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Mike graduated from Sandra Day O’Connor School of Law at Arizona State University in 1989 where he was a Willard H. Pedrick Scholar. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1985. He majored in Psychology and Sociology, with a Certificate in Criminal Justice Studies.
After clerking for the Honorable Edward C. Voss of the Arizona Court of Appeals, Mike worked at the City of Scottsdale from 1990 to 1993 in the City Prosecutor’s Office. Mike then joined the Civil Division of the Arizona Attorney General’s Office where he worked for the next nine-plus years before he joined Jardine, Baker, Hickman, Houston in July 2002. Mike has been a member of the firm since 2007.
During his tenure at the Attorney General’s Office, Mike worked on a wide variety of civil litigation matters involving the State of Arizona, its officers, and several different agencies. Mike handled the defense of general civil and Section 1983 claims brought against state agencies, including claims involving roadway design and safety construction for the Arizona Department of Transportation, flood control or water release claims against the Arizona Department of Transportation, tort claims involving police conduct and employment termination claims for the Arizona Department of Public Safety, inmate claims for Arizona Department of Corrections, and one multi-million dollar defamation claim against Arizona Department of Mines. Mike also regularly defended high level state government officials in special actions or civil matters alleging negligent or improper conduct.
Since joining the firm, Mike has been called upon to act as outside counsel for the State of Arizona; various Arizona counties; a number of Arizona cities and towns; and many departments and agencies of such entities, as well as the elected officials and employees of the same. Mike has also represented various business interests that provide services to governmental entities. Mike has provided general legal advice and litigation services for medical providers, including a large, Phoenix-area hospital group. More recently, Mike has handled a variety of subrogation and lien related matters for various self-insured and insurance companies providing worker’s compensation insurance.
Mike has consistently worked as a litigator since becoming a lawyer. Mike, along with his law partner, Brad Jardine, represented a private fire company in a variety of high-end fire loss cases. Mike was also retained by private insurance interests to work on two other large-scale fire losses involving commercial property. For an Arizona county, Mike tried to a jury an insurance declaratory action matter resulting in a verdict in favor of the county. Mike’s former work in construction trades before becoming an attorney lends itself to his representation of subcontractors in construction defects cases. Mike has also worked on more intricate construction cases involving the roof collapse of a major retailer and water discharge issues resulting from changes in water flow resulting from construction projects at a Phoenix golf course. Throughout his career, Mike has handled high-end vehicular traffic cases involving claims of wrongful death or catastrophic injury. These cases have ranged from claims involving design, construction, and maintenance of roads and highways to commercial trucking cases. Mike has also represented governmental attorneys before the Arizona State Bar. In his earlier practice, Mike served for several years on the Arizona Attorney General’s Ethics Committee and taught ethics courses, provided ethics advice, and authored a section on special rules concerning ex parte communications for governmental attorneys contained in Arizona Attorney General’s Legal Ethics Handbook.
Mike has been privileged to try several cases involving claims of multi-million dollar losses. One such case Mike tried with his deceased law partner, Gerry Hickman, resulted in special recognition by the Arizona State Bar as a “top ten” defensive verdict case in the particular year the case was tried.
In addition to the wide array of issues Mike has dealt with at the trial level, he has also worked on numerous appeals throughout his career. Mike has authored no less than a dozen Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals briefs while he was with the Arizona Attorney General’s Office. At the state court level, Mike regularly represented both the City of Scottsdale and the State of Arizona in appellate matters. Mike currently has handled a number of appeals matters for an Arizona county and a variety of other appeals for different clients. Recently, Mike was involved in an appeal to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals involving a client sued in the New Jersey Federal District Court.