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Gaëtan Gerville-Réache

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Grand Rapids

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Biography

Gaëtan is a partner in Warner's Appellate and Supreme Court practice and Chair of the Appellate Practice Section for the State Bar of Michigan. He has handled appeals with over $100 million in controversy and multi-billion dollar projects at stake. Clients frequently ask Gaëtan to accomplish the impossible on appeal, and he does—from overturning an arbitration decision, to obtaining reversal of a preliminary injunction in zoning enforcement action, to persuading the appellate court to vacate its own decision on a mortgage-lien succession issue, to getting a $500,000 default judgment set aside.  Recognizing his stellar reputation, the Institute for Continuing Legal Education entrusted Gaëtan with editorship and authorship of its two major appellate-practice guides, and he is co-author of the only ABA appellate-practice guide for Michigan. Among many honors, Gaëtan has received the Distinguished Brief Award for his Michigan Supreme Court advocacy and has been named a Super Lawyer Rising Star in appellate practice every year since 2012. Gaëtan particular areas of litigation expertise include mining, zoning, municipalities, real property, environmental law, financial regulation and commercial contracts. Gaëtan also serves as editor of the One Court of Justice Blog, the leading blog analyzing Michigan’s appellate courts. Please visit the Blog at www.ocjblog.com.

Industries

Education

  • Northwestern University J.D. 2005 cum laude
  • Northwestern University B.A. 1998    

Admitted

  • 2005, Michigan

Courts

  • U.S. Supreme Court in 2012
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit in 2011
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit in 2011
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit in 2008
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit in 2015
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit in 2015
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit in 2015
  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims, Washington D.C.
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan in 2007
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Michigan in 2005

Bar Associations

  • American Bar Association
    Executive Committee, Council of Appellate Lawyers
  • State Bar of Michigan
    Chair, Appellate Practice Section (2016-17)
  • Grand Rapids Bar Association
    Litigation Section

Languages

  • French

Honors & Awards

  • Named as a Michigan Super Lawyer Rising Star, 2012-Present
  • Received the 2009 Distinguished Brief Award, recognizing advocacy in the Michigan Supreme Court
  • Senior Articles Editor, Northwestern University Law Review

Experience

Supreme Court Appeals
  • Gardner v. Dep’t of Treasury, Nos. 150293-95, _ N.W.2d _ (Mich. 2015):  Persuaded the court to unanimously reverse the Court of Appeals’ interpretation of the State Real Estate Transfer Tax Act, MCL 207.526(u), and to hold client home-owners were exempt from the tax.
  • Yono v. Michigan Dep’t of Transportation, 864 N.W.2d 142 (Mich. 2015):  Represented the Michigan County Road Commission Self-Insurance Pool and County Road Association in persuading the court to grant leave to appeal the issue of MDOT’s governmental immunity for personal injury on a highway.
  • Heien v. North Carolina, 135 S. Ct. 530 (2014):  Represented the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys and other law-enforcement agencies as amici curiae on the issue of whether a police officer’s objectively reasonable mistake of law can provide reasonable suspicion sufficient to justify a traffic stop under the Fourth Amendment.
  • Riley v. California, 134 S. Ct. 2473 (2014):  Represented the Association of State Criminal Investigative Agencies and other law-enforcement agencies as amici curiae on the issue of whether the officers’ searches of a cell phone seized incident to petitioner’s arrest were lawful under the Fourth Amendment.
  • Elmbrook School Dist. v. John Doe, 134 S. Ct. 2283 (2014):  Represented the American Association of School Administrators and other educational associations as amici curiae on the issue of whether the Establishment Clause requires public schools to evaluate the religiosity of a facility before entering into a short-term lease to use the space for public events such as high school graduations.
  • Huron Mountain Club v. United States Army Corps of Engineers, 134 S. Ct. 1792 (2014): Represented intervening mining company as respondent on the question of whether, absent any statutory obligation, a federal agency can be compelled to initiate environmental permitting proceedings that the regulated party has not requested.
  • Badeen v. Par, Inc., 496 Mich. 75 (2014):  Represented Fifth Third Bank as appellee on the question of whether Michigan’s Occupational Code requires licensing as a collection agency to merely manage the hiring of licensed repossession agents for lenders. 
  • State ex rel Gurganus v. CVS Caremark Corp., 496 Mich. 45 (2014):  Represented the Michigan Chamber Litigation Center as amicus curiae on the question of whether Michigan’s generic drug substitution statute required pharmacists to pass along the savings from substituting a generic drug for an equivalent brand-name drug.
  • Michigan Finance Authority v. Kiebler, 495 Mich. 895 (2013):  As special assistant to the attorney general, represented the Michigan Finance Authority on emergency appeal in multi-million-dollar class action regarding student loans.
  • Bailey v. United States of America, 133 S. Ct. 1031 (2013):  Represented the State of Michigan and 23 other states as amici curiae on the question of whether police officers with a warrant to search the premises for contraband may detain an “occupant of the premises” after they see him leave the premises just before executing the warrant.
  • King v. Kansas Judicial Watch, 132 S. Ct. 1715 (2012):  Represented the State of Michigan and 17 other states on the question of whether a plaintiff who obtains a preliminary injunction before the case is mooted is a “prevailing party” entitled to attorney fees under 42 U.S.C. § 1988(b).
  • Kyser v. Kasson Township, 786 N.W.2d 543 (Mich. 2010):  Filed amicus brief on behalf of Michigan Aggregates Association in high-stakes challenge to constitutional zoning/mining standards that had not been reviewed by the Michigan Supreme Court in 25 years. (Amicus Brief)
  • Benefiel v. Auto-Owners Insurance Co., 759 N.W.2d 814 (Mich. 2008):  As amicus curiae, successfully persuaded the Michigan Supreme Court to reverse the court of appeals and hold that a plaintiff who suffers successive injuries has the burden of proving a current injury was caused by the subject accident, not an independent occurrence. (Amicus Brief)
State and Federal Appeals
  • Charter Township of White Lake v. Ciurlik Enterprises, No. 324976, (Mich. Ct. App. 2014):  Persuaded the Court of Appeals to grant immediate consideration of Ciurlik Enterprise’s interlocutory appeal and peremptorily reverse the lower court’s preliminary injunction as an abuse of discretion.
  • Torres v. Torres, 2014 WL 4087927 (Mich. Ct. App. 2014):  Persuaded the court to reverse a Domestic Relations Act arbitration award that declined to divide one spouses unvested military pension.
  • Fed. Home Loan Mortg. Ass’n v Kelley, 2014 WL 4232687 (Mich. Ct. App. 2014):  Persuaded the court to vacate its own decision on the question of whether a surviving bank in a bank merger succeeds to the property of the merging entities “by operation of law.”
  • Triangle Associates, Inc. v. Bentwaters Partners, LP, 2014 WL 2931866 (Mich. Ct. App. 2014):  Persuaded the court to order dismissal of $500,000 default judgment against garnishee Fifth Third Bank.
  • Klein v. U.S. DOE, 753 F.3d 576 (2014):  Persuaded the court to affirm the Department of Energy’s funding decision on the basis that the client’s cellulosic ethanol project would have no significant environmental impact.
  • King v. Berghuis, 744 F.3d 961 (2014):  As special assistant to the attorney general, persuaded the court to affirm denial of writ of habeas corpus on the question of whether the state imposed a plea deal entered into without defendant’s knowledge that sentences would be consecutive.
  • Huron Mountain Club v. U.S. Army Corps of Eng’rs, 545 Fed. App’x 390 (6th Cir. 2013):  Persuaded the court to affirm denial of preliminary injunction on the basis that Huron Mountain Club’s Clean Water Act and Rivers and Harbors Act claims were unreviewable under the Administrative Procedures Act, among other reasons.
  • Donaldson v. Booker, 505 Fed. App’x 488 (2012):  As special assistant to the attorney general, persuaded the court to affirm denial of writ of habeas corpus on the question of whether defense counsel’s decision not to investigate medical records and booking records was reasonable
  • United States v. Huntington National Bank, 682 F.3d 429 (6th Cir. 2012):  Persuaded the Sixth Circuit to reverse the district court's order of forfeiture and order the government to release to Huntington $700,000 seized from a bank customer's account which secured Huntington's loans to the customer.
  • Cooper v. Edgewater Bank, No. 296189, 2011 WL 2848782 (Mich. Ct. App. July 19, 2011):  Persuaded the Court of Appeals to affirm the grant of summary disposition to Fifth Third Bank in a dispute with heirs over whether the bank properly changed the beneficiary designations on the decedent's certificates of deposit.
  • NDC of Sylvan, Ltd. v. Township of Sylvan, No. 2011 WL 1901805 (Mich. Ct. App. May 19, 2011):  Successfully persuaded the Court of Appeals to reverse a $2.4 million judgment against Sylvan Township and to vacate a permanent injunction that would have cost Sylvan Township an additional $3.4 million, in a dispute over $8 million in special assessments.
  • National Wildlife Federation v. Dep't of Natural Resources, No. 293779, 2011 WL 1004525 (Mich. Ct. App. Mar. 22, 2011):  Persuaded the court of appeals to affirm dismissal of public trust claims against leasing of state land and minerals for underground non-metallic mineral mining project.”
  • Isom v. NE Lots LLC, No. 288378, 2010 WL 143470 (Mich. Ct. App. Jan. 14, 2010):  Persuaded the Michigan Court of Appeals to affirm a declaration that the intestate heirs' rights to share in the proceeds of a million-dollar estate through a settlement agreement with the testate heir were not conveyed in quit-claim deeds purporting to assign their rights to the proceeds of the estate.
  • United States v. Huntington National Bank, 574 F.3d 329 (6th Cir. 2009):  Persuaded the Sixth Circuit to reverse and remand an adverse decision in a three-quarter-million-dollar ancillary criminal forfeiture proceeding.
  • Bill Smith Sand & Gravel v. Alamo Twp., No. 281936 (Mich. Ct. App. Mar. 5, 2008):  Persuaded the Michigan Court of Appeals to expedite consideration and summarily affirm the dismissal of a local township’s challenge to the client's mining project.
  • Moore v. Detroit Entertainment, LLC, 755 N.W.2d 686 (Mich Ct. App. 2008):  Obtained affirmation of a $600,000 jury verdict for false imprisonment.
Mineral Resource Litigation
  • Huron Mountain Club v. United States Army Corps of Engineers, 134 S. Ct. 1792 (2014):  Represented intervening mining company as respondent on the question of whether, absent any statutory obligation, a federal agency can be compelled to initiate environmental permitting proceedings that the regulated party has not requested.
  • Mayhew v. Handy Township, No. 11-25965-AV (Mich. Cir. Ct. 2011):  Persuaded the circuit court to affirm the Township’s decision to allow crushing reclaimed aggregate products as an accessory use authorized by the client’s special use permit.
  • National Wildlife Federation v. Michigan Dep't of Environmental Quality, No. 11-123-AA (Mich. Cir. Ct. Nov. 21, 2011):  Successfully persuaded the circuit court to first deny an injunction against underground mine's blasting operations pending appeal and then affirm the decision by MDEQ to grant a Part 632 non-ferrous metallic mineral mining permit.
  • Aggregate Industries - Central Region v. Waterloo Township, 09-01248-AA (Mich. Cir. Ct. July 9, 2009):  Persuaded the circuit court to grant an expedited appeal, reverse the township's adverse zoning decision, and grant a special land use application to Aggregate Industries for mining.
  • National Wildlife Federation v. Michigan Dep't of Natural Resources, No. 08-263-AA (Mich. Cir. Ct. Mar. 3, 2009):  Successfully defeated a third-party appeal of the State of Michigan land-lease to our client and achieved early dismissal of ancillary claims using cutting-edge theories of constitutional and jurisdictional law.

Publications

One Court of Justice Blog

Leadership

Professional Affiliations

  • Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs
    Military Appeals Tribunal (2016-20)
  • State Bar of Michigan Appellate Practice Section
    Chair (2016-17), Council member (2010-16)
  • ABA Council of Appellate Lawyers
    Executive Board member (2011-Present)
  • Michigan Supreme Court Historical Society Advocates Guild

Community Affiliations

  • Westminster Presbyterian Church
    Elder; Committee-Chair for Spiritual Life and Learning

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