Michael focuses his practice on tort and product liability litigation. He handles matters involving automobiles; heavy truck and bus accidents; accident reconstruction and investigation; product design, testing and performance; warnings; mass tort matters related to pharmaceuticals and medical devices; and medical negligence. In each practice area, Michael has handled cases involving significant personal injuries or alleged wrongful death.
Michael has defended motor vehicle product liability cases throughout his entire career, representing major automobile manufacturers in all phases of litigation, including at trial. For more than a decade, he also has represented a major manufacturer of commercial motor vehicles, heavy trucks and buses in product liability matters. These cases have typically involved catastrophic accidents and significant damage allegations.
In addition to his work in automotive litigation, Michael defends major manufacturers of medical devices and pharmaceuticals in mass tort litigation. Defending these cases requires extensive knowledge of the medicine and science behind the product, and using that knowledge during litigation. This defense work also requires an understanding that work in one case has potential implications for thousands of others. He has served as national settlement counsel for a large pharmaceutical manufacturer, and has successfully negotiated and resolved hundreds of claims and lawsuits in multiple mass tort litigation.
In his trial work, Michael has helped to obtain multiple defense verdicts, including three recognized by Missouri Lawyers Weekly as top defense verdicts of the year in the State of Missouri. Notably, both trials lasted more than two months against top-tier, aggressive plaintiff’s counsel. He also has handled cases in challenging jurisdictions for corporate defendants—commonly known as “judicial hellholes”—including the City of St. Louis, Madison County in Illinois, and Clark County (Las Vegas), Nevada.
One of Michael’s most frequently recognized skills is taking and defending high-level depositions, including those of key corporate witnesses, experts and third-party medical providers, as well as trial preservation depositions.
Michael also has briefed and argued cases before Missouri appellate courts, including the Missouri Supreme Court.
Representative Trial MattersSignificant trial work has included the following cases:
Myers v. AbbVie (2018), defense verdict in a bellwether trial in a testosterone replacement therapy TRT litigation case, 3rd chair.
Sherrer v. Boston Scientific Corporation, defense verdict in a two-month trial in a medical device case. Recognized by Missouri Lawyers Weekly as a a top defense verdict in Missouri for 2016, 3rd chair.
Liberty School Bus accident litigation, defense verdict in two-month trial resulting from a catastrophic school bus accident. Recognized by Missouri Lawyers Weekly as the top defense verdict in Missouri, 2013, 2nd chair.
Baumgart v. Ford Motor Company, defense verdict in an automotive product liability case involving an allegedly defective airbag system, resulting in permanent blindness to a teenage driver, 2nd chair.
Garrett v. Albright, et al., defense of trucking companies in multi wrongful death cases in Missouri federal court. Settled midtrial. 2nd chair.
Lake v. Prohaska, medical malpractice defense, JNOV verdict following two-week trial, 2nd chair.
McGill v. Ford Motor Company, automotive product liability case. Recognized by Missouri Lawyers Weekly as a Top 20 defense verdict in Missouri for 2003. 2nd chair.
Representative Appellate WorkState ex rel. Ford Motor Co. v. Manners, 239 S.W.3d 583 (Mo. banc 2007). Lead briefing responsibility on a successful writ challenge to a discovery ruling.
Lake v. McCollum, 257 S.W.3d 614 (Mo. banc 2008). Lead briefing and oral argument responsibility in the Missouri Supreme Court regarding finality of judgment.
Lake v. McCollum, 295 S.W.3d 529 (Mo. Ct. App. 2009). Lead briefing and oral argument responsibility in the Missouri Court of Appeals regarding propriety of JNOV defense verdict in a medical malpractice matter.
Lake v. McCollum, 324 S.W.3d 481 (Mo. Ct. App. 2010). Lead briefing and oral argument responsibility in the Missouri Court of Appeals regarding postjudgment interest.
Gleason v. Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems, et al., 452 S.W.3d 158 (Mo. Ct. App. 2014). Lead briefing responsibility in affirmed verdict in the Liberty School Bus accident litigation noted above.