Michael Sherman is a Partner of the Firm and Chair of the Business Litigation practice group.
Michael is an accomplished trial lawyer in high-stakes, “bet-the-company” litigation, and has represented both large and early-stage companies as well as entrepreneurs in all facets of business and complex commercial litigation. He has evenly split his litigation practice on both the plaintiff and defense side of cases, has first-chaired numerous trials in complex matters in industries as varied as energy, securities, healthcare, environmental, consumer products, technology, project development/finance, advertising, real estate and apparel, and is highly skilled in class actions and unfair competition law. Michael’s trial skills and courtroom success resulted in his being named several years ago to the “Top 100 Lawyers” in California list, published by the Daily Journal newspaper chain. He has consistently been named to “Best Lawyers in America”.
Michael has been recognized as a leading trial lawyer by his peers and featured in the press for some of his significant victories on behalf of clients. He is a recent past president of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Association of Business Trial Lawyers. He is a frequent speaker and writer on business litigation and trial advocacy.
Michael has served on the Board of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Association of Business Trial Lawyers. Michael also served as a Board Member and Vice-chair, of Aviva Family and Children’s Services, a major Los Angeles nonprofit.
Michael has received numerous accolades including: recipient of Aviva’s “Spirit of Compassion” Award; Best Lawyers, leading lawyer in Commercial Litigation (2007–2014); Super Lawyers, Southern California (2004–2015); “Top Defense Verdicts of 2009,” Daily Journal; “Top 100 Lawyers of 2009,” Daily Journal
Michael received his B.A. from Columbia University and his J.D. from University of California Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall). He is admitted to practice law in the State of California.
practice & experience
- Obtained complete defense judgment at trial on behalf of client, state of California, in defeating $250 million claim involving proposed Ward Valley radioactive waste site. Gov. Gray Davis personally commended Michael’s trial victory, stating that “we would not have won without your wise counsel and skilled advocacy.”
- Led trial team that obtained a complete plaintiff’s judgment, after trial on claims involving fraud and breach of fiduciary duty that resulted in recovery of nearly $25 million of stock in one of Southern California’s fastest-growing small technology companies in recent years. Award included findings of punitive damages in favor of our client, and a judgment awarding recovery of all attorneys’ fees.
- Successfully represented bondholders in recovering principal and interest on defaulted hydro-electric power project in Northern California, in defending against claims of equity holders.
- Obtained a complete defense judgment at trial on behalf of one of California’s largest water utilities, Eastern Municipal Water District, in successfully opposing $300 million in claims and environmentally related injunctive relief sought by the U.S. government involving the rights and responsibilities of various parties with respect to the waters of the Santa Margarita River, one of the last free-flowing rivers in Southern California. The parties’ dispute had stretched over 15 years and included defense of claims asserted by the Environmental Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Navy and the Marine Corps Base at Camp Pendleton.
- Successfully defended one of California’s largest health providers, in a month-long jury trial, that had been sued for misappropriation of trade secrets by a competitor. The competitor had sought $60 million in damages, and the jury award was for a mere $147,000 — a decision so favorable for Michael’s client that it was thereby entitled to recover all its costs against the competitor.
- Obtained dismissal at pleading stage of lawsuit seeking $1 billion in claims against CBRE, Freeman Spogli, Blum Strategic Partners, KBS Realty Advisors and others, alleging breach of a joint venture and misappropriation of confidential information. Dismissal was upheld on appeal.
- Secured recovery at early stage of proceedings of all principal and interest, and fees, on material sums owing to lender consortium led by Sun America under loan participation.
- Successfully represented major private equity fund sponsor in litigation initiated by Fortune 50 company charging fraud and breach of fiduciary duty, and in resolving litigation short of trial, with both commitment of future fund investments and written apology.
- Obtained complete defense verdict in jury trial on behalf of AIG subsidiaries, in defeating $14 million claim brought by a former senior executive alleging breach of partnership agreement, fraud and breach of fiduciary duty.
- Successfully represented founders of one of the world’s fastest growing telecommunications companies in defense of claims arising out of multibillion dollar sale of company, in instance where $90 million in claims against them were dismissed due to spoliation of electronic evidence and findings of obstruction of justice.
- Successfully defended Affinity Group in a jury trial, where plaintiff sought $100 million in damages for unfair competition claims. Plaintiff took nothing. The trial and Michael were then featured in Los Angeles Daily Journal articles, with the Company CEO describing Michael’s performance in that case as that of “a tenacious litigator with a work ethic that seems to have no end.”
- Obtained an eight-figure recovery, after trial victory, for heiress of one of the nation’s best-known industrialists, deceased.
- Successfully handled numerous securities actions brought against major companies including Lockheed Corp., Pacific Enterprises, Rohr Corporation, Arthur Andersen and Herbalife.
- Managed unfair competition and Lanham Act cases involving Compaq and Packard Bell, and regularly advised No. 1 seller of home computers on products, advertising and procurement issues.
- Obtained nearly eight-figure recovery at trial for terminated securities registered rep (confidential).
- Represented former policyholders in consumer litigation/class action involving Executive Life. Additionally, he successfully prosecuted numerous class action and contingency matters in business areas including hi-tech, industrial equipment, consumer finance, insurance and timeshares.