attorney portrait

ATTORNEY AT LAW

Stuart Sklar

Biography

He is a Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator (CFEI) through the National Association of Fire Investigators (NAFI). For 20 years, he served as a principal member of the National Fire Protection Association Technical Committee on Fire Investigations—the only attorney on the committee representing policyholders and those injured or killed in fires and explosions. The committee is responsible for NFPA 921: Guide for Fire and Explosion Investigations.

As one of the nation’s most respected fire loss attorneys and an industry leader in fire origin and cause investigation, Stuart co‐founded the International Symposium on Fire and Investigation Science and Technology (ISFI), a biennial professional symposium designed to bring together international fire investigation professionals to present and discuss the latest in fire investigation science, research, technology and methodology.

He has given expert testimony on fire scene investigation methodologies and has testified before a subcommittee of the Michigan Legislature on pending insurance legislation. Stuart has also lectured extensively on fire and explosion litigation issues throughout the United States, Canada and England.

Stuart is regularly called upon to provide fire litigation training to investigators and attorneys and to organizations such as the United States Department of Justice, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the Insurance Committee on Arson Control, the National Association of Fire Investigators, the International Association of Arson Investigators, the Detroit Fire Department Fire Investigation Division and the Michigan State Police, as well as many others.

In October 2012, NAFI presented Stuart with its “Distinguished Service Award.” Stuart is the first attorney in the more than 50-year history of NAFI to win this award. NAFI selected Stuart based upon his “decades of unswerving and selfless dedication and exceptional service toward the advancement of the fire investigation profession, by promoting and providing excellence in the training, education quality, expertise and professionalism of our vocation.”

From 2022 to 2023, Stuart served as President of the Michigan Association for Justice (MAJ). MAJ, founded in 1945, is comprised of over 1300 trial lawyer members throughout Michigan.  MAJ is devoted to the pursuit of an effective and fair legal system and the preservation of the right to a trial by jury.  While President, Stuart spearheaded the creation of the MAJ Leadership Academy, which provides education and training to MAJ’s youngest members and provides opportunities to gain leadership experience within MAJ and the community.

Stuart has been selected as a Michigan “Super Lawyer” by Super Lawyers magazine every year since 2006. He’s also been recognized as a “Top Lawyer” in DBusiness magazine, a “Best Lawyer in America” in both the insurance law and personal injury litigation‐plaintiff categories by Best Lawyers magazine, and was elected to membership in the American Board of Trial Advocates. Stuart was named a 2013 “Leader in the Law” by Michigan Lawyers Weekly, an honor presented to only 30 attorneys throughout Michigan, for his work in helping to train Detroit Fire Investigation Division members to become Certified Fire and Explosion Investigators.

Stuart earned a B.A. from Michigan State University in 1982 and a J.D. from the Michigan State University College of Law in 1985. He is a member of the Oakland County Bar Association, American Bar Association (Tort and Insurance Practice Section and Property Insurance Committee), State Bar of Michigan, American Association for Justice (Fire and Property Insurance Litigation Group). 

Published Works:

“NFPA 1033: 13 Things You Need to Know,”
Co-author of paper presented at the International Symposium on Fire Investigation Science and Technology, 2010

“The Role of the Attorney in Fire and Explosion Investigations,”
Proceedings of the 3rd International Symposium on Fire Investigation Science and Technology, 2008

“Causes of Action Form Book,”
Chapter on Errors and Omissions Against Insurance Agents, Institute for Continuing Legal Education, 1996, 2008

“Fire Litigation Issues-The Products Liability case” and “The Evidentiary Sword and Shield: Dabuert v. Merrill Dow Pharmaceuticals,”
Proceedings of the International Symposium on Fire Investigation, 2004

“Fire Investigation in Products Liability Cases,”
Michigan Lawyers Weekly, August 26, 2002

“Cause & Origin Investigators: Retention & Cross Examination,”
National College of Advocacy, Association of Trial Lawyers of America, 1995

Published Cases:

Griswold Properties, LLC v. Lexington Ins. Co.
275 Mich App 543, 740 N.W.2d 659 (2007), rev’d. in part 276 Mich App 551, 741 NW 2d 549 (2007), app. den. 480 Mich. 1044, 743 N.W.2d 874 (2008)

Borman v. State Farm Fire and Gas Co.
198 Mich.App. 675, 499 N.W.2d 419 (1993), aff’d. 446 Mich. 482, 521 N.W.2d 266 (1994)

Smith v. Michigan Basic
441 Mich 181, 490 NW 2d 864 (1992)