DONALD C. BROWNELL is a Shareholder with Vandeveer Garzia and focuses his practice on the defense of civil litigation matters throughout the State of Michigan. Mr. Brownell currently serves as the President of Vandeveer Garzia and is a Co-Managing Partner of the firm. Mr. Brownell has been an attorney with Vandeveer Garzia since 1993.
Mr. Brownell is lead counsel of a team of attorneys handling construction claims, premises liability claims, product claims, professional negligence matters as well as transportation, trucking and highway liability matters. Mr. Brownell is also involved in the defense of several insurance carriers involving catastrophic First Party Automobile claims. Mr. Brownell also represents a diverse group of clients in commercial disputes. Mr. Brownell has experience in lead paint claims, mold claims, food borne illness claims, product design and manufacturing defect claims, and real estate disputes.
Mr. Brownell is also actively involved in risk management for several clients, drafting policy and procedures manuals to address specific client’s issues and needs. Mr. Brownell has also led a team of attorneys in drafting new policy language for insurance carriers to address new statutes and case law.
As a trial lawyer Mr. Brownell has defended clients in the State Courts of Michigan, the Federal Courts and has been admitted pro hac vice in numerous other states to defend clients when needed. Mr. Brownell has tried numerous cases to verdict, including catastrophic injury matters, product liability matters, premises liability matters, construction matters as well as insurance coverage claims. Mr. Brownell has also appeared before the Michigan Court of Appeals and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati and has significant appellate experience.
Mr. Brownell serves as a Case Evaluator in Wayne County. Mr. Brownell also routinely conducts seminars for various clients and national insurance carriers. Mr. Brownell has also been a speaker for The Institute of Continuing Legal Education in Michigan.
Central Michigan University, B. S., Business Administration majoring in Material and Logistics Management, 1990
The Detroit College of Law, cum laude, J.D. 1993
State Bar of Michigan 1993
United States District Court, Eastern District of Michigan 1994
United States District Court, Western District of Michigan 1996
United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit 2011
State Bar of Michigan, Litigation and Negligence Sections
Defense Research Institute
Oakland County Bar Association
Michigan Defense Trial Council
“AV Preeminent” rating by Martindale-Hubbell, the highest rating given
Dismissal of claims against our client
Shield Global Partners v Allstate Insurance Company, et al.
Donald Brownell and Sajid Islam successfully obtained summary disposition of Plaintiff’s claims against their client, Allstate Insurance Company, in a lawsuit in which Plaintiff sought a declaration from the circuit court that it was entitled to diminished value damages under the mini-tort provision of the Michigan No-Fault Act and that insurance companies were obligated to pay diminished value damages. Plaintiff sued Allstate Insurance Company and several other insurance companies alleging that it had been assigned the right from GM Financial to pursue diminished value damages for vehicles that GM had previously leased and which were involved in accidents that diminished their value despite proper repairs. Plaintiff argued that it could seek such damages directly from the insurance companies. Sajid drafted a Joint Motion for Summary Disposition on behalf of the Defendant insurance companies, with input from Counsel for the other Defendant insurance companies, and Donald Brownell argued the Joint Motion. Specifically, it was argued that Plaintiff failed to present a case of actual controversy and that the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to declare the rights of the parties. Further, Defendants argued that the necessary parties, the actual tortfeasors, were not parties to the matter, Plaintiff’s claim was entirely hypothetical in nature, and that mini-tort actions must be brought in the district court, as the amount in controversy could never exceed $25,000.00. Additionally, it was argued that a mini-tort claim could never be brought directly against an insurance company. Thus, Defendants argued that the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction. Ultimately, the court agreed with Defendants and entered an order dismissing Plaintiff’s claims without prejudice, noting that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction to enter a declaration in such an abstract case and where the action involved the mini-tort statute, which caps damages below the circuit court’s jurisdictional threshold.
840 West Long Lake Road
Troy, MI 48098