Michael Beckelman Partner

     

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Michael Beckelman is the regional chair of the Complex Tort & General Casualty practice and a co-chair of the firm’s Design Professional practice. Mike focuses on complex litigation matters in both state and federal courts. Mike handles general, product, professional and premises liability; construction and architect and engineer liability; trucking and transportation; and commercial litigation. 

Mike has obtained substantial results through early case development and the prompt resolution of claims. Always the “voice of reason,” Mike is a consummate negotiator who often settles even the most difficult cases. Although based in Houston, Mike has experience handling cases throughout New York and Texas. He also has handled negotiations on behalf of clients and insurers in Oklahoma, Louisiana and New Mexico. 

Prior to joining the firm, Mike served with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office as an assistant district attorney and with the Office of Special Narcotics Prosecutor for the City of New York. Mike has extensive experience with investigations and grand jury proceedings and has tried numerous cases to verdict.

Areas of Focus

Architect & Engineer Malpractice
Mike focuses on the defense of architects, engineers and surveyors in connection with construction defect, personal injury and professional malpractice claims. He has experience in defending design professionals, contractors, commercial construction firms, construction managers and owners across Texas, particularly with regard to defense, indemnity and coverage issues as well as design defect issues. In addition, Mike has successfully represented claims asserted against construction contractors in both construction defect and personal injury claims.

Complex Tort & General Casualty 
Mike has defended a broad spectrum of general liability matters, including premises liability, premises security liability, vehicle-related matters and other forms of personal injury cases. His experience also includes the defense of professional liability claims, product liability claims and coverage issues.

Trucking & Transport
Mike has represented trucking companies in state and federal courts throughout Texas in litigation arising from property loss, severe personal injuries and fatalities. He also has experience representing trucking companies in claims brought pursuant to the Carmack Amendment. Mike is currently representing several companies after having been appointed counsel by various truck insurers. He is a member of the firm’s Crisis National Response Team, participating in the initial response to and investigation of trucking accidents.

Product Liability
Mike focuses on the defense of products liability claims asserted against a wide variety of products, including claims for design, manufacturing and marketing defects. His products liability defense experience includes defending manufacturers and designers of medical devices, appliances, amusement attractions, pharmaceutical products, mountaineering equipment and industrial/oil field equipment, among others.

Representative Matters

Represented a large bus company in connection with an accident that resulted in 13 fatalities and 14 injured parties. Although the accident occurred in Mexico, suit was filed in Texas by many of the survivors and families of many of those who died. Negotiated a global settlement that was very favorable to the bus company very early in the litigation.

Representing a traffic engineer in connection with a fatal vehicle accident on a toll road in Houston. Plaintiffs have filed suit asserting that the accident was proximately caused by improper signage on the roadway. Plaintiffs have also filed suit against various municipalities and consultants with regard to the incident.

Represented a structural engineering firm in litigation involving numerous design professionals and construction contractors in which a hospital owner sought in excess of $20 million in damage sustained to the structure’s roofing system and resulting water intrusion during both Hurricane Rita and Hurricane Ike.

Recently obtained the dismissal of all claims asserted against an amusement attraction manufacturer in a design defect claim stemming from the injury of an attraction participant who sought to recover for multiple injuries sustained while participating on the ride.

Representing the designer and manufacturer of a surgical cautery device in a case brought by the parents of a three-year-old surgical patient that alleges the child was caused to sustain facial burns as a result of defective design and/or manufacture of the product.

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