Mike is a trial lawyer. He litigates and tries complex commercial cases for large and small companies and individuals. Mike’s resume includes multiple plaintiff-side jury verdicts and settlements in commercial cases totaling nearly $300 million. Three of his jury verdicts have been recognized in the National Law Journal’s annual “Top 100 Verdicts” of the year issue. He has represented businesses and financial institutions in litigation covering a wide range of industries, including real estate development and investments, finance and private equity, banking, pharmaceuticals and insurance. Over the past 20 years, Mike also has advised companies on litigation risk in connection with corporate transactions, and has successfully represented financial institutions before regulatory bodies, including the Securities and Exchange Commission. Prior to co-founding Kibler Fowler & Cave, Mike was a litigator at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP for over 18 years (14 years as a partner) in the firm’s New York and Los Angeles offices.
Mike’s representative experience includes:
- Lead trial counsel for the plaintiff Gray Development Group in a lawsuit against the master developer of a master planned community. Claims in the suit included breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty and tortious bad faith in connection with the master developer’s efforts to block a competing project of Mike’s client. Following a six–week jury trial in Maricopa County Superior Court, a unanimous jury found for the plaintiff on all claims. The damage award - over $110 million - was reported to be the fourth largest in Arizona, ever. The verdict was recognized in the National Law Journal “Top 100 Verdicts” of 2010 issue.
- Lead trial counsel for the plaintiff Placentia Development Company - an affiliate of national homebuilder Toll Brothers - in a jury trial against an oil company concerning the development rights of land in Orange County, California. Following four weeks of testimony, the jury returned a verdict of liability, awarding Mike’s client over $26 million in compensatory damages for breach of contract, nuisance and trespass. And then, following the punitive damages phase of the trial, the jury awarded an additional $10 million in punitive damages. After the trial, the court awarded an additional $5.5 million in discretionary prejudgment interest, bringing the final judgment to nearly $43 million. The verdict was recognized in the National Law Journal “Top 100 Verdicts” of 2019 issue.
- Co–trial counsel for plaintiff in a lawsuit involving U.S. Department of Defense contracts to supply fuel to U.S. troops fighting in Iraq through the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Mike’s client–a member of the Jordanian Royal Family–alleged that his partners defrauded him of his share of the profits after he played an instrumental role in establishing a new supply route for U.S. troops that facilitated the procurement of the defense contracts. Following a three–week trial in Palm Beach Florida Circuit Court, an eight-member jury awarded $28.8 million, finding for the plaintiff on all six counts under Florida and Jordanian law. The verdict was recognized in the National Law Journal “Top 100 Verdicts” of 2011 issue.
- Representation of Swiss Re, the largest property insurer of the World Trade Center, in epic litigation following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack. The owner of the World Trade Center claimed entitlement to two full policy limits for its destruction. Following three years of litigation and a three–month jury trial, a unanimous jury found for Swiss Re on all claims, limiting its exposure to a single policy limit.
- Representation of international banking institutions in litigation involving the sale of residential mortgage backed securities following the last financial crisis.
- Successful representation of several financial institutions in non-public SEC investigations that resulted in the SEC declining to bring charges or engage in any public process.
Mike has received an “AV Preeminent Peer Review Rating” by Martindale-Hubble, has been included in U.S. News and World Report’s “Best Lawyers” in the field of commercial litigation, and has been named a “Super Lawyer” seven times by Thompson Reuters in the field of Business Litigation. He is a past recipient of the Burton Award for Legal Achievement.
Mike’s community activities include serving as Board Chair of Covenant House California, a non-profit serving homeless youth throughout California, serving as a Board Member of the BSA Western Los Angeles County Council Scout Executive Board, coaching baseball in the Beverly Hills Little League, and serving as an Assistant Scoutmaster in BSA Troop 223 in the Pacific Palisades.