Jonathan B. Frank is Of Counsel and a member of the firm's Complex Litigation and Risk Advisory Practice Group. He focuses his practice in the areas of civil litigation, employment, real estate, and business litigation. He also provides arbitration and mediation services in business and real estate cases.
Mr. Frank is admitted to the bar in Michigan and California. He received his undergraduate degree, with distinction, from Stanford University in 1982, and his law degree, cum laude, from the University of Michigan in 1985. At the University of Michigan, he was a finalist in the Campbell Moot Court Competition and received the Gussin Award for Trial Work. Mr. Frank has completed mediator training courses sponsored by the Michigan Supreme Court Administrator’s Office and is a Neutral Arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association. He has also been selected by his peers for inclusion in the Michigan edition of Super Lawyers® since 2013 and has been named among DBusiness Magazine's 2018 Top Lawyers.
Mr. Frank is a member of the Oakland County Circuit Court Committee and Oakland County ADR Committee. He also serves on the board of directors of several charitable organizations, including the Detroit Police Athletic League, Detroit Urban Debate League and American Jewish Committee.
STANFORD UNIVERSITY, Stanford, California, B.A. with distinction, 1982
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN, Ann Arbor, Michigan, Juris Doctor, cum laude, 1985.
STATE BAR OF MICHIGAN
STATE BAR OF CALIFORNIA (inactive)
OAKLAND COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION - Member
OAKLAND COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT COMMITTEE - Past Chair
OAKLAND COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT - Discovery Mediator
OAKLAND COUNTY ADR COMMITTEE - Member
OAKLAND COUNTY BUSINESS COURT COMMITTEE - Member
Neutral Arbitrator, American Arbitration Association
Honors and Awards
Awarded for work in Clinical Law Program, Gussin Award for Trial Work, University of Michigan Law School, 1985
Finalist, Campbell Moot Court Competition, University of Michigan Law School, 1984
Mediator, Oakland County and Wayne County Circuit Courts
Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory - AV Rated, Client Distinction Award
Super Lawyers® from 2013-2018
DBusiness Magazine, recognized as 2018 Top Lawyer
Pro bono/Community Service
Board Member, Detroit PAL, 2012 - Present
Board of Directors, Detroit Urban Debate League, 2013 - Present
Board Member, Jewish News Foundation, 2012 - 2016
President, Detroit Chapter of American Jewish Committee, 2009 - 2011
Board Member, Jewish Family Services, 2005 - 2010
President, Jewish Ensemble Theater, 1999 - 2005
Scholarly Lectures and Writings
An explanation of the critical information clients need to know about the mediation process and the value that mediation provides in maintaining control over the resolution of cases, "Six Things You Need to Tell Your Client About Mediation," Laches,
Oakland County Bar Association, May, 2015.
Practical advice about counseling clients, from the beginning of litigation through the end, with an emphasis on understanding litigation from the client's perspective, “Counseling Your Client Through Litigation,” Laches
, Oakland County Bar Association, January, 2014.
A suggested approach for helping clients understand the natural process of accepting responsibility during the litigation process, “The Value of Shared Responsibility: A Litigator's Perspective,” Laches
, Oakland County Bar Association, May, 2011.
A practical approach to solving business problems, “See the Problem, Solve the Problem,” Laches
, Oakland County Bar Association, July, 2006.
University of Michigan Law School Mock Trial, Wayne State Law School First Year Advocacy Program.
Verdicts, Settlements and Decisions
Decision: Victory and lesson learned in trade secret cases
Judge Alexander in Oakland County Business Court agreed with our position that the plaintiff had failed to specifically describe the alleged trade secret, a common problem in trade secret cases under Michigan and federal law.
Decision: Victory and lessons learned in minority oppression case
After a four-day bench trial in an LLC membership dispute, Judge Kathryn Viviano in Macomb County Circuit Court agreed with us that our clients (the majority members) did not violate the oppression statute by charging management fees or terminating the employment of the minority member. She therefore rejected the minority's request for over $1 million in damages, a forced buy-out, and reimbursement of attorney fees.
Judge Viviano relied on evidence that the management fees were fair and were thoroughly disclosed to the minority through a series of consent resolutions with supporting backup material.
The lesson: to avoid a claim of unfair self-dealing, members or shareholders who are on both sides of a business transaction should have objective proof that the transaction is reasonably based on a fair set of criteria.
Three verdicts over $1 million in business cases.
Published opinions: Central States v. First Agency, 756 F.3d 954 (6th Cir. 2014); Williams v. City of Troy, 269 Mich. App. 670 (2005); Great Lakes Steel v. City of Ecorse, 227 Mich. App. 366 (1998); Noel v. Fleet Finance, Inc., 971 F. Supp. 1102 (ED Mich. 1997); Standard Federal Savings Bank v. Genesee County, 208 Mich. App. 569 (1995); City of Flint v. Patel, 198 Mich. App. 153 (1993).
Unpublished opinions: DC Mex Holdings v. Affordable Land LLC, Docket No 318791 (Mich. App. 2015); Shaer v. Bahoura, Docket No 315701 (Mich. App. 2014); Hill v Hill, Docket No. 312018 (Mich. App. 2013); EWI Worldwide, Inc. v. Lifestyle Retail Partners, Docket No. 295167 (Mich. App. 2011); Wagner v. Marroghi, Docket No 280632 (Mich. App. 2009); Tres Galanes v. Cordoba, Docket No 282643 (Mich. App. 2009); Horvath v. Kempster, Docket No 264035 (Mich. App. 2006); Phoenix Investment Holdings v. Nosan & Silverman Homes, Docket No. 126561 (Mich. 2005); DaimlerChrysler Services v. Summit National, Inc., 2005 WL 1994321 (6th Cir. 2005); Dolan v. Crutcher, Docket No. 231604 (Mich. App. 2003).
Attorneys Henry Gornbein and Jonathan B. Frank discuss practical approaches to business litigation, including defining success, how and when to settle, and how to encourage parties to accept responsibility, Practical Law, 2011