Hines named chief judge Ann Arbor District Court

Elizabeth Pollard Hines

15th District Chief Judge Elizabeth Pollard Hines

The Michigan Supreme Court has appointed Elizabeth Pollard Hines as the chief judge of the 15th District (Ann Arbor) Court, effective immediately.

Her term will expire Dec. 31, 2013.

This is the second time that Hines has led the 15th District. She served as chief judge from 1997 to 2001.

She was elected to the 15th District bench in 1992. Before her election, she was a Washtenaw County assistant prosecutor for 15 years.

Hines received her Bachelor of Arts and Juris Doctor degrees from the University of Michigan.

Hines is a member of the State Bar Association, the Washtenaw County Bar Association, the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan, the American Judges Association, and the Michigan District Judges Association.

Judge Yuille takes charge in Genesee County

Genesee County Circuit Court Judge Richard B. Yuille has been named the chief judge of the circuit court, the 67th and 68th district courts and the Genesee County Probate Court.

The Michigan Supreme Court announced the appointment today. The appointment is effective immediately.

Yuille’s term as chief judge will end Dec. 31, 2013. He has served on the circuit court since 1997.

Two judges appointed for Barry County

LANSING — Gov. Rick Snyder announced the appointments of Amy McDowell to the 5th Circuit Court in Barry County and Michael Schipper to the 56-B District Court in Barry County. 

McDowell, of Hastings, fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge James H. Fisher effective June 30, and will need to run in November 2012 for the remainder of Fisher’s term ending Dec. 31, 2014.

She spent five and a half years with the Barry County Prosecutor’s Office before entering private practice in 2001. She founded the law firm McPhillips and McDowell in 2003.  

Schipper, of Middleville, fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Gary R. Holman and will serve the remainder of Holman’s term through Jan. 1, 2013.

He began his law practice with the Grand Rapids law firm Clary Nantz before joining the U.S. Attorney’s Office in 1990, where he worked for 20 years with the civil and criminal divisions. He has most recently served as director of compliance for A.D. Maxim & Associates, a health care consulting firm.

Source: State of Michigan

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MSC proposes referral fee, juror challenge changes; names chief judge in Barry County

Referral fees would be limited to 25 percent under a proposed amendment of Rule 1.5 of the Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct.

The Michigan Supreme Court’s proposed 25 percent cap would be lifted

if the referring attorney participates in the case to an extent that a greater percentage of the amount recovered should be allowed as a reflection of the referring attorney’s substantial input of time or cost, or assumption of risk, the referring attorney’s share of fees may exceed the maximum referral fee as agreed by the receiving attorney and as approved by the court in which the proceeding takes place.

The proposal would also require that contigent-fee agreements disclose “the amount or percentage of fees to be divided or shared among or between lawyers who are not in the same firm.”

Under the proposed amendment, clients would have to approve “the amount or percentage of fees to be divided or shared among or between lawyers who are not in the same firm.” ADM File No. 2010-07.

Under a proposed amendment of MCR 2.511, courts would be required to excuse to discharge a juror upon learning that the juror is unqualified, rather than waiting for a party to challenge the juror for cause. The staff comment to the proposal explains that

[b]ecause MCL 600.1337 requires a court to discharge an unqualified juror regardless whether a party challenges the juror for cause, the proposed amendment of MCR 2.511 would eliminate the provision from the list of challenges that may be made for cause, and instead would clarify that the discharge must be made when the court learns that the juror is not qualified to serve.

This clarification would foreclose the possibility that an unqualified juror could be allowed to sit because no one challenged his or her qualification.

ADM File No. 2011-10.

The Michigan Supreme Court issued the proposed amendments in orders released yesterday. The comment period for both proposals is open until Sept. 1, 2011.

In another order released yesterday, the MSC appointed Judge William M. Doherty as chief judge of the Barry County Trial Court for a term ending Dec. 31, 2011.

MSC amends attorney discipline rules

The Michigan Supreme Court, in an April 19 order, revised court rules governing Michigan’s attorney discipline system. The amendments affect practice and procedure before the Attorney Grievance Commission and the Attorney Discipline Board. ADM File No. 2006-38.

The court also appointed Nancy A. Kida as chief judge, and Thomas N. Brunner as chief judge pro tempore of the 85th District Court in Benzie County. ADM File No. 2011-01.

MSC will hear AG’s district court judge challenge

The Michigan Supreme Court has agreed to bypass the Michigan Court of Appeals and hear Attorney General Bill Schuette’s quo warranto action, in which Schuette claims Lansing 54-A District Court Judge Hugh Clarke Jr. is illegally occupying his judicial office.

The MSC’s order states that it will assume jurisdiction over the case. The matter has been placed on the Court’s May 2011 session calendar.

Clarke was appointed to the court in December to fill a vacancy created when District Court Judge Amy Krause was appointed to the Michigan Court of Appeals.

Schuette says it was technically proper for Clarke to fill the last days of Krause’s unexpired district-court term. But, Schuette said last Jan. 7, “any attempt to remain in office past noon on January 1, 2011 is illegal because he cannot fulfill the new term Krause had been elected to on November 2, 2010, but had not started before she left the district court.”

Clarke is being represented by former Michigan Supreme Court Justice Thomas Brennan and attorney Lawrence Nolan.

MSC names probate, district court chief judges

The Michigan Supreme Court has appointed Michael F. Ciungan as chief judge of the 26th District Court (Ecorse and River Rouge). His appointment was effective March 1. His term ends Dec. 31, 2011.

In another MSC appointment, Michael L. Jaconette will become chief judge of the Calhoun County Probate Court on April 1. His term will expire Dec. 31, 2011.