Aaron M. Phelps Partner
Aaron's practice is primarily focused on commercial litigation - in Michigan and around the country. His practice includes complex contract and corporate governance disputes, telecommunications and energy matters, and healthcare litigation. Most recently Aaron has been representing over 30 companies in lawsuits against Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan for ERISA violations (first trial resulted in $6 million judgment).
Aaron also has expertise in the environmental area, having defended civil enforcement proceedings, conducted contested case hearings, prosecuted appeals of permit denials and successfully challenged MDEQ rules as unconstitutional.
One of Aaron's other passions is Michigan Agriculture Law, where he represents several Michigan farms and agri-businesses in a variety of matters from FDA and MDEQ enforcement actions to Michigan Right to Farm issues. Aaron writes a bi-monthly Ag law newsletter and regularly speaks on issues of Michigan Agriculture law around the state.
Recent Representative Matters
- Representing over 30 companies in lawsuits against Blue Cross and Blue Shield Michigan for charging hidden fees in violation of ERISA; obtained a $6 million judgment (plus attorneys' fees) following trial.
- Representing a major metropolitan city in a federal court suit filed by it against a telecommunications giant Comcast, challenging the constitutionality of a Michigan statute.
- Represented a leading beverage processor in federal court litigation brought by a Wall Street investment fund asserting preemptive rights to increase its equity stake.
- Represented a furniture manufacturer in federal court litigation brought by it to recover damages arising from a national hockey team's breach of a construction contract for its sports arena.
- Represented former owner and a board member of a Tier 1 automotive supplier in an $80 million insider preference and fraudulent conveyance claim filed against them in New York.
- Represented a Michigan-based transportation company in a breach of supply contract case brought by a paper mill in federal court in Memphis, Tennessee.
- Representing a food processor in federal court on its claim to recover environmental remediation costs from the seller of property in Ohio.
- Represented a major energy company in declaratory judgment action challenging the constitutionality of a MDEQ rule, which would have interfered with its efforts to construct a $2 billion power plant.
- Represented an agricultural trade association and other agricultural plaintiffs in a challenge to a MDEQ rule requiring all concentrated animal feeding operations ("CAFOs") to obtain pollutant discharge permits.
- Represented a major Michigan dairy in federal court litigation brought against it by the Food and Drug Administration.
- Represented a large Newaygo CAFO in a township zoning dispute, which raised Michigan Right to Farm Act issues.
- Federal Bar Association, Western District of Michigan
- State Bar of Michigan (Litigation and Environmental and Agriculture Law Sections)
- Grand Rapids Bar Association
- All Michigan state courts
- Supreme Court of the United States
- United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan
- United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
- United States Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit
- Vice President Kent County Farm Bureau
- Member of the Michigan Agri-business Association
- Member of United Growth for Kent County
- Attends Blythefield Hills Baptist Church in Rockford
Wake Forest University School of Law
Winston-Salem, North Carolina
J.D., magna cum laude, 2002
Order of the Coif
Wake Forest Law Review
Ferris State University
Big Rapids, Michigan
B.S., Business Administration, summa cum laude, 1999