Legal education and experience
Judge James H. Fisher has been the Barry County Circuit Court judge since 1995. He has a degree in engineering from the General Motors Institute, and a law degree from Wayne State University.
Judge Fisher’s legal career began in the Barry County Prosecutors Office where he served as an Assistant Prosecutor, Chief Assistant Prosecutor, and Prosecuting Attorney between 1977 and 1979. Soon after, he became a partner with the firm Segal, Hudson, Gee, and Fisher where he handled a wide-ranging private practice covering virtually all types of cases, as well as real estate, business, and estate planning. From 1980-1995, Judge Fisher held the position of Village Attorney for the Village of Middleville, later adding the responsibilities of City Attorney for the City of Hastings in 1986. Fisher also served as a member on the Board of Directors for MSSB, Pennock Hospital and Pennock Foundation from 1986-1995.
Awards and Associations
Outside of his legal responsibilities, Judge James Fisher has been involved in several community service and charitable organizations. He is recognized as a Distiguished President of the Kiwanis Club of Hastings, Treasurer for the Citizens for Quality Education, as a member of the YMCA Board of Directors, and as one of the incorporators of the Barry County Child Abuse Prevention Council. He is an Elder of the First Presbyterian Church of Hastings and a former trustee of the church. Currently, Judge James Fisher is a member of the Board of Directors of the Michigan Judges Association and acts as Chair of their Judicial/ Response Committee. He is a frequent lecturer on court management for the Michigan Judicial Institution.
Judge's ruling overturned
On April 25, 2005, Judge James Fisher determined that the state Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation (OFIR) cannot prohibit insurance companies from using consumers' credit scores as a factor in setting the insurance rates, ruling in favor of insurance companies. Upon that ruling, the OFIR commissioner appealed the decision, and the Michigan Court of Appeals overturned the ruling. Governor Granholm weighed in, "The decision by the Court of Appeals that allows OFIR to prohibit this unfair, illegal practice is great news and an important step in lowering insurance costs for many Michigan residents. This will squarely impact the pocketbooks of consumers, who once again can expect their insurance rates to be based on actions they take, rather than on unreliable and arbitrary credit scores."
- Governor, Auto and Home Insurance Consumer Advocate Applaud Apeals Court Decision that Allows OFIR to Prohibit Use of Credit Scoring