celebrating over 100 years

dedication commitment experience

One of the oldest and most respected civil litigation
defense firms in Michigan.

About The Firm

Committed to client service

Lacey & Jones enjoys the reputation of being one of the oldest and most respected civil litigation defense firms in Michigan. Since the firm’s founding in 1912, we have established a strong relationship with businesses and insurers. Our firm strives to continue to provide the best legal representation possible to our clients. We recognize each client’s particular need, whether to quickly negotiate a resolution of a claim, challenge non-meritorious claims through the trial process, or establish new law through the appellate courts.

Our attorneys provide quality legal representation in the areas of workers’ compensation trial work and appellate practice and civil litigation, including defense of first party and third party motor vehicle claims, general insurance claims, personal injury claims, subrogation, and commercial litigation. We are affiliated with several attorneys in order to afford our clients with additional resources in the areas of trusts and estates, family law, business, and tax.

We practice in all State of Michigan courts and Michigan federal courts and before numerous agencies. We also have attorneys who are admitted to practice law in Florida and Ohio. Lacey & Jones is committed to providing our clients with the finest legal services with an emphasis on personal contact and reasonable fees. If we may be of assistance to you in regard to your legal matters, please contact any of our attorneys directly.

Worker’s Compensation

Workers’ Compensation

Our Workers’ Compensation Litigation practice group is comprised of Carrie Geroux Barrett, Dawn M. Drobnich, J. Patrick O’Neill, Robert H. Orlowski, Jr., Sean J. Powers, and Ronald A. Weglarz.

Lacey & Jones is proud to note that the founder of the firm, Ralph B. Lacey, is reported to have defended the first workers’ compensation case in Michigan upon passage of the original Workmen’s Compensation Act in 1912. Since that time, Lacey & Jones has been at the forefront of and has been instrumental in defining the landscape of workers’ compensation law in Michigan.

Our trial attorneys have the expertise and knowledge to tackle the ever-changing defense of workers’ disability compensation claims for our clients. We are experienced in all phases of the claim process. We are available to consult on complex cases when payments are being made either voluntarily or by court order. We can assist in developing ongoing claims handling strategies to achieve an injured worker’s return to work or to negotiate a settlement. In litigated cases, our trial attorneys aggressively defend applications for mediation or hearing and Rule V hearings. In appropriate cases, we prosecute applications for determination of rights and for vocational rehabilitation. Our workers’ compensation litigation attorneys also work closely with our civil litigation attorneys in identifying subrogation cases and protecting workers’ compensation liens.

Appeals and Legal Research

Appeals and Legal Research

One of the major factors that distinguishes Lacey & Jones from other firms is by the emphasis we place on our Appellate Department. Having long ago recognized that effective appellate representation demands different skills than those required by litigation attorneys, Lacey & Jones established a separate appellate division.

Our Appellate Department has over the years created a body of precedent that has defined defense interests in this state. Over the last twenty-five years, our Appellate Department has been responsible for over one hundred and fifty published Michigan Supreme Court and Court of Appeals decisions on workers’ compensation and civil litigation issues. Our appellate attorneys excel at handling workers’ compensation appeals to the Workers’ Compensation Appellate Commission, Michigan Court of Appeals and the Michigan Supreme Court. The Appellate Department also prosecutes and defends appeals in Michigan’s administrative appellate tribunals and at the federal court level, including the United States Supreme Court.

Civil Litigation

Civil Litigation

Our Civil Litigation practice group is comprised of Dennis E. Zacharski, Kathleen McNichol Behn, J. Patrick O’Neill and D. Michael McCann (Of Counsel). They are ably supported by our staff of legal assistants and legal secretaries.

The Civil Litigation Department represents our clients in regard to a variety of claims, including products liability, construction liability, intentional torts, general negligence, motor vehicle negligence, no-fault, workers’ compensation liens and subrogation, auto subrogation, toxic torts, insurance claims, coverage disputes, contract claims, commercial account collections and commercial vehicle violations. We handle employment related claims in both state and federal venues, including claims brought pursuant to the Michigan Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act and OSHA and MIOSHA investigations. Our practice includes issues involving trademarks, patent searches, and prosecutions of patents.

Our attorneys work with clients in the decision-making process in case handling and evaluation in order to achieve favorable results in an early and most efficient manner. These activities include evaluation pre-suit and in the early stages of litigation; litigation budgeting; and efficient case management, including the use of legal assistants when appropriate. We assist our clients in rendering legal opinions in both litigated and non-litigated matters and provide information on the current state of the law. We are committed to the concept of alternative dispute resolution in appropriate cases, and are familiar with the process as our attorneys serve as circuit court mediators, private mediators and arbitrators.

Carrie Geroux Barrett

Managing Partner

Our attorneys offer our clients experience, integrity, and commitment. We provide legal representation in the areas of workers’ compensation, appellate advocacy, and civil litigation. In addition, our Of Counsel attorneys specialize in areas including wills, estates and trusts, probate, business matters, bankruptcy, social security, Medicare/elder law, and family law.

Admitted to the Bar in 1989
Admitted to U.S. District Court, Eastern and Western Districts of Michigan 1991

Education
Kalamazoo College (B.A., 1986)
University of Detroit School of Law (J.D., 1989)

Recipient: Moffat Scholarship, 1989;
Public Corporation Law Section Scholarship, 1987;
Best Oral Advocate Moot Court Award, 1987.
Activities: Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity International, Business Law Journal.

Memberships
State Bar of Michigan (Workers’ Compensation Section)
Michigan Self-Insurers’ Association
Kids’ Chance of Michigan (Fundraising Committee)

Practice Areas
Workers’ Compensation Law

Dawn M. Drobnich

Partner

Admitted to the Bar in 1990, Michigan and U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan

Education
Tulane University School of Law (J.D.,1990)
University of Michigan (B.A., Cum Laude, 1987)

Recipient: American Jurisprudence Awards in Interschool Junior and Senior Trial Competitions;
Louisiana Trial Lawyers Association Moot Court Award.

Memberships
American Bar Association
Michigan Self-Insurer’s Association, Executive Secretary
Michigan Council of Self-Insured Group Administrators
Moot Court Board, 1989-1990
National Trial Team, 1989-1990
National Council of Self Insurers Association (Board of Managers)
Order of the Barristers
Oakland County Bar Association
Public Risk Management Association
Polish Advocates Bar Association
State Bar of Michigan
Women Lawyers Association of Michigan

Practice Areas
Worker’s Compensation Law Section

Gerald M. Marcinkoski

Of Counsel

Jerry is semi-retired and currently acts as of counsel to the firm. He was the head of the firm’s appellate division and argued many of the most prominent workers’ compensation cases in the Michigan Supreme Court over the past decades. He is a fellow in the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers and has served as a member and president of the Michigan Board of Law Examiners. He has also served as executive secretary of the Michigan Self Insurers’ Association, a special assistant attorney general, a council member of the workers compensation section of the state bar, and case law editor of the state bar’s workers’ compensation newsletter. He was editor of the monthly periodical “Michigan Workers’ Comp Reporter,” and co-authored the book “Michigan Workers’ Comp Fundamentals.” He has won a Distinguished Brief award for a Supreme Court brief. He has been listed consistently in “Best Lawyers in America” since 2001.

Education
University of Detroit School of Law, J.D.
1980 Wayne State University, B.A. 1974

Memberships
State Bar of Michigan
United States Supreme Court
Sixth Circuit court of Appeals

D. Michael McCann

Of Counsel

Admitted to the Bar in 1977,  U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan
Admitted to the U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit, 1990

Education
Western Michigan University (B.S., 1973)
University of Detroit School of Law (J.D., 1977)

Memberships
Attorney Discipline Board Panel Member
Employment Discrimination and Labor Law
Michigan Defense Trial Counsel
State Bar of Michigan

Practice Areas
Negligence Law
Trial Practice and Workers’ Compensation Law.

Kathleen McNichol Behn

Of Counsel

Admitted to the Bar in 1981, Michigan and U.S. District Court Eastern District of Michigan; 1992, U.S. Supreme Court; 1996, U.S. District Court, Western District of Michigan.

Education
Michigan State University (B.S. with honor, 1975)
Wayne State University (M.B.A., 1978; J.D., 1980)

Memberships
State Bar of Michigan
Oakland County Bar Association
Michigan Defense Trial Counsel
Mediation Tribunal Association
Women Lawyers Association of Michigan

Practice Areas
Civil Practice, Negligence, Insurance Defense Law.

J. Patrick O’Neill

Partner

Admitted to the Bar in 1987, Michigan and US. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan
Admitted to Florida Bar, 1990

Education
Wayne State University (B.S., 1980)
Detroit College of Law (J.D., 1987)

Memberships
State Bar of Michigan (Workers’ Compensation Section)
Michigan Self Insurers’ Association
State Bar of Florida

Practice Areas
Workers’ Compensation, Patent Intellectual Property, Social Security Disability Law.
Admitted to practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office, 2014

Robert H. Orlowski, Jr.

Partner

Admitted to the Bar in 1990, State of Michigan and U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan

Education
University of Michigan (B.A., 1987)
Wayne State University (J.D., 1990)
American Jurisprudence Award (Trusts and Decedents’ Estates).

Memberships
State Bar of Michigan (Workers’ Disability Compensation Section)
Michigan Self-Insurers’ Association
Workers’ Disability Compensation Section and Federal Bar Association

Practice Areas
Workers’ Compensation Law

Robert L. Beardslee

Of Counsel

Admitted to the Bar in 1978, Michigan and U. S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan; 1988, U.S. Supreme Court

Education
Michigan State University (B.A., 1973)
Wayne State University (J.D., 1977)

Memberships
State Bar of Michigan (Business Law, Family Law, Probate and Estate Planning Sections).
Creditor’s Rights, Estate Planning law
State Bar of Michigan (Workers’ Compensation Section)
Council of Workers’ CompensationSection of the Michigan State Bar
Advocates Bar Association; Michigan Self Insurers’ Association.
Presents talks on workers’ compensation matters to the Michigan Self Insurers’ Association, the Association of General Contractors, the Chamber of Commerce, Michigan Evaluation Specialists, and the Institute of Continuing Legal Education.

Practice Areas
Appellate Practice
Workers’ Compensation
Personal Injury Law
Workers’ Disability Compensation Section and Federal Bar Association

Sean J. Powers

Partner

Admitted to the Bar in 1989, State of Michigan and U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan

Education
University of Michigan (B.A., 1986)
Wayne State University (J.D., 1989)

Recipient: American Jurisprudence Award. Litigator: Moot Court. Elected Officer: The Federalist Society for Law & Public Policy Studies.

Memberships
State Bar of Michigan (Workers’ Compensation Section)
Michigan Self-Insurers’ Association

Practice Areas
Workers’ Compensation Law.

Michael R. Sugar

Of Counsel

Admitted to the Bar in 1975, Michigan.

Education
University of Michigan (B.A., 1970)
Wayne State University (J.D., 1974)

Memberships
State Bar of Michigan

Practice Areas
Workers’ Compensation
Social Security Disability
Medicare and Elder Law

Ronald A. Weglarz

Senior Associate

Admitted to the Bar in 1981, Michigan and U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan; U.S. Supreme Court in 1986

Education
University of Michigan (B.A. 1978, With Distinction)
University of Detroit School of Law (J.D., 1981)
Wayne State University (L.L.M. Labor Law, Pending Completion of Thesis)

Memberships
State Bar of Michigan (Workers’ Compensation & Labor Law Sections)
Michigan Self-Insurers’ Association
ALFA International (Workers’ Compensation Section)

Practice Areas
Workers’ Compensation
Appellate Law

Dennis E. Zacharski

Of Counsel

Admitted to the Bar in 1977, Michigan and U.S. District Court,
Admitted to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1988 and U.S. Court of
Appeals Sixth Circuit in 1990
Admitted to the Ohio Bar in 1993
Eastern and Western Districts of Michigan

Education
University of Michigan (B.B.A., 1973)
Michigan State University College of Law (J.D., Cum Laude, 1976)

Memberships
Association of Defense Trial Counsel
Michigan State Bar Association
Michigan Defense Trial Counsel
Mediation Tribunal Association 
Michigan Super Lawyers 2009-12
Ohio State Bar Association

Practice Areas
Insurance Law
Negligence
Trial Practice

News

Driedric v. State of Michigan, Chippewa Regional Correctional Facility, 2018 ACO #9

Driedric v. State of Michigan, Chippewa Regional Correctional Facility, 2018 ACO #9

1. PROCEDURAL HISTORY a. Magistrate grants open award b. Defendant argues no pathological change 2. FACTS a. Cancer/pre-existing hernia b. Plaintiff chases an inmate, notices bulge in abdomen; question of physical contact c. Treating physician’s history lacks details on pre-existing condition 3. DECISION a. WCAC reverses given treating doctor’s lack of knowledge about the specifics […]

Kelley v. General Motors, 2018 ACO #14

Kelley v. General Motors, 2018 ACO #14

1. PROCEDURAL HISTORY a. Magistrate ruled in favor of plaintiff b. Magistrate found defendant erroneously reduced plaintiff’s benefits when it included plaintiff’s Social Security disability benefits in the formula used to coordinate pension 2. FACTS a. Pursuant to a new Collective Bargaining Agreement with the UAW, defendant changed policy as to pension disability benefits being […]

Arnett v. Tradesmen International, 2018 ACO #20

Arnett v. Tradesmen International, 2018 ACO #20

1. PROCEDURAL HISTORY a. Magistrate Timmons is partially reversed and partially remanded. Both parties appeal the findings and calculations as it relates to a partial disability rate 2. FACTS a. Plaintiff injured his back lifting re-rod and received full disability benefits two years, then partial disability benefits until terminated on IME b. Plaintiff had a […]

Bessinger v. Our Lady of Good Counsel, 2018 ACO #23

Bessinger v. Our Lady of Good Counsel, 2018 ACO #23

1. PROCEDURAL HISTORY a. Magistrate Boyle granted defendant’s Petition to Stop 2. FACTS a. Employment Application for a prior employer showed employee was an auto mechanic b. This information not disclosed to the voc experts 3. DECISION a. WCAC affirms Magistrate’s decision b. Since experts reached their conclusions about wage earning capacity without knowledge of […]