, a partner in O’Melveny’s Newport Beach office and head of that office’s Business Trial and Litigation Practice, is an accomplished trial lawyer with a broad range of substantive experience, including securities, trademarks, unfair competition, professional liability defense, business torts, insurance, contract, real estate, land use, and related commercial litigation. Mike is a Fellow of the prestigious American College of Trial Lawyers and was one of only 10 lawyers to be featured in the National Law Journal
2008 “Winning: Successful Strategies from the Nation's Top Litigators” special report. Mike has been named the Best Lawyers'
2013 Orange County Bet-the-Company Litigation "Lawyer of the Year" and also has been recognized as a “Super Lawyer” and one of Orange County's “Top 50 Lawyers” in annual surveys conducted by Law & Politics Media Inc. and published in Los Angeles
magazine. The 2011 edition of Legal 500 USA
also recognizes Mike in its Insurance: advice to insurers category, stating that he is able to "provide solid advice and outstanding direction."
Mike has practiced in Orange County for 30 years and plays a prominent role in the Orange County legal community, having served in numerous leadership positions for a variety of bar and civic organizations, including President of the Orange County Bar Association, the second largest bar association in the State of California with nearly 7,000 members. Mike also has served as a Lawyer Representative to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference, as President of the Association of Business Trial Lawyers Orange County Chapter, and as Chair of the Orange County Bar Association’s Judiciary Committee. Mike also is an Adjunct Professor at the University of California Irvine School of Law, where he teaches Evidence.
Illustrative Professional Experience
Mike has an active trial practice. In recent years, Mike successfully concluded the following jury trials:
- A three-week jury trial in the United States District Court for the Central District of California, in which Mike defended Zurich American Insurance Company against claims for breach of contract and insurance bad faith. After the close of evidence, the Court granted the insurance company's motion for judgment as a matter of law on the plaintiff's breach of contract claims, and the case then settled shortly before closing arguments.
A three-week jury trial in the United States District Court in the Central District of California, in which the jury found for Mike’s client, Quiksilver, Inc., on claims for trademark infringement and false designation of origin and the Court thereafter entered a permanent injunction requiring the defendant to phase out all use of its competing trademark.
- A five-week jury trial in San Diego Superior Court, involving a US$28 million breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty action brought against Mike’s client, DC Shoes Corp., and its founders by the company’s former chief financial officer who was also a major shareholder. After deliberating less than four hours, the jury rejected plaintiff’s fraud and breach of contract claims and the Court then found for Mike’s client on plaintiff’s breach of fiduciary claim.
Mike also achieved three decisive wins in a series of international arbitration proceedings between client, Palmco Corporation, a California-based investment holding company and commodities broker, and JSC Techsnabexport (TENEX), the Russian Federation's chief instrumentality for the export of commercial-grade uranium.
In all three arbitrations, Palmco pursued its rights against the Russian Federation’s chief instrumentality for the export of commercial grade uranium. In the first arbitration, held before a three-member international tribunal in London, the tribunal issued a unanimous award confirming that Palmco had an option to purchase annually up to 100 tons of enriched uranium, or EUP, under the parties’ long-term uranium supply contract, and awarded Palmco over US$1.3 million in consequential damages stemming from various performance delays, and over US$1.2 million in costs and fees incurred in the arbitration.
In the second arbitration, held before a separate three-member international tribunal in Stockholm, the tribunal issued a unanimous award finding that Palmco’s Russian supplier breached another of the parties’ supply contracts by demanding an unjustified price increase, and on that basis the tribunal ordered Palmco’s supplier to deliver the EUP at the fixed contract price.
In the most recent victory, a third panel of arbitrators rejected TENEX's attempt to secure a market-indexed price increase on Palmco's main supply contract, and has declared Palmco's right to continue to purchase over US$1 billion worth of enriched uranium product at contract prices significantly below those prevailing in the current market. In addition, the Tribunal exercised its discretion to require TENEX to pay Palmco's attorneys' fees and the costs of arbitration, underscoring Palmco's total victory.
In other recent jury trials, Mike:
- Obtained a jury verdict in a two-week jury trial in the Santa Ana Division of the United States District Court for the Central District of California, involving multi-million dollar claims against Mike's client for wrongful termination of a trademark and manufacturing licensing agreement, in which the jury returned a defense verdict for Mike's client, and awarded Mike's client over US$1 million in damages on its counterclaims
- Obtained a jury verdict absolving from liability four directors and officers of a privately-held company and the venture capital fund which owned a majority of the company's stock in a state court breach of fiduciary duty/securities action involving a 500:1 reverse stock split which significantly diluted the stock of the company's founders/plaintiffs
- Obtained a US$4.5 million jury verdict in an eminent domain action which was one of the first cases ever to establish a fair market value for environmental mitigation property
Honorable Charles B. Renfrew, US District Court, Northern District of California Admitted,
California Admitted to Practice,
US Supreme Court; US District Court, Central, Southern, Northern, and Eastern Districts of California, and Eastern District of Missouri; US Court of Appeals, Eighth and Ninth Circuits Fellow,
American College of Trial Lawyers (2008-present) Adjunct Professor,
University of California Irvine School of Law (2010-present)Former President,
Orange County Bar Association Charitable Fund (2010); Orange County Bar Association (2009); Association of Business Trial Lawyers, Orange County Chapter (2003); Constitutional Rights Foundation of Orange County (1989-1993) Former Chair,
Orange County Bar Association Judiciary Committee (2002-2003); Litigation Section of the Orange County Bar Association (1997); California Region (1994-1995) and Fraud Subcommittee (1992-1994) of the Business Torts Committee of the Litigation Section, American Bar Association Former Member,
Orange County Bar Association Board of Directors (2000-2010); Lawyer Delegate to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference (2002-2005); Board of Directors, Association of Business Trial Lawyers, Orange County Chapter (1998-2004); California Judicial Council Task Force on Complex Civil Litigation (1998-2000) Author,
Regular contributor to The OC Lawyer; “What to Do When Your Brand Is Being Sold Online by cheapandcrummyproducts.com,” Orange County Business Journal (June 2010); “Cutting Off California State Court Class Actions Before They Start: Recent Appellate Decisions Should Embolden Defendants to Attack Class Complaints Swiftly by Demurrer,” Association of Business Trial Lawyers Report, Orange County (2001); “Look Before You Leap: Evaluating the Impact of Insurance Coverage on Your Client’s Objectives Before Filing Suit,” Business Torts Newsletter, American Bar Association, Litigation Section (1992) Speaker,
“Attitudes Across Latitudes: Challenges in Cross-Border Litigation,” Association of Business Trial Lawyers 36th Annual Seminar (2009); “Bridging the Gap," Orange County Bar Association seminar panel (2009); “Businesses in the Courtroom: Getting Your Message Across,” Association of Business Trial Lawyers 35th Annual Seminar (2008); “Mediation and Arbitration Practice: Skills for the Successful Advocate,” Continuing Education of the Bar, California (2005); “The Clock is Ticking: Trying a Case Under Time Limits,” Association of Business Trial Lawyers Dinner Program (2004); “Winning at the Beginning: The Battle for Injunctive Relief,” Association of Business Trial Lawyers 29th Annual Seminar (2002); “The Offensive Defensive,” Practicing Law Institute, Civil Trials Institute (1997) Honors,
Named the Best Lawyers'
2013 Orange County Bet-the-Company Litigation as "Lawyer of the Year"; Recognized by Legal 500 USA
in the Insurance: advice to Insurers category (2011); Named as one of the “The Best Lawyers in America” – Commercial Litigation (2005-2012), Bet-the-Company Litigation (2010-2012), and Litigation: Mergers & Acquisitions (2012); named a “Super Lawyer” and one of Orange County’s “Top 50 Lawyers” in surveys conducted by Law & Politics Media Inc. and published in Los Angeles
magazine (2005-2013); and "Southern California’s Top Rated Lawyers" by American Lawyer Media