New venture Muth: Carrying on in father's name, spirit is a 'gift'


By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

When Andy Muth — a well-respected medical malpractice attorney in Ypsilanti — retired last year, his son Ben pursued his dream of opening his own practice.

Last fall, Muth opened Muth Law, PC in Ann Arbor, where he specializes in personal injury litigation, including no-fault litigation, medical malpractice, premises liability, dog bite litigation, and civil rights violations.     

“It's a continuation of Andy's firm, but in a new location and with myself as the principal,” said Muth, who graduated cum laude from Vermont Law School in 2012. “Opening my own firm was always my goal after Andy’s retirement, drawing on his decades of wisdom and experience,” he added.

“I was so lucky to have Andy as my mentor and dad all these years — he’s given me a gift of love, empathy and intellectual ethic that will sustain me for a lifetime,” Muth said. “Carrying on in his name and spirit is a gift I will never be able to repay him. I also have my mom, Patricia, to thank for endowing me with a fighting spirit, wit, and a deep sense of right and wrong.”   

Muth also brings to bear experience from his college and law school days, when he worked at his father’s firm as a receptionist, file clerk and trial paralegal, before joining the firm as a full fledged attorney.    

Some fascinating cases have taught Muth about the plight of parolees, seniors and minorities.    

He represented a parolee in Saginaw who was shot by multiple assailants while going door-to-door looking for lawn mowing jobs.

The man was rushed to the emergency room, where a surgical rod was placed in his shattered femur.

The local parole agency then sent two officers to transfer the man in a civilian car to the parole office, where he was held without medical care for about 6 hours.    

“My client called an ambulance to care for him, that the parole director cancelled,” he said. “When transfer did come, the two corrections transportation officers used unnecessary force in moving my client from the floor of the parole office to a CTO transportation van.”

“Learning about §1983 litigation, and 8th Amendment litigation, gave me a profound appreciation of the struggle of inmates in Michigan,” Muth said.

He represented an elderly man whose primary care physician had ordered home health care services to assist with transferring and showering twice a week.

“One of the home health nurses in particular simply didn’t care about her patients, and she would let my client walk and bathe alone — and he slipped and fell in the shower, fracturing his left pelvis and hip,” Muth said. “Learning about the apathy of some home health agencies taught me to always question medical care and the individuals tasked with caring for our elders.”    

In a case involving a homeowner who had a flood event, the insurance company claimed the man flooded his own home, and refused payment for repairs.

“Despite not having any direct evidence for their theory, that claim lasted nearly 3 years, and finally the company settled the claim after extensive discovery,” Muth said. “Their claim handling process strongly indicated that income, race, and neighborhood location played a large factor in determining which claims to pay and which to deny.”

Muth, who has served as co-chair of the Washtenaw County Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Section and is now a WCBA board member and community liaison, is an enthusiastic member and supporter of the association.   

“Our members believe in a small community of attorneys that is stronger together through cooperation and mutual respect,” he said.    

A board member of the Washtenaw Association for Justice, and a member of the State Bar of Michigan and of the Federal Bar Association, he also enjoys his membership in the Michigan
Association of Justice (MAJ).

“I’m able to stay up to date on all areas of personal injury litigation, and be part of an organization that fights for citizens’ constitutional right to a trial by jury,” he says.

Muth’s hobbies and interests include travel, photography, golf, and community involvement with the City of Ann Arbor, where the Pioneer High School alumnus serves as chairman of the Elizabeth Dean Trust Fund Committee.

“That committee’s sole duty is to spend money on the planting and maintenance of street trees within the city,” he says. “We make immediate, and long lasting, benefits to the city I was born and raised in.”    

He also has served as treasurer of the Old West Side Neighborhood Homes Association in Ann Arbor, and serves on the City of Ann Arbor’s Environmental Commission.    

Before hanging out his shingle, Muth — a lover of the great outdoors who once dreamed of becoming a journalist for National Geographic — took a four-month road trip from Ann Arbor to Alaska with his fiancée, Jena Agler, and his dog, Charlie.    

“The drive made us appreciate how expansive the United States is, but also how connected we are,” he said. “Our democracy works, and driving through diverse landscapes, communities, and jurisdictions that participate in the United States proved that to me.”    

Muth also discovered the most enjoyable moments were not necessarily the most beautiful or remote, but experiences shared with interesting, kind and compassionate people.    

“Based on that metric, returning to Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County was a source of excitement,” he said. “We’re lucky to have lawyers dedicated to curating and maintaining such a vibrant intellectual community that’s passionate about helping others through the ethical practice of law.”