Michael J. Mueller has more than 30 years of experience with class actions and other complex cases, including wage-hour class actions, consumer products class actions, racketeering (RICO), and labor disputes with unions and employee groups.
He has tried more class actions to verdict than perhaps any other attorney in the country, including the defense of nine private class actions and a Secretary of Labor enforcement action against a Fortune 100 food manufacturer.
Focusing on clients who create and sell goods and services, Mike helps his clients to avoid litigation and, if they are sued, to successfully navigate pretrial proceedings, trials and appeals. Mike has spent 183 trial days in court, participating in a dozen class actions or other representative actions tried to verdict, the majority of which have resulted in zero recoveries by the plaintiffs.
In many other cases, he has successfully avoided trial by defeating class treatment or winning dismissal on the pleadings or on summary judgment.
In every matter, he develops a strategy that is tailored to the client’s business needs, offering various AFAs (alternative fee arrangements) to suit the overall matter or project. His long-term knowledge of a client’s business and litigation leads to proactive strategies, efficiency, and client satisfaction; he represented one Fortune 100 company on its class actions for 19 years.
Mike’s experience covers a broad spectrum and includes unmanned aircraft systems, antitrust law, bankruptcy, corporate takeover, and valuation disputes and claims against former officers/directors, consumer products law, contract disputes, credit counseling law, foreign military sales, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, labor and employment law, media law, racketeering (RICO) and securities law.
Mike has litigated at all levels of the federal court system and in the state courts of California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina and Tennessee. He is admitted to practice in the following jurisdictions: US Supreme Court; US Court of Appeals for the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 6th, 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th Circuits; US District Courts for the District of Columbia, the Middle, Northern, and Southern Districts of Florida, the Eastern and Western Districts of Michigan, and the Central and Northern Districts of Illinois. He held a judicial clerkship with the Honorable Avern Cohn, US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.
A regular speaker and writer on the topics of class actions or RICO, Mike has been quoted and mentioned frequently in media coverage of litigation matters and has appeared on CNN and PBS. He is a contributing author to the firm’s retail industry blog.
- Lead counsel in more than 60 class actions for clients in various industries, including consumer products manufacturers and sellers, food processors, hospitals, and restaurants.
- Currently representing a consumer products manufacturer and distributor in putative class actions in multiple states challenging out-of-warranty repairs for consumer products under state deceptive trade practice and replacement parts statutes.
- Currently representing a manufacturer against one of the Department of Labor’s top enforcement actions for alleged wage-hour violations at more than a dozen factories.
- Currently representing a policyholder against a major insurance carrier to recover for damages sustained in Hurricane Irma.
- Successfully represented a consumer products distributor for claims relating to alleged deceptive inclusion of software on a product to boost product reviews.
- Successfully represented a major retailer against a claim by the purchaser of a vacant store for the condition at the time of surrender after five tenants occupied space over a 30-year lease.
- Successfully represented a major provider of temporary labor against putative class claims relating to state wage-hour laws applicable to pre- and post-shift activities, breaks, meal periods, and pay upon termination.
- Tried an ICC arbitration in Switzerland relating to commercial supply dispute between a “drone” manufacturer and US customer.
- Successfully opposed class treatment in a putative class action against a major household appliance company on alleged product defect claims originally including a proposed class of over 54 million owners that plaintiffs’ expert valued at nearly $11 billion.
- Represented four national and Florida business associations as amici curiae in a successful challenge to the City of Miami Beach’s 2016 minimum wage ordinance. After the 11th Judicial Circuit granted summary judgment in favor of business groups and the State of Florida in their challenge to the ordinance, Mike filed briefs in the Third District Court of Appeal and Florida Supreme Court discussing the economic literature on local minimum wage laws and why those studies support the position advanced by the business groups and the State.
- Lead counsel in more than three dozen class-action and secretary of labor cases involving wage-hour rights of employees at a major restaurant chain and food processing companies.
- Lead trial counsel for a major food-processing company in an eight-week jury trial in an action brought by the US Secretary of Labor seeking back wages for “donning and doffing” by employees. Obtained a mistrial when jurors did not unanimously agree on verdict.
- Lead trial counsel for a major food-processing company in a class-action overtime case involving more than 500 plaintiffs; the case was subsequently listed in The National Law Journal’s “Defense Hot List” in 2006.
- Lead counsel in consumer products class actions against manufacturers and sellers relating to various home electronics devices and appliances.
- Lead counsel for a trade association in an action alleging Lanham Act and cyber-piracy violations based on fraudulent impersonation of association’s personnel and web site.
- Led, for a multinational client, the domestic litigation strategy in response to a threatened international cyber-attack
- Served as co-counsel in a landmark trial of tort claims brought by a major supermarket chain against a television network for an undercover effort that resulted in a segment on PrimeTime Live.
- Defended at two trials the securities and racketeering claims made by investors against a major real estate developer.
- Served as counsel in a bankruptcy valuation trial for a major money-wire service.
- Served as defense counsel in a contracts trial against a major airline; the case involved two plaintiff classes and one defendant class in addition to the corporate parties.
- Argued interlocutory appeal before the Third Circuit of Appeals on an issue of first impression in the federal appellate courts. The case involved determining whether a district court can certify a class of employees under Rule 23’s “opt out” provision in a manner inconsistent with Congress’ specified “opt in” procedure for pursuing claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
- Represented both plaintiffs and defendants in numerous civil racketeering cases, including the defense of one of the nation’s leading home builders and one of the nation’s largest hospital chains, and prosecution of a civil RICO case against a major union for one of the nation’s largest grocery store chains.
- JD, University of Michigan Law School, cum laude, Managing Editor, University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform, 1985
- AB, University of Michigan, with highest distinction, Member, Phi Beta Kappa, 1982
- District of Columbia
- National Association of Corporate Directors
- Former Chair, Litigation Committee, Bar Association of the District of Columbia
- Former Chair, Civil RICO Committee; Antitrust Section, American Bar Association
- Former Management Co-chair, Labor and Employment Law Section; Antitrust, RICO and Labor Law Committee, American Bar Association
- Member, Editorial Advisory Board, Civil RICO Report and the Advisory Board of the RICO and Securities Fraud Law Reporter
- Member, Federal Bar Association
- Member, Dade County Bar Association
- Member, Collier County Bar Association
- Member, Southwest Florida Federal Court Bar Association
- Master of the Bench, Michael R. N. McDonnell American Inn of Court (formerly Thomas S. Biggs American Inn of Court)
- Member, Florida Academy of Management Attorneys
- Bar Association of D.C. (Voluntary Bar)
- Collier County Women’s Bar Association
- Host Committee, National Parkinson Foundation of South Florida “Wines on the Bay”
- AUVSI (Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International)
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