Berkley police sued for wrongful death; former GM building target of ADA suit

Among recently filed Michigan lawsuits:

• The family of Lisa Kindl has filed a wrongful death suit against the Berkley Police, on allegations that Kindl slipped into convulsions in her cell at the city police lockup and died of alcohol withdrawal.

The Detroit News reports that the 47-year-old, who was known to the court system and police as a “chronic serious alcoholic,” repeatedly asked officers for help during her July 2010 holding.

The suit alleges that 15 officers, including the police chief, may have had similar knowledge of her medical needs, and she was denied proper emergency medical care for hours despite complaints to officers.

The lawsuit was filed July 9 in Oakland County Circuit Court by Southfield attorney Mark Boegehold, and assigned to Judge Daniel O’Brien.

• Richard Bernstein of The Sam Bernstein Law Firm in Farmington Hills is asking that the former General Motors Corp. headquarters be renovated to comply with American with Disabilities Act standards.

According to MLive, his client, Jill Babcock, who works for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, moved into the building in October. She said that, while some adjustments have been to accommodate her wheelchair, such as the addition of a button-operated bathroom stall, not nearly enough has been done for disabled access building-wide.

The suit was filed July 10 at U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

• Flint attorney Tom Pabst is contending that Brian Fairchild, former police sergeant for Flushing Township, was fired for retaliatory reasons because of his involvement in a campaign to oust trustees from office.

MLive says that Fairchild claims his rights under the Whistleblower Protection Act were violated, because he actively participating in a recall campaign against trustees Michael Gardner and Bill Noecker, who are named as defendants. The township, its Supervisor Terry Peck, and trustees Scott Minaudo and Mark Purkey also are named.

Peck contends that Fairchild’s termination was for budgetary reasons.

The suit was filed in Genesee County Circuit Court and assigned to Judge Geoffrey Neithercut.

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Federal judge speaks to Wayne grads; Stupak joins D.C. firm

Here’s a roundup of upcoming legal events and people of note:

• The Hon. Avern Cohn of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan will speak at Wayne State University Law School’s annual commencement ceremony.

Cohn also will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree at the ceremony, which takes place 5 p.m. May 16 at the Max M. Fisher Music Center in Detroit.

“I am deeply honored to join the past recipients of an honorary degree from the Law School, to wit: Eugene Driker, Dennis Archer, Maura D. Corrigan, Marilyn Kelly and Harold Koh,” Cohn said.

Admission to the commencement is by ticket only. For more information, contact the Law School’s Dean of Students Office at (313) 577-3997 or lawdso@wayne.edu.

• Former nine-term Congressman Bart Stupak, D-Michigan, who played a lead role in passage of the landmark health care legislation of 2010, has joined Venable LLP as a Legislative and Government Affairs partner in the firm’s Washington office.

Stupak was a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and Chairman of its subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.

A former police officer and Michigan state trooper, Stupak became one of the leading congressional voices on law enforcement issues: in 1994 he created the first law enforcement caucus in Congress and went on to help write and pass substantial legislation to support law enforcement professionals.

Stupak also is serving as a Fellow at Harvard University’s Institute of Politics and will be leading a study group on government investigations at the Kennedy School of Government entitled “Investigate or Irritate: Changing Corporate and Government Behavior.”

• A ribbon-cutting ceremony to open the Crime Victims Rights Exhibit at the Michigan Supreme Court Learning Center in Lansing is this coming Wednesday, April 13, at 3 p.m.

Chief Justice Robert P. Young Jr., Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker, former state legislator Senator Bill Van Regenmorter (author and proponent of Michigan’s Crime Victims Rights Act), and Attorney General Bill Schuette are scheduled to speak.

The Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan is co-sponsoring the event.

The educational exhibit is a tribute to crime victims and those who advocate for them. It will feature four panels, the exhibit educates the viewer about the act, and its meaning for crime victims, through interactive educational games.

• Know a great young attorney who has made great strides in his or her career? Then the Young Lawyers Section of the State Bar of Michigan wants to know more.

The section is now accepting nominations for the 2011 Regeana Myrick Outstanding Young Lawyer Award.

All nominations must be received by May 6. The recipient of the award will be chosen by the SBM-YLS Outstanding Young Lawyer Award Subcommittee, and will notified by May 13. The award will be presented during the Fourth Annual YLS Summit on Saturday, May 21, at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel in Grand Rapids.

In 1997, the Young Lawyers Section renamed its Outstanding Young Lawyer Award in honor of Regeana Myrick, an executive council member of the section who passed away in August of that year.

For more information, contact Brandy Y. Robinson at byrobinson@gmail.com.

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