William C. Schaefer
I have been primarily practicing as a defense lawyer in the Detroit Metropolitan area for over 32 years. I have lectured at ICLE seminars on damage control from a defendant’s perspective and have participated as a guest speaker for the State Bar of Michigan and ADR membership meetings. I have been appointed as special mediator on numerous occasions and was appointed as the neutral arbitrator on the largest settled personal injury/death case in Wayne County history.
Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
Court of Appeals, Federal District, 2003
Court of Appeals, Eastern District, 2004
Court of Appeals, Eastern District, 2004
Featured Cases and Matters
AMERICAN AXLE & MANUFACTURING, INC. v. VISTEON CORPORATION
Opposing counsel: John R. Trentacosta and Scott Seabolt of the law firm of Foley & Lardner
I was lead counsel in this breach of contract supply agreement. This matter was required to proceed through arbitration based upon the supply contract terms and conditions. After extensive discovery, this matter resulted in a month-long arbitration hearing. The arbitrator awarded $14.97 Million. We were able to establish that the termination of the exclusive supply contract between AAM and Visteon were terminated wrongfully by Visteon Corporation and that the bases upon which they asserted their right to terminate the contract were pretextual.
RAQUEL RODRIGUEZ v AMERICAN AXLE & MANUFACTURING, HOLDINGS, INC., AMERICAN AXLE & MANUFACTURING, INC., and A.S.E. INDUSTRIES, INC., DESIGN SYSTEMS, INC., INNOVATIVE ENGINEERING, INC., and PTI MANAGEMENT GROUP, INC., jointly and severally.
Attorney Vernon Johnson of the law firm of Fieger, Fieger, Kenney & Johnson represented Plaintiff. Attorneys John Knight, Tony F. Diponio, Kenneth Burchfield and Frederick Green represented the codefendants. Facilitator was Daniel Makarski of the law firm of Secrest, Wardell, et al.
I was lead counsel in matter for the defendant employer American Axle & Manufacturing, Inc. in this intentional tort claim which resulted in a complete de-scalping of the Plaintiff. After approximately 5 separate facilitation days it has resolved by way of confidential settlement.
COLFOR MFG v VISTEON CORPORATION
Counsel for Defendants: John R. Trentacosta and Scott Seabolt of the law firm of Foley & Lardner
I was lead counsel in this breach of contract supply agreement. Matter assigned to Judge Susan Borman of the Wayne County Circuit Court. The matter recently resolved after extensive discovery and negotiations. This action primarily dealt with supply and delivery issues as controlled by the U.C.C. and agreements between the parties concerning parts supply requirements, chargeback issues and supply obligations under a “course of dealing” relationship.
GEORGE McKINNEY v. AMERICAN AXLE & MANUFACTURING, INC.
Opposing Counsel: Ronald J. Reosti, Reosti, James & Sirlin, P.C.
Case assigned to Wayne County Circuit Court Judge John H. Gillis, Jr. I was lead counsel in this Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights claim wherein Plaintiff alleged weight discrimination in failing to be included into a skilled trades group. The Court granted summary disposition in favor of the Defendant American Axle & Manufacturing, Inc. based upon our motion, briefs and argument.
PETER BOLOS v SUBURBAN MOBILITY AUTHORITY FOR REGIONAL TRANSPORTATION, d/b/a SMART BUS
Opposing Counsel: John C. Carlisle, John C. Carlisle, P.C.
I was lead counsel in this jury trial in Wayne County Circuit Court involving a claim of negligent driving. The jury awarded a no cause for action after 4 days of trial.
THE CHARTER TOWNSHIP OF NORTHVILLE v FAIRCHILD DEVELOPMENT CO., a Michigan, Corporation, GAETANO RIZZO and PAUL HENDERSON, jointly and severally.
WAYNE COUNTY, a municipal corporation, by and through the DIVISION OF PARKS, FAIRCHILD DEVELOPMENT COMPANY, INC., Michigan corporation, PAUL HENDERSON, RCHARD RIZZO, GIFFELS-WEBSTER ENGINEERS, INC., a Michigan corporation and DAVID PAWLACZYK, Jointly and Severally,
THE RAVINES OF NORTHVILLE HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION, INC., ET AL., v FAIRCHILD DEVELOPMENT COMPANY, INC., a Michigan corporation, PAUL HENDERSON, GAETANO RIZZO, RICHARD RIZZO, DOMIMIC GERIC, GIFFELS-WEBSTER ENGINEERS, INC., a Michigan corporation, DAVID PAWLACZYK, and WAYNE COUNTY, a Michigan municipal corporation, -and-
WAYNE COUNTY, a Michigan municipal corporation v Fairchild Development Company, Inc., PAUL HENDERSON, GAETANO RIZZO, RIGHARD RIZZO, AND DOMINIC GERIC
These three matters were consolidated for discovery and potential trial. I was lead counsel for the property developer that was named as a defendant in the above three lawsuits arising out of breach of contract claims, intentional and negligent misrepresentation claims, failure to abide by development plan claims. The lead case had over 200 Plaintiffs. This matter resolved after 4 days of facilitation. It was assigned to the Hon. Robert J. Colombo, Jr. of the Wayne County Circuit Court.
The Ravines and Rodriguez cases named above were extremely complex multi-party claims. Rodriguez being a severe personal injury claim that involved issues of products liability defense, negligence claims, intentional tort claims, indemnification and cross-indemnification claims as well as insurance coverage under both workers' compensation/employer's liability policies and excess coverage policies. The Ravines matters involved multiple claims arising out of the development of a single family home community that involved breach of contract issues, land platting and land use issues, environmental and soil erosion issues as well as easement rights and quasi-contractual issues concerning easements on public land.
Areas of Practice
- Commercial Litigation
- Contract Claims
- Warranty Claims
- Business Related Disputes
- Alternative Dispute Resolution
- Personal Injury -- Defense
- 95% of Practice Devoted to Litigation
- Michigan, 1976
- Florida, 1978
- U.S. District Court Eastern District of Michigan, 1976
- U.S. District Court Western District of Michigan, 1981
- U.S. Court of Appeals 6th Circuit, 2000
- Detroit College of Law, Detroit, Michigan
- J.D. - 1976
- Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan
- B.A. - 1972
- Tier One Litigation, Molly F. Dilbeck, Esq.
- Michigan Lawyers Weekly, Vol. 21, No. 3, 2006
- American Axle & Manufacturing, inc. V. Visteon Corporation
- Colfor Mfg V. Visteon Corporation
- George Mckinney V. American Axle & Manufacturing, inc.
- Peter Bolos V. Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation, d/b/a Smart Bus
- Lecturer, Defense Strategies and Alternative Dispute Resolution, Procedures and Strategies, ICL and Michigan State Bar Meetings
Honors and Awards
- Fellow, Michigan State Bar Foundation
- Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America
- Fellow, Michigan State Bar Association
- Metro Detroit 2010 Top Lawyer -- DBusiness Magazine, 2009
- Listed as a Business Litigation Super Lawyer, Corporate Counsel Edition, 2010
Professional Associations and Memberships
- Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association, Member
- Oakland County Bar Association, Member
- Association of Defense Trial Counsel, Member
- Michigan Defense Trial Counsel, Inc.
- Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel
- Detroit Defense Research Institute
- Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel, Member
- American Bar Association, Member
- Michigan Defense Trial Counsel, Member
- Wayne County Mediation Tribunal Association, Defense Mediator, 1986