Michael J. O'Connor

Partner
Michael O'Connor
In his fourth decade of practice as a commercial litigator and trial lawyer, Michael has successfully prosecuted and defended hundreds of claims in a wide variety of commercial cases, including the full spectrum of insurance policyholder matters, as well as entertainment industry and First Amendment law claims. Michael has secured significant verdicts and settlements for clients ranging from well-known Fortune 500 companies to entrepreneurs and individuals.

Michael helps policyholders manage their insurance programs and to enforce their coverage rights. He works diligently with his clients and their insurance companies early on to make sure that their claims are presented in a way that mitigates the possibility of a dispute and maximizes the potential for coverage. Michael is also retained to advise on the negotiation of policy coverage and exclusions, and on the insurance implications of ongoing business operations and transactions.

Over the course of his career, Michael has recovered hundreds of millions of dollars of unpaid claims and damages on behalf of policyholders. His trial victories include multi-million-dollar judgments and recoveries against insurance companies. Michael's experience includes dispute resolution and litigation involving the full array of bad faith violations, including the denial of coverage and payment; improper reserving, pricing practices, claims investigation, and delay of benefits; failure to defend the policyholder; and professional negligence. Moreover, Michael is involved in the resolution of motion picture production/cast insurance; E&O and D&O claims; and commercial property claims, such as business interruption, completed operations, and builder's risk, among others.

In addition to insurance coverage, Michael has represented a number of entertainment companies and broadcasters in claims ranging from copyright and trademark cases to profit participation and contract disputes.

Experience

Representative Matters

  • Regularly represents many of the nation's top commercial construction companies in coverage disputes nationwide. Recovered hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements of bad faith and other insurance claims concerning builder's risk, property insurance, and other construction-related policies
  • On behalf of a California trade association, secured a judgment after trial against several insurance companies for breach of contract and bad faith arising out of claims brought by members of the trade association
  • On behalf of a real estate investment group, secured a bad faith verdict after trial against insurance companies over claims arising out of the purchase and sale of investment properties
  • Secured a precedent-setting decision from the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, confirming a multi-million dollar judgment against an insurance carrier for the carrier's failure to defend its insureds in a lawsuit for intentional interference with prospective economic advantage, intentional interference with the contract, and slander of title brought by a film director
  • In a record-setting result on behalf of national hotel chain, secured a $23 million jury verdict for insurance bad faith claims against an insurance company for failure to defend its insureds in a catastrophic personal injury case 
  • On behalf of major motion picture companies and broadcasters, successfully defended a number of profit participation claims brought by participants. Have secured defense verdicts after trial in several profit participation cases brought by producers against major motion picture studios
  • On behalf of a motion picture production company, secured a defense judgment after trial regarding rights disputes with an author over motion pictures based upon a best-selling book series
  • On behalf of a national radio group, secured a defense verdict after trial in an age discrimination case, brought by an on-air radio personality
  • On behalf of a commercial production company, secured a defense verdict after trial in an action for interference with a contract involving the services of a director

Insights

Credentials
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Education

  • J.D. University of California, Los Angeles School of Law 1979
  • B.A. University of California at Berkeley 1976

Bar Admissions

  • California

Court Admissions

  • Supreme Court of California
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Central District of California
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California

Professional Memberships and Activities

  • Member, California State Bar

Recognition
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  • Named by Los Angeles Magazine as a Southern California Super Lawyer and one of "Southern California's Best Lawyers"
  • The Best Lawyers in America©, Commercial Litigation
  • Included in the Irish Legal 100, 2014 – 2016, 2018
  • Named as a recognized practitioner by Chambers USA in the Insurance: Policyholder area, 2015, 2018