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Frederick A. Acomb, FCIArb

International Disputes Group Leader




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

Northwestern University, B.M. 1984

Bar Admissions

Frederick Acomb defends and prosecutes transnational litigation and international arbitration matters for clients located throughout the world. His work regularly takes him around the globe. He has appeared before arbitration tribunals in Asia, Europe, and North America.

Fred has also represented international and domestic clients in more than 70 automotive supply chain disputes. 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:

  • 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 located in the U.S. The amounts at issue exceeded $300 million. The matter was seated in the U.S. and administered by the International Centre for Dispute Resolution.
  • Defended a Chinese corporation in a $20 million international automotive supply chain dispute. The matter was seated in Singapore and administered by the Singapore International Arbitration Centre.
  • Defended a bet-the-division intellectual property claim brought by a Swiss corporation headquartered in the Isle of Jersey, U.K., against a U.S.-based engine manufacturer.  The matter was seated in London and administered by the ICC International Court of Arbitration,
  • Defended a German automotive interior manufacturer in a multi-million dollar automotive supply chain dispute.  The matter was seated in London and administered by the ICC International Court of Arbitration.
  • Defended a wide-ranging dispute over business interests located in Europe, Latin America, South America, and the U.S.  The matter was seated in New York and administered by the ICC International Court of Arbitration.
  • Defended a Hong Kong corporation in an automotive supply chain dispute seated in the U.S. and administered by the International Centre for Dispute Resolution.


Examples of Fred’s transnational litigation work include the following:

  • Defended more than 70 international automotive supply chain disputes on behalf of car parts manufacturers headquartered throughout the world.
  • Defended multiple international product recall and warranty disputes on behalf of and adverse to manufacturers and suppliers located throughout the world.
  • Defended international franchise disputes on behalf of companies located in Europe and North America.
  • Obtained and resisted discovery outside the U.S. on behalf of companies located in multiple continents.  In one case, Fred traveled to 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.
  • Defended a large Chinese state-owned enterprise pursuant to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.
  • Obtained forum non conveniens dismissal of federal court action against large Chinese state-owned enterprise.
  • Asserted and opposed petitions to obtain deposition testimony and documents in the U.S. for use in proceedings pending in other countries.
  • Brought actions to confirm and enforce international arbitration awards issued by tribunals seated around the world.
  • Developed international dispute resolution policies, protocols, and agreements on behalf of clients located throughout the world.


  • 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 U.S. 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 U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, the argument put in doubt the constitutionality of an assortment of other statutes.


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



Twitter: @globaldisputes


Martindale-Hubbell AV® Peer Review Rated

Best Lawyers in America, multiple years for Commercial Litigation and Litigation-Intellectual Property

DBusiness Magazine, Top Lawyers, multiple years for Business Litigation, Antitrust Law, and Construction Litigation

Professional Activities

Officer and Vice Chair, International Bar Association, Litigation Committee, 2018-present

Officer and Secretary, International Bar Association, Litigation Section, 2016-2017

Officer and Website Co-Editor, International Bar Association, Litigation Section, 2014-2015

Fellow, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, 2012-present

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

Fellow, Oakland County Bar Association, 2010-present

Civic, Cultural & Social Activities

Northwestern University Club of Metropolitan Detroit
Director, 2012-present

Detroit Central City Community Mental Health
Advisory Board, 2005-2007, 2009-2017, Director, 2003-2005, 2007-2009 Co-chair, Capital Campaign Committee, 2003-2005

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


What Role Has Good Advocacy in Mediations and Arbitrations?” (Speaker), International Bar Association Annual Conference, Sydney, Australia (October 10, 2017)

Artificial Intelligence — How much of you will it replace? How much will it enhance?” (co-moderator) International Bar Association Annual Litigation Forum, Zurich, Switzerland (May 5, 2017)

Navigating Dispute Resolution in North America and the Asia Pacific Region – Do We Use the Same Ship?” (Speaker), International Bar Association Annual Conference, Washington, D.C. (September 20, 2016)

Tiered Dispute Resolution Clauses: Best Practice and Enforcement of Obligations to Negotiate in Good Faith,” (Moderator), International Bar Association Annual Conference, Tokyo, Japan (October 22, 2014)

Current Issues in International Arbitration,” (Co-Moderator), Program for International Legal Studies, Wayne State University Law School (October 2, 2014)

“International Expansion of the Legal Profession,” (Speaker), Comments to Chinese law students hosted by Wayne State University Law School Program for International Legal Studies (July 18, 2013)

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

Protecting Your Client In the Global Economy: International Arbitration and the Cross-Border Deal,” (Moderator), Co-sponsored with the ICC International Court of Arbitration (April 18, 2013)

International Arbitration - Five Things Every Business Leader Should Know,” (Speaker), Cappuccino With Counsel (November 7, 2012)

"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 Commercial Arbitration," (Panelist), Nuts & Bolts of International Commercial Arbitration, sponsored by University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, State Bar of Michigan International Law Section and 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 – The Mid-sized Company as Global Player,” (Speaker), Baden-Württemberg, Germany (1999-2000)

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


Books and Compendia

"Dealer/Sales Representative Termination” chapter, Michigan Causes of Action Formbook published by the ICLE (2010-present)

50-Nation Compendium on Tiered Dispute Resolution Clauses” (Co-Editor-in-Chief), International Bar Association Litigation Committee (October 1, 2015)

United States chapter, “50-Nation Compendium on Tiered Dispute Resolution Clauses,” (Co-author), International Bar Association Litigation Committee (October 1, 2015)

Michigan Chapter, “Getting the Deal Through-Dispute Resolution,” (Author), Global Arbitration Review, Law Business Research Ltd., official research partner of the International Bar Association (2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009)

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


Double-Hatting in International Arbitration,” Litigation, ABA Journal of the Section of Litigation, Vol. 43 No. 4, pp. 15-16 (Summer 2017)

"¿Podría el Presidente Trump sacar a los Estados Unidos del TLCAN? Preguntas frecuentes básicas," (Co-Author), (Nov 15, 2016)

"Could President Trump Really Pull the U.S. Out of NAFTA? Basic FAQs," (Co-Author), (Nov 14, 2016)

The Insider Adversary in International Arbitration,” (Co-author), The American Review of International Arbitration (ARIA), Volume 27, No. 1 (2016)

Hague Convention on Choice of Court Agreements: Impact and Opportunity,” (Co-author), Michigan International Lawyer, Volume 28 No. 1 (Spring 2016)

Hague Convention on Choice Agreements Entered Into Force,” (Co-author), J.D. Supra Business Advisor (October 13, 2015); also published by Lexology (October 13, 2015)

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

The 'Big 3' of Chinese International Arbitration,” (Co-author), Miller Canfield International Newsletter (December 2012)

"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)

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

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

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


Get to Know Frederick Acomb,” Washtenaw County Legal News (February 6, 2017)

Korean Car Part Co. Says US Distributor Misconstrued Award,” Law360 (August 19, 2016)

Miller Canfield Attorney Named to International Bar Association Committee,” DBusiness Daily News (January 19, 2016)

Detroit Attorney Co-Edits, Co-Authors Handbook on Dispute Resolution Clauses,” Ingham County Legal News (December 3, 2015)

Lawyer Edits, Co-Writes Handbook on Dispute Resolution Clauses,” Detroit Legal News (November 23, 2015) 

International Body,” Detroit Legal News (October 9, 2014)

Panelists to Discuss International Commercial Arbitration,” Oakland County Legal News (September 24, 2014)

"Detroit Lawyer Speaks at IBA Litigation Forum in Montreal," Detroit Legal News (June 6, 2014)

Section Member Profile: Frederick A. Acomb,” Michigan International Lawyer, Volume 26 No. 2 (Summer 2014)

Frederick Acomb Joins PILS Advisory Committee,” Program for International Legal Studies Newsletter, Volume 1, Issue 1 (March 2014)

Global Reach: Miller Canfield Attorney Specializes in International Litigation,” Oakland County Legal News (January 8, 2014); Detroit Legal News (January 10, 2014); Ingham County Legal News (January 13, 2014)

“Students from China Visit Wayne Law Campus,” Detroit Legal News (July 26, 2013); Macomb County Legal News (August 5, 2013)

Wayne Law Moot Court Team Makes ‘Best Showing Ever’” in International Tournament,” Oakland County Legal News (April 18, 2013)

Decommissioned: Procuring Cause Doctrine Doesn’t Apply to Sales Agent After Customer Fired Him,” Michigan Lawyers Weekly (April 9, 2012)

Legal People,” Oakland County Legal News (August 29, 2011)

Acomb Presents at International Forum on Risk Management,” Detroit Legal News (August 5, 2011)

Acomb Appointed Section Chair,” Detroit Legal News (July 20, 2011)

Ripple Effect: Crisis in Japan Creates Work for Local Law Firm,” Flint-Genesee County Legal News (April 6, 2011)

Ripple Effect: Crisis in Japan Creates Work for Local Law Firms,” Detroit Legal News (March 31, 2011)

Miller Canfield Lawyers Pen Chapter in Dispute Resolution Handbook,” Detroit Legal News (September 2, 2010)

Legal People,” Detroit Legal News (March 6, 2000)

Members in the News,” Detroit Lawyer (December 1999)

Cook Rules on Diversity Jurisdiction,” Detroit Legal News (January 3, 1994)

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

State Statute Struck Down In Sales Rep's Case,” Detroit Legal News (November 9, 1993)

Federal Judge Strikes Down Amendment On Sales Reps,” Crains Detroit Business (November 8, 1993)

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