of the Defense Trial Counsel in Troy, Michigan. The topic presented was “Provider Litigation.” Dan Siefer is also a contributing editor for Michigan No-Fault Automobile Cases; Law and Practice, Fourth edition. Institute of Continuing Legal Education.
Sajid Islam recently passed the Michigan Bar Exam and in November 2017 became an Associate Attorney with our law firm. Prior to passing the Bar Exam, Sajid worked as a law clerk for the firm. Sajid is a graduate of the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law.
James McCoy also recently passed the Michigan Bar Exam and in November 2017 became an Associate Attorney with our law firm. James also worked as a law clerk with the firm prior to becoming an attorney. James graduated from the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law.
Andrew Barrett recently won a Motion for Summary Disposition which resulted in the dismissal of a $390,000 No Fault claim. Plaintiffs brought suit for extensive No-Fault benefits arising out of a semi-truck accident. The Motion for Summary Disposition argued that Plaintiffs were precluded from coverage pursuant to the business-use exclusion in the insurance policy; that Plaintiff was a disqualified driver under the Michigan No-Fault Act; and lastly, another insurance company was primarily responsible for payment of benefits. The Circuit Court judge agreed with us that the business-use exclusion was valid and that another insurance company was responsible for the payment of benefits and dismissed Plaintiffs’ claims in their entirety. Plaintiff appealed. Andy argued the matter in the Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court’s decision in our favor. Plaintiffs’ appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court is currently pending
Donald C. Brownell was elected President of Vandeveer Garzia. He took over from William L. Kiriazis who had served in that capacity for 20 years. Bill Kiriazis remains an officer and a co-Managing Partner of the firm along with Don Brownell.
Carlton Watson recently succeeded at trial in a third party automobile accident case before Judge Cheryl Matthews of the Oakland County Circuit Court. In this admitted negligence case, Plaintiff, a 28 year old woman, claimed injuries including cervical herniation, cervical radiculopathy and lumbar herniation. There was extensive damage to both vehicles and Plaintiff had several expert physicians testify on her behalf at trial. Carlton defended at trial by impeaching Plaintiff with medical records, employment records and social media postings, all of which caused the jury to severely question Plaintiff’s credibility. Carlton also argued that to the extent there was any injury caused by the accident, the same was short lived and did not affect Plaintiff’s ability to live her normal life. In closing, Plaintiff asked for $100,000 in damages to the present and $260,000 in future damages. Ultimately, the jury returned a no cause verdict in favor of our client.