Michigan Legislature OKs bills to help grow small breweries

The legislation should help grow small craft breweries by simplifying and streaming the liquor law.

Read more at WoodTV.com


Penalty for violating Gov. Whitmer’s coronavirus safety guidelines isn’t legal, court rules

The Court of Claims on June 4 deemed a portion of Whitmer’s June 5 order establishing coronavirus safety guidelines as a prerequisite to the opening of businesses "null and void.”

The Court ruled that the only penalty allowed by law is the 90 day / $100.00 fine. She cannot impose additional penalties such as those, addrrssed in this case, under MI-OSHA regulations.

The Court also ruled that "while the [MI-OSHA] penalty section of the executive order can’t be imposed, Murray said the unrelated portions remain enforceable and in tact."

Read more at mLive.com


Michigan orders auto insurance refunds due to ‘extreme reductions in driving'

It's an interesting argument: can the governor by executive order modify insurance contracts? There's an argument that she cannot under the "Contracts Clause" of the U.S. Constitution. This will be an interesting one to watch. Clearly she believes that she can, via regulatory power through the Michigan Insurance Commissioner.

Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services Director Anita Fox has ordered all auto insurers in Michigan to issue refunds or premium waivers to consumers as a result of insurance companies’ reduced risk during the COVID-19 crisis.

Read more at mLive.com


Gauging interest in filing a lawsuit on behalf of impacted businesses against the Governor and the State of Michigan

So.... I've had interest shown in filing a lawsuit on behalf of impacted businesses against the Governor and the State of Michigan ..... I have one prospective client ready to go. Are there any other interested parties (landscapers, greenhouses, tree service companies, etc.) that would be interested in joining in as party plaintiffs? Let me know: [email protected]

I'll need a confidential statement on how this has impacted your company/business (both from the ability to work as well as to acquire supplies), a strong estimate of your business' lost revenue (this will need to be documented at some point if you are included as a party), what efforts your company/business made to get funding and whether it has been successful or failed or you've just been lost in the shuffle (no communication in response to application(s) submitted), whether any official person (aside from public speeches by the Governor) has informed you that your business is not able to operate during the Stay Home order(s), etc. The more information on how the Executive Order(s) has impacted your business the better.

Again: send your confidential statement to me at: [email protected]

You can also reach me on the phone at: 616-257-3300.


New Executive Order Allows for Remote Notarization

From the State Bar of Michigan:

New Executive Order Allows for Remote Notarization

The latest executive order from Gov. Whitmer encourages the use of electronic signatures and remote notarization, witnessing, and visitation during the COVID-19 pandemic. Executive Order 2020-41 will facilitate the completion of legal documents that are more crucial now than ever, but were otherwise difficult or impossible to handle during the pandemic.

"The problem of how to validate critical legal documents in a quarantine environment was a difficult and crucial issue," State Bar of Michigan President Dennis M. Barnes said. "The State Bar thanks the governor for the thorough and thoughtful guidance provided in the executive order. We also applaud the Probate and Estate Planning and Elder Law and Disability Rights sections of the State Bar for proactively raising this critical issue and for using their subject matter expertise and valuable insight in offering a solution to this unprecedented problem."

Here are the highlights for lawyers:

Strict compliance with the rules and procedures of the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act and the Michigan Law on Notarial Acts is temporarily suspended under specified conditions.Any requirement under Michigan law that an in-person witness attest to or acknowledge an instrument, document, or deed may be satisfied by the use of two-way real-time audiovisual technology, under detailed conditions spelled out in the order. The recording must be kept for at least three years, or a different period of time required by law.State laws requiring an individual to appear personally before or be in the presence of either a notary at the time of a notarization or a witness at the time of attestation or acknowledgment are satisfied if the necessary persons can communicate simultaneously by sight and sound via two-way real-time audiovisual technology at the time of the notarization, attestation, or acknowledgment.Financial institutions and registers of deeds must not refuse to record a tangible copy of an electronic record on the ground that it does not bear the original signature of a person, witness, or notary, if the notary before whom it was executed certifies that the tangible copy is an accurate copy of the electronic record.

The executive order, which took effect immediately, continues through May 6, 2020.

Among its many upsides, the order makes it easier to complete important legal work for those on the frontline of the pandemic response.