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Aaron M. Phelps Partner

Grand Rapids
V-Card, Resume
Diane Bruins, 616/336-6745

Litigation Experience

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 health care litigation. Most recently Aaron has been representing over 175 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 100 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  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.

Professional Affiliations

  • Federal Bar Association, Western District of Michigan
  • State Bar of Michigan (Litigation and Environmental and Agriculture Law Sections)
  • Grand Rapids Bar Association

Bar Admissions

  • 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

Community Involvement

  • Kent County Farm Bureau, Vice President, 2015
  • Michigan Agri-business Association, Member
  • United Growth for Kent County, Member
  • Blythefield Hills Baptist Church, Member


  • 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
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