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A Better Partnership

Daniel P. Ettinger

Partner | Email

  • Grand Rapids

    t. +1.616.752.2168

    f. +1.616.752.2500

    m. +1.616.485.9950


Dan Ettinger practices in the areas of mining, natural resource and renewable/alternative energy development, environmental litigation, zoning and administrative law and NEPA/NHPA compliance, with a special focus on issues related to Native American tribes and cultural resources. He advises mining and natural resource development clients regarding tribal engagement and consultation, compliance with laws aimed at protecting tribal interests and resources, such as the National Historic Preservation Act and other cultural resource issues that can arise in the course of permitting a development project. Dan also has extensive experience representing mining and other natural resource development companies in federal and state courts and before administrative tribunals. He enjoys forging relationships with clients, helping them see a project through from beginning to end while seeking ways to proactively manage their risk.



  • Duke University J.D. 1995
  • Tufts University B.A. 1991


  • 1995, Michigan


  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Michigan in 1995
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan in 2017
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit in 1997
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit in 2019
  • U.S. Supreme Court in 2001
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit in 2005

Bar Associations

  • American Bar Association
    Litigation Section, Administrative Law & Regulatory Practice Section, Dispute Resolution Section, State & Local Government Law Section, Environment, Energy & Resources Section
  • State Bar of Michigan
  • Grand Rapids Bar Association
  • Federal Bar Association


  • Successfully assisted an international natural resources company in obtaining the first non-ferrous metallic mineral mining permit issued in Michigan, together with other associated permits, for a nickel mine in the Upper Peninsula. The case resulted in two published decisions by the Michigan Court of Appeals. The mine is now operational  
  • Counsel of record in case obtaining 8-1 decision in favor of client in the U.S. Supreme Court, defeating claims of the federal government that sovereign immunity allowed the government to take land into trust for operation of a tribal casino and that client did not have prudential standing: Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians v. Patchak, 132 S. Ct. 2199 (2012)
  • Represented several mining and natural resource development companies in the upper Great Lakes region on permitting issues, compliance matters, tribal engagement and appeals in federal and state courts
  • Successfully represented a mining company against efforts to enjoin project development in state and federal courts
  • Successfully represented a mining company in lawsuit seeking to compel federal wetland permitting and review of project under the NEPA and NHPA, resulting in a published decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • Successfully represented a renewable energy developer in federal NEPA litigation, resulting in a published decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
  • Advised national wind energy facility developers on zoning and compliance issues for wind energy development projects in Michigan
  • Obtained ruling from the Eastern District of Michigan that a township’s police power moratorium on wind energy development passed by resolution was void because it did not comply with the procedural requirements for amending a zoning ordinance
  • Successfully represented CBS Outdoor, Inc. and other Michigan clients in municipal zoning and litigation matters
  • Successfully represented Goodwill Industries of West Michigan on employment discrimination case, which was the first reported Michigan appellate court decision addressing the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
  • Obtained judgment for Market Development Corp., striking down as unconstitutional the City of Fenton’s water and sewer tap-in ordinance 
  • Successfully appealed employment discrimination case on behalf of Holland Community Hospital after trial court granted summary disposition
  • Assisted in successful representation of Wrench LLC in an idea misappropriation case against Taco Bell, obtaining a $30.1 million jury verdict and reversal of the trial court's grant of summary judgment by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Obtained dismissal of hospital privileges case in federal court; decision was upheld on appeal by the Sixth Circuit

Honors & Awards

  • Named the Best Lawyers' 2021 and 2017 Grand Rapids Litigation - Environmental Lawyer of the Year
  • Best Lawyers in America, Commercial Litigation, 2013-Present
  • Leading Lawyers Michigan, 2014


  • "Understanding the role of cultural resources in development projects," Grand Rapids Business Journal, 1/18/13
  • Coauthor, Administrative Law Chapter, Michigan Environmental Law Deskbook, 2nd Edition

One Court of Justice Blog


Speaking Engagements

  • "Gaining Access to Government Data During COVID-19 with FOIA and OMA," Warner Webinar, May 12, 2020
  • “Voluntary Engagement with Tribes in Mine Development,” Cultural Resources Law 9th Annual Conference, October 2016
  • “Testing Your Mettle: Environmental Review and Permitting for Modern Mining Projects,” Society of Mine Engineers Minnesota Conference, April 2016
  • “Great Lakes Copper-Nickel Mining Update: Opportunities and Obstacles,” American Exploration and Mining Association Annual Meeting, December 2015
  • “Dust in the Wind: Regulation of Air Pollutants Beyond the CAA,” Joint Fall Conference, East and West Michigan Chapters of the Air and Waste Management Association and the Environmental Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan, November 2015
  • “Natural Resources Permits and Administrative Challenges: Eagle Mine as a Case Study,” State Bar of Michigan, Environmental Law Section, February 2015
  • “Engaging Aboriginal Communities in Mining Projects: The U.S. Experience in the Upper Great Lakes States,” 3rd Ontario Mining Forum, June 2013
  • "Indigenous Consultation: Business Partnerships or Tribal Consent? A Perspective from the U.S. Great Lakes Region," International Bar Association Annual Conference, 2013

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