Michael John Miguel is a principal in the firm’s Los Angeles office. He concentrates his active trial practice on commercial litigation, with an emphasis in insurance coverage, environmental, antitrust, intellectual property, and toxic tort defense litigation matters. Mr. Miguel represents and counsels clients on a national and international basis, and has assisted in obtaining insurance recoveries counted in the billions of dollars.
Mr. Miguel has successfully appeared before state and federal trial and appellate courts in twenty-seven (27) states and the U.S. Supreme Court, and has tried cases to verdict/judgment in five different states. He has also conducted multiple domestic and international arbitration proceedings.
For well over a decade, Mr. Miguel has been a member of insurance recovery practice groups rated by Chambers & Partners and recognized as "Insurance Group of the Year" by Law360. He has been named one of the "Top 100 Lawyers of California" by the Daily Journal Corporation, is annually included in Best Lawyers in America as a leading lawyer in Insurance Litigation as well as Insurance Law, and is annually listed as a Super Lawyer in Southern California and named among the "Top Attorneys" by Los Angeles Magazine.
- Maxus Liquidating Trust v. Greenstone Assurance, Ltd. Serves as trial counsel for bankruptcy trust of policyholder, in Federal Court, seeking recovery of over $500 million in damages for historic liabilities assumed by contract, currently set for trial in March 2021. (E.D. Texas, 2019-present)
- In re Western States Natural Gas Antitrust Litigation, MDL 1566: Serves as trial counsel for integrated utility company and its subsidiaries in consolidated class actions in seven states, alleging fraud and wholesale natural gas price manipulation and seeking over $500 million in damages. The long-running MDL has involved two appeals to the Ninth Circuit and an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court (Oneok, Inc. v. Learjet, Inc., 135 S.Ct. 1591 (2015)), prior to remand to the transferee courts. All but one case has been resolved, with the remaining case set for trial in 2021. (D. Nevada, 2004-present)
- Enterprise Financial Group v. Santander Consumer (USA), Inc. Trial counsel for plaintiff in Texas State Court for willful breach of contract concerning performance under an agreement for issuance and claims handling of "GAP" policies to automobile purchasers. Case is currently set for trial in May 2021. (Dallas Cty. (Tex.), 2019-present)
- Givaudan Fragrances Corp. v. Aetna Casualty & Surety Co. Undertook expert discovery and trial preparation for coverage case involving historic environmental liabilities, which settled favorably on first day of trial. (Morris Cty. (NJ), 2018-2019)
- Bedivere Insurance Company, et al v. Maxus Energy Corporation. Lead counsel for policyholder sued by its insurers over coverage for "Louisiana Legacy" liabilities under historic CGL policies. Policyholder counter-sued for coverage and damages. Case settled favorably on the day before trial. (Harris Cty. (Tex.), (2015-2018)
- Planning and Conservation League v. Alex Padilla. Took part in pro bono team who commenced an original action in the California Supreme Court to challenge the constitutionality of "Proposition 9" that sought to divide the State of California into three states. The ballot measure was declared unconstitutional and removed from the ballot in under 30 days. (Cal. S.Ct., 2018)
Prior to joining the firm:
- Taylor Energy Company LLC v. Underwriters at Lloyd’s. Served as lead counsel for policyholder, obtaining summary judgment on coverage under an energy package policy for offshore environmental liabilities. Obtained first reported U.S. case holding London Market insurers liable for off-shore contamination cleanup under energy package policy and a mid-eight figure settlement (E.D. La. 2010).
- CNH America v. Travelers Indemnity. Represented former corporate parent in third party indemnity litigation brought by an insurer under a global settlement agreement. Obtained favorable settlement for client after summary judgment. (Del. Superior Ct., 2015).
- Celanese Corporation v. OneBeacon Americas Insurance Co. Served as lead trial counsel for policyholder seeking compliance with coverage-in-place agreements. Unanimous verdict for client found breach of contract and bad faith against OneBeacon and its third party administrator (Suffolk Cty. (MA) Superior Court 2010).
- OneBeacon America Insurance Co. v. Celanese Corporation. Served as lead trial and appellate counsel in suit brought by insurer to avoid all insuring obligations. Trial court judgment entered in favor of client in excess of $3 million (Suffolk Cty. (MA), 2014).
- Southern Natural Gas Company v. London Market Insurers. Served as lead trial counsel for policyholder seeking coverage for historic environmental liabilities; obtained two unanimous jury verdicts in favor of coverage, which were upheld by the Alabama Supreme Court in July 2013 (Jefferson Cty (AL) Circuit Ct., 2001-2013).
- ExxonMobil v. New West Petroleum. Served as lead trial and appellate counsel for six-week jury trial and subsequent bench trial concerning allocation of liability for historic environmental property damage (E.D. Cal. 2009).
- Kern County Land Co. v. California Union Ins. Co. Served as lead trial counsel in three trials for policyholder in “global” coverage case for historic environmental liabilities on seven lines of coverage, resulting in nine-figure settlements (San Francisco Cty., 1997-2008).
- Butter Flavoring Litigation. Served as counsel for a product manufacturer in mass-tort litigation alleging injuries (and death) from exposure to chemicals used in the production of microwave popcorn (Hamilton Cty. Ohio, 2007-2009).
- Served as lead counsel on several confidential arbitration/mediation/mini-trial proceedings involving international contract disputes, offshore damage liabilities (and related insurance), and reinsurance issues.
Rankings & Honors
- Member of nationally Chambers USA-rated insurance recovery (policyholder) practice group and multiple recognitions as “Insurance Practice Group of the Year” by Law360. (2007-present)
- Ranked in the Best Lawyers in America as a leading lawyer for both in Litigation: Insurance and Insurance Law (2018-2021)
- Chosen as one of the “Top 100 Lawyers in California” as a result of insurance recovery successes by the Daily Journal Corporation (2011)
- Recognized annually as a Southern California Super Lawyer for insurance litigation (2015-present) and named among the "Top Attorneys" by Los Angeles Times and Los Angeles Magazine.
Media & Events
- Robert Manley and Michael Miguel provided commentary to Business Insurance's article, "Flurry of Litigation Likely in Wake of Texas Storm, Power Outages"02.23.2021
- 21 McKool Smith principals recognized in the 2021 Edition of "Best Lawyers in America" and 12 attorneys recognized in "Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch"08.18.2020
- "Delaware D&O Coverage Litigation," ABA Tips Insurance Litigation Conference (February 2020)
- “Number of Occurrences in Insurance Liability Claims: Framing the Occurrence Issue to Maximize Policyholder’s Coverage or Limit Insurer’s Exposure,” Stafford Publishing CLE Webinar (April 2015)
- "Principal Issues in Securing Insurance Coverage for Employment-Related Claims under EPI Policies," CLE (2012)
- “Insurance Allocation Strategies 2013,” HB Litigation Conference (October 2014)
- “Energy Package Policies/Offshore Drilling Coverage Issues,” K&L Gates sponsored CLE Seminar Los Angeles, CA (June 2011)
- "Key Insurance Coverage Issues Under "Energy Package" Policies for Offshore Operations," K&L Gates co-sponsored seminar, Houston, TX (October 2010)
- “Primetime for Subprime: Insurance Implications for Subprime Litigation - Credit Default Swaps," ABA Section of Litigation, Insurance Coverage Litigation Committee CLE Seminar, Tucson, AZ (March 2009)
- “Evaluating Offshore Insurance Protections in the Post Macondo Blowout World,” Oil & Gas Monitor (October 2011)
- “Offshore Environmental Damage Insurance: Not Just Window Dressing Any More,” ASIA-MENA Counsel (2011)
- "When Trouble Knocks, Will Directors and Officers Policies Answer?" (2009)
J.D., University of Southern California Law School, 1989
- Staff editor, U.S.C. Journal of Law & Environment
B.A., English Literature, University of California Los Angeles, 1986
- The U.S. Supreme Court
- The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First, Fifth, and Ninth Circuits
- The U.S. Courts for the Central, Northern, Eastern, and Southern Districts of California
- The U.S. District Court for Colorado
- The U.S. District Court for Massachusetts
- The U.S. District Courts for the Northern and Eastern Districts of Texas
- California (1989)
- District of Columbia (1995)
- Massachusetts (1994)
- U.S. Supreme Court (2014)