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Michael R. Williams

Partner

Michael is a trial lawyer with 20 years of experience in all aspects of complex business litigation.

Overview

Michael R. Williams is a trial lawyer with more than twenty-three years of experience in all aspects of complex business litigation.  Mike heads BKLW’s commercial litigation practice and his main practice areas include qui tam suits under state and federal False Claims Acts, insurance coverage and bad faith, corporate governance and partnership disputes, contract and business tort claims, trade secret misappropriation, environmental, and employment litigation. He has substantial first-chair experience representing plaintiffs and defendants in trials, arbitrations, and appeals.

Mike’s clients include Fortune 500 companies, technology start-ups, closely-held businesses, and high net-worth individuals.  Mike is proud to serve as the lawyer of choice for many of his colleagues in the legal profession, who rely on his judgment and experience when they find themselves embroiled in legal disputes.

Beyond his courtroom success, Mike’s best results often occur behind the scenes, where his strategic advice and counsel allow his clients to avoid litigation altogether or settle on favorable terms before a lawsuit is filed.

Mike’s outstanding results for his clients have earned him recognition as one of Orange County’s top attorneys in OC Metro Magazine and a perfect 10 out of 10 rating from Avvo.com.  He was named as a Super Lawyers® “Rising Star” multiple times and was selected to the Southern California Super Lawyers® list in both 2019 and 2020.

Throughout his career, Mike has played key leadership roles in the Orange County legal community, including serving as President of the Public Law Center’s Board of Directors in 2012 and 2013 and Chair of the Orange County Bar Association’s Business Litigation Section in 2007.  Mike is presently a member of the Board of Directors of Project Youth OCBF and served for more than a decade on the board of the UC Davis School of Law Alumni Association.

Mike graduated in the top 5% of his class from the University of California, Davis School of Law, where he was an Executive Editor of the UC Davis Law Review.  Mike received his undergraduate degree in political science from California State University Northridge.

 

 

 

 

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Representative Matters

  • Prosecution of a qui tam action under the federal and state false claims actions arising from off-label label pharmaceutical marketing. After defeating the defendant’s summary judgment motion, the case settled on the eve of trial for $280 million, which at the time was the second largest settlement ever in a non-intervened FCA case.
  • Defense of a prominent estate planning attorney against breach of malpractice, fiduciary duty, fraud, and civil RICO claims brought by members of a wealthy and well-known Southern California family. The case involved numerous defendants, with the plaintiffs seeking nearly $600 million in damages.  After Mike took the lead among co-defense counsel in jury selection and other pretrial matters, the plaintiffs agreed to dismiss Mike’s client from the case in exchange for a nuisance settlement.  Earlier in his career, Mike defended multiple international law firms against complex legal malpractice claims.
  • Representation of a technology company in a fee dispute with an international law firm that had withheld part of the client’s settlement in an underlying case for allegedly unpaid fees. After filing suit against the defendant law firm and exposing several improper billing practices, Mike recovered more than $6.5 million of the client’s money.
  • Representation of a group of physicians in settling a $9 million arbitration award that had been entered against them before Mike’s involvement and then successful prosecution of legal malpractice claims against the national law firm that represented them in the arbitration.
  • Prosecution of a series of insurance coverage and bad faith actions on behalf of multiple public companies in the semiconductor industry. In each case, Mike and his team obtained summary adjudication on key coverage issues and then negotiated settlements totaling over $10 million. Mike also has successfully litigated insurance coverage cases for clients in the software, property management, apparel, food products, manufacturing, and real estate development industries.
  • Defense of a high-profile Orange County technology entrepreneur against a multi-million-dollar breach of contract claim. After obtaining a dismissal of all claims against his client, Mike then obtained an attorneys’ fee award of nearly $1 million against the plaintiff.
  • Prosecution of direct and derivative claims on behalf of an LLC member against the LLC’s managers, who had engaged in transactions that unfairly enriched the managers to the tune of millions of dollars. Immediately after filing suit, Mike obtained a temporary restraining order preventing the defendants from completing imminent transactions, crippling their unlawful scheme. Within days, the defendants agreed to pay Mike’s client a settlement equal to 100% of his multi-million-dollar damage claim.
  • Representation of a federal agency asserting claims against a title insurance company arising out of the 2008 financial crisis. The court granted pre-trial summary judgment in favor of Mike’s client, awarding nearly $6 million in damages.
  • Prosecution of breach of contract and fraud claims on behalf of a group of entrepreneurs and privately held companies in the automotive accessories business. Mike’s clients won a $55 million judgment following a six-week trial.
  • Defense of a private equity firm and its principals in a series of arbitration and litigation proceedings in which Mike’s clients were alleged to have misappropriated trade secrets and breached fiduciary duties in connection with a $200 million portfolio investment. After defeating the plaintiff’s request for a preliminary injunction and obtaining a series of favorable rulings on key issues, Mike’s clients entered into a highly favorable settlement.
  • Defense of one of California’s fastest-growing franchise restaurant chains against trade secret misappropriation claims by its largest competitor. After obtaining highly damaging admissions during the deposition of the plaintiff’s key witness, Mike negotiated a settlement under which his clients made no out-of-pocket payment and no changes to their business operations.

Professional Recognition

  • Selected to the Super Lawyers® list for 2021
  • Selected to the Super Lawyers® list for 2020
  • Named one of Orange County’s top attorneys in OC Metro Magazine
  • Named as a Super Lawyers® “Rising Star” for the years 2005, 2006, and 2011
  • Selected to the Super Lawyers® list for 2019
  • Perfect 10 out of 10 rating from Avvo.com