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
All Michigan state courts
United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan
United States Supreme Court
Aaron is a first-chair trial lawyer and member of Varnum’s Litigation and Trial Practice team. In his two decades of litigating complex disputes, Aaron has achieved a variety of multimillion-dollar verdicts in headline-grabbing litigations, including in novel cases pertaining to matters of first impression. He focuses his practice on complex commercial and environmental litigation in Michigan and around the country. He has represented clients in contract and corporate governance disputes, telecommunications and energy matters, health care litigation and environmental tort actions, among others.
Aaron’s results in the courtroom include, most recently, serving as the architect and lead litigator behind Detroit’s successful legal strategy where the Michigan Supreme Court overturned lower court rulings that would have stripped City residents of the right to vote on a revision to Detroit’s City Charter.
In February 2020, Aaron successfully tried an inverse condemnation case against the City of Grand Rapids on behalf of the Plaza Towers. The jury awarded over $7 million in a case where the City offered zero dollars in settlement.
Over the last several years, Aaron helped more than 200 companies prevail in court or achieve favorable settlements stemming from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan’s ERISA violations in so-called “Hidden Fee” litigation. The first such trial resulted in a $6 million judgment, and subsequent judgments ranged from $315,000 to more than $8 million, with total claims exceeding $300 million. Aaron defended the primary judgment on appeal, where it was unanimously affirmed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and certiorari denied by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Agricultural clients turn to Aaron in a variety of legal and compliance matters involving the Michigan Right to Farm Act and the Food and Drug Administration. He frequently speaks to farm groups and is a past vice president of the Kent County Farm Bureau and member of the Michigan Agri-Business Association.
Most recently, in what is the largest environmental tort case in Kent County history, Aaron represented more than 400 Rockford area residents in 250+ separate lawsuits against shoe-maker Wolverine Worldwide and the multi-national chemical manufacturer 3M. The litigation raised issues of first impression relating to decades old dumping of toxic PFAS chemicals, which contaminated drinking water for thousands of area residents. Claims alleged exposure-related illnesses, including multiple cancers and property value loss.
Representing 400+ clients in lawsuits against Wolverine Worldwide for groundwater contamination caused by dumping of PFAS compounds.
Representing 200 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 owner of 32-story Plaza Tower’s building in inverse condemnation case against City of Grand Rapids; obtained over $8 million judgment in case where City refused to pay anything.
Representing Detroit Charter Revision Commission before the Michigan Supreme Court in an action to overturn lower court rulings blocking the right to vote.
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.
Honors and Recognitions
Grand Rapids Business Journal, Notable West Michigan Lawyers, 2023
Grand Rapids Magazine’s Top Lawyers, Litigation – Commercial, 2020
The Best Lawyers in America®, Litigation – ERISA, 2024
Federal Bar Association, Western District of Michigan
Grand Rapids Bar Association
Kent County Farm Bureau, past vice president
Michigan Agri-Business Association, member
State Bar of Michigan: Litigation Section; Environmental Law Section; Agriculture Law Section