Mike Collyard has been lead counsel on cases of all sizes including multi-billion dollar financial and securities cases and multi-million dollar intellectual property, antitrust, and commercial cases. He has successfully represented clients on both sides of the “v,” recovering hundreds of millions for plaintiffs and saving billions for defendants.
Mr. Collyard is currently involved in several high profile cases. He is co-lead counsel in a Petters bankruptcy litigation. Mr. Collyard represents the litigation trust that is seeking the recovery of more than $3.5 billion dollars from BMO Harris Bank where $40 billion dollars was run in and out of a small business banking account in furtherance of one of the largest Ponzi schemes in United States history. Mr. Collyard recently argued and won a motion for sanctions against BMO where the Bankruptcy Court Judge ordered an adverse inference instructing the jury at trial that BMO intentionally destroyed documents that were harmful to BMO. Before that, Mr. Collyard won an evidentiary hearing in that case, where the judge found, based on Mr. Collyard’s cross examination of BMO’s witnesses, that BMO engaged in willful discovery abuses and sanctioned BMO approximately $300,000. That case is expected to be tried in 2020. The order granting spoliation can be viewed here. The order denying summary judgment can be viewed here.
Mr. Collyard is also co-lead counsel on several RMBS financial litigation cases with damages in the billions of dollars.
In addition, Mr. Collyard is co-lead counsel representing the bankruptcy trustee for one of the country’s largest for-profit colleges involving breaches of fiduciary duties by former directors and officers.
Mr. Collyard has first chaired jury and bench trials in both federal and state courts. For example, he recently first chaired a complex federal jury trial and after the case was over, the judge’s court reporter told his trial team that Mr. Collyard’s opening statement and examinations were some of the best she had seen in more than 20 years of handling trials in federal court. A retired state court judge who had watched a week of the trial also commented that Mr. Collyard’s performance was “phenomenal” and compared his direct and cross examinations to “pitching a no-hitter.”
Mr. Collyard has argued and won numerous dispositive motions and he has taken and defended hundreds of depositions in many different types of complex cases. Clients often call on him for his skills in these areas.
And although Mr. Collyard prepares every case to be efficiently handled with a targeted trial strategy in mind from the beginning, he also understands business and how to create business solutions. As one example, after Mr. Collyard successfully tried a case, he created a business solution that allowed his client to sell products that had been returned as not-sellable.
Mr. Collyard also knows how to run the most complex cases efficiently. He has created and implemented common sense approaches on cases that have saved clients millions of dollars in fees and costs. This led Mr. Collyard to creating and implementing his firm’s Ediscovery practice group, which is designed to protect clients and save them money at every stage of the litigation cycle. In fact, the systems that Mr. Collyard created have been so effective that clients have hired him to step into their complex cases (being handled by other firms) to implement his strategies.
Selected Case Results*
As an example of the work Mr. Collyard has recently completed, he served as lead counsel for U.S. Bank in a multi-billion dollar case brought by the People of the State of California for alleged unfair competition related to foreclosed properties. The case settled on the eve of a several-month trial, after Mr. Collyard sued a dozen of the largest banks who serviced the properties at issue. The plaintiffs in that case sought billions of dollars in alleged fines and a permanent injunction that would change the way trustees and servicers do business together. The case settled after the plaintiff agreed to drop its request for an injunction and agreed that U.S. Bank as trustee should pay $0. (In a previous case against another major financial institution, the plaintiff was able to secure an injunction against that institution.)
In addition, Mr. Collyard recently served as lead counsel for U.S. Bank in a financial litigation case in the Eastern District of Virginia. The case settled on the eve of trial in U.S. Bank’s favor for the same seven-figure number Mr. Collyard was going to request from the jury.
As another example, Mr. Collyard was brought into a mortgage-backed securities case being handled by Quinn Emanuel to first chair a $2 billion dollar evidentiary hearing in New York federal court. His client, one of the country’s largest banks, was accused of intentionally destroying critical evidence. The judge found that Mr. Collyard proved his client acted in good faith and denied the other side’s request for terminating sanctions in its entirety. The case went on to a month-long bench trial where Mr. Collyard’s client won an initial trial ruling.
Mr. Collyard first chaired a federal jury trial in Illinois in a case involving a broad spectrum of claims such as breach-of-contract, fraud, trademark infringement and patent infringement. Mr. Collyard argued and won summary judgment motions which kicked out many of the plaintiff’s claims. He then went to trial on the plaintiff's breach of contract and fraud claims. The other side was asking for millions and punitive damages. But after Mr. Collyard got the plaintiff’s president to admit on the stand at trial that one of the purportedly fraudulent statements was never made by Mr. Collyard’s client, the case settled during trial and Mr. Collyard’s client paid $0.
In addition, Mr. Collyard won a complex antitrust and racketeering case in federal court in Illinois for SuperValu. The plaintiffs’ initial demand was approximately $30 million. Mr. Collyard argued and won a motion to dismiss in that case that kicked out the majority of the claims against SuperValu. That resulted in the plaintiffs agreeing to dismiss their remaining claims and settling the case for $0.
As another example, Mr. Collyard represented TiVo (with the Irell & Manella law firm) in massive patent infringement cases against Verizon and AT&T in federal court in Texas, relating to multimedia time warping technology. Mr. Collyard handled the damages claims. TiVo reached settlements and business deals in each of those cases which resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in payments to TiVo.
Mr. Collyard was recently lead counsel for Regis LLC in a complex real estate dispute in which Mr. Collyard’s team won a partial judgment on the pleadings which required the defendant to pay Regis the same seven-figure damages award that Mr. Collyard and his team would have requested from the jury at trial. Order can be found here.
Mr. Collyard also settled a patent case in federal court in Delaware against some of the world’s largest online retailers. Mr. Collyard settled the case in favor of his client on confidential terms that paid his client millions of dollars.
Likewise, Mr. Collyard served as lead counsel for 3M on a trademark case relating to aftermarket auto parts. Mr. Collyard reached a favorable settlement in favor of 3M at mediation on confidential terms.
Mr. Collyard has handled numerous pro bono cases in many different areas of the law. For example, in a case of first impression in Minnesota, Mr. Collyard represented a guardian ad litem at trial seeking the termination of a mother's parental rights to her one-year-old daughter. During the trial, the mother agreed to voluntarily terminate her parental rights and thanked Mr. Collyard for―what she called―Mr. Collyard’s “passionate opening statement” which made her realize that termination was best for her daughter. The child was later adopted by her foster parents who had cared for her since the day she was born.
Mike and his wife have four young kids who are very loud, creative, and funny. He is very active outside the office and is usually playing electric guitar, big mountain skiing, skiing the local terrain parks with his kids, riding single-track trails on mountain or fat tire bikes, golfing with his kids, playing hockey with his old high school and college teammates, or riding his motorcycle.
* Past results are reported to provide the reader with an indication of the type of litigation in which we practice and does not and should not be construed to create an expectation of result in any other case as all cases are dependent upon their own unique fact situation and applicable law.
Mr. Collyard is involved in various community affairs. He serves on the Deans Advisory Board at the Mitchell Hamline School of Law. In addition, he has mentored law students at the University of St. Thomas Law School for more than a decade. He has also served as a Guest Professor at the University of St. Thomas Law School.
Mr. Collyard also frequently serves as a faculty member on Robins Kaplan’s Exceptional Advocate Training Program, which teaches trial skills to the firm’s associates.
Mr. Collyard is a member of The Sedona Conference® Working Group on Electronic Document Retention and Production (WG1).
- Minneapolis Star Tribune, "Bankruptcy judge orders trial for BMO Harris Bank in Tom Petters case" (July 4, 2019)
- Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Business Journal, "Judge orders trial for BMO Harris Bank over lost data in Petters scheme" (July 5, 2019)
- Law360, "5 Ways to Slash Ediscovery Costs" (June 9, 2010)
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