Deion A. Kathawa

Kathawadeion Web

Practice Areas

Industries

Education

University of Notre Dame Law School
Notre Dame, Indiana
J.D., cum laude, 2020

University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, Michigan
B.A., cum laude, Philosophy and Political Science, 2017
Michigan Review, Editor-in-Chief

Bar Admissions

Michigan

Court Admissions

All Michigan state courts

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan

Litigation Attorney

Deion is a member of Varnum’s Litigation and ADR Practice Team. He is experienced in a variety of commercial and employment matters.  

Deion previously clerked for Judge William C. Griesbach of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin and before that for Justice Brian K. Zahra of the Michigan Supreme Court. In both roles, he assisted with daily case and docket management, conducted research on complex issues, and drafted decisions.

Professional Affiliations

Federal Bar Association

State Bar of Michigan – Administrative and Regulatory Law, Appellate Practice, Religious Liberty and Young Lawyers sections

Chaldean American Bar Association, Secretary

J. David Garcia

Garciadave Web

Practice Areas

Industries

Education

University of Wisconsin Law School
Madison, Wisconsin
J.D.

University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, Michigan
B.A., Economics and Political Science

Bar Admissions

Michigan

North Carolina

Wisconsin

Court Admissions

All Michigan state courts

United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

Litigation Attorney

David is a litigator on Varnum’s Litigation and Trial Practice Team. He handles multimillion-dollar cases and has extensive trial experience in state and federal courts and arbitration forums. He successfully litigates cases involving contractual and partner/shareholder disputes, misappropriation of trade secrets and other intellectual property claims, accounting malpractice and other complex commercial disputes.

David’s courtroom successes include representation of a publicly traded Tier-1 automotive supplier against a Fortune 100 manufacturer concerning the latter’s termination of a merger agreement. After a partial 7-week federal jury trial, he secured a $20 million settlement in the client’s favor – the largest reported settlement in Michigan that year. David also routinely advises and defends large accounting and consulting firms against claims concerning tax and attest services. Among many other successes, he recently obtained a complete dismissal and a substantial six-figure award of attorney’s fees to the accounting firm client accused of malpractice and breach of fiduciary duties. He also frequently represents clients in partner/shareholder disputes concerning contract and shareholder oppression claims and valuation of ownership interests. In his appellate practice, David has argued before the Michigan Supreme Court, Michigan Court of Appeals and the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. See a list of representative matters for more detail.

Through his years in trial practice, David amassed advanced knowledge of sophisticated business and financial issues and excels at presenting these matters in a compelling jury narrative. Among his other honors, in 2023, David was named by Michigan Lawyers Weekly as a “Go-To-Lawyer” for business litigation, an honor granted to only 25 lawyers in the state.

Experience

Automotive

Successfully represented Tier-1 supplier against Detroit-based OEM concerning OEM’s breach of a supply agreement whereby client created, developed and manufactured highly customized part for flagship OEM vehicle. Following arbitration hearings spanning more than a year, won substantial seven-figure award.

In combined contract and patent dispute, represented large Tier-1 manufacturer of pedal and fluid systems against former owner claiming entitlement to large seven-figure commission stream for use of a patented pedal system component. After aggressive discovery, obtained judgment in client’s favor on vast majority of claims and settled remainder on terms highly favorable to client.

Successfully represented Tier-1 auto supplier in a complex contract dispute concerning defendant’s termination of a merger agreement between these publicly traded companies. After a partial 7-week federal jury trial, secured  $20 million settlement in plaintiff’s favor – the largest reported settlement that year in Michigan.

Successfully pursued and/or defended against numerous damages and injunctive relief suits concerning automotive OEM/Tier-1/Tier-2 supplier disputes.

Business/Shareholder Disputes

Successfully represented minority shareholders against a conglomerate of 100+ real estate construction and development firms. After proceedings in state and federal courts, as well as multi-week arbitration hearings, secured a substantial 8-figure damages award, in addition to a seven-figure award of attorney’s fees.

Represented company against former employee and the employee’s new competing enterprise, in a case involving claims for breach of contract and trademark infringement. Following trial, jury awarded all damages requested by client, including nearly $400,000 in attorney’s fees.

Represented minority shareholder who, along with his partners, owned and built a successful manufacturing company. Provided pre-litigation advice and guidance to the shareholder in navigating a complex operating agreement, with provisions governing a “buy-out” of his shares. When negotiations proved unsuccessful, successfully represented the shareholder in claims for oppression and breach of contract in state court. The matter settled on confidential terms favorable to the shareholder.

Successfully represented Detroit-based printing company in breach of contract case against a Fortune 200 international manufacturer. After presenting opening argument and a single witness, case settled on the first day of trial on terms favorable to client.

Successfully defended and/or pursued numerous partnership and shareholder disputes in state and federal courts regarding minority ownership, valuation of shareholder interests, and shareholder oppression claims in contract and business tort cases.

Accounting Malpractice

Successfully defended consulting and accounting firm against $180 million malpractice claim brought by a Fortune 100 telecommunications company. After extensive discovery and motion practice, court dismissed the vast majority of claims asserted against the client and, in the process, client secured a precedent-setting opinion regarding the scope of an accountant’s liability to non- clients.

Represented accounting firm in case involving tax consulting services and allegations of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty and malpractice. Arbitrator awarded client 100% of professional fees owed in addition to attorney’s fees of $450,000.

Defended accounting firm from claims of malpractice and allegations of breach of fiduciary duties. Demonstrated through discovery that all defendant’s claims were meritless and obtained both dismissal of the case and six-figure award of attorney’s fees.

Routinely counsels accountants and accounting firms on a wide array of issues concerning tax, advisory, and attest services.

Intellectual Property

Represented a team of American and German entrepreneurs and engineers and their business venture, a jet engine supplier, in fraud and trade secret actions brought in multiple jurisdictions. Following arbitration hearings, won complete dismissal of all claims and in excess of $300,000 in legal fees to the clients.

Successfully represented a gourmet foods company in a misappropriation of trade secret and unfair competition case against two former employees who stole a trade secret formula for the client’s product. After a week-long trial, jury found the defendants liable for misappropriation and awarded all damages sought by the client. The court subsequently entered permanent injunctive relief protecting the trade secret at issue from future misuse.

Honors and Recognitions

Michigan Lawyers Weekly – Michigan Go To Lawyers for Business Litigation, 2023

Michigan Super Lawyers®, Business Litigation, since 2018

Michigan Super Lawyers® – Rising Stars, 2014-2015

Professional Affiliations

State Bar of Michigan

North Carolina State Bar

State Bar of Wisconsin

Jaye Quadrozzi

Quadrozzijaye Web

Practice Areas

Industries

Education

University of Michigan Law School
Ann Arbor, Michigan
J.D.

University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, Michigan
B.A., Philosophy

Bar Admissions

Michigan

California

Illinois

Court Admissions

All Michigan state courts

United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit

United States District Court for the Northern District of California

United States District Court for the Southern District of California

United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois

United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan

United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan

United States District Court for the Southern District of New York

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas

Litigation Attorney

Jaye is an accomplished trial lawyer with years of experience trying multimillion-dollar cases in federal and state courts across the country. Her practice includes complex commercial litigation in all areas of business disputes with a particular emphasis in intellectual property, including patent, trade secret, and copyright infringement. Jaye’s cases are frequently ground-breaking and precedent making including representing Oakland County in the City of Detroit bankruptcy, the largest municipal bankruptcy filing in the United States.

Jaye is a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School and member of the Michigan, Illinois, and California state bars as well as numerous federal district and appellate courts. Jaye serves on the boards of the Great Lakes Water Authority and the Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority. She is consistently rated as one of the top women lawyers in Michigan and has been recognized by her clients, colleagues and the judges she appears in front of as having the quick critical thinking and work ethic that separates first rate trial lawyers from the rest of the pack.

See a list of her representative matters for more detail.

Honors and Recognitions

Super Lawyers®, Michigan Top 25 Women in Business Attorneys, 2018-2023

Super Lawyers®, Michigan Top 50 Women Attorneys, 2014, 2016, 2018-2023

Michigan Lawyers Weekly, Leaders in the Law, 2014

Martindale-Hubbell® AV Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated

Litigation Counsel of America, Fellow

Professional Affiliations

State Bar of Michigan

State Bar of California

Illinois State Bar

Community Involvement

Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority, Board of Directors

Great Lakes Water Authority, Board of Directors

Margaret M. Reaume

Reaumemargaret Photo Web

Practice Areas

Education

Wayne State University Law School
Detroit, Michigan
J.D., cum laude, 2023
Journal of Business Law, Associate Editor

University of Michigan – Stephen M. Ross School of Business
Ann Arbor, Michigan
B.B.A., high distinction, Business Administration, 2017

Bar Admissions

Michigan

Court Admissions

All Michigan state courts

Attorney

Margaret supports the corporate, litigation and real estate practice teams. She is a skilled researcher and experienced at drafting a wide variety of legal documents. While in law school, she served as a judicial intern for the Hon. Stephen Murphy in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

Professional Affiliations

State Bar of Michigan

Lindsay P. Randolph

Randolphlindsay Photo Bw

Practice Areas

Industries

Education

Wayne State University Law School
Detroit, Michigan
J.D., cum laude, 2023

University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, Michigan
B.A., with distinction, Political Science and minor in History, 2018

Bar Admissions

Michigan

Court Admissions

All Michigan state courts

Attorney

Lindsay supports the data privacy, immigration and health care practice teams. She is a skilled researcher and experienced in drafting a wide variety of legal documents. Her background includes work as an associate in a public affairs agency, serving as the special assistant to the Ohio Secretary of State and as an assistant in the Office of Ohio Gov. John R. Kasich.

Professional Affiliations

State Bar of Michigan

 

Chanel T. Taylor

Taylorchanel Photo Web

Practice Areas

Education

University of Detroit Mercy School of Law
Detroit, Michigan
J.D., cum laude, 2023

Wayne State University
Detroit, Michigan
B.A., magna cum laude, Public Relations, 2019

Bar Admissions

Michigan

Court Admissions

All Michigan state courts

Attorney

Chanel supports the labor and employment, estate planning and family law practice teams. She is a skilled researcher and experienced at providing a wide variety of legal documents. While in law school, she served as a judicial extern to the Hon. Arthur Tarnow in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

Professional Affiliations

State Bar of Michigan

 

Rebecca L. Grove

Grove Rebecca Web

Practice Areas

Education

Georgetown University Law Center
Washington, D.C.
LL.M.

Duke University School of Law
Durham, North Carolina
J.D., with honors

University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, Michigan
B.A., with highest distinction

Bar Admissions

Michigan
California
New York

Court Admissions

All Michigan state courts

Estate Planning Attorney

Rebecca is a partner with the Estate Planning Team. She counsels high-net-worth individuals and families in all personal legal matters, including sophisticated tax and estate planning, philanthropy, real estate and business succession.

With a wealth of experience in tax controversy, she guides clients through various challenges pertaining to income tax, estate tax, and gift tax audits. She has also provided invaluable support in navigating complex valuation matters, securing private letter rulings, and overseeing tax appeals.

Rebecca has unique expertise in the field of art law, specializing in a diverse range of areas such as art transactions, including purchase, sale, consignment, and collection management. Her expertise also extends to crucial aspects like insurance, appraisal, charitable donations, attribution, cultural heritage property, and customs compliance.

In addition, Rebecca has comprehensive knowledge in the establishment and ongoing legal counsel for foundations and public charities, including a deep understanding of intricate charitable structures.

Rebecca is licensed to practice in New York and California, in addition to Michigan. She has significant experience with multi-jurisdictional estate planning and strategies to minimize state estate and gift tax.

Honors and Recognitions

Best Lawyers in America®, Tax Law, 2013 – 2023

DBusiness Top Lawyers, 2014 – 2015

Leading Lawyers Magazine Michigan, 2017

Michigan Super Lawyers, Rising Star, 2008 – 2010

Professional Affiliations

State Bar of Michigan

California Bar Association

New York Bar Association

Financial & Estate Planning Council of Detroit

Duke University Alumni Association

Community Involvement

Detroit Institute of Arts, Founders Junior Council, Board of Directors, Robert H. Tannahill Society

HAVEN, Board of Directors

Michael Z. Zavier

Zavier Michael Web

Practice Areas

Education

Wayne State University Law School
Detroit, Michigan
J.D., 2012

Michigan State University
East Lansing, Michigan
B.A., Business Administration, 2009

Bar Admissions

Michigan

Court Admissions

All Michigan state courts

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan

Litigation Attorney

Michael is a member of Varnum’s litigation and trial team. He represents clients in a wide range of complex disputes, including first and third party auto claims, premises and general liability matters, medical service provider recovery and other complex civil litigation matters. He specializes in the advocacy and representation of clients that have sustained catastrophic physical or traumatic brain injuries. His clients include numerous medical service providers where he litigates disputes over No Fault eligibility, coverage, causation and priority disputes under Michigan’s No Fault Insurance Act. Michael has represented clients across the State of Michigan, as well as in multiple states around the country. 

Prior to joining the firm, Michael worked for a law firm in Southfield where his practice concentrated on representing medical providers involving catastrophic personal injury and No Fault insurance matters. For the past three years, Michael has been named by Michigan Super Lawyers® as a “Rising Star”, an honor given to 2.5 percent of the lawyers in Michigan.

Honors and Recognitions

Michigan Super Lawyers®, Rising Star, 2021-2023

Professional Affiliations

State Bar of Michigan

Michigan Association of Justice

Kathleen A. Cieslik

Practice Areas

Education

Wayne State University Law School
Detroit, Michigan
J.D., 2015

Michigan State University
East Lansing, Michigan
B.A., 2012

Bar Admissions

Michigan

Court Admissions

All Michigan state courts

Estate Planning Attorney

Kathleen is a trusts and estates attorney focused on creating customized estate plans for a wide range of individuals and multi-generational families which achieve goals such as tax avoidance, business succession planning and charitable giving. She also provides counsel to individual and corporate fiduciaries regarding the timely and efficient management of trusts and estates, including probate administration when necessary. An experienced litigator, Kathleen also handles controversies and frequently appears in Probate Court to handle both routine and contested matters throughout Southeast Michigan. 

Experience

Routinely represent high net worth clients including leading planning for the second generation of an ultra-high net worth family which utilized various wealth transfer techniques collectively removing over $30M in assets from taxable estates through grantor trusts.

Implemented plan which transferred situs of a $25M trust to a favorable jurisdiction which allowed for decanting resulting in the expansion of special power of appointment to allow a client to update her planning to provide for her desired beneficiary.

Management of taxable estates, including advice with regard to funding marital trust or family trust, obtaining business valuations and assist accountants with Form 706.

Effectively implemented postmortem trust modification by seeking probate court approval to effectuate a high value specific bequest made orally in close proximity to death.

Lead litigation and negotiate resolution on behalf of an irrevocable trust regarding decades of unprepared marital trust accountings following the surviving spouse’s death.

Honors and Recognitions

Best Lawyers in America®, One to Watch, Trusts and Estates, since 2021

Grand Rapids Magazine’s Top Lawyers, Trusts and Estates, 2023

Professional Affiliations

State Bar of Michigan, Probate and Estate Planning Section

Oakland County Bar Association

Presentations

Behind the Curtain: What Goes On in Charitable Estate Planning, Planned Giving Roundtable of Southeast Michigan, June 2022

Drafting an Estate Plan for Estates Under $5 Million, ICLE, Spring 2022

Taxes and Estate Planning: Where Do We Go From Here?, ICLE, Fall 2022

Robert E. Kass

Practice Areas

Education

New York University Law School
New York City, New York
LL.M., Taxation, 1979

University of Michigan Law School
Ann Arbor, Michigan
J.D., cum laude, 1972

Graduate Institute of International Studies
Geneva, Switzerland
Post graduate studies, 1973, recipient of Fulbright-Swiss University Fellowship

Wayne State University
Detroit, Michigan
B.A., cum laude, 1969

Bar Admissions

Michigan

Court Admissions

All Michigan state courts

Languages

French

Estate Planning Attorney

Bob is an estate planning attorney with significant experience in all aspects of estate planning, wealth preservation and planned giving for estates of all sizes. In addition to the design and implementation of sophisticated estate plans, he specializes in sophisticated wealth preservation techniques, succession planning, probate and trust administration, gift and estate tax audits and appeals, and estate-related claims and litigation. 

Bob has unique expertise in charitable and planned giving techniques, helping clients meet their objectives with maximum tax benefit.

Experience

Ultra-high net worth client’s estate plan left vast sums to trusts for children, with little likelihood they would ever need much of the money.  Client was receptive to the idea of creating charitable gift annuities for the children, to provide a lifetime stream of distributions, with relatively small discretionary trusts as a backstop.  The resulting plan saved the client substantial estate taxes and provided amply for the children.

Converted private, perpetual foundation to spend-down, allowing the client more control over governance and avoiding mission shift. 

Successfully implemented sophisticated wealth transfer techniques including self-cancelling installment note (SCIN), initially removing over $5 million n value from the client’s estate. Over time, the amount removed from the taxable estate has increased many times, due to appreciation.

Effectively employed postmortem planning techniques and obtained favorable IRS Private Letter Ruling, to reverse effects of poor planning by decedent’s attorney, saving over the client $300,000 in estate taxes.

Recommended and implemented reallocation of personal injury award between decedent’s estate and family members, saving family members over $250,000 in estate taxes.

Implemented charitable trust for client owning a large concentration of highly appreciated publicly-traded stock, permitting him to diversify his holding into mutual funds without triggering capital gains, significantly increase his lifetime income, and receive charitable income tax deduction. 

Honors and Recognitions

Fellow, American College of Trust & Estate Counsel (ACTEC)

Best Lawyers in America®, Trusts and Estates, since 2009

Best Lawyers in America®Lawyer of the Year, Trusts and Estates (Detroit), 2015, 2022

Michigan Super Lawyers, since 2006

Martindale-Hubbell® AV Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated

Professional Affiliations

State Bar of Michigan

Planned Giving Roundtable of Southeast Michigan, past chairman of LEAVE A LEGACY® Southeast Michigan’s Speaker’s Bureau

Community Involvement

Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, Professional Advisory Committee

Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Foundation, Professional Advisory Committee

Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Professional Advisory Committee

Detroit Institute of Arts, Professional Advisory Committee