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Litigation and Trial


Experience. Client-focused results. Trusted advice. For years, these have been the keys to success for Varnum’s Litigation Team. Our trial lawyers have the skill and experience to provide clients with effective, high-quality, cost-conscious representation.

Commercial lawsuits make up a large part of our litigation practice. We handle cases involving contract disputes, environmental claims, securities, antitrust, construction, corporate takeover, product liability and real estate issues. We also represent clients in personal injury cases; patent, trademark and copyright suits; arbitrations; tax proceedings; labor and employment matters; ERISA cases; bankruptcy proceedings; and a range of administrative tribunal work.

Our trial attorneys regularly appear in state, federal trial and appellate courts throughout the United States.

Manage the Case

Our approach to every case is straightforward:

  • Analyze the case and develop options
  • Strive for superior results
  • Keep clients informed and involved throughout the proceedings
  • Give primary responsibility to a trial law partner
  • Use associates and paralegals to provide efficiency
  • Make smart use of technology
  • Call on attorneys from other Varnum practice areascorporate, environmental, labor, taxto strengthen a case or suggest innovative ways to resolve a dispute

Diverse Client Base

Who are our clients? They include public and private corporations, nonprofits, professional corporations, municipalities, general and limited partnerships, sole proprietorships and individuals. Much of our litigation is on behalf of companies for whom we are general counsel. We also represent out-of-state entities involved in adversary proceedings in Michigan and companies seeking specific litigation experience.

No matter what the case, we seek the best possible outcome for our clients by putting our experience, knowledge and innovation to work for them.

For more information, please contact either your Varnum attorney, or Mike Roth at 616/336-6243 or



Represented former shareholders of independent bottling network against a beverage company in a post-closing contract claim arising under asset purchase agreement. Obtained $8.5 million for former shareholders in settlement.

Represented plaintiff corporation in trial and obtained a multi-million dollar jury verdict against the United States on an income tax refund claim. The government offered nothing to plaintiff before the trial. The verdict was one of the top ten verdicts of 2008 in Michigan Lawyer’s Weekly.

Represented defendant corporation in trial in Richmond, Kentucky where the plaintiff claimed over $4.8 million in damages from serious injuries resulting from an accident involving the defendant’s tractor trailer. We obtained a complete defense verdict on liability from the jury after a one-week trial.

Defended largest orthopedic physicians’ group in West Michigan, its corporate management company and several corporate officers in a multi-million dollar litigation. We obtained a full dismissal of all claims brought against all defendants in a motion for summary disposition.

Represented court appointed receiver in an investment fraud case involving many victims, including a former NHL hockey player. We successfully brought a contempt action against the defendants. The contempt action was tried over several days in the Wayne County Circuit Court. Rather than allow the case to reach verdict, the defendant settled the contempt charges by paying penalties of approximately $500,000.

Obtained summary judgment on patent infringement claims relating to liquid-filled chewing gum in a lawsuit in which plaintiff sought several million dollars in damages. After victory on appeal to the Federal Circuit, we obtained dismissal of a second related lawsuit in exchange for forgiveness of costs from the first lawsuit.

Defended a national provider of health care software systems in connection with a computer copyright infringement claim in which the plaintiff sought $92 million in damages. Following substantial limitation of the plaintiff’s potential damages during the summary judgment process, the case was resolved through a settlement favorable to the client.

Obtained an arbitration award of $2,375,000 for investors against a national securities firm in a case involving inappropriate investments and failure of securities firm to properly supervise its representatives. 

Defended an author and his literary agents in an action by a producer of books on tape. Brilliance Corporation asserted a breach of contract against the author and sought lost profits for producing the tape version of the novel. We received a no cause of action jury verdict.

Defended steel supplier in $3.1 million preferential transfer claim brought by trustee on behalf of specialty manufacturer. We obtained summary judgment following successful deposition of the plaintiff’s expert.

Represented defendant in contract/commercial litigation tried to a jury. We obtained a $3.6 million judgment.

Defended the designer/distributor of a high-end custom-built sports car in a breach contract action in Los Angeles, California. Although the plaintiff claimed over $2 million dollars in damages, the plaintiff dismissed all claims in return for a nominal settlement on the heels of the plaintiff's deposition and a day-long mediation.

Represented intervenor in a case brought by an environmental group seeking to force MDEQ to issue rules regulating emission of CO2, which could have placed Mid-Michigan Energy’s permit application to build a coal-fired power plant in jeopardy. The court dismissed the environmental group’s complaint, and the ruling was upheld on appeal.

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