Welcome to Cooke Law! We are a Traverse City based law firm with a State wide reach. My clients send me to all parts of Michigan from Detroit to Houghton to represent them, their family and / or their insureds, or employees in a variety of litigated matters ranging from contract, tort, and employment matters to personal injury, fraud, and municipal defense.
We are a specialty law firm with over 30 years of experience representing individuals, municipalities, businesses, and insurance companies.
We have advised and instructed municipalities, community mental health organizations, individuals and small businesses as to the best legal strategy related to employment issues, Federal and State regulations, business organizations, contracts and the like.
Cooke Law has maintained a number of strong business clients over the years. We have familiarity with business organization, drafting of contracts, Federal State regulations, employment matters, land use and planning, permitting, liquor liability and regulation, and direction and management of business entities. Cooke Law has the ability to assist if you are just commencing a new business or have broad business experience but are in need of critical legal consultation and advice.
Growing up on the east side of Detroit in a modest home with my 5 brothers and sisters, the son of a Ford Motor Company pipe fitter, I learned the value of effort and hard work. I followed my older brother, John, to the prestigious Cranbook School for Boys on a scholarship won through educational training in the Catholic elementary schools and my mother’s demanding “homework first” regimen. I mastered the transition to this English style boarding school and excelled in athletics, music, and theater.
I attended Albion College, a small MIAA private college in Southwestern Michigan, where I majored in Computational Mathematics and Economics. I was a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity and continued my athletic pursuits in Soccer and Baseball. I achieved my Juris Doctorate from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in 1982 and landed my first position as an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney in Kalamazoo County the following year. I worked in this office, led by legendary State Prosecutor James Gregart, for the first five years of my career. I tried over 100 jury trials during this tenure ranging from the simplest misdemeanor to capital murder.
In 1988, I moved into the Civil Law taking a position with Denenberg, Tuffley in Grand Rapids Michigan investigating arson and fraud claims for insurance companies. This work dove- tailed nicely with my interest in criminal prosecution and I maintain this part of my practice to this day. I currently have clients that send me to Detroit and other parts of the State to investigate arsonous and fraudulent insurance claims. Transitioning to other similar firms, I also developed a subrogation, product liability, and small business practice.Read More...
In the past 30 years I have been heavily involved in first party coverage issues and the defense of insureds. This has been a favorite part of my practice and I have enjoyed the many types and varieties of cases I have worked on over the years for Insurers.
Sadly, insurance fraud is a way of life for a significant part of our population. Cooke Law is devoted to doing its part to battle fraud.The homeowners insurance concept, first launched in America by Benjamin Franklin in 1752, gives each individual property owner the assurance and financial strength to know that, if their property should be injured or destroyed in a covered loss, the insurance company will stand behind its insured and put them back on their feet. In light of the personal, financial costs to rebuild your own home, the premiums that we pay are a small measure for the protection that is afforded. However, when unscrupulous parties are allowed to tap into the insurance system by prevailing on arsonous or fraudulent claims, all premium payers, as well as their insurers, suffer.
In addition, with the changes to NFPA 921, (“the guideline” or “treatise” for fire investigators, depending on your side of the controversy), and the sophistication of those setting incendiary fires, it has become more and more difficult to defend against this drain on the industry. However, given a diligent pursuit for the truth, the right experts for the job and a dogged pursuit of the documents and circumstantial evidence, it is often possible to turn the tables on fraud. Cooke Law has had great success in taking a bite out of this crime.
Subrogation is a principal by which an Insurer, who pays for a covered claim may “stand in the shoes” of the insureds and bring claims and litigation against other at fault people or entities. A substantial amount of change in the quality of our products has come through litigation against manufacturers of defective commodities. Although the law has become increasingly more stringent as to the proofs necessary to show product liability, Cooke Law has battled and won many subrogation cases involving heaters, furnaces, defective electrical wiring, defective manufacturer of automobiles and trucks, and, even in the industry of carbon arrow manufacturing. Being a former prosecutor I understand the elements of a Plaintiff’s case and the necessary proofs required to obtain a successful verdict.
Cooke Law offers competitive rates for Insurors who seek a high level of experience in the litigated arena. We travel to all counties in the State of Michigan and are willing to negotiate favorable rate structures to offset travel costs that Insurors might not otherwise be able to justify. I also believe that there is an advantage for an Insuror to have an attorney who they work with and trust on a statewide basis rather than dealing with local counsel who may be beholden to the system or other local plaintiff’s attorneys.
We would be happy to discuss these matters in greater detail with you at your convenience.
Cooke Law has defended municipal employees effectively against Federal and State claims in all the arenas important to municipalities. I have successfully tried to conclusion cases claiming excessive force by police officers, eighth amendment violations of corrections officers and facilities, jail suicide, and gross negligence matters. Municipalities can also be sued as employers and can face investigations by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the Department of Civil Rights. Cooke Law has successfully represented municipalities, boards and municipal employees through these investigations and, if necessary, through trial. Principally, though, it is important for all employers, municipal and business, to understand the myriad of Federal and State regulations that govern their conduct and to effectively comply. This will substantially reduce the number of litigated matters and claims and, if one is brought, will lay the groundwork for a strong procedural and legal defense. In that regard, Cooke Law has presented seminars and lectured to numerous business and municipal groups on employment issues that are critical to your effective functioning. We would be happy to do the same for your business or governmental entity.
Cooke Law has maintained a number of strong business clients over the years. We have familiarity with business organization, drafting of contracts, Federal State regulations, employment matters, land use and planning, permitting, liquor liability and regulation, and direction and management of business entities. Cooke Law has the ability to assist if you are just commencing a new business or have broad business experience but are in need of critical legal consultation and advice. Our experience in investigating fraudulent insurance claims also gives us an advantage in helping small businesses ferret out dishonest employees or uncovering fraudulent manipulation of businesses by independent contractors, agents and attorneys.
If you are starting your own business or have been operating a successful business for some years, your business organization is one of the most critical aspects of your business plan. Cooke Law has organized partnership and corporate structures for businesses that achieve flexibility, legal protection and tax advantages.
Cooke Law has experience in obtaining and protecting licensure before the Michigan Liquor Control Commission for bars and restaurants. Temporary authorizations, outdoor service permits, disciplinary hearings, and other administrative actions have been effectively handled by Cooke Law.
Cooke Law has experience in copyright and trademark protection. Trade Dress and Trademarks are important ways for a business owner to protect the investment and the name and goodwill of the business. These matters can be effectively handled by Cooke Law.
Phone: (231) 922-7420
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