Daily Briefs (May 3)

Third Judicial Circuit hosts annual Law Day celebration May 7
The Wayne County Third Circuit Court will host its 23rd annual Law Day program Friday, May 7. The program is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. and will be held at the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice. The national theme for Law Day 2010 is “Law in the 21st Century: Enduring Traditions, Emerging Challenges.”
 
Presiding Judging Timothy M. Kenny will lead the program. Students from schools throughout Wayne County will attend the annual event and have the opportunity to observe hearings in various courtrooms throughout the Criminal Division. Charlie Langton of Fox 2 Detroit will also participate in this year’s activities as the guest speaker. 
 
Attorney recognized with Horizon Award
Dickinson Wright attorney Tammy L. Helminski recently received a Horizon Award from Fusion, the Detroit Regional Chamber’s young professionals program. 
 
More than 100 nominations were received for the Horizon Awards in each of nine industry categories. Winners were recognized for their professional accomplishments and outstanding work within the community. Helminski was the Young Professional winner in the Professional Services category.
 
Helminski focuses her practice in environmental litigation, and energy and sustainability law. She serves as counsel to manufacturers, lenders and developers for environmental cleanup, compliance and due diligence issues, and counsels clients on the implementation of sustainability strategies, green building and environmentally preferable purchasing. Ms. Helminski is active in the Air and Waste Management Association and is chair of the State Bar Environmental Law Section Hazardous Substances and Brownfields Committee. 
 
State Supreme Court sends court-appointed lawyers suit back
DETROIT (AP) — A significant lawsuit that challenges how lawyers represent poor criminal defendants in three Michigan counties must be returned to a judge to reconsider whether it deserves class-action status, the state Supreme Court said Friday.
 
Michigan’s highest court refused to dismiss the case, as the state had requested, but the ruling suggests the judge may have too easily made it a class-action.
 
The case centers on Genesee, Berrien and Muskegon counties, where poor people claim their constitutional rights are being violated. They say a lack of public money and other problems mean getting attorneys who are not qualified or able to effectively represent them.
 
There have been no decisions on the merits of the allegations. But in 2007, Ingham County Circuit Judge Laura Baird ordered class-action status to any indigent defendant who has been charged with a felony in the three counties.

The state Supreme Court now wants Baird to revisit her decision in light of a 2009 ruling in a case involving people who are suing Dow Chemical Co. over pollution. The court in that matter said class-action status must clear a rigorous test. 

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