Mike has more than 30 years of experience with class actions and other complex cases, including wage-hour class actions, consumer products class actions, racketeering (RICO), and labor disputes with unions and employee groups.
He has tried more class actions to verdict than perhaps any other attorney in the country, including the defense of nine private class actions and a Secretary of Labor enforcement action against a Fortune 100 food manufacturer.
Focusing on clients who create and sell goods and services, Mike helps his clients to avoid litigation and, if they are sued, to successfully navigate pretrial proceedings, trials and appeals. Mike has spent 183 trial days in court, participating in a dozen class actions or other representative actions tried to verdict, the majority of which have resulted in zero recoveries by the plaintiffs. In many other cases, he has successfully avoided trial by defeating class treatment or winning dismissal on the pleadings or on summary judgment.
Mike has earned multiple awards for his aggressive, innovative and successful track record, including The American Lawyer’s 2015 “Litigator of the Week,” The National Law Journal’s 2016 “Litigation Trailblazer” and Law 360’s 2016 “Class Action MVP.”
In every matter, he develops a strategy that is tailored to the client’s business needs, offering various AFAs (alternative fee arrangements) to suit the overall matter or project. His long-term knowledge of a client’s business and litigation leads to proactive strategies, efficiency, and client satisfaction; he represented one Fortune 100 company on its class actions for 19 years.
Mike’s experience covers a broad spectrum and includes unmanned aircraft systems, antitrust law, bankruptcy, corporate takeover, and valuation disputes and claims against former officers/directors, consumer products law, contract disputes, credit counseling law, foreign military sales, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, labor and employment law, media law, racketeering (RICO) and securities law.
Mike has litigated at all levels of the federal court system and in the state courts of California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina and Tennessee. He is admitted to practice in the following jurisdictions: US Supreme Court; US Court of Appeals for the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 6th, 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th Circuits; US District Courts for the District of Columbia, the Middle and Southern Districts of Florida, the Eastern and Western Districts of Michigan, and the Central District of Illinois. He held a judicial clerkship with the Honorable Avern Cohn, US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.
A regular speaker and writer on the topics of class actions or RICO, Mike has been quoted and mentioned frequently in media coverage of litigation matters and has appeared on CNN and PBS. He is a contributing author to the firm’s retail industry blog.
Successfully opposed class treatment in a putative class action against a major household appliance company on alleged product defect claims originally including a proposed class of over 54 million owners that plaintiffs’ expert valued at nearly $11 billion.
Lead counsel in more than 50 class actions for clients in various industries, including food processors, consumer products manufacturers and sellers, hospitals, restaurants and airlines.
Represented four national and Florida business associations as amici curiae in a successful challenge to the City of Miami Beach’s 2016 minimum wage ordinance. After the 11th Judicial Circuit granted summary judgment in favor of business groups and the State of Florida in their challenge to the ordinance, Mike filed a brief in the Third District Court of Appeal discussing the economic literature on local minimum wage laws and why those studies support the position advanced by the business groups and the State.
Lead counsel in more than three dozen class-action and secretary of labor cases involving wage-hour rights of employees at a major restaurant chain and food processing companies.
Lead trial counsel for a major food-processing company in an eight-week jury trial in an action brought by the US Secretary of Labor seeking back wages for “donning and doffing” by employees. Obtained a mistrial when jurors did not unanimously agree on verdict.
Lead trial counsel for a major food-processing company in a class-action overtime case involving more than 500 plaintiffs; the case was subsequently listed in The National Law Journal’s “Defense Hot List” in 2006.
Lead counsel in consumer products class actions against manufacturers and sellers relating to various home electronics devices and appliances.
Lead counsel for a trade association in an action alleging Lanham Act and cyber-piracy violations based on fraudulent impersonation of association's personnel and web site.
Led, for a multinational client, the domestic litigation strategy in response to a threatened international cyber-attack
Served as co-counsel in a landmark trial of tort claims brought by a major supermarket chain against a television network for an undercover effort that resulted in a segment on PrimeTime Live.
Defended at two trials the securities and racketeering claims made by investors against a major real estate developer.
Served as counsel in a bankruptcy valuation trial for a major money-wire service.
Served as defense counsel in a contracts trial against a major airline; the case involved two plaintiff classes and one defendant class in addition to the corporate parties.
Argued interlocutory appeal before the Third Circuit of Appeals on an issue of first impression in the federal appellate courts. The case involved determining whether a district court can certify a class of employees under Rule 23's "opt out" provision in a manner inconsistent with Congress' specified “opt in” procedure for pursuing claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Represented both plaintiffs and defendants in numerous civil racketeering cases, including the defense of one of the nation's leading home builders and one of the nation's largest hospital chains, and prosecution of a civil RICO case against a major union for one of the nation’s largest grocery store chains.
Former Chair, Litigation Committee, Bar Association of the District of Columbia
Former Chair, Civil RICO Committee; Antitrust Section, American Bar Association
Former Management Co-chair, Labor and Employment Law Section; Antitrust, RICO and Labor Law Committee, American Bar Association
Member, Editorial Advisory Board, Civil RICO Report and the Advisory Board of the RICO and Securities Fraud Law Reporter
Member, Federal Bar Association
Member, Dade County Bar Association
Member, Collier County Bar Association
Member, Southwest Florida Federal Court Bar Association
Master of the Bench, Michael R. N. McDonnell American Inn of Court (formerly Thomas S. Biggs American Inn of Court)
Member, Florida Academy of Management Attorneys
Bar Association of D.C. (Voluntary Bar)
Collier County Women’s Bar Association
Host Committee, National Parkinson Foundation of South Florida “Wines on the Bay”
AUVSI (Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International)
Awards & Recognition
Named among 52 Litigation Trailblazers, National Law Journal, 2016
Selected as a Class Action MVP, Law360, 2015 (1 of 5 nationally)
Selected as Litigator of the Week, American Lawyer, August 27, 2015
Selected as a Super Lawyer for Class Action/Mass Torts, DC Super Lawyers magazine, 2007, 2013-2018. A description of the selection methodology can be found on Super Lawyers’ webpage.
AV® Peer Review Rated in Martindale-Hubbell. A description of the selection methodology can be found on Martindale-Hubbell’s webpage.
Moderator, “The Legal Implications of the #MeToo Movement,” panel discussion by Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce’s HR & Workforce Development Committee, April 5, 2018
Speaker, “The Changing HR Landscape: A Post-Inauguration Overview” (discussion of labor and employment issues in Trump Administration), Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, Miami, FL, March 24, 2017
Presenter, “What Wage and Hour Case is Susceptible to Class Relief and What is Not: Has The Tyson Foods v. Bouaphakeo Decision Helped Us Answer That Question?”, panel presentation at ABA Section of Labor & Employment Fair Labor Standards Committee Midwinter meeting, Playa Del Carmen, February 23, 2017
Co-captain of team and one of presenters, Judge Dread: The Seven Canons of Judicial Ethics, Michael R. N. McDonnell American Inn of Court, Naples, FL, January 10, 2017
Presenter, “How Labor Unions Work With Private Plaintiffs’ Counsel to Assemble and Support FLSA Collective Actions,” Association of Florida Management Attorneys, October 15, 2016
Speaker, “The 2016 Tyson Foods Decision: Game Changer or Chicken Feed?” panel discussion sponsored by the ABA Antitrust Section’s Civil Practice and Procedure Committee, July 15, 2016
Speaker, Use of Statistical Evidence to Establish Classwide Liability: Is The Tide Turning With The Supreme Court's Recent Decision of Tyson Foods, Inc. v. Bouaphakeo, ABA Section of Litigation Roundtable, April 26, 2016
Guest Lecturer, FLSA Collective Actions, University of Miami Law School, Miami, Florida, March 15, 2016
Moderator and presenter, Certification Through Statistical Sampling In No Injury Class Actions, sponsored by ABA Torts and Insurance Practice Section, New Orleans, Louisiana, March 10, 2016
Speaker and White Paper (Co-author) Preparing For And Structuring A High-Stakes Trial, presented to the Thomas S. Biggs American Inn of Court in Naples, Florida, March 8, 2016
Defense counsel presenter, Mock Trial on sexual harassment claim, sponsored by HR & Workforce Development Committee of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, March 4, 2016
Speaker, Modern Class Action Litigation: Hydraulic Pressure, sponsored by Miami C-Suite Forum, February 22, 2016
Speaker, “Is the Roberts Court Poised to Effectively Close the Door on FLSA Collective Actions? Reflections on how to defeat (or achieve) class certification,” Dade County Bar Association Employment Committee, November 19, 2015
Speaker, “Federal RICO Claims: Putting It All Together,” speech and PowerPoint presentation at RICO seminar in Atlanta sponsored by Institute of Continuing Legal Education in Georgia, November 13, 2015
Recurrent Lecturer, Federal RICO Claims: Putting It All Together, presentation at biannual RICO seminar sponsored by Institute of Continuing Legal Education in Georgia, Atlanta, 2015, 2013, 2011, 2009, 2005, 2002, 2000
Invitee, Duke Law Conference on Class Action Settlements (invitation-only “town hall” format by class action practitioners and academics appearing before the federal Advisory Committee on Civil Rules), Washington, DC, July 23-24, 2015
Speaker, “Changing Standards for Class Certification,” Miami Consumer Class Action Litigation and Management Conference, Miami, Florida, February 6, 2015
Speaker, “Class Action Litigation Against the RV Industry: How to Manage Risk,” RVIA (Recreation Vehicle Industry Association) Lawyers Committee Meeting, Palm Springs, California, February 4, 2015
Co-speaker, “Debates, Updates and Dictates: Happenings in D&O and Employment Litigation” (review of class action decisions in Supreme Court and courts of appeal), McGriff, Seibels & Williams’ annual Executive Edge conference, Scottsdale, AZ, May 20, 2014
Lecturer, Differences With Distinction: Understanding The Important Dissimilarities Between State And Federal RICO Statutes And Their Impact In Litigation (Webinar presented by the ABA Antitrust Section) February 21, 2012
Panel Member, Class Certification: Clarifying What's Now Required to Get Classes Certified (Including Notice & Court Approval) to Combat the Use of Class Claims as a Tool for Early Settlement, American Conference Institute’s 14th annual program on Wage & Hour Claims And Class Actions, Miami, January 30, 2012
Moderator, Table Discussion of Wage-Hour Issues, The 13th Annual National Institute on Class Actions (presented by the ABA and the Center for Continuing Legal Education), Washington, DC, November 20, 2009
Panel Member, The Ethics And Problems Of Settlements And Objectors, panel discussion during seminar on 'Future of Class Action Litigation in America" (program sponsored by Tort, Trial and Insurance Practice Section of ABA) October 26, 2007
Lecturer, Remarks on Mohawk Industries, Inc. v. Williams et al., No. 05-465 (discussion of briefing and oral argument before Supreme Court on issue of RICO association-in-fact enterprises), delivered at 2006 midwinter meeting of Antitrust, RICO & Labor Law Committee of the ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law, April 7, 2006
Panel Member, Preparing For And Surviving The New Class Actions Game, panel presentation at 2005 annual meeting of Association of Corporate Counsel, October 18, 2005
Lecturer, Remarks on Bank of China v. NBM, LLC (discussion of Supreme Court's grant of certioriari on whether civil RICO plaintiff must establish reasonable reliance when alleging mail/wire fraud predicate acts), ABA 2005 annual meeting, before Antitrust, RICO & Labor Law Committee, August 7, 2005
Panel Member, Obesity: The Food Industry's Continuing Issue, 2004 GMA Legal Conference, panel discussion titled, "Where Claims Are Likely To Be Brought and Important Early Issues" October 20, 2004
Lecturer, Remarks on recent labor RICO cases: Food Lion, Inc. v. United Food and Commercial Workers International and International Brotherhood of Teamsters v. Carey, delivered at annual meeting of ABA Labor & Employment Law Section, Antitrust, RICO & Labor Law Committee, April 16, 2004
Panel Member, RICO in Labor Disputes? The Thermonuclear Litigation Device, faculty member in Webinar sponsored by ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law and ABA Center for Continuing Legal Education, October 1, 2003
Program Chair, Non-Antitrust Offenses You Should Know: How The Government Uses Criminal Predicates For Traditional Antitrust Issues, Civil RICO Committee program at ABA Antitrust section annual spring meeting, April 2, 2003
Co-author, Report on second-half 2017 lawsuits against hospitality industry: business is up, and so are the lawsuits, Greater Miami & Beaches Hotel Association Allied Upgrade Newsletter, January 16, 2018
Recap of Lawsuits Against Hotel Industry in Second-Half 2016: Are You Prepared to Protect Your Reputation and Profitability?, Greater Miami & Beaches Hotel Association Allied Upgrade Newsletter, February 8, 2017
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