Michael Brown represents both plaintiffs and defendants in complex commercial, insurance recovery, and class action litigation. Like all of his colleagues at GTTC, Michael concentrates his practice on complex business litigation. He takes particular pride in applying his strong analytical and writing skills on behalf of his clients, including major dispositive motions and appellate briefs. Michael joined GTTC in 2012.
Prior to relocating to Seattle, Michael honed his litigation skills in California, including at O’Melveny & Myers. In 2012 he was named Attorney of the Year by California Lawyer Magazine for his work on a high-profile public employee retirement benefits case.
After law school, Michael served as law clerk to the Hon. David F. Levi, U.S. District Judge, Eastern District of California, and then the Hon. Proctor Hug, Jr., Chief Judge of the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Potential class action seeks reimbursement for illegal union dues
To keep vulnerable populations out of institutions, the law allows them to be cared for at home by providers who are reimbursed by Medicaid. The State of Washington has been deducting 3.2 percent of each care provider’s salary for SEIU union dues, whether the provider consents or not.
In 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that this was legal only when caregivers have agreed to participate in the union.With Michael Brown’s assistance, homecare workers in Washington are suing the State and SEIU Local 775, seeking reimbursement for dues deducted over the years and to force the State and the union to cease the practice of taking providers’ money without their consent. Michael is seeking class status.
Ongoing class action seeks reinstatement of retiree benefits
In 2008 Orange County, Calif., revoked certain medical benefits for its retirees. Michael Brown represents 9,000 retired public employees in a class action and related litigation filed in 2009, seeking to force reinstatement of these benefits.
So far, four courts (including the California Supreme Court) have ruled on this complicated case – which is currently in the process of its second appeal before the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. In 2012, Michael was named Attorney of the Year by California Layer Magazine for his work on this case.
Insurance policies help with costly environmental clean-up
Simpson Timber Co. is listed as one of the parties liable for cleanup of the 250-acre Pasco Sanitary Landfill – a large Superfund site. Simpson turned to GTTC for assistance. After a careful review of Simpson’s insurance policies, Frank Cordell and Michael Brown have recovered insurance proceeds covering the full amount of Simpson’s costs to date.
$130 million settlement in trade secret case
Move, Inc. (which operates the website Realtor.com) and Zillow are major competitors in the online real estate market. When two senior executives left Move and went to work for Zillow, Move sued the two executives and Zillow for misappropriation of trade secrets, breach of fiduciary duty, and other claims. The lawsuit included allegations that the two executives had intentionally destroyed evidence.
After two years of preparation, the case was scheduled to go to trial in June 2016. As co-counsel to Jenner & Block, GTTC lawyers Jeff Thomas, Michael Rosenberger, Mark Wilner, and Michael Brown obtained a $130 million settlement on behalf of Move and co-plaintiff the National Association of Realtors. The case settled on the morning of the first day of trial.
Commercial real estate partnership dispute ends in highly favorable settlement
The two members of a commercial real estate development corporation were at odds and sought to dissolve the company. The 51-percent partner claimed that the 49-percent partner still owed him $850,000, and wanted to deduct this amount from the minority member’s share of the proceeds of a sale of one of its properties.
With Michael Brown’s help, the minority member sued for his fair share. The case settled with Michael’s client receiving more than the $850,000 initially in dispute.
One of the most rewarding things about being an attorney is the satisfaction I get from providing practical help to people who are in difficult situations.
Outside the office, I spend time volunteering at a local non-profit called ChildHaven, a preschool and therapeutic program for young children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect.
I spend a lot of time with my young son, and also enjoy reading, cooking, and good wine.