On this episode, Maxwell Goss interviews Aaron Phelps, a commercial litigator with the Varnum law firm. Aaron handles a range of litigation matters including healthcare, corporate governance, energy, and environmental tort actions. Aaron talks about his victories in a series of important lawsuits he filed against Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan for charging “hidden fees” on its customers. Aaron also shares insights on the art of the bench trial.
00:18 – Introduction
01:09 – About Aaron Phelps
03:41 – About Aaron’s firm
04:29 – The “hidden fees” cases
13:28 – Hi-Lex Controls, Inc. v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
27:49 – Aaron Phelps’ advice on bench trials
32:52 – Concluding remarks
Aaron Phelps focuses his practice on complex commercial and environmental litigation – in Michigan and around the country. Aaron has represented clients in contract and corporate governance disputes, telecommunications and energy matters, health care litigation and environmental tort actions.
Over the last five years, Aaron has represented over 200 companies in lawsuits against Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan for ERISA violations. The first trial resulted in a $6 million judgment, and subsequent judgments ranged from $315,000 to over $8 million. Aaron defended the primary judgment on appeal, where it was unanimously affirmed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and certiorari denied by the U.S. Supreme Court.
In February 2020, Aaron successfully tried an inverse condemnation case against the City of Grand Rapids on behalf of the Plaza Towers. The jury awarded over $7 million in a case where the City offered zero dollars in settlement. Currently, Aaron represents over 400 Rockford area residents in over 250 lawsuits against Wolverine Worldwide and 3M related to PFAS contamination.