PROFESSIONAL PROFILE

Michael Bruce Abelson

Partner

PROFILE

Mr. Abelson is one of the firm’s founding partners. His practice focuses on commercial litigation, as well as consulting with individuals and businesses on complex coverage matters across a variety of policy forms. In addition to pre-litigation advice and trial experience, Mr. Abelson has successfully prosecuted and defended appeals which are the subject of numerous published opinions. He’s also extensively lectured regarding insurance and litigation-related topics to members of industry, trade associations and at law schools. Prior to forming the firm, Mr. Abelson was a litigation partner with Latham & Watkins LLP (Los Angeles, CA).

Mr. Abelson is a member of the California State Bar, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, as well as the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. He has been admitted to practice, pro hac vice, in numerous states outside California.

EDUCATION

New York University School of Law, J.D., 1987
Note & Comment Editor, New York University Law Review
Occidental College, B.A. summa cum laude, Political Science (honors), 1984
Phi Beta Kappa, 1983

PROFESSIONAL INVOLVEMENT

Member, California Bar
Member, Los Angeles County Bar Association
Board Member, American Management Association (Insurance & Risk Mgmt. Council)

PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES

Guest Lecturer, “Deposition Techniques” USC School of Law
Guest Lecturer, “Insurance Law” UCLA School of Law
Panelist,” “XBiz Summer Forum: Protecting Your Business” (Las Vegas, NV)
In-House Instructor to Industry, “Insurance 101: Coverages, Procurement & Use”

RECOGNITIONS & AWARDS

2005-2017 “Super Lawyer” (Insurance Coverage)

PUBLICATIONS

Walk the Privilege Tightrope in Communicating with Brokers, Daily Journal (2015)
Ensuring Resolution, Daily Journal (2007)
Making the Most of Adult Policy Coverage, XBiz Magazine
Essentials of Coverage 1, XBiz Magazine (2006)
Essentials of Coverage 2, XBiz Magazine (2006)
Prior to Appeal: Crafting Successful Post-Trial Motions, Daily Journal (1995)

REPRESENTATIVE CASES
  • Trial counsel in In Re: San Juan Dupont Plaza Hotel Fire Litigation, MDL-721. Represented individual hotel investor against hundreds of personal injury and property damage claims resulting from New Year’s Day fire in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Also responsible for insurance recovery from the hotel’s manufacturers and suppliers. Action settled prior to judgment;
  • Trial counsel on behalf of Southern California real estate development partnership brought by disgruntled joint venture partners. Action settled prior to judgment;
  • Trial counsel for insurer in defense of broker indemnification action. Case resulted in complete defense verdict for insurer and payment of all attorneys’ fees and costs;
  • Trial and appellate counsel for insurer against personal injury claimant alleging direct action for physician’s non-FDA approved treatment. Verdict for insurer upheld on appeal. See Meza v. Southern California Physicians Insurance Exchange, 62 Cal. App. 4th 709 (1998);
  • Trial and appellate counsel for insurer against claims for breach of contract and bad faith. Successfully voided multimillion dollar verdict on post-trial motion. Subsequent appellate decision outlines frontiers of California “good faith” settlement statue, Cal. Code Civ. Proc. §877.6. See Maryland Casualty Co. v. Andreini & Co., 81 Cal. App. 4th 1413 (2000);
  • Trial and appellate counsel to national REIT. Successfully overturned district court summary judgment precluding insurance coverage for securities class action. Appeal establishes analytic framework for insurability of fiduciary and restitution claims. See Pan Pacific Retail Properties, Inc. v. Gulf Ins. Co., Inc., 471 F. 3d 961 (9th Cir. 2006);
  • Co-lead counsel in an international arbitration defending American telecommunications corporation from Turkish company alleging fraud and interference with contract. Claimant sought damages of more than $100 million. Case ended in complete defense verdict and order that Turkish company reimburse American client’s attorneys’ fees and costs;
  • Lead counsel representing Hollywood-based, technology company against Canadian broadcast fax company. Key issues included interpretation and implementation of the Telephone Consumers Protection Action Act, 47 USC §227, as well as issues regarding international discovery procedures and enforcement of United States letters rogatory in foreign courts;
  • Successfully overturned district court’s summary judgment, excluding insurance coverage for software company’s Internet-based, invasion of privacy lawsuits. See Netscape Communications Corporation., et al. v. Federal Insurance Company, et al., 2009 U.S. App. LEXIS 19500 (9th Cir.);
  • Obtained summary adjudication orders establishing insurer’s breach of defense obligations for underlying lawsuit and arbitration asserting disparagement and competitive tort injuries against global, specialty pharmaceutical company. Case settled prior to trial of bad faith issues. See OMP, Inc. v. Nat’l Fire Ins. Co., et al., Case No. 2:11-cv-04209-MWF (JCx) (C.D. Cal. 2012);
  • Policyholder counsel to numerous Fortune 500 Companies, non-profits, brokers, private practitioners and individuals regarding exploitation of coverage forms, including Directors & Officers; Errors & Omissions; Comprehensive General Liability; Employers’ Liability; Fidelity Bond; Multi-Media; Personal Lines; and special form endorsement coverages;
  • Coverage counsel for Salt Lake 2002 Olympic Committee and World Cup USA 1994, Inc.

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