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Joseph A. Starr's Profile Image

Joseph A. Starr

Phone: (248) 864-4934
Fax: (248) 353-6440
online at
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Joseph A. Starr is someone to whom clients know they can turn to with the issues they face as employers and business owners, including issues involving employment law and practices, professional liability claims, and commercial litigation matters.  With his knowledge and experience, Mr. Starr is a resource for his clients, providing them with information, expertise, and guidance.

Mr. Starr has earned a solid reputation with his extensive experience in the area of labor and employment law.  His litigation experience includes the defense of race, religious, national origin, age, sex, and disability discrimination, harassment, and retaliation claims.  He has also defended cases on behalf of his clients for wrongful discharge, invasion of privacy, employment-related defamation, breach of fiduciary duty, minority shareholder oppression, Whistleblowers Protection Act, and Family and Medical Leave Act claims.

Mr. Starr also offers specialized knowledge and skill in the defense of professional liability, handling claims involving:

  • Employment Practices
  • Legal Malpractice (including Attorney Discipline Defense)
  • Directors & Officers
  • Insurance Agents / Brokers
  • Real Estate Brokers
  • Home Inspectors
  • Architects & Engineers
  • Accountants
  • Insurance Adjusters
  • Public Entity Liability
  • General Liability

Mr. Starr regularly counsels businesses with regard to workplace violence, unemployment claims, OSHA investigations, EEOC/Michigan Department of Civil Rights Charges, National Labor Relations Board Unfair Labor Practices Charges and Department of Labor wage and hour disputes.  His transactional experience includes providing assistance to employers in developing customized employee handbooks, employment agreements, non-compete covenants, sexual harassment policies, and social networking and electronic privacy policies.

Mr. Starr’s professional practice is complimented by his experience and service in the field of alternative dispute resolution.  He serves as an Employment Panel Mediator for the Oakland and Wayne County Mediation Tribunals.  In addition, National Arbitration and Mediation ("NAM") selected Mr. Starr to serve as an Employment Panel arbitrator/mediator in the State of Michigan.

Before commencing his professional career, Mr. Starr graduated cum laude with his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.  He later attended Washington University School of Law in St. Louis, Missouri, graduating with his Juris Doctor degree in 1992.  During law school, he served as a Notes & Comments Editor for the Journal of Urban and Contemporary Law.

Practice Areas

  • Labor and Employment Law
  • Employment Practices Liability
  • Legal Professional Liability
  • Attorney Discipline Defense
  • Directors & Officers Liability
  • Miscellaneous Errors & Omissions
  • Monitoring Counsel
  • Appeals
  • Business Torts & Commercial Litigation
  • Executive Compensation & Employee Benefits
  • Fiduciary Liability (ERISA)
  • Architects, Engineers & Design Professionals
  • Accountants
  • Public Entity Liability

Education

  • University of Michigan, B.A. cum laude in English, 1989
  • Washington University School of Law, J.D. 1992

Admitted to Practice

  • All Michigan state courts
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan
  • United States Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of Michigan
  • United States Bankruptcy Court, Western District of Michigan
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Michigan
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

Professional Memberships

  • State Bar of Michigan, Council Member Labor and Employment Law Section (2007 – 2011)
  • Oakland County Bar Association, Member
  • Defense Research Institute, Member Employment Law Steering Committee
  • Council on Litigation Management, former Chairperson for the State of Michigan
  • Professional Liability Underwriting Society

Achievements

  • “A-V” directory rated lawyer by Martindale-Hubbell
  • Best’s Directory of Recommended Insurance Attorneys
  • 2013 - Present: The Best Lawyers in America
  • 2007 - Present: Michigan Super Lawyer, selected by the publication Law & Politics
  • 2008-2011: Michigan Super Lawyer, Corporate Counsel Edition for Employment & Labor Law
  • 2011 - Present: Michigan Super Lawyer, Business Edition
  • 2009, 2015 Top Lawyers in the State of Michigan, by DBusiness, a bi-monthly Detroit area business publication
  • 2015 - Present: Michigan Leading Lawyers - Employment Law: Management

Publications

  • Employment Litigation in Michigan, Third Edition (ICLE), "Initial Considerations in the Employment Case: The Defense Perspective," Chapter Co-Author (December 2015)
  • Employees Beware: The CFAA Provides Employers with a Cause of Action Against Employees Who Destroy Company Digital Data, State Bar of Michigan’s Labor and Employment Lawnotes (December 2006) (co-author)

  • Retaliatory Co-Worker Harassment in Michigan, Oakland County Bar Association’s monthly magazine, Laches (August 2001)

Speaking Engagements

  • "Joint Employment Jeopardy: From the NLRB to the DOL and Beyond –The New Interpretation Poses Liability", 3rd Annual (Spring Session) National Employment Practices Liability Insurance ExecuSummit, in Scottsdale, AZ (April 2017)
  • "The Fissured Workplace and the Expanding Scope of Joint Employer Liability: Crucial Considerations for Franchisors/Franchisees, the Continuing Fallout of the NLRB's Browning-Ferris Decision on Who Is a Joint Employer, and Implications for Employers from a Policy Perspective," American Conference Institute's 25th Annual Conference on Employment Practices Liability Insurance, in New York, NY (January 2017)
  • "The Role of Mediation and Arbitration in the Professional Liability Context and Successfully Representing a Client at Both,"  American Conference Institute's Advanced Forum on LPL/Legal Malpractice, in New York, NY (October 2016)
  • "The Triangular Relationship of Carriers, Insureds, and Defense Counsel: Defending an EPL Claim, Litigation Guidelines and Billing, Settlement and Agendas, Coverage Issues, Cost Effective Ways to Work Together, Minimizing Ethical Issues, and More," American Conference Institute's 24th Annual Conference on Employment Practices Liability Insurance, in New York, NY (January 2016)
  • "EPL Risk Management "Best Practices": From Cradle to Claim," 11th Annual National Employment Practices Liability Insurance ExecuSummit, in Uncasville, CT (September 2015)
  • "Legalized Marijuana, Medical Marijuana, and Bringing Concealed Weapons Into the Workplace: The Implications for Employers and Coverage," American Conference Institute's 23rd Annual Conference on Employment Practices Liability Insurance, in New York, NY (July 2015)
  • "Social/interactive Media: Identifying Potential Pitfalls with Social Media and the Impact on Firm Management," American Conference Institute's Advanced Forum on LPL/Legal Malpractice Claims & Litigation, in New York, NY (November 2014).
  • "Current Trends in Workplace Harassment and Discrimination: Transgender, Racial, Age and Gender Claims," American Conference Institute's 21st Annual Conference on Employment Practices Liability Insurance, in Chicago, IL (June 2014)
  • "The Inevitable - Termination," National Webinar Presented by ePlace Solutions (June 2014)
  • "Emerging EPL Risks With a Social & Mobile Workforce," Professional Liability Underwriting Society - Professional Risk Symposium: EPL, E&O and Fiduciary, in Atlanta, GA (April 2014)
  • "Current Trends in Workplace Harassment and Discrimination: Transgender, Racial, Age and Gender Claims," American Conference Institute's 20th Annual Conference on Employment Practices Liability Insurance, in New York, NY (January 2014)
  • "The New Era of Retaliation and Whistleblowing Claims: What this Means for Employers and How they Can Protect Themselves," American Conference Institute’s 19th Annual Conference on Employment Practices Liability Insurance, in San Francisco, CA (June 2013)
  • "And the Beat Goes On - EPLI in President Obama's Second Term," Professional Liability Underwriting Society - Professional Risk Symposium: EPL, E&O and Fiduciary, in Chicago, IL (April 2013)
  • "The New Era of Retaliation and Whistleblowing Claims: What this Means for Employers and How they Can Protect Themselves," American Conference Institute’s 18th Annual Conference on Employment Practices Liability Insurance, in New York, NY (January 2013)
  • "Termination Bombs," National Webinar Presented by ePlace Solutions, Inc. (November 2012)
  • "Communication Methods that Minimize the Risk of Malpractice Claims: Effective Engagement, Disengagement & Fee Procedures and How to Work Through Existing, Emergent or Potential Conflicts of Interest," American Conference Institute's Advanced Forum on LPL/Legal Malpractice Claims & Litigation, in New York, NY (June 2012).
  • "You Can’t Tweet or Post That!  How Carriers, Risk Managers and Defense Counsel Can Manage Evolving Employment Practices Liability Claims and Risk Management Concerns Arising From Both Employees’ and Employers’ Use of Social Media," Council on Litigation Management Annual Conference, in San Diego, CA (March 2012)
  • "How Carriers, Insureds, and Defense Counsel Can Best Work Together to Ensure Ethical Conduct in the Management, Litigation, and Settlement of EPL Claims," American Conference Institute’s 17th Annual Conference on Employment Practices Liability Insurance, in New York, NY (January 2012) 
  • "You Can't Do That to ME! Developments in Whistleblower and Anti-Retaliation Laws," Professional Liability Underwriting Society's (PLUS) 24th Annual International Conference, in San Diego, CA (November 2011)
  • Co-Chair of the 6th Annual National EPLI ExecuSummit in Uncasville, CT, including a presentation entitled: Panel Counsel Relationships - Do's & Don'ts (September 2011)
  • "Employment Terminations," National Audio Conference Series Presented by ePlace Solutions, Inc. (September 2011)
  • “Social Media and Employment Law,” State Bar of Michigan Annual Meeting (8th Annual Solo & Small Firm Institute) (September 2011)
  • "EPL Claims Handlers Can Work Together to Minimize Damages in Employment Cases," Council on Litigation Management Annual Conference, in New Orleans, LA (March 2011)
  • "Addressing EPL Concerns Arising From Employee and Employer Use of Social Networking/Social Media," American Conference Institute’s 16th Annual Conference on Employment Practices Liability Insurance, in New York, NY (January 2011)
  • "Employment Terminations - Reduce Your Risks," National Audio Conference Series Presented by ePlace Solutions, Inc. (November 2010)
  • Co-Chair of the 5th Annual National EPLI ExecuSummit in Uncasville, CT, including a presentation entitled: Risk Management: Can We Quantify the Value of the Add-On to the EPL Product? (September 2010)
  • Leader, Round Table Discussion on Best Practices for Case Evaluation for the State Bar of Michigan, Labor and Employment Law Section Springboard (June 2010)
  • "Employment Practices Liability Insurance - The Top 10 Myths Debunked!," 35th Annual Labor & Employment Law Institute, The Michigan Institute of Continuing Legal Education (April 2010)
  • "How Carriers, Insureds, and Defense Counsel Can Best Work Together to Reduce EPL Risks and Minimize Costs," American Conference Institute’s 15th Annual Conference on Employment Practices Liability Insurance, in New York, NY (January 2010)
  • "Employment Terminations," National Audio Conference Series Presented by ePlace Solutions, Inc. (October 2009)
  • Co-Chair of the 4th Annual National EPLI ExecuSummit in Uncasville, CT, including presentations entitled: Ethical Dilemmas between Defendant Counsel, Claims Counsel and the Insured and Handling Tough Insureds (September 2009)
  • "Layoffs, RIF’s and Terminations," National Audio Conference Series Presented by YourHRDepartment.com (October 2008)
  • "Mediation Best Practices," State Bar of Michigan - Labor and Employment Law Section’s Annual Meeting in Dearborn, MI (September 2008)
  • "Beyond the Position Statement: Limiting Exposure When an EEOC or State Agency Investigation Goes Sideways," 3rd Annual National EPLI ExecuSummit in New York, NY (September 2008)
  • "How to Terminate Employees with Confidence," National Audio Conference Series Presented by YourHRDepartment.com (September 2007)
  • "The Impact of the Electronic Revolution on EPLI," Professional Liability Underwriting Society - Employment Practices Liability Symposium in Los Angeles, CA (May 2007)
  • "Employment Practices Liability Insurance: What Every Employment Lawyer Should Know," State Bar of Michigan - Labor and Employment Law Section’s Annual Meeting (September 2006)
  • "Avoiding Potential Conflicts of Interest between Insureds and Defense Counsel," Professional Liability Underwriting Society - Employment Practices Liability Symposium in New York, NY (April 2006)
  • "How to Make the Right Hiring Decisions in Michigan," Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants (MACPA) - Small Practitioners Group (January 2004)
  • "Avoiding New and Treacherous Legal Risks in Hiring Employees: Implementing Careful Background Checks and Other Practices to Ensure a Secure and Profitable Workplace," Council on Education in Management - Michigan Personnel Law Update (November 2003)
  • "The Electronic Workplace: Successful Management of Employee Internet Abuse and Privacy Issues in the Public Sector," Council on Education in Management - Public Sector Employment Law Update Seminar (September 2002)