Property Title Defects Cured Through Extensive Investigation
Our lawyers assist many clients with their estate planning. Oftentimes, while discussing clients' financial situations, we uncover issues unknown to our clients, such as a home for a married couple that is solely titled in one party's name that would have to go through probate if that party died first, or title defects arising from previous transfers among family members, or unapproved splits of large parcels to smaller parcels. In one recent example, when reviewing a previous estate plan for an elderly widow that was prepared by another law firm, we discovered that the trust she created decades ago didn't actually hold title to her home and farmland. After an extensive investigation and working with a local title company, we discovered that the parcels that made up her large property were acquired by land contract from different landowners over a period of years, but when they were paid off, she and her late husband never received deeds in fulfillment of those land contracts. For decades, they paid taxes, insurance premiums, and expenses, and everyone just assumed they owned the property, including her adult children and the local township. The significant passage of time proved to be challenging since all parties besides the surviving widow were deceased. By working with the title company and getting creative, we were able to resolve the multiple title defects without litigation and significant expense.
Probate Counsel to Large Health System
Attorney Brad A. Brelinski recently served as outside counsel to a large, multi-state hospital and health system with a large presence in southern Michigan. He provided advice and probate court representation regarding multiple donations to the nonprofit organization, including a complex settlement involving a seven-figure donation through negotiations with the court-appointed special fiduciary and the charitable division of the Office of Attorney General of Michigan, which was ultimately approved by the probate court.
Lawsuit For Specific Performance of Real Estate Sale
Our law firm litigates all types of real estate disputes. Here, attorney Brad A. Brelinski was retained by a couple who was in the process of buying their dream home in Jackson County. Despite having a signed and enforceable purchase agreement, the seller was hesitating to follow through on the transaction, and ultimately refused to close the sale. The very next day, our firm filed a lawsuit in the Jackson County Circuit Court, seeking to force the seller to close the sale (specific performance), and for monetary damages caused by the seller's breach of contract. In short order, we obtained a court order compelling the seller to close, and after the closing was completed, we returned to court for a damages hearing/trial, where the judge awarded our clients nearly their entire claim for financial damages in the five-figures, including costs and attorney fees, all of which was quickly collected from the defendant seller.
General Counsel to Local Division of National Logistics Company
Our law firm has served as general outside counsel to the local Midwest division of a national logistics company, which has a large presence in mid-Michigan. Through the years, our lawyers have assisted the company with employment and termination counseling, administrative hearings, and employment benefits issues. Curtis, Curtis & Brelinski, P.C. takes great pride in developing long-term relationships with clients and assisting them in a wide variety of legal needs, often at a moment's notice.
Plaintiff Collects Payment in Full with Interest on Judgment Lien
Our collections lawyers represented a creditor holding a promissory note with a defective mortgage on a piece of real estate in Jackson County, Michigan. We filed suit against the LLC and obtained a judgment in full along with lien and other post-judgment sale rights, including interest at 13% per annum. Through aggressive post-judgment actions, our creditor client received payment in full with interest.
Dismissal Obtained in Land Contract Forfeiture Case
Our clients were sued in District Court in a land contract forfeiture case, where the Plaintiff alleged that the Defendants had defaulted on a land contract. We filed an answer with affirmative defenses that the land contract was actually paid in full, and the Defendants were entitled to a deed in fulfillment, which the Plaintiff had not provided despite having received all payments on the land contract. We obtained proof and provided it to opposing counsel, and soon thereafter, Plaintiff agreed to dismiss the case and provide a deed to the Defendants.
Cell Phone Handheld Device Charge Dismissed for CDL Driver
Our Jackson-based law firm represents countless commercial truck drivers charged with various traffic violations and misdemeanors, many written at the Grass Lake scales. Our client was charged with use of a handheld device (sometimes referred to as cell phone texting), which is a moving violation and significantly impacts both the driver and company. Through investigation, including review of video of the trooper's body camera, we convinced the prosecutor's office to outright dismiss the charge, saving the driver points on his license and the company on its CSA score.
Post-Judgment Divorce Matter Resolved with Sale of Home and Reimbursement of Expenses
Our family law lawyers were retained by a party to a divorce case after a Judgment of Divorce was entered requiring that real estate be sold by a certain date, among other terms. When the other party refused to cooperate after good-faith efforts by our client, we filed a motion in the divorce court to force a sale and seek reimbursement for all costs incurred. At the first hearing, we obtained an order from the judge requiring the opposing party to cooperate with the sale under certain terms. After multiple hearings, the property was sold, and our client was reimbursed for 100% of the expenses related to the house.
Adverse Possession Case Settled without Money Damages
Our client, a property owner in Jackson County, was sued by his neighbor alleging claims of adverse possession and acquiescence. Brad A. Brelinski researched the history of the ownership of the various parcels, uncovered a partial defense to the claims, and negotiated a favorable resolution where our client retained the majority of his property along with easement rights. During the case, we also discovered some title defects that were cured through negotiations with a third-party.
Real Estate Lawsuit Settled Favorably After Uncovering Contradictory Evidence
Our real estate litigation team, led by Brad A. Brelinski, was retained by a local property owner who was sued for over $25,000.00 in the Jackson County Circuit Court for alleged fraud and violation of the Seller's Disclosure Act in relation to the sale of a residential property in Jackson County. We vigorously defended the case as we believed it had no merit. While the case was pending and making its way through the discovery process, we uncovered some contradictory information and evidence against the opposing party, and used it to negotiate a favorable settlement for a fraction of the initial settlement demand in exchange for a dismissal of the case so our clients could move on.
Victory at Trial in Construction Case in Jackson Court
Our client was sued in Jackson Court following a dispute with her residential contractor. Our litigation team, led by Brad A. Brelinski, filed an answer and counterclaim, outlining all of the wrongdoing by the contractor, and seeking a money judgment for our client's damages. After a multi-day trial, the Jackson Court ruled that the plaintiff's claims were entirely dismissed (no cause for action), and awarded a money judgment in our client's favor against the contractor. The contractor did not appeal.
Commercial Real Estate Easement Dispute Dismissed by Jackson Court
Our real estate litigation team, led by Brad A. Brelinski, recently defended a commercial property owner in Jackson, Michigan who was sued in the Jackson County Circuit Court under various legal theories. Basically, the plaintiff, a neighboring property owner and apartment developer, alleged that an access easement benefited multiple, contiguous properties owned by the same plaintiff. We argued that the easement only benefited one, small parcel of land, not the entire area of over 75 acres; and that the plaintiff was trying to improperly expand the easement (or overburdening the easement). Our attorneys defended the action, filed a counterclaim against the neighboring property developer, and obtained a dismissal of plaintiff's claims by summary judgment (without a trial). Plaintiff appealed and the Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed the ruling in our client's favor.
Complex Divorce Case Successfully Resolved at Mediation
Our family law team represented a local business owner in a divorce with minor children case. The matter involved numerous closely-held business interests, multiple homes, claims of spousal support, child support, custody, parenting time, and allegations of fraud and duress. Through aggressive motion practice, and strategic settlement negotiations, the case was resolved favorably at mediation, avoiding the expense and uncertainty of trial, but allowing our client to retain all interests in the businesses along with joint physical and legal custody.
Nuisance Dispute Brought to Municipality and Resolved After Years of Inaction
Our law office was retained by a local farming family who endured years of issues with a neighbor who illegally operated a business out of his residential property and essentially created a junk yard surrounding his house, despite a decades old court order prohibiting such use and conduct. We investigated the history of the dispute and planned a coordinated effort against the neighbor, township board, ordinance enforcement officer, and supervisor. In short order and without the need for further litigation, we convinced the township to take action against the neighbor, and force him to abate the nuisance by cleaning up the property, which he did within a few short months of our initial involvement.
Litigated Real Estate Dispute Involving Adverse Possession and Prescriptive Easements
Our real estate lawyers were retained by clients in Jackson County after they were sued by a number of other neighbors in a small lakeside community. Plaintiffs brought claims related to adverse possession, prescriptive easement, acquiescence, easement by necessity, and money damages claimed in excess of $25,000.00. The case was mediated and resolved to our clients' satisfaction with relatively little expense and fees incurred through tough but persuasive negotiations and creative solutions for the neighbors.
Municipal Representation with Liquor Control Issues
Our government lawyers recently represented a local municipality with a unique Michigan Liquor Control Commission issue with a local licensee business. We were able to draft an agreement between all necessary parties to resolve the issue in short order to allow alcohol service at a large downtown festival.
Boundary Dispute Between Lakefront Property Owners Litigated and Resolved Favorably
Our real estate attorneys were retained by a property owner who owned a cottage on a local Jackson County lake. A dispute arose with his neighbor over the location of the boundary line between their two properties after his neighbor obtained a new survey. The case was litigated for over a year, mediated unsuccessfully, but after we filed a motion for summary disposition (a request to ask the Court to award a judgment immediately without a trial), the case settled for nearly all of the relief our client requested prior to being sued.
High Asset and Business Interest Divorce Resolved in Jackson County
A Michigan business owner retained our law firm to file a rather complex divorce with minor children action after his marriage broke down. We obtained an ex-parte order related to child custody and parenting time prior to going to the Friend of the Court, conducted discovery and litigated the case, and ultimately settling it mid-way through trial testimony. The divorce case involved many unique and valuable assets, including a minority interest in a profitable business, investments in hedge funds, private equity, precious metals, and others. We were able to negotiate and craft a settlement allowing our client to maintain full ownership of his business interests without taking on any additional outside debt.
Unique Separate Property Issue in Divorce Case Resolved Favorably
Our divorce client had inherited a house and a significant amount of property from his parents during the marriage. As he was married at the time, and through some common titling mistakes, some of the property was now jointly owned and commingled. Following a divorce filing, his spouse claimed all of the inherited property was marital property and subject to an equitable division by the family court. Through aggressive, detailed, and well-researched actions and briefing by our divorce attorney related to the complex and nuanced issue of marital versus separate property, the case was favorably settled at mediation.
Out-of-State Drunk Driving Defendant Pleas by Mail Without Jail Time
Our law office was contacted by a resident of a west coast state. He was visiting family in Jackson County, Michigan many years ago, and was arrested for drunk driving. He regrettably left the state without addressing the OWI charge, and had a warrant out for his arrest for years. When applying for a new job, he was reminded that the charge was still outstanding, and contacted our firm to assist him with resolving the case. Through extensive negotiation with the prosecutor's office and the assigned judge, he was allowed to plea by mail to fines and costs, thereby avoiding any jail time or personal appearance to address the outstanding warrant.
Funeral Debt Paid in Full After Simple Demand Letter from Collection Attorney
Our law firm has been collecting debt for clients for decades, including local businesses, financial institutions, and individuals. One recent example: we represent a number of local funeral homes as outside general counsel. One client referred an unpaid account to us for collections after months of futile attempts by its staff. After reviewing the referral, and investigating the situation, our collection lawyers discovered a potentially illegal scheme and misrepresentations by the debtor related to a GoFundMe page. With one demand letter, the debtor paid in full within two weeks after six months of avoiding payment.
Lawsuit Seeking $35,000.00 Dismissed for Nuisance Value Settlement
Our law firm received a referral from a trusted colleague to defend a lawsuit seeking approximately $35,000.00. Litigation attorney Brad A. Brelinski reviewed the matter, determined that the Plaintiff's case was legally flawed, and pursued an aggressive defense, including pretrial discovery that led to the filing of a motion to dismiss. While the motion was pending, we resolved the case for pennies on the dollar.
Successful Defense of Commercial Property Dispute
Attorney Brad A. Brelinski counseled and represented a real estate developer in all stages of his recent flip of commercial property located in mid-Michigan, including the acquisition, redevelopment, and ultimately its sale to a third-party buyer. Following the sale, the buyer brought claims against the seller for alleged fraud related to the transaction, which included a demand for at least $20,000.00. Following an investigation, we responded to the demands with supporting legal precedent, and the buyer dropped the matter, resulting in no liability to our client.
Representation of Local Government in Contract Negotiations with Multi-National Franchise
Our government law group recently assisted a local unit of government with a long-term deal with a multi-national franchise located in Jackson County. Our lawyers serve as general outside counsel to local municipalities and units of government.
General Counsel to Local Financial Institution
Our attorneys recently assisted a local credit union with multiple real estate transactions involving the purchase and sale of commercial properties, rezoning and local land use issues, construction contract matters, and related legal issues for a growing financial institution in our greater Jackson community. Our firm serves as general outside counsel to a number of local credit unions.
Representation of Veterinarian in Purchase of Practice
Our law firm was retained to assist a local veterinarian in purchasing a practice. Our lawyers counseled and advised the veterinarian on strategies for negotiating the overall deal and then assisted with the transaction documents to ensure the veterinarian's interests were properly protected moving forward.
Temporary Restraining Order Granted in Civil Dispute
Our law office was retained to assist in a civil dispute over issues surrounding an easement. To prevent irreparable harm, our real estate attorney promptly filed a complaint and request for a temporary restraining order (TRO) with the Jackson County Circuit Court, which was granted by the judge the same day. The TRO was extended pending the outcome of the case, allowing our client to preserve their property and maintain the status quo until trial.
Missouri Resident Has Criminal Traffic Charge Dismissed
Our office was retained by a Missouri man who was charged with the misdemeanor crime of Driving While License Suspended (DWLS) in Jackson County while travelling on I-94 for business. He was facing the DWLS charge as well as a civil infraction. We obtained information favorable to our client's defense, met with the assistant prosecutor, and convinced him to dismiss the DWLS criminal charge.
Trucker Charged with Bypassing Grass Lake Scales Obtains Dismissal of Criminal Charge
We routinely represent commercial truck drivers travelling through Jackson County on I-94. One CDL driver was charged with bypassing the Grass Lake, Michigan scales along with other charges. It is a misdemeanor to bypass the scales. We convinced the Prosecutor's Office to dismiss the misdemeanor charge in exchange for a civil infraction that does not affect the trucker's driving record, or his employment.
Misdemeanor Driving Offense Dismissed for Illinois Resident
Our driving defense team was retained by an Illinois man after he was charged with a misdemeanor crime while travelling through Jackson County on I-94. After multiple hearings, the Jackson County Prosecutor's Office decided it could not meet its burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt, and voluntarily dismissed the charge.
Drunk Driving Charge Dismissed for Jackson, Michigan Man
Our law firm was retained by a Michigan resident after he was charged with a drunk driving misdemeanor in Jackson County. After reviewing the evidence and discussing the case with the prosecutor's office, all charges were dismissed.
Dismissal Obtained for Jackson, Michigan Governmental Agency and its Director
Attorney Brad A. Brelinski defended a local governmental agency, its director, and an employee in a civil lawsuit brought against them in the Jackson County Courts. All claims against all Defendants were dismissed summarily by motion following a long hearing. The decision was not appealed by the Plaintiff.
Jackson Divorce Court Awards Significant Assets to Client in High-Dollar Divorce
Attorney Brad A. Brelinski recently represented a Jackson County, Michigan resident in a divorce with minor children case involving significant assets. The case began with an emergency request for relief from the divorce judge, which was granted and upheld. Mr. Brelinski and his client undertook an extensive pretrial investigation into the financial assets of the opposing party, as the party had essentially been living a separate life. After a thorough review and gathering of information, including discovery practice, our client was awarded the majority of the financial assets of the marital estate, including the entire interest in the marital home. The successful result was not appealed by the spouse.
Defendant's Criminal Charge Dismissed by Jackson Prosecutor
A long-time and well-respected client of our law firm was charged with a misdemeanor crime in Jackson County. Our client maintained his complete innocence and believed that he never should have been charged. After reviewing the matter, our attorneys agreed. Through persistent communications and negotiations with the Jackson County Prosecutor's Office, the charge was dismissed at pretrial.
Careless Driving Charges Favorably Resolved for Truck Drivers
Within a one week period, our CDL truck driver attorney successfully negotiated and obtained a reduction of two careless driving charges to civil infractions that are not reported to the Michigan Secretary of State, resulting in a favorable outcome for our commercial driver clients of a reduction from 3 points to 0 points, and much more importantly, eliminating any potential negative consequences with their trucking companies.
COMPLEX DIVORCE CASE SUCCESSFULLY RESOLVED FOR BUSINESS CLIENT
Our law firm successfully represented a current business client in a complex divorce proceeding in Jackson County (Michigan) Family Court involving multiple business valuations, business and retirement asset divisions, debt allocation, and child support, custody and parenting time. After an extensive discovery period and strategic planning from the very beginning, we negotiated a settlement on very favorable terms, retaining full interest in the family businesses which avoided potential divisions by the Family Court. Attorney Brad A. Brelinski led the team, assisted by Philip J. Curtis with his extensive knowledge and experience with business, tax and employee benefits planning.
CRIMINAL CHARGES AGAINST JACKSON MAN DISMISSED
Our law firm was retained by a Jackson, Michigan man charged with a financial crime in Jackson County. A conviction would have greatly impacted his employment and reputation, and he was facing possible jail time and a significant fine from the Jackson Court. Attorney Brad A. Brelinski conducted a thorough investigation of the allegations, gathered favorable evidence from his client and reviewed the prosecutor's evidence, and then developed a strategy to fight the charges. Using our evidence and supporting legal arguments, we convinced the prosecutor to dismiss the case.
COLLECTION ACTION AGAINST FORMER MICHIGAN RESIDENT HALTED
A former Jackson, Michigan resident now living out-of-state found our law firm online and contacted us for legal help. He was sued in Jackson County Court based on a foreign judgment, and the collection law firm filed a garnishment requiring his employer to withhold a portion of his paycheck. The only problem - neither the Defendant nor the employer had a current connection to the State of Michigan. Attorney Brad A. Brelinski stepped right in and filed an objection to the garnishment. At the hearing on the objection to garnishment, the collection attorney tried to convince the judge that the garnishment should continue, which would have been financially devastating for our client. Instead, Mr. Brelinski successfully argued that the objections were valid, and the judge ultimately dismissed the garnishment and ordered that all funds be returned to our client.
JACKSON LANDLORDS WIN EVICTION AND MONEY DAMAGES LAWSUIT
A Jackson, Michigan couple and accidental landlords who were dealing with a nightmare of a problem tenant were referred to us by another Jackson attorney for assistance after they filed the eviction case on their own but faced a challenge from the tenant. Attorney Brad A. Brelinski met with them the same day, filed a motion for summary disposition within a week, and obtained an eviction order shortly thereafter. After the tenant moved, we went back to Jackson County Court for a damages trial, and our clients obtained a money judgment for nearly $15,000.
MISDEMEANOR CHARGES DISMISSED AGAINST DEFENDANT IN JACKSON COURT
A young man charged with a misdemeanor in Jackson County District Court and facing up to 90 days in jail was referred to us by another Jackson lawyer. Attorney Brad A. Brelinski met with the prosecuting attorney and the judge, and convinced both to allow the Defendant to resolve the case with a delayed sentence. Ultimately, the case was dismissed, saving our client a permanent mark on his criminal record.
JACKSON LANDLORD-TENANT DISPUTE SUCCESSFULLY RESOLVED
Our law firm was retained by tenants being sued in Jackson County District Court for eviction from their home. They were renting and the owner/landlord sold the home to a third-party, who tried evicting them on short-notice. Our attorney appeared at the eviction hearing and worked out a favorable settlement with the landlord that allowed the tenants to stay in the home on their terms.
INTERNATIONAL DIVORCE CASE SUCCESSFULLY LITIGATED
A long-time Jackson, Michigan resident and client retained attorney Brad A. Brelinski to initiate a divorce proceeding against her husband who now resides overseas. We quickly filed the required documents with the Jackson County Family Court and obtained proper personal service upon the Defendant, which can be quite challenging with the various international laws for service of process. Based on our thorough legal representation of the Plaintiff, the Defendant consented to the service and did not contest the divorce, and it was resolved on favorable terms for our client.
JACKSON CDL STUDENT DEFENDED IN ADRIAN COURT
Our law firm was retained to defend a local Jackson County, Michigan resident who was charged with two misdemeanor counts of reckless driving and leaving the scene of a property damage accident in Lenawee County. The defendant was pursuing a career that required a CDL, and a conviction of reckless driving would have prevent it. Our driving offenses and licensing lawyers defended the case, and eventually convinced the prosecuting attorney to reduce the charges to civil infractions of careless driving and impeding traffic, which avoided license sanctions, a criminal record, driver responsibility fees, and more importantly, allowed him to continue pursuing a commercial driver's license.
DEFENSE OF CLIENT IN BUSINESS DEBT DISPUTE
We represented a new owner of a company that was involved in a complex business reorganization due to financial issues, which left some unpaid creditors. Due to questionably unethical commercial debt collection practices, a creditor filed numerous garnishments against customers of the new owner, and demanded that the customers pay them and not our client. The new client was referred to us by a local Jackson attorney that doesn't handle litigation. Attorney Brad A. Brelinski filed objections to the garnishments the very same day he was retained, and contacted the debt collection attorney, who agreed to release all of the garnishments immediately, allowing our client to quickly collect their receivables from their customers and avoid a potentially time-consuming and costly court fight with the creditor.
JACKSON MI BOUNDARY DISPUTE SUCCESSFULLY LITIGATED
Our clients own valuable real estate on a popular Jackson County lake. A neighbor unilaterally tore down a fence that had stood for decades as the boundary line between the adjoining properties. After additional issues, the property owners retained our services and we initiated a lawsuit within days, which included convincing the Jackson judge to issue a temporary restraining order prohibiting the neighbor from causing any more damage. After a strategic discovery plan, we filed a motion for summary disposition and the judge ruled in our favor on our primary claim establishing the true and legal boundary line under the doctrine of acquiescence, as well as liability for trespassing. Through further negotiations, our clients obtained their desired relief from the neighbor, and the case was resolved in our clients' favor. Litigation attorney Brad A. Brelinski led the team.
JACKSON TRIAL COURT VICTORY IN LONGTIME REAL ESTATE DISPUTE
Years ago, a prominent, local Jackson couple relocated outside of Michigan for employment reasons. With the depressed real estate market during the Great Recession, they entered into a unique transaction to sell their Jackson County home and farm. In the years since, they have endured a buyer who has been in and out of federal bankruptcy and state courts, having to defend themselves and their financial interests in multiple cases and appeals. Finally, the parties litigated their dispute in Jackson County and, after a heated trial, the Judge ruled in our clients' favor on every issue, and entered a judgment exceeding $275,000. The trial award was upheld on appeal. Attorney Brad A. Brelinski led the bankruptcy and state court litigation teams.
SUCCESSFUL ENFORCEMENT OF NON-COMPETE AGREEMENT AGAINST CPA
Our Jackson-based law firm has an ongoing relationship with a local CPA and consulting firm with multiple offices throughout the State of Michigan. Part of our service includes debt collection and employment litigation. A CPA left the accounting firm and took a considerable amount of business with her. Fortunately for the CPA firm, it had proper employment agreements in place to protect its interests. After they attempted to resolve the issues on their own, without success, they turned to Curtis, Curtis & Brelinski for help. After reviewing the terms of the agreement for all available options, we immediately sent a thorough demand letter seeking reimbursement for the firm's financial damages, or we would file a lawsuit. Within a few weeks, we received a check at our office for payment in full.
JACKSON MI BUSINESS HAS LAWSUIT DISMISSED AT NO COST
Curtis, Curtis & Brelinski serves as outside general counsel to a local Jackson, Michigan-based assembly company in the marine industry that does business throughout the country. The company was sued outside of Michigan along with numerous other businesses in an alleged product liability and negligence lawsuit. Our litigation team quickly met with the owner and key employees of the company to investigate the claim and devise a strategy to defend the case, in coordination with local litigation counsel. Within weeks, our attorneys convinced the plaintiff's attorney to dismiss the claims against our business client without any financial liability, saving the company invaluable resources that it can now put towards its growing business.
LAWSUIT AGAINST ANN ARBOR MI BUSINESS DISMISSED
Our Jackson law firm is Michigan general counsel to an Ann Arbor-based international technology company. The business was sued in Washtenaw County by an Ohio corporation for an alleged breach of contract arising out of their ongoing business relationship. Our civil litigation defense lawyers stepped in, analyzed the situation, and promptly filed a counter-claim against the Ohio company seeking significant financial damages. Shortly after, attorney Brad A. Brelinski and the opposing counsel negotiated a settlement, and resolved the case through a mutual dismissal of the lawsuit with no financial liability for our client.
DEFENSE OF DRUNK DRIVING CHARGE AGAINST COMMERCIAL TRUCK DRIVER
A defendant who was charged with first-offense drunk driving was referred to our law office by another Jackson attorney. He had a CDL that he used for his employment locally, and he was going to lose his CDL and job if convicted. He was charged for operating while intoxicated (not while he was working) during a large snow storm. After a thorough investigation of the allegations and putting ourselves in the best position to negotiate a deal, we successfully convinced the prosecuting attorney to reduce the charge to a non-alcohol driving offense, which saved our client's CDL endorsement, and his job.
SUCCESSFUL REPRESENTATION OF JACKSON COUNTY RESIDENT IN DRIVER'S LICENSE APPEALS
We represented a Jackson, Michigan resident who lost his privilege to drive after two drunk driving convictions before he was 22 years old. After a few years without his driver's license, and overcoming his drinking issues while obtaining gainful employment, he contacted our attorneys to help him with the confusing process of appealing to the Michigan Secretary of State. We successfully represented him in his appeal, and he obtained a restricted license with an interlock ignition device (BAIID). Many months later, through a freak occurrence outside of his control, there was a major violation on his BAIID and the state automatically revoked his license. We appealed and ended up in Jackson County Circuit Court, where we won the appeal and obtained his full driving privileges instead of a restricted license, saving our client hundreds if not a few thousand dollars in additional fees and costs.
REPRESENTATION OF CDL TRUCK DRIVER CHARGED WITH CARELESS DRIVING AND SPEEDING IN JACKSON COUNTY, MICHIGAN
Our law office was retained by an out-of-state CDL truck driver involved in an accident on I-94 in Jackson County, Michigan. He was charged with careless driving and speeding, and facing potential driver's license and CDL issues if found responsible by the Jackson County District Court, which would most likely lead to the loss of his commercial truck driving employment and career. Our client maintained his innocence and we were successful in convincing the prosecutor to resolve the case in a manner that saved the defendant's driving privileges and his job.
SERVICE AS OUTSIDE GENERAL COUNSEL TO LOCAL CREDIT UNIONS
Our lawyers have served as outside general counsel to multiple, mid-Michigan credit unions for decades. Our litigation team has collected debt, foreclosed mortgages, and filed quiet title actions and claim and delivery cases against debtors. Our employment law and benefits attorneys have advised credit union management regarding employment contracts, terminations, severance agreements, hiring practices, workplace policies and practices, and complex ERISA, retirement and employee benefits issues. Our business attorneys have counseled management and board members on mergers and acquisitions, real estate sales and leasing, management succession planning, and general day-to-day matters.
SUCCESSFUL DEFENSE OF CLAIM FOR SALES COMMISSIONS FOLLOWING EMPLOYMENT TERMINATION
Our client was a technology company with salespersons doing business throughout the country. One of the sales employees had continually failed to meet his sales targets, and after attempts to work with him, he was eventually let go with a severance package. He then retained an employment attorney and made a demand for post-termination commissions on an alleged $1,000,000 sales deal under the Michigan Sales Representative Commission Act. Our client came to us, and attorney Brad A. Brelinski evaluated the facts, thoroughly researched the statute and applicable case law, and responded by denying all liability under the Sales Commission Act. The matter was quickly resolved without our client paying anything on the claim.
REPRESENTATION OF INTERNATIONAL IT FIRM AS GENERAL COUNSEL
Our attorneys served as U.S. general counsel to an international technology company with its U.S. headquarters located in Michigan. We drafted and provided counseling on the company's polices, terms and conditions, service agreements and general contracts. Our collection attorneys assisted the business with its delinquent accounts receivable, from sending demand letters to negotiating successful resolutions. Our lawyers advised the President and CEO on employment matters, including the successful defense of a claim of wrongful termination.
SUCCESSFUL DEFENSE AND SETTLEMENT OF FAMILY DISPUTE IN JACKSON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT
Our client was referred to us after being sued by a former family member seeking over $30,000. Attorney Brad A. Brelinski represented the defendant in Jackson County Circuit Court. He met with the client, reviewed the complaint and relevant documents, listened to the defendant's side of the story, and devised a plan to resolve the case to his satisfaction. It was a frivolous family dispute that really had no business in court, but it was believed that the plaintiff was receiving free legal services from a family friend, so the plaintiff had nothing to lose. After an aggressive discovery phase, and successful preparation and arguments at case evaluation, the matter was settled for $1,000, only 3% of the amount originally sought in the case.
REPRESENTATION OF COUNTLESS CLIENTS IN EXPUNGEMENT MOTIONS IN JACKSON COUNTY COURTS
Our law firm has represented many former criminal and juvenile defendants in Jackson County, Michigan, courts in their efforts to set aside their criminal convictions. Michigan law allows a defendant to expunge their Michigan criminal records under certain circumstances, and our attorneys are knowledgeable in the very complex and confusing laws, and experienced with the procedures and court hearings necessary to obtain a fresh start from a past criminal convictions. Most clients made foolish, immature decisions during their youth, and those mistakes have followed them around for the rest of their lives, impacting their ability to rent a home or obtain employment. Our lawyers have succeeded in convincing Jackson County judges with giving these individuals a much-deserved second chance.
SUCCESSFUL DEFENSE OF WRONGFUL EVICTION BROUGHT BY LAND CONTRACT SELLER
A Jackson family was buying a house on land contract, and were having difficulty with the out-of-state seller, and the local property manager, who was representing the seller. The buyer was making all his payments, but the property manager claimed he was in default. Instead of filing the appropriate land contract forfeiture action in Jackson County District Court, the seller and property manager tried evicting the buyer under a landlord-tenant case. The buyer was referred to our law firm by a local attorney who doesn't handle litigation cases. Led by lawyer Brad A. Brelinski, our team litigated the case through trial, and obtained a verdict in their favor for the wrongfully filed action. The judge scolded the opposing attorney, and awarded our client attorney fees.
REPRESENTATION OF SELLER OF BUSINESSES AND REAL ESTATE IN A COMPLEX BUSINESS TRANSACTION GONE AWRY
Our business, real estate, collections and litigation experience all came together to represent a Jackson, Michigan businessman when a complex transaction went bad. He had successfully built up an automotive business over the years, and decided to retire and sell the operating companies and accompanying real estate in a complex, multi-million dollar deal, which was handled by another lawyer. When the buyer defaulted a few years later, the seller was referred to us by the transaction attorney because of a conflict of interest. Led by attorney Brad A. Brelinski, we studied the transaction documents, determined the extent of all the defaults, and came up with a plan with our client to protect his valuable interests while facing multiple threats from the buyer. We strategically initiated four lawsuits in court and, facing the imminent closure of the businesses, forced the defaulting buyer to come up with the significant funds to cure the breaches and sign a settlement agreement which protected our client moving forward.
Not long after, the buyer again defaulted, only this time it appeared all of his creditors were coming after him. Realizing that a settlement would be unlikely, we moved swiftly and filed five lawsuits in Jackson County District and Circuit Courts to enforce the leases and security agreements. The buyer did not dispute the actions this time and closed the businesses, giving back the property and collateral to the seller.
RECENT SUCCESS DURING REPRESENTATION IN REAL ESTATE LITIGATION
A local property owner, referred to us by a Jackson attorney, was having repeated, significant issues with a neighboring property owner, and the situation escalated to the point the police were called. The client contacted us after the referral and we worked non-stop to investigate the matter, draft court paperwork, file it within a day, and obtain a temporary restraining order (TRO) and preliminary injunction order to stop the neighbor from trespassing and causing damage to our client's property.
REPRESENTATION OF FAMILY MEMBERS IN WILL CONTEST IN PROBATE COURT RESULTS IN FAVORABLE SETTLEMENT
Our law firm, led by probate attorney Brad A. Brelinski, represented the majority of adult children of a deceased woman in a family dispute against one of their siblings involving alleged mental incapacity, undue influence, fraud, breach of fiduciary duties, and conversion (stealing) claims. The opposing party was the appointed personal representative and primary beneficiary of the estate, after the decedent changed the beneficiaries in her will shortly before death. The PR lived with the decedent and was dependent upon her when the changes were made. Our lawyers filed objections and petitions in probate court to set aside the last will and remove the personal representative from duty. The probate case was litigated through discovery with numerous depositions and written discovery documents, and ordered to facilitative mediation by the probate judge. After an all day mediation session, the case settled favorably for our clients with a considerable increase in estate distributions, and allowed the family members to put the matter behind them.
BUSINESS ATTORNEYS ASSIST CPA FIRM WITH SUCCESSION PLAN
Our corporate lawyers assisted a Jackson-area CPA firm with its business succession plan. The accounting practice wanted to add a new partner and plan for the eventual retirement of its managing partner. Attorney Philip J. Curtis, long-time advisor to the CPA firm, met with the partners and devised a plan that covered everyone's goals, concerns and interests, and implemented the plan with the appropriate contracts and documents.
SUCCESSFUL SETTLEMENT OF CASE INVOLVING REAL ESTATE, ABANDONMENT AND PROBATE
Our client owned lake property in southern Michigan. During a long-term relationship, he put his partner's name on the deed (without the assistance of an attorney). Eventually, the relationship ended, she abandoned him and the property, filed for bankruptcy and died shortly after. Her adult children made a claim for 50% of the value of the lake property. Our real estate and probate attorneys represented the surviving property owner. After rejecting the initial, excessive settlement demands, we negotiated a successful resolution allowing our client to keep the lake property and attain 100% ownership, all for a minimal nuisance value payment, saving our client thousands of dollars in trial legal fees.
SUCCESSFUL DEFENSE OF PROBATE CLAIMS IN WRONGFUL DEATH DISTRIBUTION CASE
Our probate attorneys represented a surviving spouse in Jackson County Probate Court in a case to determine who would receive the proceeds of a wrongful death settlement. The decedent's estranged adult children, both of whom had not contacted their father in decades, appeared in the case and filed a claim for money damages. After their attorney refused to voluntarily dismiss the frivolous claims, we took the case to an evidentiary hearing (mini-trial) and the probate judge ruled in our favor, allowing our client to receive the bulk of the wrongful death claim of her late husband. The other claimants did not appeal.
ATTORNEYS DEFEND JACKSON COMPANY IN BUSINESS SUCCESSOR LIABILITY CASE
Our business client was sued by a creditor for over $75,000, alleging successor liability related to a previous company that had gone out of business. Attorney Brad A. Brelinski led the defense of the multi-count civil lawsuit in Jackson County Circuit Court. Although the facts made it challenging to defend, we strategically elected case evaluation and convinced the panel members that, despite the unfavorable facts, the law required the case be dismissed. The panel agreed, and awarded the plaintiff-creditor a nuisance value award. Shortly after, the case settled for 5% of the initial financial demand.
REPRESENTATION OF LOCAL MANUFACTURER IN EXECUTIVE-LEVEL EMPLOYMENT REORGANIZATION
When one of our Jackson-based manufacturing clients, for which we serve as outside corporate counsel, wanted to make a change at the executive level, its board of directors consulted our employment law attorneys to craft a plan to minimize risk exposure to the company. Our lawyers put together a comprehensive employment separation agreement with a fair severance package, and counseled the board through the termination process and severance settlement. Although the departing employee retained an attorney, we quickly resolved the matter at minimal cost to the company while securing a full release.
ATTORNEYS ASSIST VETERINARIAN WITH HER GROWING PRACTICE
A local Jackson veterinarian was looking to expand her practice and add an associate veterinary. She reached out to the attorneys at Curtis, Curtis & Brelinski to advise her on all related employment matters, including the drafting and negotiating of an employment contract. We met with the vet and listened to her goals and wishes for her growing professional practice, and helped her navigate the countless laws, rules and regulations related to professional practices and employment law.
ESTABLISHED COMPLEX ESTATE PLAN FOR ELDERLY HIGH NET WORTH CLIENT
We were referred a client by a local CPA firm who needed an updated estate plan. Our client had a large, seven-figure estate but no children or close family members to provide an inheritance. She was very philanthropic and our estate planning attorneys devised a plan to provide lifetime and post-death gifts to her favorite charities in order to minimize estate tax exposure, as well as set up a complete estate plan with a revocable living trust, pour-over will, financial power of attorney and patient advocate designation. We worked with our client and local non-profit organizations to implement the planned giving opportunities.
CDL DRIVER ACCUSED OF DRUNK DRIVING SUCCESSFULLY RESOLVES CASE AND SAVES HIS JOB
A Jackson County resident and employee of a local trucking and transportation company was charged with drunk driving. With his CDL license at stake due to the mandatory 1-year suspension for a drunk driving conviction, and ultimately faced with losing his job, attorney Brad A. Brelinski devised a plan and successfully negotiated a plea agreement with the prosecutor for a reduction in charges that saved our client's job, his CDL driver's license and thousands of dollars in fees and costs.
SUCCESSFUL REPRESENTATION OF PROBATE BENEFICIARY IN JACKSON COUNTY
Our probate and trust attorneys represented a surviving spouse in an unusual probate dispute with a non-relative personal representative. The decedent attempted to almost completely disinherit her spouse, but with the assistance of our lawyers, we were able to recover nearly double what he would have received if he did not fight for his inheritance rights under Michigan law. Through persistence and determination, our client received full reimbursement for expenses and a six-figure resolution.
SERVICE AS GENERAL COUNSEL TO LOCAL CPA AND CONSULTING FIRM
Our attorneys serve as outside general counsel to a large CPA and consulting firm headquartered in Jackson County with multiple offices conducting business throughout the country. Through the years, we have assisted the accounting firm with real estate matters, employment advising, collection of debt, mergers and acquisitions, and business succession planning, including the buyout of multiple partners.
DEFENSE OF RECKLESS DRIVING CHARGE IN JACKSON COUNTY SAVES TRAVELING SALESMAN'S DRIVER'S LICENSE AND JOB
A Jackson, Michigan, man who travels throughout the state for his job as an account manager was facing the loss of his driving privileges after he was charged with reckless driving, a misdemeanor crime in Michigan that carries automatic penalties of 6 points on a master driving record and a mandatory 90-day license suspension for a first-time offender, as well as up to 93 days in jail, up to $500 in costs and fines, and $1,000 in Driver Responsibility Fees. To make matters worse, hardship appeals to the circuit court are unavailable for reckless driving suspensions. Facing this criminal charge and a mandatory license suspension, our client would have lost his job. After being retained, our legal team took proactive steps to put our client in the best position for the case. Through effective preparation and negotiations with the prosecuting attorney, we convinced the township lawyer to reduce the charge to a civil infraction, thereby avoiding a criminal conviction, $1,000 in Driver Responsibility Fees, and an automatic driver's license suspension, and most importantly, saving our client's job.
REPRESENTATION OF APARTMENT COMPLEX IN IMMEDIATE EVICTION OF TENANT SUSPECTED OF DRUG ACTIVITY
We were contacted by one of our large apartment complex clients seeking immediate assistance with an issue involving a tenant suspected of drug dealing activity in his rental unit. The police had already been to the complex where the tenant admitted to the allegations, although no arrests were made and the tenant remained at the apartment. In order to avoid the property damage of a potential drug raid, along with the negative publicity in the media associated with a drug arrest at one of its apartments, we immediately advised our client on the process to avoid the normal 30-day waiting period for an eviction, and filed the termination of tenancy complaint within a few days. After the required service and default period, our landlord-tenant attorney convinced the Jackson County District Court to issue an immediate order of eviction (the law generally requires 10 more days of waiting) to have the alleged drug dealer removed. With proper planning and execution, our legal team was able to avoid waiting over 40 days to evict this problem tenant, and more importantly, avoid the negative implications from the alleged drug activity at the rental community.
DEFENSE OF CALIFORNIA RESIDENT AND COMMERCIAL TRUCK DRIVER CHARGED WITH POSSESSION OF CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE IN JACKSON COUNTY, MICHIGAN
We were contacted by a law firm out west who referred a California resident to us who was criminally charged with felony possession of controlled substance after he was pulled over at the Grass Lake weigh station on I-94 in Jackson County by the Michigan State Police Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division. The defendant had a warrant out for his arrest, so we had to act fast. It turns out our client had a valid prescription for the drugs but did not have it with him in his semi-truck when he was pulled over by the police. Within one day of being retained, our CDL attorneys had a deal worked out with the local prosecutor and trial judge to resolve the felony case with a deferred misdemeanor with fines and costs, and avoided the California resident from having to travel all the way to Michigan to turn himself in on the warrant and fight the charges in person. The case was ultimately dismissed, keeping a criminal conviction off our client's record, and resolving the outstanding warrant so he could go back to work as a CDL truck driver.
REAL ESTATE CLIENT OBTAINS DISMISSAL OF CIVIL LAWSUIT ALLEGING TORT AND CIVIL RIGHTS CLAIMS
When our Jackson-based commercial and residential landlord client was sued in a significant civil case with hundreds of thousands of dollars at risk for numerous alleged personal torts and civil rights claims related to a lease and tenancy, attorney Brad A. Brelinski stepped right in and launched an aggressive defense to this frivolous lawsuit. Through strategic, thorough and aggressive discovery tactics, the opposing party’s case unraveled and was exposed as a fraud through numerous inconsistencies, lies and perjured testimony at a deposition. The circuit court dismissed the case after plaintiff’s attorney withdrew as her attorney, and the plaintiff failed to proceed with her case.
RELENTLESS PURSUIT OF DEBTOR HIDING ASSETS LEADS TO CIVIL CONTEMPT ORDER AND PAYMENT OF THE JUDGMENT DEBT IN FULL PLUS ATTORNEY FEES TO OUR CREDITOR CLIENT IN JACKSON COUNTY DISTRICT COURT
Attorney Brad A. Brelinski represented a local businessman who had a judgment worth over $20,000 against another local individual. The defendant refused to pay and was generally uncooperative in our initial efforts to collect on the judgment. With the assistance of our client, we obtained information about the defendant that he was hiding assets that could have paid this debt in full. Through persistent efforts and repeated court appearances, the defendant's stories changed and he lied under oath multiple times. With enough evidence built against him, we pursued a civil contempt of court action against him, and the Jackson County District Court Judge ordered him held in contempt and he was placed in handcuffs. The judge ordered him to turn over the available funds to satisfy the entire debt plus attorney fees, or he would be sentenced to jail. The defendant soon paid over $20,000 to our client, after claiming to be penniless for months or years.
REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT COMPANY SUCCESSFULLY RESOLVES INSURANCE CLAIM DISPUTE
When our client, a Jackson-based real estate investment company, suffered a loss at one of its commercial investment properties, they called us to assist with the claim after the insurance adjuster caused significant delays. Our attorneys stepped right in and demanded action, and assisted with the adjustment of the claim. When the insurance defense attorney continued to cause undue delay, we assisted our client as corporate counsel while they filed a lawsuit to resolve the dispute, and our client ultimately settled the claim at a very favorable figure. The insurance company went from initially denying liability, to offering a very low 5-figure nuisance settlement, to finally agreeing to a mid 6-figure settlement.
SUCCESSFUL APPEAL OF DRIVER'S LICENSE IMPLIED CONSENT SUSPENSION FOR JACKSON RESIDENT
Our law office was retained to assist a Jackson County, Michigan, resident with the defense of a first-offense drunk driving charge and an implied consent refusal. Our driving defense lawyers were able to negotiate a successful plea in the criminal case that significantly reduced our client's driving penalties as well as fines and costs in the case. For the administrative case with the Michigan Secretary of State, our driver's license attorneys appealed the implied consent suspension to the Jackson County Circuit Court. We put together a detailed motion/petition and at the hearing, convinced the judge to give our client full driving privileges instead of the common award of a restricted license. As a result, our client was able to keep her full driver's license, and because of it, her job.
SUCCESSFUL DEFENSE OF CIVIL LITIGATION CASE INVOLVING JACKSON BUSINESS
We serve as outside general counsel to a successful Jackson-based business that was sued by a former customer alleging various theories in civil court. Attorney Brad A. Brelinski defended the case and, when reasonable efforts to resolve the case failed, took the case to trial. We were able to dismiss the main claim on directed verdict (dismissed by the judge before we even had to present our own case against it), and the remainder of the claim was successfully resolved at a fraction of the dollar amount sought by the plaintiff.
REPRESENTATION OF JACKSON BUSINESSMAN AS CORPORATE AND LITIGATION COUNSEL
We were representing a local businessman who had started small but was building quite a large business by acquiring distressed commercial real estate in Jackson County. Attorney Philip J. Curtis helped our client, with the assistance of his local CPA firm, reorganize his company by structuring a parent-subsidiary holding organization to maximize his liability protection and minimize tax exposure. Our team also handled the acquisition and transferring of multiple liquor licenses with the Michigan Liquor Control Commission. After a dispute, attorney Brad A. Brelinski successfully brought a case against a former business partner and obtained a civil judgment in excess of $500,000.
FORFEITURE / FORECLOSURE OF LAND CONTRACT AGAINST SERIAL BANKRUPTCY FILER
Our collections and litigation attorneys recently successfully defended against a serial bankruptcy filer in the Bankruptcy Court of the Eastern District of Michigan (Detroit) that was prohibiting our client from forfeiting/foreclosing their land contract interests. The debtor filed her fifth Chapter 13 bankruptcy case, and our client, represented by attorney Brad A. Brelinski, quickly filed an objection to the extension of the automatic stay, and appeared and successfully argued against the stay extension in Bankruptcy Court. The Bankruptcy Judge agreed with our clients' position and denied the debtor's request, allowing our client to pursue the land contract default and forfeiture/foreclosure in state court in Jackson, Michigan.
SUCCESSFUL DEFENSE OF NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION ACCUSED OF EMPLOYMENT CIVIL RIGHTS CLAIMS
Our client, a Jackson-based tax-exempt, non-profit organization, was accused by a former employee of sexual discrimination, harassment and maintaining a hostile work environment. She filed a complaint through the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, a state administrative agency responsible for investigating and resolving discrimination complaints. Employment litigation attorney Brad A. Brelinski defended the complaint on behalf of the board of directors. After an internal investigation determined that the complaint was without merit, we devised a plan to defend this frivolous claim and clear the names of the executive director and nonprofit organization. We filed a detailed and comprehensive written response and legal brief outlining the undisputed facts, contradicting the claimant's allegations, and setting forth the applicable and favorable law in our defense. After a long but extensive investigation by the MDCR, where we represented the nonprofit at every step, the civil rights investigator recommended that the complaint be closed for a lack of evidence, and it was ultimately dismissed.
VICTORY IN CIVIL TRIAL DEFENDING A LOCAL CORPORATION AGAINST A FORMER STOCKHOLDER
Our law firm was retained to defend a Jackson, Michigan, corporation when a former stockholder filed a lawsuit over a financial dispute. Lawyer Brad A. Brelinski led the litigation team, and after an investigation and review of the matter, he and the corporation's board of directors determined that settling the case would set a bad precedent, so we prepared the case for trial. After the civil bench trial, the Jackson County judge issued an immediate ruling in our client's favor, dismissing the entire case with prejudice and no liability to the defendant.
TRUST & PROBATE LITIGATION CLIENT IS VINDICATED AFTER THE PROBATE COURT DISMISSES ALL CLAIMS AT TRIAL
A trustee and primary beneficiary of an estate was sued in probate court by family members following the death of the decedent for allegations of breach of fiduciary duty, breach of trust, undue influence, fraud, mental incapacity, conversion, and embezzlement. They were seeking over $1 million dollars in the probate case. Attorneys Philip J. Curtis and Brad A. Brelinski represented the trustee/beneficiary and defended the high stakes, high dollar lawsuit. After an extensive discovery period and pretrial motions, the probate judge ordered the parties to mandatory mediation. With the defendant steadfast in his innocence, and the probate litigation team prepared for trial, the defendant turned down plaintiffs' excessive settlement demands at mediation. On the third day of trial in probate court, first chair trial attorney Brad A. Brelinski moved for dismissal at the conclusion of plaintiffs' case. The probate judge took the matter under advisement and returned a dismissal on all counts that same day while lambasting the plaintiffs for bringing the case in the first place. Plaintiffs did not appeal. Practice areas: Probate, Litigation.
DEFENSE OF COMMERCIAL LAWSUIT BROUGHT BY FORMER BUSINESS PARTNER AGAINST MANUFACTURING COMPANY IN JACKSON COUNTY
Our law firm was contacted by an out-of-state attorney and corporate counsel for a large, multi-state manufacturing company with a local plant in Jackson, Michigan. Our attorneys accepted the referral and defended a multi-count complaint in Jackson County Circuit Court in a commercial lease dispute involving a former owner and executive. After the discovery phase, the opposing party moved for summary disposition, which was denied by the business court judge in its entirety. Based on comments made by the judge at the hearing, and our strong defense led by lawyer Brad A. Brelinski, the opposing party voluntarily dismissed its case with prejudice at no cost to our client. The plaintiff-landlord originally sought claims that would have totaled in excess of $325,000.