June 2019

Thank you Daniel Opperman
Bankruptcy Judge
Flint, Michigan

It is with pleasure I write this thank you to Judge Opperman for his tenure in the Flint Bankruptcy Court.  As a practitioner in his golden years, I have seen many judicial styles.  Judge Opperman’s style is a pattern for excellence.  His years in Flint will be spoken of glowingly as long as any of the current practitioners can draw a breath.

          His qualities are well known and observable to all but some need to be mentioned in print so they won’t be forgotten as they may not be so obvious to everyone.  Due to my office’s close and constant contact with the court we are probably in a better position to observe and comment than the casual or even regular practitioner.

          For example, his court and office are well managed with highly competent and well mentored staff.  This was very important in light of the fact that Judge Opperman was in Flint as well as in Bay City.  He is very diligent in attendance to Court business.  His rulings were rendered with due dispatch and decisiveness.  The rulings were clear, consistent and appropriately rendered.  Each case was weighed on its own facts with no prejudged bias.

          Judge Opperman has a kind personality.  One would be very welcoming to find him as a new neighbor, brother-in-law or committee member.  He is considerate of all who appear before him and he reaches out beyond the courtroom to assist in seminars, local as well as state and beyond.  He attended and assisted Genesee County Bar Association Bankruptcy Committee events where attendance did not justify a person of his stature.  He is polite to all who appear before him and he is absolutely even-tempered and very attentive to actions in the courtroom.  Frankly, I thought his patience was extraordinary when he permitted some attorneys to argue repetitiously and redundantly.  Most judges would have encouraged a summary to expedite the hearing.  Instead, Judge Opperman allowed continuation apparently with the hope that something new would be expressed.

          Judge Opperman has insight and knowledge well beyond the requirements of his office.  For example, he appreciates the problems of the disadvantaged.  He could empathize with the downtrodden who suffered from urban blight, poor employment options and unmentionable water.  Also, as a lawyer, he knows and applies the rules governing his cases.  He stays abreast of law changes provided by the courts or legislatures.  He exhibits the highest integrity.  He rules without any debtor/creditor bias, no ethnic, gender, racial or other conduct unfitting to the Court.

          The standards he set will be marked in the Flint judicial history forever and we are fortunate to have experienced his tenure.

          We are sad to see him depart.  There are two aspects to his departure that are favorable.  First, he isn’t really going away.  He will be easy to find in the bankruptcy court in Bay City.  We will also see him at various seminars and events.  Second, we are energized and very encouraged by the recent appointment of Judge Joel Applebaum as the new Flint Bankruptcy Judge.  He will emulate and possibly improve on the high standards set by Judge Opperman.  We welcome him and wish him a long and fruitful experience in Flint.

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