Michael Yoder

Partner

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Backed by a long record of trial wins, Michael Yoder handles a wide range of complex matters, including securities, intellectual property, mergers and acquisitions, unfair competition, professional liability defense, business torts, insurance, contract, real estate, land use, and general commercial disputes. His deep experience enables him to provide strategic guidance to clients at every stage of litigation and in settling matters out of court.

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’s 2008 special report, “Winning: Successful Strategies from the Nation's Top Litigators.” Mike was named Best Lawyers’ Orange County Bet-the-Company Litigation “Lawyer of the Year” in its 2013 and 2019 rankings. He also has been recognized consistently as one of Orange County's “Top 50 Lawyers” in Law & Politics Media Inc.’s annual surveys, which are published in Los Angeles magazine.

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Honors & Awards

  • Recognized by Best Lawyers® 2019 for Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, and Litigation - Mergers & Acquisitions in Newport Beach, CA; Mike has been listed in Best Lawyers® since 2006
  • Named Orange County Bet-the-Company Litigation “Lawyer of the Year” by Best Lawyers® (2013 and 2019)
  • Recommended by The Legal 500, Insurance (2018)
  • Recognized by Legal 500 USA in the Insurance: advice to Insurers category (2011)
  • 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 (2005-2019)
  • “Southern California’s Top Rated Lawyers” by American Lawyer Media

Admissions

Bar Admissions

  • California

Court Admissions

  • 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

Education

  • Stanford University, J.D., 1978: Order of the Coif; First Year Honor for highest first year GPA; President, Moot Court Board
  • University of Southern California, A.B., Political Science, 1975: magna cum laude; Phi Beta Kappa

Professional Activities

Externships

  • Honorable Charles B. Renfrew, US District Court, Northern District of California

Fellowships

  • American College of Trial Lawyers (2008-present)

Adjunct Professor

  • University of California Irvine School of Law (2010-2013)

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)

Representative Trial and Arbitration Experience

  • A jury verdict for clients QS Wholesale, Inc. and Quiksilver, Inc. that found defendants Rox Volleyball, Inc. and 1st Place Team Sales, Inc. liable for willful trademark infringement and intentional trademark dilution.
  • A win in a seven-week jury trial in Orange County Superior Court, in which Mike defended an AmLaw 25 firm and one of its estate planning partners in a legal malpractice action. Mike was able to cut the claimed damages down from over US$15 million to slightly under US$7 million, and persuaded the court to grant a motion for nonsuit as to one of three of the plaintiffs’ claims. The jury found in defendants’ favor on all remaining claims.
  • A win in three-week jury trial in the U.S. 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. The Court granted the insurance company’s motion for judgment, and the case settled shortly before closing arguments.
  • A win in a three-week jury trial in the U.S. District Court in the Central District of California for client, Quiksilver, Inc. on claims for trademark infringement and false designation of origin. The court entered a permanent injunction requiring the defendant to phase out all use of its competing trademark.
  • A win in 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 client DC Shoes Corp., and its founders by the company’s former chief financial officer, a major shareholder.
  • 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. The decisions awarded Palmco millions of dollars in damages and costs and fees.
  • A key interim ruling from an international arbitration panel for Quiksilver, Inc. and its Hong Kong subsidiary, Quiksilver Greater China Limited, in connection with a three-year dispute involving proceedings in four separate forums in three countries, establishing Quiksilver’s right to the exclusive use of the “Quiksilver” and “Roxy” trademarks in China.
  • Represented a sponsor/manager of commercial real estate funds in a 3-day arbitration hearing in which a broker claimed a right to a share of “back end” profits earned by the funds and sought damages exceeding $20 million – the arbitration found in our clients’ favor and awarded our client close to $500,000 in attorneys’ fees.
  • Represented a sponsor/manager of commercial real estate investment funds in a 27-day first-phase arbitration hearing – obtained interim award denying all individual investor claims and all but a fraction of the $300 million-plus derivative claims brought on behalf of the investment funds.
  • Represented surfwear company Quiksilver in a trademark infringement action involving Quiksilver’s “Roxy” mark – after a 10-day jury trial, obtained a jury verdict finding defendants guilty of willful trademark infringement and intentional trademark dilution, resulting in a permanent injunction restricting defendants’ use of their competing mark.
  • Represented Quiksilver in a 2-week arbitration hearing involving claims that Quiksilver breached a license and royalty agreement with the claimant relating to legendry skateboarder “Tony Hawk” trademarks – obtained an award denying all of claimant’s claims and awarding Quiksilver its attorneys’ fees.
  • Represented homebuilder KB Home in a 3-week jury trial involving claims for breach of an off-balance sheet financing agreement and related fraud claims – the jury found in favor of KB Home on all tort claims but awarded breach of contract damages to the plaintiff; however, on appeal, the Court of Appeal reversed all but a minor portion of the judgment for plaintiff.
  • Represented a group of tenant-in-common investors in a 3-week arbitration – obtained an award finding that defendants had breached their fiduciary duties and that plaintiffs had properly terminated defendants as property managers of the 345,000 square-foot Austin, Texas office building at issue in the arbitration. 
  • Represented Zurich American Insurance Company in a 3-week insurance bad faith jury trial – the case settled after the court granted O’Melveny’s Rule 50(a) motion dismissing plaintiff’s contract claims.
  • Represented an affiliate of ACE Insurance Co. in an insurance bad faith actions brought by a general contractor who was sued by a school district for delay in completing construction of a school site seeking over $50 million in damages – after a 3-week jury trial, the case settled on the eve of closing arguments.
  • Represented a school district in $63 million construction dispute with general contractor – after the first phase evidentiary hearing, which resulted in an award rejecting 90% of the contractor’s delay claims, the matter settled.
  • Represented Quiksilver in a trademark infringement action involving the trademark “Roxy” – after a 3-week jury trial, the court granted Quiksilver’s Rule 50(a) Motion and entered a permanent injunction against defendants.
  • Represented the specialties division of Zurich American Insurance Company in a 5-day jury trial brought under the Illinois fraudulent claims statute – the case settled during jury deliberations.
  • Represented Quiksilver in a 10-day jury trial involving claims for breach of a licensing agreement – obtained a jury verdict denying all of the plaintiff’s claims and awarding Quiksilver over $5 million in damages on its cross-complaint. 
  • Represented a venture capital firm, one of its portfolio companies, and the directors and officers of both companies in a 3-week jury trial brought by the founder and former Chairman of a the portfolio company – the jury found in favor of the venture capital firm and all of the individual defendants on all claims, and found for the company on all claims but fraud, on which the jury hung; after some post-trial motions, which left the jury’s verdict intact for the venture capital firm and the individual defendants, the case settled for a nominal amount paid fully by the company’s D&O carrier.
  • Represented CIBC in a claim for a $10 million commission arising out of the acquisition of the defendant company by the Irish-company, Elan. After opening statements, the case settled.
  • Represented a former stockholder of American Sterling Corporation in a dispute centered on a buy-out agreement, pursuant to which our client sold all of his stock in the company back to the company. After a one-week arbitration, an award was issued in favor of our client for close to $2 million in damages, plus pre-judgment interest.
  • Represented the general contractor for a Los Angeles Unified School District project, which was significantly delayed due to problems with one of the subcontractors and, eventually, El Niño rains. After a 32-day trial, we obtained a jury verdict recovering all of our client’s damages sought at trial, even those in excess of the “penal” amount, or limits, of the bond, under a novel legal theory based upon the surety’s “takeover” of the project.
  • Represented an owner/operator of a chain of hospitals in a 2-week arbitration hearing – obtained award denying landlord’s claim for $14 million fee for consent to lease assignments.
  • Represented a real estate development company in action brought by its former CEO and CFO for wrongful termination and related claims for breach of various partnership agreements – after successfully bifurcating the case so that the partnership claims were tried first to the court and prevailing on all of these claims, the case settled.