International Women’s Day Event 2017

Dear Friends,

In less than a month, we will be that much closer to spring and our annual celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8th!  Our event is being organized by the International Women’s Forum and sponsored by our law firm, Petrella Brown, PLC. For me, our IWD gathering transmits such vitality and camaraderie, that I await the event in joy. I hope the feeling is the same for you!

We are especially fortunate to have this year as our distinguished speaker, Coco Zhang-Miske, a Chinese-born Renaissance woman who is accomplished in the arts, science and business.  Coco currently serves as Global Technology Planning Manager for General Motors where she manages in-vehicle technology strategy and developing ideas based on technology trends.  She earned an electrical engineering degree from MSU and then earned a masters degree in energy systems from U of M.  (The in-state sports rivalry must leave her conflicted!)  While in China, she graduated from the Beijing Academy of Dance and she performed classical Chinese dance for the China Operatic Dance Troupe. (Hearing about that experience alone is worth the price of admission!) Besides her work at GM, she is active in our community and serves numerous non-profit organizations.  She has also received various awards including two awards in 2016:  The Young Alumni Award at MSU and the APACC Salute to Excellence Award. Given all these accomplishments, Coco’s most remarkable attribute is her ability to connect her vibrant energy with others. (If you had the chance to meet her at IWD in the last few years, you know what I am talking about.) She has a gracious and engaging style, with a wonderful sense of humor that she employs along with her intelligence, talent and organizational skills to get the job done.

This year we will be returning to Club Venetian for our event and dinner. The cost is $36 per person which includes an abundant family-style meal, with soft drinks and dessert. (Cash bar is also available.). If you would like to organize a group of friends to come along, you may buy a table of 10 for $330. If you are decide to take advantage of the table discount, payment must be made by only one attendee and may not be split up.

We will be assigning seats as reservations are received so please get your reservation in as soon as possible. As in the past, my law firm will be handling reservations.

Payments may also be made by:

  1. Mailing to Petrella Brown, PLC, 26211 Central Park Blvd., Ste. 207, Southfield, MI 48076, a check or money order (made payable to International Women’s Forum) ; or,
  1. Credit card (Master Card, Visa, or Discover).

You may now make credit card payments online by using the link below:

You may also visit our law firm website at and make a payment by clicking the “Make a Payment” button on the right hand bottom of the screen.

If you prefer, you may also call our office at 248.223.9883 to provide Katie with your credit card information over the phone.  (So many options!)

Please feel free to extend the invitation to this IWD event to others who may be interested. You may want to post the flyer on Facebook, or tweet about it, or you can go “old school” by mailing the invite!

I sincerely look forward to seeing you on March 8th!


Marisa Petrella




In-Home Care and Senior Residences Seminar

On Tuesday, February 21st, 2017, our law firm will be sponsoring a seminar, at which you will learn about resources available to help you make the best decisions regarding care for yourself or your loved ones at home or in a senior residence.

The seminar is being presented by Glenn Clerk, of Attorney General Bill Schuette’s Consumer Programs team. The presentation will be held at the Bloomfield Township Public Library in Meeting Room #2 at 2:00p.m.

Please RSVP to Katie by calling Petrella Brown at 248.223.9883 or by e-mail, at by February 17, 2017.

Also, if you know someone who may be interested in the seminar, please pass along the information. Hope 2017 has gotten off to a good start! And I look forward to seeing you on February 21st.

Marisa PetrellaIn-Home Care and Senior Residences Seminar.PNG

Seller Beware: Selling Your Automobile in Michigan – Practical Law Tip


Have you ever tried to sell your car on Craigslist?  Let’s say you have a 2002 Buick Regal that belonged to your grandmother that was gifted to you.  Now you have your eyes on a Mustang and want to ditch the Regal.  You post the Regal for sale on Craigslist.  A stranger comes by your house, takes a look at the car, offers you cash, and you accept!  You find the vehicle registration and sign over the vehicle to this stranger.  You take no information from the guy, just hand over the keys when he gives you the cash.  You take off your plates, he leaves with the car and you pocket the money.

Maybe you’ve seen the cheesy 1967 television show “Lost in Space” where the robot warns DANGER! WILL ROBINSON, DANGER!   If you had a robot protecting you, he would be giving you the same warning about the car sale.

If the stranger who bought your car does not register the change of owner with the Michigan Secretary of State, you may still be on the hook (legally responsible) as the vehicle owner.  Imagine if that stranger (deadbeat) decides to drive the car with old plates without insurance and gets in an accident where persons are injured.  The injured party’s attorney is going to want to hold you responsible as the owner.  If you thought you had sold the vehicle, you even cancelled your insurance for it.  Suddenly, your personal assets are at risk.

I know of a situation where someone sold to a stranger and almost 2 years later found out that the vehicle transfer had never been registered with the Secretary of State.  The vehicle was abandoned and the original owner had to pay for towing and storage fees on the car (which he had not owned for 2 years) because he had no record of the sale.  Major drag but the situation could have been much worse.

The Michigan law that applies to this situation is MCL 257.240 and this is basically what it has to say about the situation:

The owner of a motor vehicle who has made a bona fide sale by transfer of his or her title or interest and who has delivered possession of the vehicle and the certificate of title to that vehicle properly endorsed to the purchaser or transferee is not liable for any damages or a violation of law that subsequently results from the use or ownership of the vehicle by another, if the owner…

(a) Accompanies the purchaser of the vehicle to a secretary of state branch office to assure that the title of the vehicle being sold is transferred; or

(b) Maintains a record of the sale for not less than 18 months. As used in this subdivision, “record of the sale” means either a photocopy of the reassigned title or a form or document that includes the name, address, driver license number, and signature of the person to whom the vehicle is sold and the purchase price and date of sale of the vehicle.

So, you have two choices:  either go to the nearest Secretary of State office with the stranger and make sure the transfer of ownership is registered, or keep the record of sale (name, address, driver license number, signature of purchaser, purchase price and date of sale).  Of course the “record of sale” describes a sales receipt (bill of sale) that you can write up.

While it may take more time, going to the Secretary of State is your best bet and gives you long-term peace of mind – which is priceless!  Now it is time to go for a spin in the Mustang!





Small Creatures back in Detroit

On July 9, 2016, the eclectic soul musical group, Small Creatures, appeared in Auburn Hills, Michigan. Andre’ Frappier, guitarist, and Andrea Cole, vocalist, husband and wife, shared their fresh and innovative sound with hometown fans. Backing them up were the musicians Jon Dixon on keyboards, Damon Warmack on bass, LaDarrel “sax appeal” Johnson on saxophone, Chris Kaercher on alto saxophone, Kenny Robinson on trumpet and Keith “Bubby” Webb on drums.

While Frappier and Cole were in Detroit, filming was done on their new “Colour and Shade” music video. If you have not heard the song, you can hear it on SoundCloud online at When the video is complete, we will let you know so that you will be able to view it.

Here are some photos from the July 9 show. Enjoy!





Fundraiser for Vicki Valentine

     On Wednesday evening, we co-hosted a fundraiser for Vicki Valentine who is running for Oakland County Circuit Court.  Thanks to Cork Wine Pub in Pleasant Ridge for providing a cozy and most hospitable ambiance.  Wayne County Circuit Court Judge David Groner introduced Valentine and described her commitment to the law and vouched for her integrity.  Valentine herself thanked all who support her candidacy and vowed to be a public servant of which each person in the room will be proud.  The election is not until November 8th so there is plenty of time to let people know about her, contribute to the cause, put a sign on your property, work at a polling place, or pass out a pamphlet!

Marisa PetrellaIMG_4772.jpgIMG_4751.jpgIMG_4726.jpgIMG_4702.jpgIMG_4775.jpgIMG_4689 (1).jpg

Phone, Mail & e-Scam Presentation

Many thanks to Glenn Clark from the Michigan Attorney General’s office for his presentation on mail, e-mail and e-scams and how we can avoid them.  Thank you for all who attended. A lot of good information was presented and exchanged.
Many scammers prey on senior citizens. In fact, just yesterday, the elderly mother of an attorney here at our office received a phone call from two persons, one claiming to be her granddaughter and one claiming to be a police officer. The granddaughter said that she had been in an accident due to drunk driving, had been arrested and needed money to post bond.  She asked that her grandmother forward her money because she did not want to tell her parents. Then the fake police officer got on the phone and said that he would release the girl if the grandmother sent $2487. Fortunately, the woman had the presence of mind to say that she needed to call her son. The scammers hung up the phone.
MORAL OF THE STORY:  be skeptical, always ask security questions, never give personal information, hang up and call the number of the person or company that supposedly called you to confirm the reason for the original call.
If you have a vulnerable family member, you may want to take other precautions to protect them from scammers.  Our attorneys would be happy to meet with you for a free 20 minute consultation to discuss these issues with you.
Marisa Petrella

Fundraiser for Judicial Candidate

I am co-hosting a fundraiser for Vicki Valentine who is running for Oakland County Court Judge to replace the retiring Judge Joan Young.
The fundraiser will be on Wednesday, May 25 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Cork Wine Pub, 23810 Woodward, Pleasant Ridge, MI and the cost is $100 per person.
If you are interested in attending or you know anyone else who would like to attend, please let me know.
Marisa Petrella
                                                                                         Vicki Valentine