The Grand Rapids Lawyer - Grand Rapids Bar Association


The Grand Rapids Lawyer - Grand Rapids Bar Association
A P u b l i c a t i o n o f t h e G r a n d Rap i d s Ba r A s s o c i a t i o n
The Grand Rapids Lawyer
A Farewell to Judge Kolenda l Justice Foundation Benefit Dinner l Murder in the Cathedral l New: Intellectual Property Section
“Thank you for your exceptional
service, Judge Kolenda. Your former
colleagues salute you, and wish you
nothing but the very best.”
~ Hon. Paul J. Sullivan
Grand Rapids Bar Association
Celebrating the past… promoting the future.
September/October 2008
You talk. We’ll listen.
At the Paul Goebel Group,
we understand the complexities
of administrating healthcare
coverage for firms like yours.
Call or click soon to learn more about
how the Paul Goebel Group specializes
in administrating Blue Cross Blue Shield
of Michigan healthcare programs.
800.632.4591 or
In This Issue:
Sept/Oct 2008
The Grand Rapids Lawyer
is published by the
Grand Rapids Bar Association
Waters Building
161 Ottawa Ave., NW, Suite 203-B
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
616.454.5550 / 616.454.7707 fax
Amanda Narvaes
Anne Marks
Advertising Coordinator
Debbie Kurtz
Executive Director
Kim Coleman/ext. 105
[email protected]
Executive Assistant/Membership/
Inns Administrator
Debbie Kurtz/ext. 101
[email protected]
Administrative Assistant/Editor
Amanda Narvaes/ext. 109
[email protected]
Administrative Assistant
Lee Sullivan/ext. 100
[email protected]
Lawyer Referral Administrator
Nancy King/ext. 107
[email protected]
Officers & Trustees
Matthew L. Vicari . . . . . . . . . 831-1762
Charles E. Chamberlain, Jr. . . . . 458-2212
14 Guest Article
Murder in the Cathedral
By Thomas L. Saxe
4 Attorney Spotlight
By Nancy King
5 President’s Perspective
By Matthew L. Vicari
15 GRBA Welcomes
Intellectual Property Section
By Aaron Wong
7Criminal Notes
By Timothy McMorrow
15Michigan’s Film Incentive
By Karl Butterer & Maria Saez
7Library Update
8Cover Article
By Hon. Paul J. Sullivan
16LAC Update
By Valerie T. Ambrose
By Kimberly A. Coleman
17 Generations
YLS Update
By Aaron M. Smith
9Welcome New Members
9Where are They Now?
17 Answers to Where are
They Now?
10 Photo Opportunity
19 Member Notes
September 2008
1 2 3 4 5 6
16 ADR Section Meeting
Noon David Cassard Room,
Waters Building
8 9 10 11 12 13
15 16 17 18 19 20
22 23 24 25 26 27
29 30
10 YLS Section Meeting
11 Business & Tax Section Meeting
Noon University Club
23 Environmental Law Section Meeting
Noon University Club
23 Labor & Employment Law Section Meeting
Noon University Club
24 Family Law Section Meeting
Noon University Club
Vice President
Susan Wilson Keener . . . . . . . 726-5900
Mark R. Smith . . . . . . . . . . 977-0077
Kent W. Mudie . . . . . . . . . . 459-6168
Immediate Past President
Richard E. Hillary . . . . . . . . . 831-1762
Thomas R. Behm . . . . . . . . 235-5500
Robert J. Buchanan. . . . . . . 458-2464
October 2008
1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31
YLS Section Meeting
Noon Location TBA
21 Catholic Lawyers Association
“Red Mass” 5:30pm St. Andrew’s
22 Justice Foundation Benefit Dinner
6:00pm Amway Grand Plaza
22 Family Law Section Meeting
30 Michael S. Barnes Pro Bono
Award Celebration
Noon University Club
5:30pm The B.O.B.
Michael C. Chielens . . . . . . 774-0672
Barbara A. Craft . . . . . . . . 454-6553
LaRissa D. Hollingsworth . . . 235-3500
Elizabeth Welch Lykins . . . . . 454-7618
Jennifer A. Puplava . . . . . . . 632-8000
Thomas L. Saxe . . . . . . . . . 235-3500
Richard A. Stevens . . . . . . . 458-1187
On the Cover: This portrait of The Honorable
Dennis C. Kolenda, commemorating 19 years of
service, will hang in the 17th Circuit Court in Grand
Rapids, Michigan.
november 2008
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
Save the Date!
New Attorney Orientation
November 20, December 4,
December 11
attorney spotl i ght
LRIS Attorney Spotlight: Robert Lalley
By Nancy King · LRIS Administrator
ttorney Robert Lalley was born in Grand
Rapids and has lived here all his life. He
graduated from Catholic Central High School
and then from Central Michigan University. He
received his law degree from the University or
North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
Mr. Lalley was admitted to the Bar in 1973.
After working for the Michigan Court of Appeals
for one year, he went into private practice in 1974. In
March, 1983 he joined the law firm of Verspoor, Waalkes,
Lalley, Slotsema & Talen, where he has remained ever since.
He has been married to Linda, a teacher, for 37 years and
has three children and three grandchildren. His favorite
part of being an attorney is working with great partners and
a great support staff. He enjoys assisting appreciative clients
and meeting their legal needs. He also likes interacting with
other members of the Bar.
Attorney Lalley has made significant contributions
to the local legal community. He was presented
with the Michael S. Barnes Award for his outstanding service to Legal Aid. He has served as
a Grand Rapids Bar Association Trustee, and
was President of the Bar Association during the
1995-96 year. He is currently a member of the
Family Law and ADR Sections.
Mr. Lalley believes that LRIS provides a great service
to the community. Thank you, Robert Lalley, for your long
years of service to LRIS and for the valuable contribution
you make to our attorney panel. n
LRIS is a public service of the GRBA which helps individuals
to find high-quality legal counsel. To serve on the LRIS panel,
proof of professional liability insurance and annual dues of
$50.00 are required. Referrals are assigned among panel
members by areas of law and geographical location. LRIS is not
a pro bono program. If you would like more information, call
Nancy King at (616) 454-5550 or write to na[email protected].
Robert A. Start
Robert Start
Polygraph Examiner
‘Providing Confidential Service To
‘Providing Confidential Service to Attorneys
• Member: American Polygraph Association
• Member: Michigan Association of
Polygraph Examiners
• APA Certified to Conduct Sex Offender
• Testing In My Private Office, Attorney’s
Office, Jails or Prisons
• Appeals and Civil Cases, Probate Issues
• Probation and Parole Issues
• Use To Verify Witness Information
• Licensed In Michigan to conduct Both
Public and Private Exams
Telephone: 616-301-1230 or 616-581-5586
2757 44 St. SW Suite 301, Wyoming, MI 49509
Compliance Research & Information Services, Inc.
Serving Michigan since 1990
Specializing in Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Investigations
•Information Gathering
•Locating Witnesses
•Taped Statements
•Photo & Video Evidence
•Background Research
•Document Retrieval
Contact: Ron Rinehart, Investigator
CRI Services, Inc.
520 Butternut Drive, #8, PMB #130
Holland, Michigan 49424
Phone: 616-399-6053
Fax: 616-399-6359
E-mail: [email protected]
P res i dent ’ s P erspect i v e
President’s Perspective
Matthew L. Vicari • Miller Johnson
t was fall 1990, and like many new attorneys,
I had just completed the Bar exam, gotten
married (to my high school sweetheart), and started
my first real job with Miller Johnson. I vividly recall
my mentor, then GRBA President and now partner,
Jim Brady, counseling me about the importance of
the GRBA and all it had to offer – not only for new
attorneys, but for all attorneys practicing in West
Michigan. I remember tagging along with Jim to
my first “Lunch-n-Learn” at the Peninsular Club
and meeting attorneys and judges that I have now
been practicing with for 18 years. Having been born
and raised in Grand Rapids, no one had to convince
me that this was the community in which to begin
my legal career and raise a family (four boys and
a daddy’s girl). My legal career began with Jim,
second-chairing a trial, and so did my involvement
with the GRBA, on the lunch speakers’ committee.
We are truly blessed to be part of a very strong
Association that, for over 100 years, has seen its
attorneys and judges work together for the betterment of our profession, the practice of law, and our
community. Currently, we are evolving to continue
this tradition of service through a variety of different
programs. We are implementing our updated strategic plan (2008-2010), extending outreach through
our new website (, and reinvigorating
our sections, which offer continuing legal education,
social camaraderie, and networking opportunities. I
am proud to be a member of this Association and the
legal profession, and encourage all of you to renew
your membership, and invite non-members and
“fallen-away” colleagues to join.
The Justice Foundation of West Michigan is an
important piece of our Association because it funds
programs that promote and provide legal services to
the disadvantaged in our community. The JFWM is
holding its Biennal Benefit Dinner on October 22,
2008. This event will be a wonderful evening with
musical performer and motivational speaker, Dr.
Ronan Tynan. I encourage you all to attend.
I would like to extend special recognition to our
Judicial Evaluation committee for their diligent
efforts this summer and fall as they tackle the difficult and important task of evaluating each of the
judicial candidates in this year’s contested races. The
Committee has already evaluated the candidates for
the 61st District Court’s primary election and will
be evaluating all of the candidates for the races in
the Kent County Circuit Court and 63-2 District
A huge THANK YOU also goes out to immediate
past President, Dick Hillary, for his outstanding
leadership and to those trustees whose terms of
office have expired, including Kevin O’Dowd,
Jennifer Jordan, and Mike Quinn. I welcome the
newly-elected officers and trustees Chip Chamberlain
(President-elect), Sue Keener (Vice-President) and
trustees Barb Craft, Elizabeth Lykins, and Rick
Stevens. Thanks also to Judge Robert Holmes Bell
for his exemplary service as Chief Judge of the U.S.
District Court for the Western District of Michigan;
we welcome Judge Paul Maloney as our new chief
judge in that court. Lastly, to the man we honor by
placing his photograph on the cover, kudos to you,
Judge Kolenda, for almost 20 years of exceptional
and insightful service and dedication as a Kent
County Circuit Court judge.
To all: I am humbled and deeply
honored to be serving as your current
GRBA President. With the assistance
of our very talented and dedicated
staff, I look forward to an exciting and
productive year!
Divorce s Date of Death s Estate Planning & Settlement s Forensic
Machinery & Equipment s Tax s Professional Testimony
Handling All of Your Appraisal Needs in Southwest Michigan
[email protected]
Reising, Ethington, Barnes, Kisselle, P.C.
Intellectual Property Law Since 1865
Prosecution, Litigation & IP Valuation
The business of creativity and innovation.
Offices in Troy | Ph 248.689.3500 |
pract i C e notes
By Timothy K. McMorrow • Kent County Prosecutor’s Office
o you think you know the United States Supreme Court? And you think
the Court in general, and Justice Scalia in particular, automatically favors
the prosecution? A recent major decision on the Confrontation Clause of the
Sixth Amendment should cause you to think again.
In Giles v California, 128 S Ct 2678, decided June 25, 2008, the Court
imposed a restrictive interpretation of the Confrontation Clause. The defendant
in Giles shot and killed his former girlfriend. He was charged with murder.
He claimed that he acted in self-defense. Over objection, the prosecution was
allowed to introduce a statement that the girlfriend made to a police officer
responding to a domestic violence report about three weeks before the shooting.
The girlfriend told the officer that the defendant had accused her of having an
affair, grabbed her, and lifted her off the floor, choking her. She said he then
threatened to kill her with a knife. These statements were clearly testimonial
hearsay. The trial court ruled that the defendant, by killing the victim, forfeited
the right to object on confrontation grounds. The defendant was convicted of
murder. The California appellate courts upheld the trial court, ruling that the
“forfeiture by wrongdoing” rule would apply if the defendant made a witness
unavailable, regardless of the defendant’s motive.
The United States Supreme Court, in an opinion authored by Justice Scalia,
reversed and held that the statement was not admissible under the forfeiture
by wrongdoing theory. That theory, the Court said, applies only when the
defendant engages in conduct designed to prevent the witness from testifying.
Where a defendant causes a person to be absent but did not do so to prevent
the person from testifying, the prior testimonial statements of the victim are
excluded unless they fit within the dying-declaration exception.
The Court noted that acts of domestic violence are often intended to dissuade a victim from resorting to outside help. Where an abusive relationship
culminates in murder, the evidence may support a finding that the crime
showed intent to isolate the victim and stop her from reporting abuse, which
would render her prior statement admissible under the forfeiture doctrine. That
theory was not advanced in the California Courts, but the Supreme Court held
that it could be raised on remand.
Michigan courts have held that the “forfeiture by wrongdoing” doctrine would
apply if the defendant caused the unavailability of the witness, regardless of the
defendant’s motive: see People v Bauder, 269 Mich App 174 (2005). Bauder
and similar cases like it are no longer good law in light of Giles.
continued on page 17
GRBA Library
egal publications (some of
them outdated) that were once
a part of the GRBA legal collection
are available to members. Currently
the publications are housed at the
GVSU Steelcase Library. The offer
to GRBA members will run through
October 15th, at which time the offer
will be extended to non-members
and non- profit organizations. The list of available publications is
available on the GRBA website. Any
members interested in acquiring
some of these publications should
contact the GRBA to submit their
requests. The requests will be
forwarded to GVSU, and Steelcase
library employees will box your
books and notify you of the pick-up
time and location. The publications
will be given out on a first-come,
first-serve basis. n
L etters to the ed i tor
A Farewell to Judge Kolenda
By Chief Judge Paul J. Sullivan • Kent County Circuit Court
t was not unusual for Judge Kolenda to
come down from his 12th floor chambers
to mine two floors below. While typically
he had some stated reason for visiting, my
staff and I all knew that the true reason for
such a visit was the complimentary candy
my secretary, Linda, kept on her desk. So,
earlier this year when Judge Kolenda came in
to discuss “things,” I frankly was unprepared
when he handed to me his letter of resignation, to
be effective at the end of the month.
Judge Dennis Kolenda began his judicial career following his election in November 1988. That was an
interesting year for Kent County courts. There were
three open seats on the circuit bench, ultimately filled by
Dennis Kolenda, Dennis Leiber, and Donald Johnston.
There was a 61st district court vacancy created by the
tragic murder of Judge Carol Irons only three weeks
before election day. Judge Ben Logan won that contest.
Probate Judge Janet Haynes was also campaigning to
retain the judgeship she had only shortly before been
appointed to fill. And while David Soet was one of
several unsuccessful circuit judge candidates that year,
he assumed his judgeship before those to whom he had
lost the election by virtue of a gubernatorial appointment
in late 1988 following yet another unexpected vacancy.
I like to think that every judge elected or appointed
in the fall of 1988 brought to the bench unique talents.
Few of us, however, could match Judge Kolenda’s legal
insight and pure intellectual prowess. Dennis was at
his best when researching and authoring detailed and
well-supported written opinions. To be sure, he was an
excellent and respected trial judge, routinely assigned by
the State Court Administrative Office to preside over
complex litigation in other parts of the state. But those
judges and lawyers who know Judge Kolenda, also know
that in a more perfect world his talents would have
landed him a seat on the Court of Appeals, or perhaps
even the Michigan Supreme Court.
Judge Dennis Kolenda ably served the Kent
County Circuit Court for over 19 years. For
six years he served as chief judge. As chief,
he oversaw the challenging implementation
of a newly created family division, which
largely merged traditional probate jurisdiction into the circuit court. He and then
chief probate judge John Steketee worked
out a plan which in essence transferred three
of Kent County’s four probate judges into circuit
court. Judges, administrators, judicial staff and court
employees lacked enthusiasm for some of these changes,
and it required considerable skill and diplomacy on
Judge Kolenda’s part to make it work.
Judge Kolenda’s tenure as chief judge also involved the
planning, design and implementation of our new courthouse. While County Commission Chair Pat Malone
and many other county elected officials, administrators
and staff were intimately involved in the courthouse
project, Judge Kolenda’s leadership and attention to
detail were especially instrumental in securing for us
all a facility widely and properly regarded as beautiful,
functional and safe.
The Kent County Circuit Court will ably carry on
without Judge Kolenda. But his departure has been and
will continue to be felt by those of us left behind. I often
climbed two stories up to visit with Judge Kolenda in his
chambers. When I did so, it was not for candy. Rather,
it was for the sound advice Dennis provided for those of
us who routinely sought it.
Thank you for your exceptional service,
Judge Kolenda.
Your former colleagues salute you, and
wish you nothing but the very best.
e . d . tor i al
Library Update
By Kimberly A. Coleman, Executive Director
once heard a speaker say, “There
are two kinds of excitement. One is
the kind you feel when somebody with
a knife in his hand is chasing you down
an alley. The other comes when you hit
a home run or sink a hole in one.” It is
with mixed emotions that I share the
up-coming changes to the GRBA Legal
Collection housed at the Steel Case
Library, Grand Valley State University.
GVSU’s initial interest in the GRBA
legal collection was to provide a service
to the Grand Rapids community, that
wasn’t available at the time. Since the
opening of Cooley’s Grand Rapids law
school campus, GVSU’s need for the legal
collection has changed, as have the needs
of the four professional colleges GVSU
offers at the downtown campus. In addition, it has not gone unnoticed that the
large dedication of space to the law collection has had a significant decrease in
usage by our members, as more and more
of you now rely on other resources such as
online collections, firm libraries and most
recently, Cooley’s law library. Moreover,
GVSU now has a need for the space
currently being occupied by the GRBA
legal collection. A very small portion of
the collection will remain at GVSU, and
the administrators stressed their intent to
maintain a sense of welcome and support
for Grand Rapids attorneys. Parking will
be available, and staff at the Steelcase
Library will continue to assist attorneys,
law clerks, and paralegals who visit the
library with research needs. Upon presentation of a current Grand Rapids Bar
Association membership card, members
of the Bar will be eligible to receive a
courtesy card for Steelcase Library, which
entitles them to use non-circulating legal
materials in the library and to borrow
circulating legal materials for use outside
of the library. Members will also be able
to use all services and databases available
to the general public. Access to some legal
databases may be restricted because of
publisher license requirements.
The good news is that the Cooley’s
Library at the Grand Rapids Campus has
welcomed our collection as an addition to
theirs. Because of the number of publications, it was important that the collection
was reviewed and publications carefully
selected to avoid redundancy, damage and
in many cases, to eliminate publications
no longer of use to the profession. Most of
this work has occurred and the acceptable
publications are being prepared for travel
to Cooley. Those books not preferred by
Cooley Library are being offered to our
members at no cost. There will be a link
posted to our website’s homepage which
will take you to the list of publications
available to members. Should you have an
interest in acquiring any of these books,
please contact the Bar office, where we
will note your interest and send your
request to GVSU. GVSU staff will box
your books and notify you of the pick-up
time and location.
continued on page 19
Where are they now?
New Members
Margaret E. Allen
Jeffrey A. Amash
Jeffrey Arnson
Brian S. Bailey
Maxwell N. Barnes
Jeannine Bolhouse
Emily Broderick
Stephanie M. Cardenas
Sara E.D. Fazio
Mary Gleason
Teresa M. Hill
Scott Jessen
Christian D. Kok
Robert F. Kurtycz
Paulette Johnson
Cara Martin
Mari O’Brien
Kyle J. Quinn
Paul H. Reinhardt
Kimberly A. Schaefer
Adam J. Sheridan
Julie M. Westera
William E. Westerbeke
Diversity Summer
Clerkship R eception
GRBA Diversity Committee’s
She’s Got Drive !
Professional Women’s Golf Outing
Litigation Section:
Program on Voir Dire
C a s c a d e / S pa u l d i n g O f f i c e s f o r S a l e / L e a s e
600 sq.ft. to 13,581 sq.ft. for lease • Excellent lease rates • 5,234 sq.ft. to 13,581 sq.ft. buildings for sale,
some with existing tenants • Park setting located close to I-96
Mary Anne Wisinski-Rosely, CCIM/SIOR, 942-8877 or 575-7047
P res i dent
U pcom
’ s P ierspect
ng e v ents
New Attorney Orientation
November 20, December 4, & December 11
Save the dates for the Fourth Annual New Attorney
Orientation, designed for attorneys in practice one year
or less, or attorneys new to Grand Rapids. The sessions
will include a guided tour of the Federal Courthouse
and the Kent County Courthouse, introductions to
local legal agencies and organizations, and practical
panel discussions with area attorneys and judges.
Registration details coming soon!
Justice Foundation
of West Michigan
…invites you to join us in
serving justice and helping people
By attending a
Benefit Dinner
with Guest Speaker
Michael S. Barnes
Pro Bono Award Celebration
Thursday, October 30, 2008
5:30-7:30pm • The B.O.B.
Join Legal Aid of western Michigan in honoring
Ron Kooistra with the 2008 Michael S. Barnes Pro
Bono Award. Great food, drinks, and conversation are
a certainty. There is no charge to attend (donations
will gladly be accepted) but please RSVP because space
is limited. Watch your mail for an invitation, or reserve
now by contacting Lacy Cook, Event Coordinator,
Legal Aid of West Michigan, (616) 774-0672 ext. 123.
Mark your calendars for the
2008 Red Mass & Dinner,
October 21, 2008, 5:30 p.m. at
St. Andrew’s Cathedral. Dinner follows
with speaker Hon. Joseph G. Scoville.
Ronan Tynan
October 22, 2008 • 6:00 pm
Amway Grand Plaza
Black Tie Optional. Reserve your tickets online
at or call 454-5550.
Cost: $60 for Members, $85 for Non-Members.
Get Your Copy of the 2008 GRBA Directory!
To order a directory, please fill out and send in this form. Cost: $20 each.
Name:_ ___________________________________________________________________________________________
Address:_ _________________________________________________________________________________________
Bar A
/ 29
Phone: ________________________________________ E-Mail: _ ___________________________________________
I am interested in ordering ________ copies of the 2008 Directory. I have enclosed a check for $________.
I have included a $2.00 per directory cost for shipping outside of the PCS downtown courier route.
G uest A rt i cle
By Thomas L. Saxe • Rhoades McKee
“Some presage of an act
Which our eyes are compelled to witness, has forced our feet
Towards the cathedral.”
- T.S. Eliot, Murder in the Cathedral, 1935
He was stalking her. He was in
Rapids Herald. Both newspapers told
the Cathedral, Mrs. McCarthy saw
the midst of a divorce, in which his
the story in detail. Mary Jane McCarthy,
her husband approach from Division
32-year-old wife had obtained a civil
of 433 North Avenue, NE, was the
Avenue. The two sisters hurried into the
injunction due to his prior physical
daughter of Mrs. Tim Madigan and
church and as Willis approached, Mary
abuse. He had driven back to Grand
the late Tim Madigan, a Grand Rapids
Jane’s sister saw the double-barreled
Rapids the previous night from his job
She had been estranged
shotgun protruding from his coat and
in Detroit, and had spent the night at
for two months from her husband,
attempted to block the doorway by
the home of friends on Leonard Street,
and there was a divorce pending. Mr.
holding the door shut from the outside.
N.E. On this cold January day, his wife
McCarthy returned to Grand Rapids
He brushed her aside and hurried into
rushed into the 10:00 a.m. Sunday Mass
from Detroit, where he had found work,
the church and down an aisle to where
after being surprised and accosted
and apparently was going to make one
Mrs. McCarthy was kneeling in a pew.
outside by her estranged husband.
last attempt to reconcile with his wife.
When he was directly behind her, he
He had recently been jailed for violating
drew the gun and fired twice. His wife
an injunction restraining him from
fell, dead, into the aisle.
McCarthy was dead. She was shot in the
seeing her. But on that day, he carried
back of the head by a sawed-off shotgun
his double-barreled shot gun with him,
For the dramatic culmination of this
wielded by her killer and stalker: her
which he had modified by sawing down
story, including McCarthy’s capture
husband, Willis John McCarthy.
both barrels.
and the arguments made by defense
was January 5, 1941 at St. Andrew’s
Cathedral, Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Feeling safe on that Sunday morning,
website, Look for the
Mary Jane went to St. Andrew’s
continuation of the article under “For
Despite the war raging in Europe,
Cathedral to attend 10:00 a.m. mass
the Public” on the “Publications” page.
the murder shocked the city and made
with her sister and niece. They parked in
front page news in both the Grand
the nearest parking space at the Maple
Rapids Press and the more lurid Grand
Street entrance and as they approached
and prosecution at trial, visit our new
sect i on news
Michigan Launches Nation’s
Most Aggressive Film
Incentive Program
By Karl Butterer and Maria Saez • Smith Haughey Rice & Roegge
his spring, Michigan leapt to the front of the pack with the nation’s
most aggressive film incentive program, which includes tax rebates
disbursed as cash, film production loans, and free use of state-owned
land for filming. Here are some of the major elements of the package that
entertainment businesses looking to take advantage of the rebate should
know about:
Production Tax Rebate/Credit Michigan awards a 40% credit/
rebate against Michigan’s business tax liability, for direct production
expenditures for a qualified production. The rebate is awarded in cash
in the amount exceeding the company’s Michigan business tax liability.
Michigan increases the rebate to 42% if the expenditures are for a production in one of 103 core communities. The only cap is a maximum of $2
million compensation per employee, contractual or salaried. This includes
payments of wages, benefits or fees for talent, management, or labor.
Who is Eligible for the Incentives? Any production company that
spends at least $50,000 in Michigan for the development, preproduction,
production, or postproduction costs of a qualified production is eligible
to apply for the incentives. Productions that qualify include: motion
pictures, documentaries, television series, television miniseries, television
specials, interstitial television programming, long-form television, interactive television, music videos, and more. Trailers, pilots, video teasers, or
demos created primarily to stimulate the sale, marketing, promotion, or
exploitation of future investment in a production are also eligible.
How Does a Qualified Production Get the Incentives? The production company for the project must apply for the incentive program
through the State of Michigan Film Office. The application must include
the project’s estimated expenditures in Michigan including rental/purchase
of Michigan equipment, materials (i.e., casting, security). The application
should also include expenses related to Michigan lodging, food, and labor;
a script/story board; insurance documents; the project’s budget; and any
confidential information requirements. All approved projects must commence filming in Michigan within 90 days of approval.
At the completion of the production, the production company must
request a postproduction certificate from the Michigan Film Office. These
certificates are granted once the Michigan Film Office determines that the
production company complied with the terms of the approval. The production company must submit the certificates to the Michigan Department of
Treasury. If the amount of the production credit exceeds the company’s tax
liability for the tax year, then the Michigan Department of Treasury will
continued on page 19
GRBA Welcomes
Property Section
By Aaron Wong • Price, Heneveld, Cooper,
DeWitt & Litton
he Grand Rapids Bar Association
(GRBA) has welcomed a new
section for its members focused on the
practice of intellectual property (IP) law. The GRBA IP Law Section will strive to
provide insight into the often mystifying
world of IP law, as well as bring together
well versed patent practitioners with
attorneys of various backgrounds who
have a general interest in IP law. The
Section will provide forums for discussion on advanced IP legal topics as well
as provide seminars that seek to educate
Bar members on the basics of the IP practice. The Section, properly conducted,
will add to the integrity and reputation
of this branch of the legal profession. This Section will also look to foster the
professional and social relationships
which exist, or should exist, between the
members of the GRBA. The Section will
assist in making more definite, uniform
and convenient the rules of practice in
the courts and will seek to band together
to prevent unwise amendments to the
patent law. Please look for the GRBA IP
Law Section to emerge this fall, and we
welcome all of those interested in joining
this Section to come to our inaugural
event (to be announced sometime this
fall). In the meantime, if you have any
questions, or are interested in lending a
hand in getting this organization off the
ground, please feel free to contact me at
[email protected]. Sincerely,
Aaron J. Wong
Interim Chair
GRBA IP Law Section
C N ewsto the ed i tor
A Collaborative Community Agency
By Valerie T. Ambrose • Executive Director, LAC
or seven years, residents of Kent County have been able to receive free legal information and forms from the Legal
Assistance Center (LAC) to help them navigate the civil court system as pro se litigants. Each year the number of
patrons served has steadily increased due to referrals from three sources: satisfied patrons who are neighbors, friends
and relatives of persons facing legal challenges; courts and their staff who recognize the improved efficiency within the
legal system facilitated by the LAC; and community agencies whose caseworkers and other “front line” staff appreciate
the scope of services of the LAC and the compassion and respect with which they are rendered.
Recent examples of community collaborations include:
• Offering services one afternoon a week at the Hispanic Center of Western Michigan. LAC bi-lingual staff members
provide Spanish-speaking patrons with information and forms regarding family law issues such as such divorce,
custody and paternity. The convenience of LAC staff being on-site at an agency that is assisting persons with
multiple needs, and which has adjacent, free parking, has proved beneficial and cost-effective to their clients.
• Collaborating with the Grand Rapids Public Library reference staff to share common, accurate information and
forms, as well as to plan the revamping of our websites to link to the same legal resources.
• Having LAC staff trained through the Dispute Resolution Center for marital dispute mediations.
• Hosting joint staff meetings with court referees, court clerks and Friend of the Court personnel to discuss ways to
improve efficiencies and to clarify respective roles and services.
The LAC is committed to partnering with other agencies and the legal community-at-large to ensure that equal access
to justice is available to all residents of Kent County. We are grateful to all our community partners who help us fulfill
that mission. n
Bar Association Members Special!
DSL for your office only $24.95/month
I-2000 Inc
2439 Byron Center
Wyoming, MI 49509
Call us today!!!
P res i dent ’ s GPenerat
i ons
Welcome to the Blogosphere
By Aaron M. Smith, Chair, YLS • McShane & Bowie, PLC
olks, I am going to go out on a limb and boldly
predict that this internet thing is going to be
around for a while. Since we do not want to be left in the
dust, the Young Lawyers Section (“YLS”) of the Grand
Rapids Bar Association has decided to leap into the 21st
Century and embrace the internet. Yes, it is true, YLS
has entered the blogosphere! You can find the YLS blog at, or you may link to the blog
from the Young Lawyers page (under Member Services)
on the GRBA website,
What is the YLS blog? The YLS blog is an interactive
online journal where a designated group of young lawyers
(bloggers) can post (blog) about anything of interest
to them. For example, YLS bloggers might blog about
substantive legal issues, upcoming YLS events, associate
compensation, Judge Judy, or the musings of a young
lawyer in Grand Rapids. YLS members, and anyone else
in the general public, can comment on a blogger’s post.
Why blog? In May 2008, YLS conducted a straw poll
of its members which revealed a need for improved communication from YLS. The blog will allow YLS members
to receive notice of upcoming events by visiting the blog
site; members can also provide valuable feedback to YLS
by posting their comments about the events. The interactive nature of the blog allows YLS to create a dialogue
with its members. It also provides an opportunity for
young lawyers who are not able to attend YLS meetings
to actively participate in the Section. By subscribing to an
RSS feed, readers can receive notice anytime new content
is posted to the blog.
More about YLS. YLS is open to members of the Grand
Rapids Bar Association under the age of 35, or who have
been practicing for less than seven years. Section meetings
are held at 12:00 pm on the second Wednesday of each
month from September through May. If you would like
to learn more about YLS, you guessed it, check out the
YLS blog. n
THE CONFRONTATION CLAUSE… continued from page 7
Remember that the Confrontation Clause, as interpreted in Crawford v Washington, 124 S Ct 1354 (2004),
applies only to preclude testimonial hearsay. Some prior
statements of a victim – e.g., a domestic violence victim’s
prior statements to friends and neighbors about abuse and
intimidation, excited utterances made for the purpose
of obtaining assistance, or statements to a physician in
the course of receiving treatment – would likely not be
considered testimonial, and their admissibility would be
governed by the general rules of hearsay. Prior testimony
of a no-longer present victim (or any witness for that
matter), taken under oath where the defendant had the
opportunity for confrontation, is admissible.
But this case is certainly a victory for the criminal
defense bar, because it shows the Court will interpret
Confrontation Clause exceptions narrowly, and proves,
contrary to what some cynics believe, that the Court
doesn’t always side with the prosecution. n
Answers to
Where Are
They Now?
James M. Shade
Wheeler Upham, P.C.
Kimberly A. Schaefer
Assistant City Attorney, Grand
Rapids City Attorney’s Office
Mary L. Koewers
Attorney, Law Office of
Mary L. Koewers
L etters to the ed i tor
To advertise in this publication, please contact Debbie Kurtz at 454-5550.
Don’t forget that online employment advertising is FREE for members!
for more i nfo check out
Law School graduate (2001) seeks an associate position
in a Grand Rapids area law firm. He has substantial
experience in the areas of administrative law, family law,
criminal law, and civil litigation. He has substantial
client contact and courtroom experience, exceptional
communication abilities, a strong work ethic, and a
drive to excel. Please contact Patrick J. Crawford at
703-283-6826 or [email protected].
West Michigan Insurance Defense firm is expanding
and needs an associate lawyer. We offer a
generous compensation package for the right individual. Please forward resume to: Hackney, Grover, Hoover &
Bean, Attn: Managing Partner, 3514 Rivertown Point
Court, Grandville, MI 49418
Legal Secretary/Paralegal. Commercial
litigation firm seeking legal secretary with collection
experience. Knowledge of Excel & Word a plus. Please
fax resume to Attn. Scott (616) 451-6046 or email
[email protected].
Attorney Position Small growing “A-V” rated/
Super Lawyers firm seeks an experienced practitioner
with a portable book of business, preferably with a
transactional, litigation, or employment law concentration, but other practice areas will be considered. We
offer competitive benefits and a good place to work.
Reply in strictest confidence to: Palmer & Wood,
200 Ottawa Avenue, N.W., 8th Floor, Grand Rapids,
Michigan 49503.
Loft condo in downtown G.R. Live/Work space. Mixed use office and home. Renaissance Zone tax
relief, furnished office and master suite. Contact Gary
McInerney at 616-485-3447.
Home on Lake Michigan for Sale
Immaculate, 4-bedroom year-round, 1.3 acre lot in small
secluded association, private stairs to beach, one hour
north of Grand Rapids, see for
details or email [email protected].
Legal Services: Video depositions and other legal
video. Certified Legal Video Specialist and law school
graduate with 25 years of broadcast television experience. Dan Eley, JD, CLVS, 231 288-5179,
M ember notes
Member Notes:
Congratulations to:
Deborah Bennett Berecz, who was recently
elected Vice-President of the Collaborative Practice
Institute of Michigan, a state-wide organization for
collaborative divorce professionals.
David Couch and Lori Ittner, shareholders at
Garan Lucow Miller, and Dean Pacific, a partner
at Warner Norcross & Judd, who were appointed
to various positions within the Michigan Defense
Trial Counsel.
Bruce Courtade, of Rhoades McKee, who was
elected Treasurer of the State Bar of Michigan for
the 2008-09 year.
Jennifer Puplava, a member of Mika Meyers
Beckett & Jones, who was selected by the Women
Lawyers Association of Michigan - Western Region
for its 2008 Outstanding Member Award.
L. Roland “Bud” Roegge, a shareholder in the
Grand Rapids office of Smith Haughey Rice &
Roegge, who has been elected to the Board of
Directors of Dégagé Ministries.
Library Update… continued from page 9
John Sperla, a member of Mika Meyers Beckett &
Jones, who was appointed to serve on the Cascade
Township Board Planning Commission.
Jessica Ulm, an attorney with Warner Norcross &
Judd, for her work on the CSR Journal, which she
helped launch in 2007. The quarterly journal was
recognized as the Best First-Year Newsletter by the
ABA’s International Law Section.
Carl Ver Beek, of Varnum, Riddering, Schmidt &
Howlett, who was recently appointed to a three-year
term on the Attorney Discipline Board. The Board
decides appeals of decisions made by hearing panels
regarding complaints relating to the ethical conduct
of an attorney.
George L. Whitfield, a partner at Warner Norcross
& Judd, for receiving a Commissioner’s Award from
the IRS for his contributions to improve the audit
process for employee benefit plans.
…Aggressive Film Incentive Program
continued from page 15
We are excited about the transition to Cooley and feel certain
that you will appreciate the location and availability of resources.
Cooley Law School’s Grand Rapids Library is available for
traditional print research needs. In addition to all primary
Michigan materials, the collection contains a complete national
reporter system, statutes from all 50 states, and state and federal
Shepard’s. The Library is open every day from 8am to midnight
during regular school sessions. Members are asked to present
their membership cards and register in the lobby of the school
building. We are working with Cooley toward eventually providing dedicated online legal research to members. But, until
then, there are a number of online research databases the Library
will make available to our members. Stay tuned for more information. Know that I welcome your questions or concerns. n
refund the excess. The State also offers tax credits for
job training expenditures and infrastructure investments, which will not be refunded as cash but may be
carried forward as a credit against future tax liability
for up to ten years.
To find out more about the Michigan Film Incentive
Program, including definitions and requirements for
direct production expenditures, job training expenditures, and film production loans, you may contact Karl
Butterer, chair of the Entertainment Law Industry Group
at Smith Haughey, at [email protected]. Disclaimer:
This article, like other articles in The Grand Rapids
Lawyer, is provided for informational purposes and
should not be acted upon without professional advice. n
Prsrt. Std.
US Postage
Grand Rapids, MI
Permit No. 1189
Accountants & Consultants
PrangleyMarks, LLP
161 Ottawa Ave. NW
Suite 203-B
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Our expertise in
Litigation Services
can help you with:
Let Us Help You
Put the Pieces
Business valuations
Evaluation of issues
and formulations of
Damage theory and
Fraud determination
Expert testimony
Leslie N. Prangley III, CPA CVA
Harold A. Marks, CPA CVA
Martin A. Grausam, CPA CFE
11th Floor, Bridgewater Place
333 Bridge Street NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Ph: 616-774-9004
Fx: 616-774-9081