Mike Rosenberger, the firm’s Managing Partner, is a trial lawyer who represents clients in complex civil litigation with a focus on commercial litigation, insurance recovery, and major personal injury and property damage claims. Mike became a lawyer because he is competitive and loves a challenge. While that remains true to this day, Mike finds his greatest satisfaction as a lawyer comes from providing clients with the best possible service.
Prior to joining the firm, Mike honed his trial skills at two other law firms and at the Seattle City Attorney’s Office, where for ten years he was a senior assistant city attorney in the environmental and tort sections. After law school, Mike developed an early sense of the arguments that persuade judges and juries when he served as a law clerk to a federal trial court judge, the Hon. Rudi M. Brewster, Southern District of California.
- $6.3 million Contract Claim Defeated in Arbitration – Mike represented a company founded by a high-net-worth individual to manage his investments. Years after three former private equity managers were dismissed, they sued and sought damages of $6.3 million based upon alleged breaches of a carry plan and an incentive compensation plan. The arbitrators unanimously found in favor of our client and awarded our client its attorneys’ fees and costs.
- $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. Defendants filed 23 summary judgment motions, many of which Mike argued and defeated. As co-counsel to Jenner & Block, Mike and other GTTC lawyers 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.
- Successful Defense of Lost Profits Claim by Refinery – Mike defended the City of Tacoma against a $9.1 million claim by an oil refinery that lost production when the client’s relay technician accidentally shut off the power to the refinery and thus caused it to go into emergency shutdown. Mike developed evidence that the refinery’s mistakes during the restart of the refinery caused most of the financial loss. The case settled for 22% of the original claim.
- Successful Defense of Construction Delay Case – Mike defended the condo association operating the historic Macy’s building in downtown Seattle against a claim by one of the association’s members. Plaintiff claimed $5.3 million in alleged construction delay damages arising out of a seismic retrofit. Plaintiff claimed that a water main that supplied the building’s fire suppression system had leaked, that the association had failed to maintain it, and that the alleged leak had caused lengthy delays in the excavation for shear wall footings beneath the building. GTTC developed evidence that the construction delays were due to groundwater and mistakes by plaintiff’s contractor and that in any event Plaintiff failed to prove any effect on the project’s critical path. Case settled for approximately 10% of claimed damages.
- Successful Settlement of LLC Dispute – Mike represented an individual who assembled multiple lots and secured entitlements to develop land in Seattle into a large, multifamily project. The client formed a single purpose LLC to develop the project with an individual who provided financing and thus had majority control. After the project was sold for a substantial profit, the majority member refused to distribute to the client his share of the profits, alleging that the client owed money on a separate project and that the LLC agreement gave the majority member discretion as to timing of distributions. After hard-fought litigation involving extensive motion practice, the case settled with our client getting paid all the money he sought at the outset.
- Favorable Settlement in Breach of Oral Contract – Mike represented a GTTC client who brought a suit in King County Superior Court alleging that long-time business partners failed to perform a contract to sell membership units in a limited liability company that owned a self-storage facility. Defendants raised a host of defenses, including that the contract was barred by the statute of frauds, was too vague to enforce, was illegal and, even if enforceable, had not been performed by the client, thus excusing defendants’ performance. After Mike defeated defendants’ motion for summary judgment, the client leveraged the win into a favorable settlement under confidential terms.
- Prosecution of Veil-Piercing Claim – Mike represented a client that had gotten a substantial judgment against a corporation. The company was judgment proof, so Mike sought to enforce the judgment against the sole shareholder by piercing the corporate veil and by litigating claims for fraudulent transfer. Confidential settlement obtained.
Personal Injury/Property Damage/Environmental
- Defense of LDS Church in Sex Abuse Cases – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been the largest sponsor of Boy Scout troops in the United States. In recent years, a number of former scouts have commenced negligence suits against the church alleging sexual abuse in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s on the part of scoutmasters and other adult men involved in scouting. Mike and his GTTC colleagues were retained to defend the church against a number of these lawsuits. They successfully tried one of them, won summary judgment in another, and settled the others.
- Successful Verdict Against Apartment Complex in Hash Oil Explosion – A tenant manufacturing hash oil in his Bellevue apartment caused a massive explosion and fire that destroyed apartments and their contents and injured residents. Our client lived next door to the hash oil operation. Mike sued the apartment complex owner and its property manager for negligently failing to evict the tenant after learning about his drug operation. In a 2015 bench trial, the judge awarded our client the full value of his destroyed property and general damages within the specific range asked for in closing argument.
- Defense of landowner in TBI case – Mike defended an owner of recreational property sued by a visitor hit by a car at an intersection with obstructed visibility. Confidential settlement.
- Defense of Workplace Injuries – Mike has defended several employers against claims by independent contractors arising from injuries in the workplace. Confidential settlements.
- Successful Resolution of MTCA Contribution Claim – Mike represented a car dealership against the prior operator of the dealership for contribution to costs to remediate hydraulic fluid that had leaked into groundwater. Confidential settlement.
- Successful Defense of City in Landmark Landslide Case – After an unusually heavy rainfall, six homes on Magnolia Bluff in Seattle were destroyed when land owned by the City of Seattle slid from an upper slope. The homeowners sued the City, seeking to hold it liable for failing to take preventive measures and alleging negligence, inverse condemnation and trespass. As a senior assistant city attorney at the time, Mike developed a science-centered defense for the City, proving that the landslide was the result of a naturally-occurring geologic process that had been in effect for centuries. The trial court granted summary judgment and dismissed the plaintiffs’ claims, a ruling affirmed by the Court of Appeals in an opinion that has become one of the leading landslide cases in Washington.
- Recovery of Riot Losses Incurred by Nordstrom – Along with other GTTC attorneys, Mike represented Nordstrom in suits against its insurers to recover property damage and inventory losses arising from riots that ensued after the murder of George Floyd. Confidential settlement.
- Coverage for Environmental Cleanups – Working with Frank Cordell, Mike has represented Weyerhaeuser and Simpson Timber Company for recovery of tens of millions of dollars incurred in cleanup of contaminated property. Confidential settlements.
- Bad-faith Claim By Biopharmaceutical Company – In 2009, the CFO of a publicly traded, Seattle-based biopharmaceutical company filed suit, alleging that he had been wrongfully terminated. After the company’s liability insurer failed to provide sufficient authority to settle the CFO’s action, the company asserted claims for bad faith against the insurer. Represented by Mike and Frank Cordell, the company entered into a confidential settlement shortly before trial.
PROFESSIONAL & CIVIC INVOLVEMENT
- King County Bar Association, Member, Judiciary and Litigation Committee
- King County Bar Association, Former Member, Judicial Evaluation Committe.
- Baseball Coach, Rainier District Little League
My family and I feel blessed to live in Seattle. I enjoy snow and water skiing, music, travel, and enjoying good food with friends and family.