Matthew Van Steenkiste Named to the 2014 Michigan Super Lawyers Rising Star List

We are pleased to announce that Matthew Van Steenkiste has been selected to the 2014 Michigan Super Lawyers Rising Stars list. This is an exclusive list, recognizing no more than 2.5 percent of the lawyers in the state.

Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters business, is a research-driven, peer influenced rating service of outstanding lawyers who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. Attorneys are selected from more than 70 practice areas and all firm sizes, assuring a credible and relevant annual list.

The objective of Super Lawyers is to create a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys to be used as a resource for both attorneys and consumers seeking legal counsel.

The Super Lawyers lists are published nationwide in Super Lawyers Magazines and in leading city and regional magazines and newspapers across the country, as well as in the Michigan Super Lawyers Digital Magazine.

Please join us in congratulating Matthew Van Steenkiste on his nomination. For more information about Super Lawyers, go to

Brian Garmo, Manging Partner at Garmo & Kiste, PLC, has been named to the 2014 Michigan Rising Stars list. This is an exclusive list, recognizing no more than 2.5 percent of the lawyers in the state.

Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters business, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The annual selections are made using a patented multiphase process, which results in a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys.

The Super Lawyers and Rising Stars lists are published nationwide in Super Lawyers Magazines and in leading city and regional magazines and newspapers across the country. Super Lawyers Magazines also feature editorial profiles of attorneys who embody excellence in their practice of law. For more information about Super Lawyers, go to

Sued by RAzOR Capital? We Defend Michigan RAzOR Capital Lawsuits:

Credit cards, auto loans, mortgages and other forms of debt are very common in the modern world. The way you handle your debts impacts your credit score which is increasingly important. That little number can affect your chances of getting a car, house, or even a job. It is important to check your credit score and report. By regularly checking your credit report, you can ensure that the debt reflected there is really yours, that there are no mistakes and ensure you are not blind-sided by a debtor or debt collection agency such as RAzOR Capital.

When you check your credit score you may see a single number or multiple ones depending on what website or provider you use.  This is because there are three different credit bureaus, TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian and each may have different information about your borrowing practices.  Some of the factors they use to calculate your credit score include the amount you owe, if you make payments on time, and the length of your credit history.

There are a number of things you can do if you want to raise your credit score.  You can maintain your balance at less than 30% of your credit limit, withhold from applying for new cards more than a few times a year and try to slowly pay down your outstanding debt.

Maintaining your credit can help you achieve your goals in life but your efforts will be hindered if you have unsettled debt disputes.  Individuals may be contacted by debt collection agencies seeking to obtain payment of outstanding debt.  They may do this on behalf of a creditor such as a bank or they may purchase the debt from the original debtor and collect on their own behalf.  RAzOR Capital is one such agency.  They purchase credit card portfolios and collect in order to collect payments on the outstanding debt, and are regularly represented by Stenger & Stenger here in Michigan. If you have been contacted by RAzOR Capital or another debt collection agency, please call Garmo & Kiste, PLC at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message so that you can take the first step to resolving the situation and moving on with your life.

We have handled many debt collection cases and pride ourselves on our keen understanding of both sides of the issue.  We have extensive experience in the Metro Detroit and in all of Michigan with debt collection agencies such as RAzOR Capital.

For more information about Debt Collection Defense and RAzOR Capital or to retain Garmo & Kiste, PLC, call us at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message.

More subject specific information, please click on the following Article links:

Detroit | Troy | Royal Oak | Warren | Sterling Heights | West Bloomfield | Novi | Rochester Hills | Farmington Hills | Southfield | Oak Park | Birmingham | Clinton Township | Livonia | Allen Park | Redford | Wayne | Dearborn | Berkley | Shelby | Romeo | Lapeer | Clawson | Madison Heights | Hazel Park | Bingham Farms | Harper Woods | Grosse Pointe | St. Clair Shores | Livonia | Plymouth | Northville | Canton | Pleasant Ridge | Clarkston | Waterford | Grosse Pointe Farms | Center Line | Eastpointe | Roseville | Fraser | Grosse Pointe Woods | Harrison Township, Mount Clemens | Armada | Armada Township | Bruce Township | Memphis | Ray Township | Richmond | Richmond Township | Romeo | Washington Township | New Baltimore | Macomb Township | Shelby Township | Westland | Inkster | Utica | Chesterfield Township | Lenox Township | New Haven | Taylor | Southgate | Hamtramck | Romulus | Woodhaven | Wyandotte | Ecorse | Lincoln Park | Wayne County | Lapeer County | Macomb County | Oakland County | Tri-County Metro Detroit area

Organized Retail Crime Act:

Effective March 31, 2013 prosecutors can charge you for felony retail fraud under the new “Organized Retail Crime Act.” Previously, a retail fraud, commonly known as shoplifting, must have involved merchandise valued at over $1000.00 to qualify as a felony. The new act is somewhat of a misnomer as it does not require you to act in conjunction with another person. Even if you act alone and steal something small like chap stick or a DVD can get you charged with a felony. The following activities constitute the new offense of “Organized retail crime:”

(a) Knowingly commits an organized retail crime.

(b) Organizes, supervises, finances, or otherwise manages or assists another person in committing an organized retail crime.

(c) Removes, destroys, deactivates, or knowingly evades any component of an antishoplifting or inventory control device to prevent the activation of that device or to facilitate another person in committing an organized retail crime.

(d) Conspires with another person to commit an organized retail crime.

(e) Receives, purchases, or possesses retail merchandise for sale or resale knowing or believing the retail merchandise to be stolen from a retail merchant.

(f) Uses any artifice, instrument, container, device, or other article to facilitate the commission of an organized retail crime act.

(g) Knowingly causes a fire exit alarm to sound or otherwise activate, or deactivates or prevents a fire exit alarm from sounding, in the commission of an organized retail crime or to facilitate the commission of an organized retail crime by another person.

(h) Knowingly purchases a wireless telecommunication device using fraudulent credit, knowingly procures a wireless telecommunications service agreement with the intent to defraud another person or to breach that agreement, or uses another person to obtain a wireless telecommunications service agreement with the intent to defraud another person or to breach that agreement.

If you or someone you know is charged with a retail fraud or organized retail crime, it is necessary to act fast with an experienced advocate to limit the effect of these charges. To retain Garmo &Kiste, PLC call us at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message.

Michigan Fireworks Safety Act:

Last summer, the Michigan Legislature made headlines by enacting a new law– the Michigan Fireworks Safety Act —loosening its grip on the regulation and prohibition of fireworks in Michigan.  Most notably, the Act legalized the sale of Consumer grade fireworks in Michigan, and prohibited any local ordinance that banned the sale of fireworks.  It also prohibited any local ordinance that banned the ignition of fireworks on the day before, the day of, or the day after, a major holiday.

This meant that bigger fireworks, like roman candles, bottle rockets, aerials, and missile-type rockets, allbecamelegal in Michigan—and local city and municipal governments could not do anything about it.  And while these local governments still had authority to prohibit residents from igniting fireworks on many days of the year, any major holiday—as well as the day before and after it—could not be regulated.  2012 was a big year for wannabe rocketeers.

2012 was also a year of uproar from many citizens who opposed the new law, and the Legislature heard their cries.  This June, an amendment to last year’s Act was passed. The amendment allows local governments to restrict firework usage anytime between 12 AM and 8 AM every day of the year(except New Year’s, when restrictions cannot begin until 1 AM).  This applies to cities that have at least 50,000 residents or that are located in a county with at least 750,000 residents.  Smaller communities can set a similar ban,but between the hours of 1 AM and 8 AM. Thus, if cities elect to use this new authority, we could be seeing a much quieter 4th of July this year, at least at night.

Aside from noise and nuisance, safety is also a key concern of the Act (as it has been since its original passage last year).  The Act provides punitive sanctions for anyone who causes a fire or injuries with fireworks of any kind, even sparklers.  It also prescribes punishment for people who sell fireworks without proper certification from the state.  Furthermore, fireworks are prohibited on school and public property, and are only allowed on private property with the owner’s consent.  So while the Act allows more people to have fun with fireworks, it also leaves room for more injury, and as a result, more trouble with the law if you don’t act within the government’s guidelines.

So what’s legal today?  Any commercial grade firework is still fair game per the original 2012 Fireworks Safety Act, as long as you are on private property (with permission of the property owner), and as long as you don’t cause any injuries or fires.  When can you light them off? It depends on your city.  Some, like Troy, Royal Oak, Sterling Heights, and Ann Arbor, are already working on or have passed ordinances restricting nighttime firework usage.  Your best bet is to simply avoid lighting off fireworks between midnight and 8 AM, keeping you safe under even the strictest ordinances.  Outside those hours?  Take your roman candles, bottle rockets, and missiles, and fire away safely.

To retain Garmo &Kiste, PLC call us at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message.

In Michigan, Contractors, sub-contractors, suppliers, and laborers who have a contract with a General Contractor or Sub-contractor can file a mechanics lien. This can grant a security interest in the property that has been improved through labor or products purchased in reliance on a contract. In order to set one up, it requires a little work on the front end to save a lot of work at the end. If you are a contractor or sub-contractor and you would like to ensure payment for your services, you should contact an experienced attorney to set up a mechanic’s lien and protect your interest.

We are attorneys and small business owner’s in Troy, Michigan. We know that times are tough for businesses right now, and we will do everything we can to get you paid. Once the lien has been established we can file a garnishment on the paycheck or taxes of a person or business so they have no choice but to pay you the amount you are rightfully owed.

Need a Michigan Mechanic’s Lien Attorney? To retain Garmo & Kiste, PLC call us at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message.

Holidays Shop LiftingShoplifting has risen approximately 20% over the last several years in part because of the poor economy, with a spike in shoplifting and shoplifting arrests during the holidays.Simply put, more shoppers and shopping means more opportunity for shoplifting. And the items most stolen might surprise, such as expensive meat cuts, razors, and tooth brushes.

From the Detroit Free Press:

Police departments across Metro Detroit will be on guard against shoplifters during the holiday shopping season. Many local Police for example, will step up patrols around shopping centers, and vendors will increases security efforts.

Under Michigan law, shoplifting is considered retail fraud. Charges for the crime range from first to third degree, depending on the severity and the value of the stolen items.

Caught Shoplifting Michigan? For more information about the Michigan Retail Fraud laws and to retain Garmo & Kiste, PLC, call us at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message. We are experienced Michigan attorneys with offices in Troy, MI.

Read our detailed article on Retail Fraud using the link below:

From The Detroit News:

From the Detroit Free Press:

Examples of Retail Stores Our Firm Typically Deals With:

Kohls, GM Renaissance Center, Laurel Park Place, Southland Center, Oakland Mall, twelve oaks mall, Partiage Creek, Great Lakes Crossing, Somerset Collection, Lakeside Mall, abercrombie, Abercrombie & Fitch, aerie, Aéropostale, ALDO,American Eagle Outfitters, Bath & Body Works, bebe, Body Shop, The, Brookstone, Buckle, Caché, Champs Sports, Charlotte Russe, Christopher & Banks, Claire’s, Disney Store, Express, f.y.e., Finish Line, Foot Locker, Forever 21, GNC, GUESS, Gymboree, H&M, Helzberg Diamonds, Hollister Co., Hot Topic, Ice Age, Icing, J.B. Robinson Jewelers, JCPenney, Johnston & Murphy, Journeys, Justice, Kay Jewelers, Lady Foot Locker, Leather City, LensCrafters, Lids, Limited, The, Lord & Taylor, Macy’s, Men’s Wearhouse,Merle Norman,Motherhood Maternity, Naturalizer Shoes, New York & Company, PacSun, Payless ShoeSource, Perfumania, Prestige Jewelers, Ritz Camera, rue21,Sears, SoHo, Spencer’s, stride rite, Sunglass Hut, Tapper’s Gold Exchange, Teavana, Things Remembered, Torrid, Toys”R”Us,Trade Secret, Underground Station, Vanity, Victoria’s Secret, Vitamin World, Wet Seal, Windsor, Yankee Candle, Zales Jewelers, Zumiez, Allen Edmonds, Ann Taylor, Anthropologie, Apple, Arden B., AX Armani Exchange, babyGap, Bachrach, Banana Republic, Bare Escentuals, BCBG Max Azria, bebe, Betsey Johnson, Brighton Collectibles, Brooks Brothers, Brookstone, Build-A-Bear Workshop, Burberry, Cache, Coach, Cole Haan, Crate & Barrel, Crocs, EB Games, Eddie Bauer, Meijer, Whole Foods, Trader Joes’, Express/Expressmen, Foot Locker, For Love 21, Fossil, Franklin Covey, Free People, Gap,GapKids, Gucci, Guess, J. Crew/crewcuts , Janie and Jack, Johnston & Murphy, Juicy Couture, kate spade new york, L’Occitane, Lacoste, Lego, Levi’s Store, Lilly Pulitzer, LOFT, Louis Vuitton, Lucky Brand Jeans, lululemonathletica, Lush, M.A.C., Madewell, Marmi, MaxAzria, MaxMara, Michael Kors, Montblanc, Needle & Thread, Neiman Marcus, Nine West, Nordstrom, OMEGA, Origins, Pacific Sunwear, Pandora, Papyrus, Paradise Pen Company, Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids, Ralph Lauren, Restoration Hardware, Saks Fifth Avenue, SEE Eyewear, Sephora, Soma Intimates, Somerset Collection, St. Croix, Steve Madden, Stride Rite, Stuart Weitzman, Swarovski, Talbots | Talbots Petites,Wal-Mart, CostCo, GolfSmith, REi, PetCo, PetsMart, Kmart, Mc Sporting Goods, Sam’s Club, The Art of Shaving, The Body Shop, The Detroit Shoppe, The Limited, The North Face, The Walking Company, Tiffany & Co., Tommy Bahama, Tory Burch, Tourneau, True Religion Brand Jeans, Tumi, Vera Bradley, Victoria’s Secret, White House/Black Market, Williams-Sonoma, Wolford, OfficeMax, Office Depot, Barnes & Noble, Old Navy, TJmaxs, Marshalls, Tanager Outlet Mall, Home Goods, staples, Bed bath and beyond, Walmart, DSW, Ulta, Family Christian Stores, GameStop, ABC warehouse, RadioShack, Pier One, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Jo Ann Fabrics, Michaels, Target, Dots, universal mall, northland mall, Biglots, CVS, RiteAid, Walgreens, Fairlane Mall, Fountain Walk mall, Southland Center, Value City furniture, Art van Furniture, Hobby Lobby, Best Buy, Burlington Coat Factory, IKEA, Summit Palace Mall, Home Depot, Lowes,

Assess Your Options with a Personal GuarantyIt is important to note that signing a person guaranty is NOT standard practice, especially if your business has good credit or significant assets. If you have been asked to sign, are considering signing, or have already signed a personal guaranty it is a good idea to contact an attorney to assess your options. An experienced attorney may be able to negotiate for new terms of a loan whereby a personal guaranty is not required.

If you have already signed and may default, or have already defaulted we may be able to negotiate a settlement with your lender, as we have for hundreds of others, and extinguish the debt for once and for all. Additionally we can analyze the validity of the personal guarantee, and assess your options.

Maybe most importantly, we have seen many people sued individually for Debts that are not personally guaranteed, or where by the personal guarantee taken is not valid under law, we have attached several examples for your reference, Call us today, maybe we can save you $72,000.00, $22,000.00, or $52,000.00 like we did for these three.

To retain Garmo & Kiste, PLC, for assistance in these matters call us at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message. We are experienced Michigan attorneys with offices in Troy, MI.

Unauthorized Practice of Law in Michigan Worried about the Unauthorized Practice of Law in Michigan? While individuals have a right to represent themselves in a Court of law, if you are the President, Member, or Resident agent of a Corporation you DO NOT have the right to represent your company as the Defendant or Plaintiff in a lawsuit. In fact to do so would violate MCL 450.681, the statute prohibiting the unauthorized practice of law. So, if your LLC is getting sued, you need an attorney to represent you or else the Judge is duty bound to dismiss your pleadings and your case. As small business owners ourselves, we know that money can be tight when you’re just starting out. Our rates are very reasonable and we’ll work to get the best result for you and your business. To retain Garmo & Kiste, PLC call us at (248) 398-7100 (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message.

Liability for a Personal Guaranty in Michigan attorneyA personal guaranty is when someone (usually the business owner) signs on a loan or line of credit for the business. Basically, it means that if the company does not have enough assets to cover the liability, the note holder may pursue the signatory personally.

If asked to sign a personal guaranty, you should think hard before you sign. Many people take out a line of credit or a small business loan to jump start their business with an infusion of cash, or even to just get started in the first place. It is tempting to see any business set-backs as temporary and not think about the long term consequences of taking on personal liability. However, many times needing these loans are a sign that the business is struggling. Even if the business if just starting out, it is important to hope for the best, but plan for the worst. If your business has poor credit, or few assets, there may be no other option but to sign a personal guaranty. Just be aware that by doing so, you are losing a lot of protections provided by the formation of the LLC, and essentially “piercing the corporate shield.” You will be required to pay this debt as you would any other personal debt such as a mortgage or car loan. If you default on it you could have a judgment entered against you or even have your wages and tax returns garnished. The lender will not care if your business has failed, is struggling, or has even gone bankrupt you will always be liable until its paid off.

For more information about Liability for a Personal Guaranty in Michigan attorney or to retain Garmo & Kiste, PLC, call us at (248) 398-7100 for a free consultation or contact us with a private message.