Geoffrey Michael is a partner in the firm's litigation practice group. He focuses his practice on complex civil litigation, including mass tort litigation and federal multidistrict litigation. He was recently recognized in the Legal 500, which commented that he is viewed as having a "brilliant legal mind" but also being "very practical." Mr. Michael has represented clients at trial and appellate levels in both state and federal court, including preparing and arguing significant motions; taking and defending both fact and expert depositions; drafting briefs and conducting oral argument in federal and state court appeals, including drafting briefs for the United States Supreme Court; and conducting numerous bench trials in state court.
Mr. Michael currently represents a consumer products company in defending against thousands of personal injury cases in state and federal court following the decertification of a class action. These cases present numerous complex and novel issues of law including issues concerning class actions, preclusion (res judicata and collateral estoppel), due process, and preemption. During this representation, Mr. Michael has served as counsel responsible for appellate issues preservation, motions practice, and legal strategy at more than a dozen high-stakes jury trials and argued several appeals before Florida District Courts of Appeal and the Florida Supreme Court.
Mr. Michael also has extensive experience in litigation concerning stays of judgments pending appellate review; burdensome requests for depositions of company officers and representatives; and the propriety and amount of requests for attorneys fees and costs in complex civil litigation.
Mr. Michael graduated from Yale Law School in 2000, where he was an editor on the Yale Law Journal. Mr. Michael clerked for the Honorable Samuel A. Alito, Jr., on the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in 2000-2001, and for Justice Alito during the 2007 Term of the United States Supreme Court.
Mr. Michael is admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the United States and the United States Courts of Appeals for the First, Second, Third, Fourth, Ninth, Tenth, and Eleventh Circuits.
Litigation Representative Matters
- Engle Progeny Litigation (numerous Florida State and Federal Courts), where Mr. Michael represents Philip Morris USA in the management and defense of thousands of smoking and health actions brought by individual plaintiffs in dozens of Florida jurisdictions following the decertification of a high-profile class action. Mr. Michael has participated in over a dozen multi-week jury trials and argued several appeals before Florida District Courts of Appeal and the Florida Supreme Court during the course of this ongoing litigation.
- Camillus Clean Air Coalition v. Honeywell International (E.D.N.Y), where Mr. Michael represents Honeywell against a lawsuit brought by a community group and residents of Camillus, NY, concerning the ongoing clean-up of Onondaga Lake. After an evidentiary hearing, Honeywell prevailed against Plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction to halt the clean-up, and obtained dismissal of Plaintiffs' claims for injunctive relief.
- Hunter v. Philip Morris USA (Alaska Superior Court), where Mr. Michael represented Philip Morris USA during a six-week jury trial in Bethel Alaska that resulted in a complete defense verdict.
- Farmer v. McBride (4th Circuit), where Mr. Michael drafted the briefs and conducted oral argument in the successful Fourth Circuit appeal of a habeas corpus case.
- Oregon v. Gonzales (Supreme Court), where Mr. Michael drafted the briefing for an amicus coalition of state medical associations and societies; pain, palliative, and elder care associations; and distinguished individual pain, palliative, and elder care professionals in successful Ninth Circuit and Supreme Court appeals involving Oregon's Death with Dignity Act.
- In re Diet Drugs, MDL No. 1203 (E.D. Pa), where Mr. Michael represented a major pharmaceutical company in all facets of state and federal litigation in defense of products liability suits over the course of several years. During this representation, Mr. Michael was one of the trial counsel in numerous bench trials challenging plaintiffs' medical eligibility to sue in New Jersey state court, resulting in the dismissals or nominal settlements of thousands of plaintiffs. Mr. Michael also gained significant experience in MDL litigation and litigating in high-risk venues like Mississippi state court.
- National Committee to Preserve Social Security & Medicare v. Philip Morris USA Inc. (Second Circuit); United Seniors v. Philip Morris USA (First Circuit), & Glover v. Liggett Group, Inc.(11th Circuit), where Mr. Michael represented Philip Morris USA in suits brought by Medicare recipients under the Medicare as Secondary Payer Act seeking to recover all Medicare costs incurred by the federal government in paying for the treatment of smoking-related diseases. Philip Morris USA prevailed at both the trial and appellate level in each case.
- Swierkiewicz v. Sorema (Supreme Court), where Mr. Michael represented the Lawyers Committee For Civil Rights Under Law in drafting an amicus brief in support of a successful appeal of the grant of summary judgment in an employment discrimination case.