Motivated and highly skilled in the defense of complex business litigation
Michael will be the first to tell you he was a late bloomer. He wasn’t a great student in high school. After floundering in college for two years, he dropped out and took a job with a mutual fund, learning the back-office mechanics of financial securities. Living at the time in Tucson, Arizona – one of the epicenters of the 2000s housing boom, and later, bust – Michael was hired by a residential builder and oversaw construction of an 18-home subdivision with no formal training or experience.
Yet higher education began to call. “There was a ceiling on how far I could get without a college degree,” Michael says. With family in Virginia, he relocated to Richmond, where he enrolled in VCU’s business economics program. And the switch flipped: He finished 83 credit hours in 16 months with a 4.0 GPA. He went straight to Law school, where he served as executive editor of the Richmond Law Review and graduated summa cum laude – fourth in his class.
Michael has invested a lot of time into deciphering the complexities of Virginia’s courts. He was a student clerk for the Hon. James R. Spencer in the Richmond Division of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. He spent a summer as a legal intern for the Chesterfield County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office. Following graduation, Michael was judicial law clerk to the Hon. Michael C. Allen in the Chesterfield County Circuit Court.
Since joining ThompsonMcMullan , Michael has built his reputation as a fierce and capable litigator. Analytical, competitive, and results-minded, Michael is driven to obtain the best possible solution, in the most cost-effective manner, to solve his clients’ most challenging legal problems.
He and the firm’s litigation team are trusted as counsel for out-of-state attorneys, small and middle-market businesses, insurance carriers, public officials, and local governments. He defends clients in all manner of lawsuits in state and federal courts throughout the Commonwealth, including claims involving torts, contracts, civil rights, insurance coverage, defamation, bankruptcy, corporate governance, consumer finance laws, complex litigation, and class-action litigation.
“Litigation is nonlinear; the playing field for attorneys doing it is very large, and the strategies are limitless,” he says. “The best litigators bring a strong working knowledge of procedure, the law, the idiosyncrasies of the court, and their adversary – and they use that knowledge to develop a cost-effective, winning strategy.”
Success as a litigator also takes an analytical approach, people skills, and strong writing ability. With those skills backing him, Michael has put in the time and work over the years to develop the knowledge and instincts to be able to litigate effectively. He is admitted to practice in the Virginia state and federal district courts, the Supreme Court of Virginia, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court of the United States.
Civil Litigation, Bankruptcy, and Administrative Law
Kenneth Lecky v. Virginia State Board of Elections, 285 F. Supp. 3d 908 (E.D. Va. 2018) (Alexandria Division). Successfully defended the local registrar and electoral board members in a series of injunction lawsuits brought seeking to challenge the result of the election for the house of delegates. Following the United States District Court’s opinion denying an emergency preliminary injunction, we successfully defended against an appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
Black v. Woody, No. 3:17-cv-839, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 43146 (E.D. Va. Mar. 16, 2018) (Richmond Division). Obtained dismissal of a lawsuit filed against Sheriff Woody seeking $2.35 million dollars as damages for the alleged false imprisonment and unlawful seizure of an inmate denied release into a home incarceration program.
Davison v. Dunnavant, 96 Va. Cir. 48 (Va. Cir. Ct. 2017) (County of Henrico). Successfully defended a state senator in a FOIA lawsuit alleging that FOIA was violated due to the manner of the senator’s administration of her Facebook page. The court initially ruled that FOIA did not apply to a state senator, but subsequently reversed this decision. The senator prevailed following a trial on the merits.
Rafalko v. Georgiadis, 290 Va. 384, 777 S.E.2d 870 (2015). Successfully challenged a trustee’s decision that the trust’s beneficiaries had forfeit their multi-million-dollar interest in the trust. The circuit court decision was affirmed by the Supreme Court of Virginia.
- Selected to the Super Lawyer’s “Rising Stars” Virginia List, Civil Litigation Defense category (2014 – 2019)
- Virginia Business Magazine’s “Legal Elite,” Young Lawyer (Under 40) category (2015 – 2018)
- University of Richmond School of Law, JD, summa cum laude, 2011, Order of the Coif
- Virginia Commonwealth University, BS, Business Economics, magna cum laude, 2008
- All Virginia courts including the Supreme Court of Virginia
- U.S. Supreme Court
- U.S. District Court for the Eastern and Western Districts of Virginia
- U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern and Western Districts of Virginia
- U.S Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
- Virginia State Bar
- Richmond Bar Association
- Chesterfield Bar Association
- VCU Business Alumni Society
- Student Engagement Committee Member (2013 – 2015)
- Ram-to-Ram Program, Volunteer/Committee Member (2015)
- VCU Guest Lecturer, INFO 323: Ethical, Social, & Legal Issues in Information Systems (2014 – 2016)
- Board Member, St. Thomas More Law Society (2015 – 2019)
- Virginia Association of Defense Attorneys
- Virginia Creditor’s Bar Association
- Virginia Bar Association