Menu

MEET THE TEAM

seward

T. Joseph Seward

Joe is a partner and founding member of SPH. He has over thirty years of litigation experience. He specializes in municipal law, personal injury defense, property preservation litigation, and insurance defense. He is well known in the legal community for his expertise in police misconduct cases. Michigan Lawyers Weekly has coined him the Policeman’s Advocate, a well-deserved moniker. His success in the courtroom is unparalleled and second to none. He has tried well over fifty cases involving allegations of police misconduct, all but two of which resulted in defense verdicts in favor of his clients.

Education

Detroit College of Law, J.D.
Wayne State University, B.A.

Presentations

Police Liability, FBI National Academy

Honors and Awards

  • Recognized as Super Lawyer by Michigan Super Lawyers (2014, 2015, and 2016)
  • Recognized as Top Lawyer by Michigan Top Lawyers (2015)
  • Recognized as Leader in the Law by Michigan Lawyers Weekly (2011)
  • Recognized as Top Lawyer by dBusiness Magazine (2010 and 2014)

Notable Cases

  • Auto Owners v. Olympia Entertainment, 310 Mich. App. 132 (2015), leave denied by 498 Mich. 949 (2015) (dram shop case in which the Michigan Court of Appeals held, inter alia, that only the liquor licensee can be held liable under the dram shop act)
  • Latits v. Phillips, 298 Mich. App. 109 (2012) (deadly force case in which the Michigan Court of Appeals granted governmental immunity to an officer)
  • Bowers v. Livingston County, 426 Fed. Appx. 371 (2011) (jail case in which the Sixth Circuit granted summary judgment to a county and a sheriff on deliberate indifference claims arising out of inmates’ contraction of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus)
  • Dunn v. Matatall, 549 F.3d 348 (6th Cir. 2008) (case in which the Sixth Circuit granted summary judgment to an officer on excessive force claims arising out of a high-speed chase)

  • Odom v. Wayne County, 482 Mich. 459 (2008) (case in which the Michigan Supreme Court clarified the standard applicable to governmental immunity for intentional torts)
  • Willett v. Waterford Township, 271 Mich. App. 38 (2006) (sewage discharge case in which the Michigan Court of Appeals granted governmental immunity to a township)
  • Bradley v. City of Ferndale, 148 Fed. Appx. 499 (6th Cir. 2005) (jail death case in which the Sixth Circuit granted qualified immunity to officers and held—for the first time—that a denial of governmental immunity on a pendent state claim is a final, appealable order)
  • Kowalski v. City of Livonia, 267 Mich. App. 517 (2005) (case in which the Michigan Court of Appeals held that a franchise fee did not constitute a new tax that required voter approval under the Headlee Amendment to the Michigan Constitution)

  • Horace v. City of Pontiac, 456 Mich. 744 (1998) (defective building case in which the Michigan Supreme Court held that a walkway leading to a public building did not fall within the public building exception to governmental immunity)
  • Page v. City of Southfield, 45 F.3d 128 (6th Cir. 1995) (case in which the Sixth Circuit held—as a matter of first impression—that the federal removal statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1441, et seq., does not authorize a District Court to remand a case sua sponte for a perceived defect in the removal procedure)
  • Malcolm v. City of East Detroit, 437 Mich. 132 (1991) (case in which the Michigan Supreme Court held that the Emergency Medical Services Act, when construed in conjunction with the Governmental Tort Liability Act, foreclosed direct liability on the part of a governmental entity)

  • Ostoin v. Waterford Township Police Department, 189 Mich. App. 334 (1991) (case in which the Michigan Court of Appeals recognized—for the first time—the existence of a deliberative process privilege in the State of Michigan)
  • Van Dike v. AMF, 146 Mich. App. 176 (1985) (products liability case in which the Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed a directed verdict in favor of a seller of an allegedly defective trampoline)

Henderson

Kali M. L. Henderson

Kali is a partner and founding member of SPH. She specializes in municipal law, insurance defense, and general civil litigation. Her ability to obtain a favorable result on a consistent basis is due, in large part, to her mastery of the discovery process. She takes a proactive and aggressive approach to discovery. Her approach allows her to control the direction of the case, streamline the litigation, and minimize exposure to liability. Her clients frequently express appreciation for her meticulousness and attention to detail throughout the discovery process.

Education

University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, J.D. (with honors)
Michigan State University, B.A.

Presentations

Litigation Avoidance, Local Police Department

Honors and Awards

  • Recognized as Rising Star by Michigan Super Lawyers (2014, 2015, and 2016)
  • Named to Hour Detroit’s List of Top Women Attorneys in Michigan (2015, 2016, and 2017)
  • Recognized as Top Lawyer by Michigan Top Lawyers (2015)
  • Member of Law Review

 

  • Member of Moot Court Board of Advocates and Executive Board
  • Recipient of Dean’s Scholarship
  • Member of Dean’s Honor Society
  • Recipient of Book Awards in Applied Legal Theory and Analysis, Federal Jurisdiction, and International Law

Michael T. Berger

Mike is an associate attorney who specializes in municipal law, personal injury defense, toxic tort litigation, and family law. During the first year of his career, he first chaired multiple trials in which he obtained favorable results—an accomplishment shared by very few attorneys. He has a strong presentation in the courtroom. He knows how to pick his battles, fight his battles, and win his battles.

Education

Thomas M. Cooley Law School, J.D.
Michigan State University, B.S.

 

Honors and Awards

  • Honors Scholarship
  • Dean’s List

michael

David Daniel Burress

Mr. Burress is an associate attorney who joins the firm after serving as research attorney in the Livingston County Circuit Court. He brings to the firm knowledge of a wide range of legal topics and an ability to anticipate his opponents. During his tenure with the Court, he authored numerous opinions and bench memoranda, and presided over settlement conferences in class action lawsuits, contract and property disputes, and administrative appeals from township Zoning Boards. He is dedicated to the cause of his client and is skilled at taking control over complex details in order to bring cases to resolution.

Education

Juris Doctor
SUNY Buffalo Law School, 2013

Bachelor of Arts, magna cum laude
Binghamton University, 2007

 

Honors and Awards

  • Member of Law Review

Presentations

Candor Toward the Tribunal, University of Detroit Mercy Law School, Small Firm Practice Class

David

Michael Knoblock

Mr. Knoblock brings a variety of experience to the firm. As a judicial law clerk, he conducted significant research into a variety of all legal matters before the court, and drafted many bench memos along with judicial opinions. He learned about the inner workings of the Court, which is extremely valuable now that he focuses his practice exclusively on litigation. After joining private practice, he focused primarily on personal injury matters, mainly involving automobile negligence, and criminal defense. He conducted legal research, drafted legal documents, and gained significant courtroom experience, including trial experience. Practicing in the area of criminal law familiarized him with the constitutional issues that police officers or other members of law enforcement face and this experience provides a unique perspective when defending them in civil litigation.
Michael