Deanna joined Foster Swift in 1988. Her practice focus is in the areas of commercial and employment litigation and her service as general counsel to fashion designers. Deanna leads Foster fashion, the firm's fashion and design law team. Deanna also handles alternative dispute resolution, primarily through service as an arbitrator, and she represents clients in a variety of real estate, mortgage, collection and creditor rights matters. She is a member of the firm's Banking, Finance and Real Estate Practice Group and Agricultural Law Group.
The range of commercial litigation matters that Deanna handles for clients is broad and includes breach of contract litigation, defending contract and statutory claims arising from the mortgagee/mortgagor relationship, resolving real property and title disputes, enforcing the rights of parties to secured transactions, filing and defending actions for breach of fiduciary duty, interference with contract and other business torts. Deanna's work as a commercial litigator has earned the respect of her peers, as is demonstrated by her AV® Preeminent™ Martindale-Hubbell rating and Best Lawyers® in America recognition.
Deanna also drafts and negotiates licensing agreements, commission agreements, employment and independent contractor agreements, and advises clients regarding the misclassification of employees. When out-of-court efforts and administrative proceedings fail to resolve disputes, she defends employers in state and federal courts in breach of contract discrimination, retaliation actions, and she files suits to enjoin violations of, covenants not-to-compete provisions, and sales commission agreements.
Deanna is listed on the AAA Commercial Panel of Neutrals and serves as a mediator.
Prior to joining Foster, Swift, Deanna clerked for Ingham County Circuit Court Judge Carolyn Stell and worked for Varnum, Riddering, Schmidt & Howlet.
Admitted to practice in Michigan, she is a member of the Federal Bar Association, the American Bar Association, the State Bar of Michigan and the Ingham County Bar Association. Deanna is a member of the Fellows of the Michigan State Bar Foundation, and she is a former member of the State Bar of Michigan's Client Protection Fund Committee and the Indiana University Law Alumni Board.
Locally, Deanna volunteers her time to The Friends of Reutter Park and to Operation Santa, a program that provides Christmas gifts to children of low-income families. She has served as the President of the Board of Trustees of Michigan Montessori Internationale, Inc., and she is a founding member of the Lansing Chapter of Inforum and AthenaWIN.
Born in Crawfordsville, Indiana, Deanna was a summa cum laude graduate of Ball State University, obtaining degrees in Political Science and the Honors College. She received her legal education and juris doctorate from Indiana University in 1985.
· Successfully defended a multi-million dollar action alleging breach of warranty, brought by a first tier supplier/manufacturer of injection molded automotive parts against a second tier supplier of thermoplastic. In addition to receiving a very favorable result, she protected proprietary client information from disclosure in federal district court by negotiating an agreement to arbitrate.
· Obtained summary judgment for the employer/defendant in a same sex harassment and retaliation case, and successfully argued to affirm this favorable result before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Proper Use of Email, Walsh College, March 10, 2011
Is Your Independent Contractor Really an Employee?, Foster Swift Agricultural Law Update, January 16, 2014
Mediation: A Viable Alternative to Litigation, Michigan Chamber of Commerce, 2008
Memberships & Affiliations
· American Bar Association
· State Bar of Michigan
· Michigan State Bar Foundation, fellow
· Federal Bar Association
· Member, Davis Dunnings Bar Association
· Member, Friends of Reutter Park
· Member, Michigan Athletic Club
Honors & Recognitions
AV® Preeminent™ Martindale-Hubbell
Best Lawyers® in America 2009-2014 (Commercial Litigation)
American Arbitration Association Roster of Neutrals, Commercial Panel