Photo of Frederick A. Acomb, FCIArb

Frederick A. Acomb, FCIArb

International Disputes Group Leader




University of California, Hastings College of Law, J.D.

Northwestern University, B.M. 1984

Bar Admissions

For more than twenty years, Frederick A. Acomb has devoted his practice to prosecuting and defending international arbitration and litigation matters for clients located all over the world. His work regularly takes him around the globe, and he has appeared before arbitration tribunals in multiple continents including Asia, Europe, and North America.

Another area of focus for Fred is the defense of automotive supply chain disputes; he has defended over 70 of them as of this writing.  As former general counsel to the firm, he has a unique perspective on client service that he endeavors to bring to every engagement.

Representative Matters


Fred began his career as an international arbitration specialist two decades ago. Examples of his work in the field include the following:

  • In an International Centre for Dispute Resolution arbitration, he successfully prosecuted and defended competing claims for ownership rights in the largest reserve of brown coal in the world, located in New South Wales, Australia, and oil, gas, coal bed methane, and coal mine methane reserves in the United States. The amounts at issue exceeded $300 million (US). The adverse parties were energy companies located in Australia and Canada, and Fred’s client was an energy company located in the United States.
  • After a full hearing in London before the ICC International Court of Arbitration, he defeated a bet-the-company-division intellectual property claim brought by a Swiss corporation headquartered in the Isle of Jersey, U.K., against a U.S.-based engine manufacturer.
  • He and others in the firm were retained to take over the defense of a German automotive interior manufacturer in a multi-million dollar sales agency dispute before the ICC International Court of Arbitration. The client had already lost on the merits, but Fred and the rest of the firm’s team successfully limited the claimant’s recovery after a week-long damages hearing in London.
  • He successfully defended a Chinese corporation in what was alleged to be a multi-million dollar international agency claim. The matter was administered by the Singapore International Arbitration Centre.
  • In an ICC arbitration seated in New York he successfully defended a wide-ranging dispute over business interests located in Germany, Venezuela, Argentina, Mexico, and the United States.
  • He is currently representing two Hong Kong corporations in an international arbitration administered by the International Centre for Dispute Resolution.


Fred’s career in international dispute resolution extends beyond international arbitration. Examples of his other work in the field include the following:

  • Over the last decade, more than 95 percent of his caseload has focused on litigation or arbitration on behalf of or adverse to corporations headquartered outside the United States.
  • He has successfully defended more than 70 international automotive supply chain disputes on behalf of manufacturers headquartered in Germany, France, Italy, Sweden, Canada, China, Mexico, and the United States.
  • He has successfully defended multiple international product recall disputes on behalf of and adverse to manufacturers located in Finland, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
  • He has successfully defended international franchise disputes on behalf of manufacturers located in Germany and North America.
  • He is regularly called upon to obtain and resist discovery outside the United States, and has done so on behalf of or adverse to companies headquartered in Germany, Canada, France, Belgium, China, the United Kingdom, and the United States.  In one case, Fred traveled to Kuwait City, Kuwait, and cross-examined a member of the ruling Al Sabah family who was the former President of OPEC, President of OAPEC, Finance Minister of Kuwait, Oil Minister of Kuwait, and CEO of the Kuwait National Petroleum Co.
  • He has been called upon to assert and oppose petitions to obtain deposition testimony and documents in the United States for use in proceedings pending in other countries.
  • He is routinely called upon to represent companies from outside the United States, most commonly from Canada, Mexico, Germany, China, Finland, Sweden, France, the United Kingdom, Japan, and Poland.
  • He is regularly asked to assist clients in developing international dispute resolution policies, protocols, and agreements.


  • Obtained defense summary judgment in case that put at risk the state's stock of housing for persons of low and moderate income and where the ultimate issue was ownership of more than $350 million in reserve funds.
  • Obtained state supreme court opinion that expanded the jurisdiction of the state's court of claims and overruled two of the supreme court’s prior decisions.
  • Obtained United States District Court ruling overturning as unconstitutional a state statute governing the payment of sales commissions to terminated sales representatives.  Although the ruling later was reversed by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the argument put in doubt the constitutionality of an assortment of other statutes.


  • Fred has served as an arbitrator in a number of automotive supply chain disputes.


Best Lawyers in America, Commercial Litigation 2010-present; Litigation-Intellectual Property 2012-present

DBusiness Magazine, Top Lawyers, Business Litigation 2011, Antitrust Law 2013, Construction Litigation 2013

Martindale-Hubbell AV® Peer Review Rated

Who’s Who in American Law

Who’s Who in America

Who’s Who in the World

Professional Activities

Fellow, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, 2012-present

External Advisory Committee, Program for International Legal Studies, Wayne State University Law School, 2013-present

Officer and Website Co-Editor, International Bar Association, Litigation Section, 2014-present

International Bar Association, International Arbitration Section

American Bar Association, International Law and Practice Section

State Bar of Michigan, International Section

Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association

Oakland County Bar Association, Fellow, 2010-present

Civic, Cultural & Social Activities

Detroit Central City Community Mental Health
Advisory Board, 2005-2007, 2009-present
Director, 2003-2005, 2007-2009
Co-chair, Capital Campaign Committee, 2003-2005

Northwestern University Club of Metropolitan Detroit
Director, 2012-present

Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival
Co-chair, Preview Party & Benefit Auction, 2002

20-30 Club
Trustee, 1995-1997

Kaleidoscope Concerts
Director, 1993-1997

Fanclub Foundation for the Arts, Trustee, 1995-1996


"Tiered Dispute Resolution Clauses: Best Practice and Enforcement of Obligations to Negotiate in Good Faith," International Bar Association Annual Conference, Tokyo, Japan, October 23, 2014

Strategies for Controlling Costs of Discovery Across Borders,” (Speaker), International Bar Association Litigation Forum, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, May 14, 2014

Protecting Your Client In the Global Economy: International Arbitration and the Cross-Border Deal,” (Moderator), Co-sponsored with the ICC International Court of Arbitration, Spring 2013

"Employment in International Law," (Panelist), Wayne State University Law School, Spring 2013

"Pathways to Employment in International Law," (Panelist), Michigan State University College of Law, sponsored by International Section of the American Bar Association, October 20, 2011

"Law Firm Risk Management," (Speaker), International Bar Association, Annual Litigation Forum, Krakow, Poland, May 19, 2011

"U.S. Discovery in Aid of International Arbitration," (Panelist), Nuts & Bolts of International Commercial Arbitration, sponsored by University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, International Law Section, and State Bar of Michigan Alternative Dispute Resolution Section, April 14, 2011

“Doing Business with Germans,” (Speaker), CLF/Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce seminar, 2001

“Doing Business in the United States,” (Speaker), seminar series in Baden Wuertemburg, Germany, 1999-2000

“Drafting Sales Representative, Agency and Distributor Agreements,” (Speaker), ICLE seminar, 1998



Michigan Chapter, "Getting the Deal Through-Dispute Resolution," (Co-author), Global Arbitration Review, Law Business Research Ltd., official research partner of the International Bar Association, 2009-2015


"Hague Convention on Choice of Court Agreements: Impact and Opportunity," (Co-author), Michigan International Lawyer, Spring 2016

"The Enforcement of International Commercial Transactions," (Co-author), Detroiter Magazine, January 2013

"The 'Big 3' of Chinese international arbitration," (Co-author), Michigan Lawyers Weekly, October 8, 2012

"There are 'Answers' to be found via foreign anti-suit injunctions," (Co-author), Michigan Lawyers Weekly, October 17, 2011

Discovery in the United States in Aid of International Arbitration,” (Co-author), Michigan Bar Association, The Litigation Newsletter, Winter 2011

"Dealer/Sales Representative Termination," Michigan Causes of Action Formbook, 2010-2011

"New Michigan Sales Commission Statute," (Co-author), ICLE Materials, 1998

"New Michigan Sales Representative Statute," (Co-author), 73 Mich. B.J. 208, February. 1994

"Michigan Sales Representative Statute Imposes Stiff Penalties on Manufacturers," (Co-author Larry J. Saylor), Enterprise Magazine, November 1994

"Multi-State 23(B)(3) Class Actions Premised Exclusively on Diversity of Citizenship: A Case against Circumventing Federal Subject Matter Jurisdiction Requirements," (Co-author), 41 F.I.C.C. Quarterly 2, 1991


Global Reach: Miller Canfield Attorney Specializes in International Litigation,”Detroit Legal News (January 10, 2014)

"Cook Rules on Diversity Jurisdiction," Detroit Legal News (Jan. 3, 1994)

"Michigan Sales Representative Statute Is Unconstitutional, Says Federal Judge," 8 Mich. L.W. 81 (Nov. 29, 1993)

"State Statute Struck Down In Sales Rep's Case," Detroit Legal News (Nov. 9, 1993)

"Federal Judge Strikes Down Amendment On Sales Reps," Crains Detroit Business (Nov. 8, 1993)

“Payment Demand in Collection Letter Valid Under Statutes,” Michigan Lawyers Weekly (August 23, 1993)