Managing Partner: Eric J Pelton
Number of members: 5
Number of partners: 5
Of Counsel: 2
Number of other lawyers: 9
The firm’s labor and employment practice was originally founded in May 1997 by Thomas G Kienbaum, Theodore R Opperwall, Elizabeth Hardy, and Eric J Pelton, and was then known as Kienbaum Opperwall Hardy & Pelton, PLC. All were previously partners at a major Detroit law firm, where Mr Kienbaum headed the labor and employment law department. In January 2010, William B Forrest III became the fifth member of the firm. In January 2019, Kienbaum Opperwall Hardy & Pelton, P.L.C., merged with Viviano, Pagano & Howlett, P.L.L.C., adding six commercial litigators. Mr Opperwall is continuing with the firm in an Of Counsel role focused on labor and employment advice for clients. The merged firm has offices in Birmingham and Mount Clemens, Michigan.
For many years, the firm has been designated in Chambers USA’s Client Guide to America’s Leading Business Lawyers as the top employment and labor law practice in Michigan. Among the firm’s lawyers are some of the region’s most recognized and successful employment and labor attorneys. A number of the firm’s lawyers have been selected by their peers to be listed among the ‘Best Lawyers in America’ and have been inducted as Fellows of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers. The firm’s lawyers are frequent lecturers for the prestigious National Employment Law Institute and other business education programs.
The firm’s practice spans all aspects of employment and labor law. It provides proactive services such as counseling employers on avoiding wrongful discharge claims, employment discrimination suits, and all of the potential employee claims that can arise under a myriad of federal and state statutes. The firm conducts on-site investigations of troublesome workplace problems and advises employers on how to deal successfully with the results. But when it becomes necessary, the firm’s litigators provide a vigorous defense, based on years of experience before federal and state courts and administrative tribunals. A sizable segment of the firm’s practice consists of complex multi-state litigation including class actions. The firm represents many clients on a regional or national basis, and counts many law firms and courts among its clientele. The firm also has a substantial appellate practice and has been instrumental in establishing legal principles of major significance to businesses in Michigan and elsewhere.
The firm’s distinctive boutique practice style and philosophy offer clients a highly focused, proactive, strategic, and resource-conscious approach to avoiding if possible, confronting when necessary, and efficiently resolving the many complex workplace issues facing American employers today. All of the firm’s employment and labor lawyers have devoted their careers to this specialized field, and do not have to ‘reinvent the wheel’ with each new representation.
Main Areas of Practice:
Kienbaum Hardy Viviano Pelton & Forrest provides employment and labor law services in the following areas:
Personnel policies and handbooks; workforce reductions; sexual harassment claims; employee discipline and terminations; workplace investigations; affirmative action; supervisory training; employment contracts; covenants not to compete and trade secrets; arbitration procedures; wage and hour compliance; disability and family leave issues; drug and alcohol issues.
Wrongful discharge and discrimination suits; defamation and other workplace torts; injunction suits; non-compete, trade secret, and other business litigation; class actions; administrative claims; appeals; alternative dispute resolution.
Traditional Labor Relations:
Union organizing; collective bargaining; contract administration and arbitration; NLRB matters; specialized labor injunctions; interest arbitrations.
Representative clients include: A123 Systems LLC; American Axle & Manufacturing, Inc.; Auto Club of Michigan; Bank of America; Belle Tire Distributors, Inc; Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan; Coach, Inc.; College for Creative Studies; Comcast Corporation; Crain Communications, Inc.; DaVita Inc.; Daimler Trucks North America; Deloitte & Touche; Delphi Automotive PLC; Detroit Tigers, Inc.; Eaton Corporation; Federal- Mogul Corporation; Ford Motor Company; Great Lakes Caring Home Health & Hospice; Hurley Medical Center; Key Safety Systems, Inc.; Magna International; Mercedes Benz Financial Services; Michigan Cancer Specialists; Michigan State University; Sodexo USA; Verizon Wireless; Visteon Corporation; Wayne State University.