Michael C. Douglass Partner




Michael Douglass is an experienced trial attorney with a diverse civil litigation practice in California and Arizona state and federal courts. Michael focuses on the defense of corporate and municipal clients in complex, high-exposure general liability claims, as well as in professional, employment and municipal liability matters. He has tried cases to verdict in California and Arizona and also has successfully argued before the California Court of Appeal, most recently in a malicious prosecution case that resulted in a reported decision [Paiva v. Nichols, (2008) 168 Cal.App.4th 1007].

Michael defends several national long-haul and local trucking companies in catastrophic personal injury cases where he has responded to after-hours emergency calls regarding serious trucking accidents and directly managed the follow-up pre-litigation investigation, evidence preservation and risk assessment processes. He is accessible to clients at all times and is a member of several Wilson Elser emergency response teams that provide 24/7 on-site assistance with catastrophic events. Michael also is a proponent and frequent user of mediation and informal settlement negotiations with opposing counsel as a means to reduce clients’ litigation costs.

Prior to joining the firm in 2005, Michael was in-house managing attorney for the San Francisco, CA, and San Jose, CA, staff counsel offices of Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company. He participates in various diversity initiatives at the firm and in the business community, most recently serving on the planning committee for Defense Research Institute’s annual diversity conference.

Areas of Focus

General Liability
In the general liability area, Michael’s practice primarily involves the representation of commercial and residential property owners and managers in high-exposure personal injury cases arising from accidents on their premises. His experience in this regard includes alleged injury due to environmental hazards as well as premises security claims arising from shootings, fights and other such incidents. He also has handled industrial accident cases, which often involve complex machinery or operations.

Professional Liability
Michael’s professional liability practice includes the defense of errors and omissions claims against insurance agents and brokers as well as real estate professionals. He also represents attorneys in legal malpractice claims.

Employment & Labor
In the employment and labor area, Michael counsels and represents employers in connection with a range of issues, including sex, age, gender and disability discrimination, sexual harassment, and wrongful termination.

Commercial Litigation
Another focus of Michael’s practice is the representation of clients in a variety of commercial disputes, including breach of contract, unfair business practices, collections, real property disputes and consumer finance issues. Michael is pragmatic, seasoned and well-versed in providing his business clients with strategic counsel to help them make better-informed decisions to assist in managing their legal risks and protecting their brands.

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