Michelle Arbitrio, chair of Wilson Elser's national Specialty Professional Risks Practice, is an accomplished attorney who enjoys an enviable record of success. Michelle litigates, tries and appeals complex professional, commercial, coverage, life insurance, ERISA and employment disputes in state and federal courts and defends securities arbitrations before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).
She takes particular pride in her skillful defense of those professionals for whom the need to manage potential exposure has never been greater, including insurance agents, real estate agents and mortgage brokers. Intimately familiar with the business of law, the business of insurance and the delicate calculus of balancing one against the other, Michelle commits herself to addressing the needs of in-house counsel, underwriters, brokers and other insurance professionals - many of whom consider her as much colleague as counsel.
A practicing attorney for 12 years, Michelle’s instinctive leadership abilities are already very much in evidence. She trains and manages a talented team of associates and paralegals and is regularly consulted by fellow partners who appreciate her sound perspectives and ideas. In fact, her ability to work cross-practice frequently spawns innovative and cost effective resolutions of her clients’ most challenging legal issues. While other adjectives commonly ascribed to Michelle include “honorable,” “approachable” and “tenacious,” perhaps she’s proudest of being considered a “lawyer’s lawyer” who garners the enduring respect of colleagues and clients alike.
Awards & Distinctions
Rising Star - Westchester’s 40 Under 40
•Loophole Leaves Insurers Powerless Against Fraud
New York Law Journal
December 1, 2014
•Eastern District of New York Adopts “Express Train” Discovery Schedule to Ensure Expeditious Resolution of Sandy-related Coverage Suits
Expedited Resolution of Sandy-related Coverage Suits
April 24, 2014
In late February 2014, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York issued a case management order, scheduling all parties in cases dealing with Superstorm Sandy on an “express train to resolution.” In keeping with this approach, the Court has skipped all discovery conferences mandated by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and remained focused on resolving these disputes.
•Temporary Insurance Applications and Agreements: The Impact of Material Misrepresentations in Life Insurance Applications on Coverage
Material Misrepresentations in Life Insurance Applications
November 15, 2013
According to a recent Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling, the enforceability of a temporary insurance application and agreement as part of an application for a life insurance policy may be subject to and conditioned on the information provided in other aspects of the application so long as the material misrepresentation provision unambiguously allows for rescission.
•Life, Health, Disability & ERISA Newsletter
Insurance Fraud & Group Policy Limitations
This Life, Health, Disability & ERISA Newsletter discusses insurance fraud, important ERISA holdings, new California law on group policy, and more.
“Important ERISA Holdings from Hobson v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, 574 F.3d 75 (2d Cir. 2009)” (co-author), Wilson Elser ERISA Alert, February 2010.
“Insurance Alert - Recent Decision Regarding SOLI Policies in the Southern District of New York,” Wilson Elser, February 5, 2008.
•Securities 101: An Introduction to FINRA Arbitrations
October 29, 2013
Continuing Legal Education
•Securities Update: A Discussion Regarding the New Suitability Rule, REITs, TICs, and Private Placements
March 12, 2013
•Arbitrio Presents Mediation and Settlement CLE Program
January 13, 2010
Co-Lecturer, CLE/CE Presentation entitled A Claims Analyst's Guide to Mediation at National Insurance Company, Berkeley Heights, NJ, January 2008.
•Arbitrio and Frangoulis Obtain Positive Result for Long-term Disability Insurers on Policy Language Limiting Time Frame for Insureds to Bring Lawsuits
January 30, 2015
•Wilson Elser’s Michelle Arbitrio Named to Westchester County’s List of Rising Stars Under 40
May 7, 2014
•Arbitrio Obtains $1.3 Million Verdict for Fortune 500 Client
April 2, 2014
•Arbitrio Wins Award for Security Broker Client; Award Featured in Securities Publication
December 23, 2013
•Arbitrio Wins Motion to Intervene and Enforce Class Action Settlement in Iowa Federal District Court
December 20, 2013
•One Year after “Sandy,” Property Insurers Engulfed by Wave of Lawsuits
Unprecedented Influx of “Sandy” Cases
December 11, 2013
Insurance companies with policyholders in the tri-state area find themselves in the crosshairs of several law firms intent on extracting damages in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. Local attorneys are working side by side with out-of-state law firms familiar with the legal aftermath of hurricanes, including Katrina. Together, they are systematically filing lawsuits in both state and federal courts in lower New York and New Jersey. As part of their efforts, they have embarked on an advertising campaign to potential claimants, outlining in detail their qualifications and proposed approaches.
•Arbitrio Client Alert on Temporary Insurance Applications and Agreements Featured in FC&S Legal
December 10, 2013
•White Plains Team Scores Big Win for Defendant Life Insurance Company
November 14, 2011
The team successfully argued that the defendant insurance company was not liable for the conduct of a broker who convinced the elderly plaintiff, under false pretenses, to sign paperwork authorizing three large withdrawals from three of the defendant's variable annuities owned by the plaintiff, and later stole the withdrawn funds. (Also at New York, New York and Stamford, Connecticut Offices)