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A Better Partnership

Dean F. Pacific

Partner | Email

  • Grand Rapids

    t. +1.616.752.2424

    f. +1.616.752.2500


Dean Pacific is a litigator who defends employers. In court, he represents employers in cases of alleged discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wrongful discharge, and the full range of statutory employment-related claims. He prosecutes employer claims to enforce non-compete, non-solicitation, and confidentiality agreements, protecting employers’ trade secrets and customer relationships.  Dean also specializes in fraud and embezzlement recovery, using civil remedies to recover employer assets from disloyal employees.  A West Michigan judge who has handled some of Dean’s cases called him “superb in every way.”

Dean also advises employers on a wide range of issues, including: employee background checks, employment agreements, protection of trade secrets, discipline and discharge decisions, employment policies, employee-relations issues, wage and hour audits, and risk management. “We’re not just litigators – we’re good business counselors,” he said of the labor and employment litigation team at Warner Norcross. “As a trial lawyer, there is nothing more satisfying than winning a jury trial,” Dean says.  “But sometimes, ‘winning’ for the employer means devising a strategy that prevents the matter from ever ending up in court at all.” 


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  • Moritz College of Law, The Ohio State University J.D. 1996 summa cum laude
  • Michigan State University B.A. 1991 high honors


  • 1996, Michigan

Clerk Experience

  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit, Honorable Alan E. Norris

Bar Associations

  • American Bar Association
    Litigation Section; Labor and Employment Section; Appellate Section
  • State Bar of Michigan
    Litigation Section; Labor and Employment Section; Appellate Section
  • Grand Rapids Bar Association


  • Won jury verdict in favor of trucking industry employer in lawsuit filed by former employee who alleged that his termination violated Michigan’s Whistleblower Protection Act
  • Won jury verdict in favor of employer, a recreational motorsports dealer, in lawsuit by former employee alleging that he was terminated as a result of age discrimination
  • Won jury verdict in favor of employer in former employee's claim for allegedly unpaid overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act.  Also won jury verdict in favor of the employer's owner and President, who was sued individually
  • Won jury verdict in favor of employer against former shareholder and management employees on claims of conversion and breach of fiduciary duty related to misappropriation of a business opportunity. Award recovered included treble damages and attorney's fees
  • Obtained injunction to prevent solicitation of clients by financial advisor who left employer to start competing business, then won money damages award in arbitration to compensate employer for the wrongful solicitation of clients and other damages
  • Won summary judgment in favor of employer on race discrimination and retaliation claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Michigan's Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act and 42 U.S.C § 1981; judgment was affirmed by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Won denial of class certification in action under the employee background check rules of the Fair Credit Reporting Act
  • Won summary judgment in pension benefits class action, involving claims under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act and the Labor Management Relations Act, related to facility purchased in a bankruptcy sale
  • Won award in favor of employer in AAA arbitration involving claim for severance pay by former company executive
  • Won summary disposition in favor of employer on claims of religious discrimination and age discrimination
  • Won entry of temporary restraining order, preliminary injunction and permanent injunction in action by employer to enforce covenant not to compete against former sales manager
  • Won summary disposition in favor of employer on claims of race discrimination under Michigan's Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act and negligence, and also recovered an award of attorney's fees in favor of the employer
  • Won award in favor of employer in AAA Arbitration involving claims by former company President for benefits under Employee Stock Ownership Plan, claims of breach of fiduciary duty and breach of duty of disclosure under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, and common law claims
  • Won summary judgment in favor of employer on claim for overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act on the grounds that plaintiff was an administrative employee exempted from coverage under the FLSA
  • Won denial of preliminary injunction, and later summary disposition of all claims, in action against surgeon for alleged breach of covenant not to compete
  • Won summary judgment on claims of tortious interference with contract or business expectancy brought by former employer of company's management employee; obtained dismissal of claims against the employee individually for alleged breach of confidentiality agreement and misappropriation of trade secrets
  • Won summary disposition of claims under Whistleblower Protection Act and alleged discharge in violation of public policy

Honors & Awards

  • Best Lawyers in America, Litigation - Labor and Employment, 2019-Present
  • Named to Michigan Super Lawyers, Employment Litigation: Defense, 2020
  • Named a Top Lawyer in Litigation - Labor Employment Benefits, Grand Rapids Magazine, 2019
  • AV Preeminent Peer Review Rated, Martindale-Hubbell
  • First in law school class
  • Editor-in-Chief, The Ohio State Law Journal
  • Order of the Coif


  • "Counterclaims in the Employment Discrimination Case," Michigan Defense Quarterly, Volume 22, No.2, October 2005
  • Contributing Author, Michigan Law of Damages and Other Remedies

Ahead of the Curve Auto Supplier Blog

Legacy Matters


Professional Affiliations

  • Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce
    Member, Friends of West Michigan Business Steering Committee (2002-16)
  • Michigan Defense Trial Counsel
    Board of Directors (2008-12); Chair, Labor and Employment Section (2006-08)
  • Sixth Circuit Judicial Conference
    Life Member

Community Affiliations

  • Head Start for Kent County
    Board of Directors (2017-Present)
  • John Ball Zoo
    Board of Directors (2014-Present), Advisory Board (2006-13)
  • Faith Hospice
    Board of Directors (2006-09)

Speaking Engagements

  • "Tiptoeing Through the Minefield: Lessons from an Employment Litigator," Michigan Professional Insurance Exchange Webinar, May 11, 2021
  • "Protect Your Business with Non-Compete, Non-Solicitation & Confidentiality Agreements," Warner Webinar, August 11, 2020
  • "Employment Law Update on Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and New Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act," Warner Webinar, March 31, 2020
  • "Families First Coronavirus Response Act’s Impact to Employers and Employees," Warner Webinar, March 24, 2020
  • "Emerging Trends in Employment Litigation: Hot Issues in a #MeToo World," Michigan Defense Trial Counsel Summer Conference, June 21, 2019, Bellaire, Michigan
  • "Protecting Your Business Through Non-Compete, Non-Solicitation and Confidentiality Agreements," Warner Human Resources Seminar, May 3, 2018, Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • "Myth or Truth: Labor & Employment Panel," Warner Labor & Benefits Executive Panels, October 26, 2017, Kalamazoo, Michigan
  • "What's on the Horizon with the New Administration," Warner Human Resources Seminar, May 23, 2017, Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • "Managing an Evolving Workforce" and "Wage/Hour and FLSA Issues," Warner Labor & Benefits Executive Panel, November 2, 2016, Novi, Michigan
  • "Social Media Issues in the Workplace," Warner Human Resources Seminar, June 9, 2016, Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • Labor & Benefits Executive Panel, Warner Seminar, October 5, 2015, Traverse City, Michigan
  • "Protecting Your Business with Non-Compete, Non-Solicitation and Confidentiality Agreements," Warner Human Resources Seminar, April 20, 2015, Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • Labor and Employment Panel Moderator, Labor and Benefits Executive Panel-Government Enforcement Initiatives, October 23, 2014, Kalamazoo, Michigan
  • "Background Checks: The Biggest Employment Litigation Risk You Aren't Worrying About (But Should Be)," Warner Human Resources Seminar, April 22, 2014, Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • “HR and Benefits Executive Panel,” Warner Human Resources Seminar, October 15, 2013, Birmingham, Michigan
  • "Background Checks," Warner Human Resources Seminar, April 29, 2013, Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • "Making the Tough Call:  How to Document and Manage Discipline and Termination," Warner Human Resources Seminar, May 2, 2012, Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • "Whistleblower/Retaliation," Warner  Human Resources Seminar, May 25, 2011, Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • "Social Media Issues in the Workplace," presented to the 2010 Conference of MI-CUPA, the Michigan College and University Professional Association for Human Resources, on October 14, 2010.
  • "Workplace Privacy Issues," Warner Human Resources Seminar, March 23, 2010, Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • "Labor and Employment Legal Update" and "Do You Text? Technology and Privacy in the Workplace," Warner Human Resources Seminar, September 11, 2008, Grand Rapids
  • "Damages in Labor and Employment Litigation," 2007 Michigan Defense Trial Counsel Summer Conference
  • "Whistleblower, Retaliation & Protected Concerted Activity," Warner Human Resources Seminar, May 10, 2007, Grand Rapids


“Dean Pacific has worked with us for a number of years and has proven to be a responsive, reliable and level headed advisor. We’ve had nothing but good experiences with him." – General Counsel for a consumer goods manufacturer

"Dean Pacific is a knowledgeable, passionate and attentive employment attorney.  Over the last five years, Dean has assisted and advised SpartanNash on a number of employment related issues and successfully represented its interest in employment related arbitrations and litigation.

Whether engaged to provide legal advice or to represent our interests in arbitrations or litigation, Dean is always well prepared and passionate in his defense of our interests. He works hard to understand the facts of each legal question he is presented with, simplifies and explains the applicable law and listens attentively for the related business challenges. He works alongside us to find the right business solution to the legal challenge posed.

Dean is prompt in his response to calls and e-mails and works hard at finding ways to minimize the business disruption that sometimes accompanies legal challenges.  Whether it’s traveling to one of our business locations or arranging and coordinating a conference call, he understands and is sensitive to the everyday demands that come with operating a business.  He works hard at accommodating the operational realities of business and incorporates our needs into his overall plan. I would highly recommend Dean Pacific for his legal acumen, preparation and attentiveness and overall sensitivity to the needs and demands of business. " - Jose C. Rosario, Director of Labor Relations, SpartanNash

“(Dean Pacific is) superb in every way.” - A West Michigan judge


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