Michael Douglass is an experienced trial attorney with a diverse civil litigation practice in California and Arizona state and federal courts. Michael focuses on the defense of corporate and municipal clients in complex, high-exposure general liability claims, as well as in professional, employment and municipal liability matters. He has tried cases to verdict in California and Arizona and also has successfully argued before the California Court of Appeal, most recently in a malicious prosecution case that resulted in a reported decision [Paiva v. Nichols, (2008) 168 Cal.App.4th 1007].
Responsiveness and cost-efficiency are hallmarks of Michael's practice. He is accessible to clients at all times and is a member of several Wilson Elser emergency response teams that provide 24/7 on-site assistance with catastrophic events. Michael also is a proponent and frequent user of mediation and informal settlement negotiations with opposing counsel as a means to reduce clients' litigation costs.
Prior to joining the firm in 2005, Michael was in-house managing attorney for the San Francisco, CA, and San Jose, CA, staff counsel offices of Fireman's Fund Insurance Company. He participates in various diversity initiatives at the firm and in the business community, most recently serving on the planning committee for Defense Research Institute's annual diversity conference.
Areas of Focus
In the general liability area, Michael's practice primarily involves the representation of commercial and residential property owners and managers in high-exposure personal injury cases arising from accidents on their premises. His experience in this regard includes alleged injury due to environmental hazards as well as premises security claims arising from shootings, fights and other such incidents. He also has handled industrial accident cases, which often involve complex machinery or operations.
Michael's professional liability practice includes the defense of errors and omissions claims against insurance agents and brokers as well as real estate professionals. He also represents attorneys in legal malpractice claims.
Employment and Labor
In the employment and labor area, Michael counsels and represents employers in connection with a range of issues, including sex, age, gender and disability discrimination, sexual harassment, and wrongful termination.
Another focus of Michael's practice is the representation of clients in a variety of commercial disputes, including breach of contract, unfair business practices, collections, real property disputes and consumer finance issues. Michael is pragmatic, seasoned and well-versed in providing his business clients with strategic counsel to help them make better-informed decisions to assist in managing their legal risks and protecting their brands.
Welcome to the Digital Age, Officer June 25, 2015
Wilson Elser Attorneys Co-author Thomson Reuters Professional Liability Special Report
October 14, 2015
U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Privacy Rights for Los Angeles Hotel Operators
Warrantless Searches of Hotel Registries Unconstitutional
July 13, 2015
Los Angeles had required hotels to share guest information with the police without a warrant or judicial review. Owners sued, arguing that the statute violated the Fourth Amendment, but the trial court and a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit held against them. However, the Ninth Circuit heard the case en banc and reversed, and the U.S. Supreme Court upheld this decision.
Insurance Agency Risk Management: A Comprehensive Guide to Avoiding E&O Claims
Additional Insureds and Related Topics
December 17, 2012
Who's Peeking into Your Privacy? An In-Depth Look into Social Media
May 2, 2013
Claims Litigation Management Alliance
Mock Trial and Presentation on Surplus Line Broker Ethics
March 12-13, 2013
Surplus Line Association of California
One With Everything: An EPL Case that Covers All the Bases
Surplus Lines Association of California
“Mock Trial: A D&O Placement Predicament, ” Surplus Lines Association of California presentation, May 2010.
“Employment Litigation Mock Trial, ” Surplus Lines Association of California presentation, September 2008.
“Litigation and Discovery 101: Nuts and Bolts, ” Fireman's Fund Insurance Company in-house claims staff training presentation, June 2006.
Specialty Profession Services Contributes to Agents of America e-Book, Insurance Agency Risk Management: A Comprehensive Guide to Avoiding E&O Claims
January 16, 2012
Cushing, Douglass and Cawley Win Summary Judgment in a Novel Bad Faith Case
July 20, 2011
Kym S. Cushing, Michael C. Douglass and Reuben H. Cawley obtained summary judgment in the United States District Court of Arizona on behalf of an insurance company. The case involved allegations of bad faith and breach of contract arising from an errors and omissions policy for an insurance agent/broker.
Douglass Wins Defense Verdict for Municipal Rapid Transit System
December 16, 2010
Michael C. Douglass (Of Counsel-San Francisco) obtained a defense verdict for an area transit system following a seven-day jury trial in a personal injury lawsuit filed in San Francisco County Superior Court.