Frederick W. Lauck, author and long time trial lawyer, was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan… a Motown child of Greatest Generation parents. He graduated from St. Scholastica Grade School… a product of Dominican Nuns (1957), and Detroit Catholic Central High School… a product of Basilian Priests (1961). After attending the New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell, New Mexico and the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Fred transferred to the University of Detroit on an NCAA football scholarship, finishing his undergraduate education, graduating cum laude, with a Bachelor of Science degree, majoring in Mathematics and minoring in Chemistry and Philosophy… a product of Jesuit education (1965).
After working briefly as a Computer Programmer for Ford Motor, Fred started at the University of Detroit Law School in the fall of 1966 and graduated in the spring of 1969… more Jesuit education. Fred is a member of the State Bar of Michigan and the State Bar of California. He has been a sole practitioner, Trial Lawyer for more than four decades handling numerous trials… personal injury, civil rights, criminal, commercial and divorce… obtaining substantial verdicts and recoveries for clients as well as numerous “not guilty” verdicts in criminal cases.
- Michigan Lawyers Weekly… Michigan Lawyers Hall of Fame
- State Bar of Michigan… Champion of Justice.
- 2006-Present… Michigan Super Lawyer.
- Detroit Mercy Urban Law Clinic… Student for the Ages.
- National Jesuit Honor Society
- Detroit Mercy Law School… Alumnus of the Year.
- University of Detroit, football and academics… Gus Dorais Award.
- Catholic Central High School… Alumnus of the Year.
- Catholic Central… Athletic Hall of Fame.
TRIAL LAWYER HIGHLIGHTS
PROTECTING… THE COMMON MAN AND THE FORGOTTEN WOMAN
- $500… recovery against the City of Detroit in a Federal Civil Rights case (42 USC 1983) involving a white Detroit cop who pulled over a young black motorist, searched him, pocketed the $250 in cash he found on him and then let him go. But, it wasn’t right to let the cop go… even though the amount of effort in legal representation far outweighed the recovery obtained.
- $400… breach of contract recovery against Greyhound Bus for Joy Pearson and her two boys (ages nine and eleven) who were passed by at a Greyhound bus stop in Cheboygan, Michigan… as they stood at the bus stop with fully prepaid bus tickets in hand, waiting for their return trip home to the Detroit area (Hazel Park). The mother and her two young sons were left stranded in Cheboygan, requiring the Mother (who could not afford air fare) to borrow money to fly home so she didn’t lose her job. And, Greyhound’s attitude???… cavalier at best. Greyhound “couldn’t care less” about the “forgotten woman” of limited means, left behind at the bus stop to fend for herself and her two young sons, in a strange land.
PROTECTING THE INJURED… IN PERSONAL INJURY CASES
- $2.4 Million Jury Verdict (Federal Court… 42 USC 1983 Civil Rights case) against the City of Detroit for a “homeless” Detroit teenager who suffered a “traumatic brain injury” and subsequent schizophrenia during an (excessive force) arrest by two Detroit cops in the Renaissance Hotel in Detroit where the “homeless”teenager had gone to seek shelter from the harsh Detroit winter (No offer to settle before or during Trial).
- $3.9 Million recovery after Defendants’ appeals.
- $1.8 Million Wrongful Death recovery (in Oakland County)… for a Hubble, Roth & Clark engineer killed in a work-site, natural gas explosion which blew up downtown Rochester, Michigan.
- $1.2 Million Counterclaim Jury Verdict (in Oakland County)… for seven lawyers who were Defendants on a Law Firm split up case. The Jury denied the 4 million dollar claim of the two senior members of the Law Firm and awarded Fred’s seven lawyer clients 1.2 million on their counterclaim (no offer to settle counterclaim before or during trial). A comic vignette of this case is presented in Fred’s third book The Fightin’ Irish of Detroit in Chapter XVIII, The Iceman Cometh.
- $8.1 Million Jury Verdict (in Oakland County)… for an electrician seriously injured at a hotel construction site during a crane lift operation in windy conditions. Plaintiff turned down a 3.9 million Case Evaluation Settlement and opted for a Jury trial against four Defendants (Etkin Skanska, Whaley Steel, Baker Concrete and Connolly Crane… represented by five separate Law Firms).
- $2.3 Million Wrongful Death recovery (in Wayne County)… for the daughter of two Judges who was killed in an auto accident by a run-away pickup truck claiming “stuck accelerator.”
- $900,000 recovery (in Oakland County)… for a concert-goer who was partially paralyzed while diving into a water run-off retention pond at the Pine Knob Theatre (now DTE Theatre) after a “J. Geils Band” concert.
- $750,000 Counterclaim Jury Verdict (in Wayne County) in a commercial case involving the sale of a gay bar by the Plaintiff seller to the Defendant buyer. When the Plaintiff seller saw the newfound success that the Defendant buyer was having with the bar, the Plaintiff seller got a bad case of seller’s regret, backed out of the sale, escrowed the liquor license and sued the defendant buyer for made up fictitious claims… that the Jury saw through in a heartbeat as it awarded Fred’s client $750,000 on Defendant’s counterclaim. (no offer to settle before or during trial.) This somewhat hilarious melodrama is covered in Fred’s third book, The Fightin Irish of Detroit.
- $475,000 recovery… (Federal Court… 42 USC 1983 Civil Rights case) against the Southfield Police Dept. for a “traumatic brain injury” victim of police excessive force.
- $475,000 Jury Verdict (in Wayne County) for a cafeteria worker who injured her knee in a slip and fall accident at a General Motors plant (No offer to settle before or during trial).
- $350,000 Jury Verdict (in Wayne County) for a University of Detroit Mercy baseball player who was shot during a verbal altercation in downtown Windsor, Canada just across the Detroit River. (No offer to settle before or during Trial).
- $300,000 Jury Verdict (in Ingham County) for a “traumatic brain injury” victim of an auto accident. (No offer to settle before or during Trial).
- $375,000 recovery (in Federal Court) in a “product liability” case for an auto mechanic injured by a defective jack… after a ten-day trial. (no offer to settle until the Jury was about to deliberate).
- $340,000 Jury Verdict (in Wayne County) for a dentist injured in an auto accident. ($20,000 Case Evaluation accepted by Plaintiff and rejected by Defendant… with a $5,000 settlement offer on the day of trial).
PROTECTING THE ACCUSED… IN CRIMINAL CASES
People v. Ed May
A lawyer and con man, Ed May, “fleeced” many victims in an investment scheme, including Detroit Tiger baseball players. As a Wayne County Prosecutor, Fred convicted Ed May and Ed May was disbarred. Later, Ed May (not one to learn from the errors of his ways) continued his financial con games against other victims and sits in prison today waiting to die… an old man of 80 who ruined many lives, including his own.
Charged with two counts of Assault with Intent to Murder at a General Motor’s Forge Plant for intentionally shooting his foreman and accidentally and superficially wounding the daughter of Richard Gerstenberg (CEO and Chairman of the Board of General Motors)… an epic David and Goliath battle with Fred (a court appointed lawyer) and his fourth grade educated client, Robert Smith, squaring off against the Detroit Police Department, the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, General Motors and famed Harvard psychiatrist, Dr. Ames Robey (attorney F. Lee Bailey’s nemesis in the Albert DeSalvo Boston Strangler case). “Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity.” Robert Smith was released from a psychiatric lock-up 29 days after the “not guilty” verdict and went back home to his wife and three children. This intriguing, Courtroom psychodrama is covered in Chapter XV of Fred’s first book, Children of the Greatest Generation.
Coined the “Devil Murder Case” by the press, Bruce Ramsey was charged with First Degree Murder for the (“let the Devil out”) ritual stabbing of his wife. “Not Guilty” of First Degree Murder, but “Guilty but Mentally Ill” of Second Degree Murder. People v. Ramsey wound up in the Michigan Supreme Court where Fred argued (unsuccessfully) that the new “Guilty, but Mentally Ill” verdicts were unconstitutional because they “deceived” Jurors into convicting on the mistaken belief that “Guilty but Mentally Ill” Defendants would receive psychiatric care while in prison. The reality… there was virtually no psychiatric care. The Michigan Supreme Court’s upholding of the “Guilty but Mentally Ill” verdicts began the unconscionable “warehousing” of the “mentally ill” in Michigan’s prison system… an unconscionable “warehousing” of mentally ill prisoners that continues today in Michigan and across America.
Charged with First Degree Murder in a dispute over “loud music” in an apartment complex in Ypsilanti, Michigan… “Not Guilty” on all counts. A comic retelling of the John Calvin trial is covered in Chapter XVII… Hardass Prosecutor in Fred’s third book; The Fightin’ Irish of Detroit.
Charged with First Degree Murder, 18-year-old, Raymond Brown stood trial and listened as Detroit P.D. homicide Detective, Jimmy Harris, read a phony, seven-page “confession” allegedly written and signed by Raymond Brown. “Not Guilty” on all counts… prompting newspaper coverage on the front page of the Detroit Free Press and Detroit News. A short time later, Detective Jimmy Harris was convicted of protecting illegal drug shipments coming into Detroit Metro Airport and served a couple decades in prison before he was released to die in 2014. Fred also represented co-Defendant, Arthur Jackson… “Not Guilty” on all counts.
Charged with First Degree Murder in the death of a Melvindale High school football Coach, Albert Liggetti, killed in a parking lot bar fight as the Coach and his friends were on the way to a retirement party for a Melvindale police officer… making Andrew Jackson Payne a persona non grata with the police and with the Court in Melvindale, Michigan. “Not Guilty” on all counts. The Payne case is covered in Chapter XIX, Dancin’ with Knives in Fred’s third book The Fightin’ Irish of Detroit.
Dewayne McKenzie… a 27-year-old from Taylor, Michigan whose alcoholic father had been badly beaten by a local pimp in the “Cass Corridor” section of Downtown Detroit. When the pimp, Fred Baker, was later shot (and survived), Dewayne McKenzie was charged with Assault with Intent to Murder… “Not Guilty” on all counts. A “comic” vignette of the McKenzie trial is covered in Chapter X… American Folk Hero of Fred’s third book The Fightin’ Irish of Detroit.
Patrick Mulligan was in his second floor, Brownstown apartment dozing off on the couch when he heard the engine of his pick-up truck start. He immediately went to the gun case, pulled out a loaded rifle and proceeded to the second story window of his apartment. As his pick-up truck was being backed out of a parking space by a thief, Patrick opened the window and fired a cluster of five high-powered rifle shots into the front windshield. The pick-up continued straight back, jumped the curb and continued on in reverse until it got bogged down in mud. The thief was dead behind the wheel and Patrick was charged with Manslaughter. Fred defended the case on the basis of the right of a citizen to make an arrest, and on a little known, seldom used “common law” rule that allows an ordinary citizen to use fatal force to stop a fleeing felon… not self defense, but fatal force to stop a fleeing felon where the force is “necessary” to stop the felon’s flight. Jury verdict: Not Guilty.
Joe Walker, the teenage son of a “high profile” (and outstanding) Trial Lawyer in the Detroit area, drank alcohol at a friend’s house and then left for home in his car… under the cover of darkness. On the way home, Walker was driving past his own Brother Rice High School in upscale Birmingham, Michigan, southbound on Lahser Road when… an older gentleman and his female companion (who, ironically, had just left an Alcoholic Anonymous meeting) drove straight out onto Lasher Road into Walker’s path with no headlights on, coming out of a “black hole”… a very limited visibility area on an unlit street without a reflective street sign. Walker’s vehicle collided with the older gentleman’s vehicle, and both the older gentleman and his companion were killed. Except for Walker’s underage alcohol consumption, he would not even have been the target of a criminal investigation. When the police arrived, they claimed they “smelled” the “odor” of alcohol on Walker’s breath. On the basis of the “odor” of alcohol (and the not-at-fault accident), the cops obtained a search warrant for a blood alcohol test… which indicated that Walker’s blood alcohol was over the threshold for operating a vehicle in Michigan. Walker was charged with Manslaughter. The Defense centered on the challenge to the Search Warrant… including a great quote from an Ohio case: “the mere ‘odor’ of alcohol on the breath is no more indicative of ‘intoxication’ and Drunk Driving than the ‘odor’ of food is of gluttony.” In the face of stiff resistance to the Search Warrant challenge, Walker eventually took a Holmes Youthful Trainee plea (without any admission of guilt), was given a short term of probation, after which all charges were dropped. Walker went on to become a very successful lawyer.
A 21-year-old Holy Redeemer High School grad, apprentice carpenter and nephew of Patrick Foley (former Prosecutor who was once the Chief of Homicide in Wayne County) was charged with two counts of First Degree Murder for a blood bath shoot out on St. Patrick’s Day 2001 at a “Blind Pig” (on Jefferson Avenue in Detroit… right across from the hard scrabble, industrial complex on Zug Island). Framed by four Southwest Detroit “Cash Flow Posse” gang members… “Not Guilty” on all counts. The Sandoval case is covered in Chapter II… St. Patrick’s Day Massacre of Fred’s third book The Fightin’ Irish of Detroit.
An over-the-road Canadian truck driver who was involved in a fiery crash on M59 in White Lake, Michigan that resulted in the death of Kristin McClain… daughter of Detroit Tiger baseball legend, Denny McClain (31 game winner for the Detroit Tiger’s 1968 World Championship team). Martin was charged with Manslaughter. After a five-day preliminary exam and the testimony of the Prosecution’s five expert witnesses, all charges were thrown out and all subsequent efforts by the Oakland County Prosecutor to reinstate the case were denied by the Court of Appeals and the Michigan Supreme Court.
An over-the-road truck driver left Chicago in the early morning hours, and later, while heading east bound on I-94 just outside of St. Joseph, Michigan… drove up an ascending lane of the I-94 freeway and, right after cresting the top of the hill, crashed into a stopped line of vehicles causing a chain reaction, fiery collision in which four people in four separate vehicles were killed. Nawrocki was charged with four counts of “Negligent Homicide”… “Not Guilty” on all counts.
A First Degree Murder case involving security guard, Michael Wade. The charges arose out of Michael Wade’s security guard duties while watching over the Detroit Police Impound yard. The “verbal response” of the Jury at the end of deliberations… “NOT GUILTY.” But, the Trial Judge was still able to guarantee the conviction she wanted by: (1) rejecting the Michigan Supreme Court’s “standard” Jury Verdict Form and (2) substituting her own (handcrafted) unconstitutional Jury Verdict Form… a Jury Verdict Form that left the Jury no choice but to check off the “Guilty of Manslaughter” box on the bottom of her Honor’s “rigged” Jury Verdict Form. Bottom line—Michael Wade, a “classic contradiction”… acquitted and convicted at the very same time. After three years of appeals (with Michael Wade languishing in prison), the Michigan Court of Appeals set aside Michael Wade’s conviction and the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission chastised her Honor for using an unconstitutional Jury Verdict Form that deprived Michael Wade of his constitutional right to a decision by a Jury. The unconstitutional Jury Verdict Form that the trial Judge (and a few other Judges) used to unjustly convict defendants was forever banned. The Wade case is covered in detail in Fred’s first book, Children of the Greatest Generation, Chapter XVI, Detroit Judge… Slays Lady Justice. A résumé can also be found in the Wade case in Chapter XV… Judging the Judges of Fred’s third book The Fightin’ Irish of Detroit.
John Stetz and his friend Dalrymple were cruising around Belleville Lake on a warm summer evening in Dalrymple’s high-powered “cigarette” boat. Suddenly, the driver, feeling the urge to get up and go, opened the throttle. The “cigarette” responded and jumped out of the water as it planed on the surface of the lake heading straight ahead toward a dimly lit and idling Cabin Cruiser. As the “cigarette” boat hit close to top end speed, the bow of the “cigarette” boat impaled the bow of the Cabin Cruiser instantly killing a female passenger who was resting below deck in the sleeping quarters. The owner of the Cabin Cruiser was topside. He suffered broken bones in the collision and drowned when the impact threw him into the water. The “cigarette” boat owner, Dalrymple, also suffered broken bones in the collision and drowned when the impact threw him into the water. Only John Stetz survived. He was charged with Manslaughter in each of the three deaths with the police claiming that an impact circle of the “cigarette” boat steering wheel on Stetz’s chest (as well as some ambiguous statements from a dazed and injured John Stetz immediately after the accident) was evidence enough to put him behind the wheel at the time of the collision… even though he was not the boat’s owner. After the preliminary examination in Romulus, Michigan, Stetz was bound over for trial to the Wayne County Circuit Court. A motion to dismiss was filed in Wayne County Circuit Court for lack of reliable evidence to put John Stetz behind the wheel at the time of the collision. The motion was granted and the case dismissed.
Attorney, John Conlon, an officer in the United States Army, locked horns with his commanding officer and paid the price. John was scheduled to be court-martialed in an upcoming Monday morning hearing. Working all weekend, Fred filed a Federal lawsuit for deprivation of constitutional rights under 42 USC 1983. The case was assigned to Judge Thomas “Tiger” Thornton, a legendary, Hall of Fame football player at the University of Detroit in the 1920s and a legendary Judge thereafter. Judge “Tiger” Thornton granted Fred’s request for an Order to Show Cause requiring the U.S. Army to appear in Judge Thornton’s Courtroom and explain why the Army shouldn’t be permanently enjoined from proceeding with their court-martial. The Army refused to appear, opting instead to dismiss their court-martial, and John Conlon went on to a rewarding career as a Trial Lawyer in Kalamazoo/Portage Michigan. You gotta love America when two middle class, misfit kids can legally stop the U.S. Army in their tracks... “over hill, over dale as we walk the dusty trail and the caissons go rolling along.” A comic vignette of this episode is covered in Chapter XIV… Irish Legend of Fred’s third book The Fightin’ Irish of Detroit.
The Filaramos, a lovely older Italian couple, were charged with violation of a city ordinance re: too many cats and too many newspapers stacked up in their home. Although their lawyer, Jim Wells, had a legitimate medical reason for not appearing on the day set for trial, the Michigan District Court Judge, Craig Oster (ironically Fred’s lawyer years before his Honor became a Judge), convicted Mrs. Filaramo without her lawyer present, and scheduled her sentencing for a few weeks thereafter. After being retained, Fred filed a Federal lawsuit for violation of Mrs. Filaramo’s constitutional rights under 42 USC 1983 and obtained an Order to Show Cause, this one from Federal Judge, Ralph Freeman, who ordered Michigan Judge, Craig Oster, to appear before him and explain why Judge Oster should not be permanently enjoined from sentencing Mrs. Filaramo. As with the U.S. Army in the Conlon case, Judge Oster took a pass, did not appear before Judge Freeman and voluntarily set aside the sentencing and conviction. Again, you gotta love America.
(3) Supreme Court’s Attack on Children, Seniors and the Disabled (Lawyers Weekly 10/1/18)
(4) Socialist Tricksters of Tort Reform ( Lawyers Weekly 4/1/19)
A documentary told in the best tradition of Irish story telling. Fred’s documentary starts with the “flight of the starving Irish” seeking “sanctuary” from Ireland’s Great Potato Famine of the mid 1850s. Four generations and 100 years later, Fred’s documentary takes us on a entertaining and dramatic tour through the Detroit’s legal landscape as we visit “Courtrooms and Barrooms” and spend time with everyone from Detroit’s “elite” to Detroit’s murderous gang members. Fred finishes up with “a flurry of Fightin’ Irish uppercuts” as he pulls back the curtain and exposes the American Oligarchs and other Wizard of Oz establishment figures. In between Fred introduces us to all manner of colorful characters from Wall Streeters to Street fighters, from CEOs to Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn look-a-likes, from Hall of Famers to Hall of Shamers, from legit entrepreneurs to “blind pig” operators, from President Lincoln to President Trump and from Mona Lisa’s to Mad Hatters. As Michigan’s long-time Supreme Court Justice says, “If you like drama and entertainment, Fred’s book has your name on it.”
The Children of the Greatest Generation is a Story Dictionary. Turn to any chapter or any page and you land in the middle of an entertaining story… a story where you will see yourself, someone you know now or someone you once knew when. Just open the book up to any page, and step on the author’s magic carpet of words and photos, and be transported through the compelling “Lives and Times” of that most fortunate generation – the Children of the Greatest Generation.
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