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Biography

Michael is a senior associate in Smith Haughey’s Litigation Practice Group. He focuses his practice on professional liability defense, commercial litigation, insurance defense, products liability, and no-fault law, practicing extensively in both state and federal courts. As an attorney in Smith Haughey’s Grand Rapids office, Michael takes a proactive, results-oriented approach to litigation in order to obtain positive results for his clients. Michael regularly conducts depositions of parties, fact witnesses, and expert witnesses, and has successfully drafted and argued multiple dispositive motions.

In his role as a professional liability defense attorney, Michael has successfully defended attorneys, accountants, architects, engineers, land surveyors, and professional trustees faced with claims of professional negligence. He has also represented attorneys in contempt proceedings and before the Attorney Grievance Commission.

Additionally, Michael also regularly handles appellate matters for clients in the Michigan Court of Appeals, Michigan Supreme Court, and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Michael lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan with his wife and daughter. Outside of the office, Michael enjoys hiking, snowshoeing, homebrewing, and spending time with his family and friends.


Experience

Legal Malpractice Defense: Michael was the lead associate in a legal malpractice action in which the plaintiff sought $9,000,000.00 in damages. The trial court granted defendant’s motion for summary disposition and awarded over $40,000 in attorney fees to the defendant. That decision was later affirmed by the Michigan Court of Appeals.

Legal Malpractice Defense: Michael was the lead associate in a legal malpractice case in federal court arising out of commercial litigation in which the plaintiff sought seven figures in damages. The trial court granted the defendants’ motion for summary judgment and dismissed the case.

Professional Liability Defense: Michael was the lead associate in a professional liability lawsuit against a professional trustee, alleging negligence in the administration of a trust. The trial court granted the trustee’s motion for summary disposition, dismissing plaintiff’s claims and awarding the trustee all of its attorney fees.

Professional Liability Defense: Michael was the lead associate in a professional liability case against an engineer. Following the filing of a motion for summary disposition, and before the hearing, the plaintiff voluntarily dismissed the engineer from the lawsuit.

Real Estate Litigation: Michael was the lead associate in a real estate dispute regarding the application of certain building and use restrictions to his client’s property. The parties filed cross motions for summary disposition. The trial court denied the plaintiff’s motion and granted the defendant’s motion, dismissing the case.

Products Liability Defense: Michael was the lead associate in a products liability action arising out of an injury that occurred while the plaintiff was deer hunting in a tree stand. Although plaintiff sought nearly seven-figures in damages, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment, dismissing plaintiff’s case in its entirety.

General Liability Defense: Michael was the lead associate in a case in which a day-laborer suffered a significant injury while working with a forklift. Although a case evaluation panel assigned a value of nearly three quarters of a million dollars to the case, the trial court granted defendant’s motion for summary disposition and dismissed plaintiff’s case. The Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed that decision.

Automobile Negligence: Michael was the lead associate in a third-party no-fault lawsuit against a commercial auto company. Defendant filed a motion for summary disposition, arguing that plaintiff’s injuries did not satisfy the tort threshold under the Michigan No-Fault Act. The trial court dismissed plaintiff’s suit.

Previous Experience

Summer Associate, Smith Haughey Rice & Roegge (2012)

Summer Associate, Wiedner & McAuliffe (2011)

Affiliations

  • State Bar of Michigan, Appellate and Litigation Sections
  • Michigan Defense Trial Counsel
  • Board of Directors, Central Michigan University Young Alumni

Education

  • Indiana University (J.D., 2013)   
  • Central Michigan University (M.A., 2009)  
  • Albion College (B.A., 2008)  

Admitted

  • State Bar of Michigan, 2014
  • Eastern District of Michigan, 2014
  • Western District of Michigan, 2014
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

News and Publications

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