Michael C. Davis

Davis Michael

Mike Davis, a co-chair of the Environmental Practice Group, represents developers, government agencies, lenders and others in complex litigation and business transactions involving a variety of issues, including environmental, construction, insurance, and transportation. Mike has been involved in some of the most significant redevelopment projects in the country, including New York's World Trade Center, Washington, DC's Poplar Point, and Long Island City, New York.

Mike regularly engages in high-stakes litigation across the country, much of which involves cutting-edge factual, legal, and constitutional issues. He has handled countless trials, administrative disputes, arbitrations, mediations, and related appellate litigation. Involved in some of the most significant environmental projects in the country, Mike makes routine appearances before U.S. federal and state courts and guides clients through dispute resolution proceedings and investigations before the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and state-level regulatory agencies.


Representative Matters

Environmental Law 

  • Represents owners or developers involved in some of the most significant projects in the country, including New York's World Trade Center; Washington, DC's Poplar Point and Wharf redevelopment projects; Long Island City, New York; and a variety of other projects across the country
  • Represents a national lender in connection with environmental risks, and associated indemnity agreements with borrowers, in connection with nationwide multifamily loans
  • Drafting (and litigating obligations under) liability-risk transfer agreements, including those related to Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) violations at some of the nation’s most significant Superfund sites with cleanup costs in excess of $100 million
  • Performs due diligence investigations into the environmental implications of scores of pending mergers, acquisitions, investments, and loan agreements, including manufacturing, food, pharmaceutical, power generation, and other business lines
  • Serving as counsel in environmental litigation, including complex multi-party CERCLA cost recovery matters, liability allocation issues, National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) challenges, wetlands issues, and toxic tort disputes
  • Submitted an amicus brief on behalf of former administrators of the EPA before the U.S. Supreme Court in the landmark decision concerning global warming in Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency, 549 U.S. 497 (2007)

Insurance and Risk Management

  • Represents some of the country's finest restaurants, hospitality companies, national and regional retailers, building owners (including buildings under construction), not-for-profit organizations, trade associations, and others in business interruption and event cancellation coverage claims, including litigation, arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. He has been quoted extensively on these matters, including in the Washington Post, and has presented to national trade associations of retailers
  • Represents a hospitality company in nationwide coverage disputes, including litigation, in connection with its extensive first-party and third-party claims portfolio
  • Represents a New York State agency in insurance and risk management issues arising from Superstorm Sandy and its response thereto, including significant rebuilding and infrastructure projects
  • Represented a mid-Atlantic state transportation agency in insurance and risk mitigation in connection with one of the nation's largest (in excess of $3 billion) public-private partnership (P3) projects
  • Represented the city/state agency redeveloping the World Trade Center site after 9/11 on insurance issues
  • Represents one of the country's largest car and truck rental companies in various coverage disputes across the country
  • Represents leading government contractors in various insurance disputes, including litigation and arbitration
  • Represented the owner/operator of a subway system in business interruption coverage litigation arising from a catastrophic crash resulting in a shutdown of the system
  • Represented an international airport in coverage disputes arising from the impacts of an earthquake
  • Represents manufacturers of food, drugs, and medical devices in numerous coverage disputes
  • Represents businesses in "lost policy" disputes with insurers, including litigation, involving decades of lost policies for long-tail claims, such as environmental or asbestos claims
  • Represents owners and operators of senior and affordable housing in response to a variety of claims, including catastrophic losses from fires


  • Lead trial and appellate counsel for the owner of an export facility challenging, on federal constitutional grounds, a state's refusal to permit a coal export facility to be built to supply American-mined coal to Asian allies, such as South Korea and Japan. The lawsuit sought to overturn the state's denial of permits as discriminatory against coal and international commerce and therefore as a violation of the U.S. Constitution's Commerce Clause
  • Lead trial counsel in defending one of North America’s largest oil pipeline companies from a federal lawsuit filed by a Native American tribe concerning a critical oil pipeline. The tribe seeks the removal of the pipeline, and the case is actively supported by environmental advocacy groups philosophically opposed to pipelines and fossil fuels
  • Lead arbitration counsel to a major international chemical company in a contractual indemnity dispute involving more than $1 billion in remediation costs at hundreds of Superfund and other cleanup sites across the United States
  • Represents a national steel fabricator and erector in litigation around the country related to construction accidents
  • Represented the owner of buildings located in a suburban area adjacent to Washington, DC in claims of significant damage caused by the failure of a sheeting and shoring system. After extensive litigation, including an appeal to Maryland’s highest court, Mike’s client prevailed, and the defendant was compelled to pay Mike’s client’s attorneys’ fees




  • J.D. University of Chicago Law School 1993
    • Member, University of Chicago Law Review
    • Articles editor, University of Chicago Round Table
    • Recipient, Chicago Law Foundation Grant
  • B.A. Double major in Government and Philosophy with distinction Cornell University, College of Arts and Sciences 1990
    • Phi Beta Kappa
    • Accelerated graduation in three years

Bar Admissions

  • District of Columbia
  • Virginia
  • New York
  • Illinois

Professional Memberships and Activities

  • Member, American Bar Association
  • Member, Virginia State Bar


  • Super Lawyers
    • Washington, DC, 2015 – 2023
    • Rising Stars, Environmental, Washington, DC, 2014
  • Practical Law Company, Cross-Border Environment Handbook, Recommended Lawyer, 2007 – 2008
  • PLC Which Lawyer?, Leading Lawyer, Environmental, Washington, DC
  • The Best Lawyers in America, 2024
    • Environmental Law, 2023


Pro Bono

  • Provides pro bono assistance to former EPA administrators, foster children and the District of Columbia