Mike Collyard is highly skilled in all aspects of litigation. He has successfully first chaired jury and bench trials, argued numerous dispositive motions, and taken and defended hundreds of depositions. As one example, after Mr. Collyard defended his client in a federal jury trial on a complex fraud claim, 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.
Mr. Collyard has been lead counsel on multi-billion dollar and high profile cases on both sides of the “v.”
Most recently, Mr. Collyard served as lead trial counsel for Douglas A. Kelley in Kelley v. BMO Harris Bank, N.A., in which he secured a $563 million jury verdict – the largest jury verdict in Minnesota history. The case arose out of one of the biggest Ponzi schemes in U.S. history involving former Wayzata fraudster Tom Petters. Petters was convicted and sentenced to 50 years in prison for fraud using accounts held at M&I Bank, which was acquired in 2011 by BMO Harris Bank. The jury found that BMO aided and abetted breaches of fiduciary duty by Petters and his cohorts in using an M&I checking account to launder nearly $74 billion in Ponzi scheme proceeds between 2002 and 2008.
The jury awarded $484 million in compensatory damages and $80 million in punitive damages. The trustee also plans to pursue prejudgment interest, which would bring the bank’s total liability to nearly $1 billion. Earlier Mr. Collyard won an evidentiary hearing in the case where the judge found, based on Mr. Collyard’s cross examination of BMO’s witnesses, that BMO engaged in willful discovery abuses. The order granting the adverse inference at trial, the order denying summary judgment, and BMO’s interlocutory appeal can be viewed here.
Mr. Collyard is co-lead counsel representing the Receiver for the Receivership Estate of Education Corporation of America in a case against former officers and directors for alleged breaches of fiduciary duties that resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in damages. The Court in that case recently denied the Defendants’ motion to dismiss. The Court’s Order can be found here.
Mr. Collyard is also co-lead counsel representing the bankruptcy trustee for ITT Educational Services in a case against its former CEO for alleged breaches of fiduciary duties which caused ITT to incur hundreds of millions of dollars in closed school loan discharges.
Mr. Collyard 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 plaintiff 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.)
Mr. Collyard also served as lead counsel for U.S. Bank as a securitization trustee in a mortgage backed securities case against UBS. That case was being handled by Quinn Emanuel and Mr. Collyard was brought in to first chair a $2 billion dollar evidentiary hearing in New York federal court where Mr. Collyard’s client was accused of intentionally destroying critical evidence. The judge found that Mr. Collyard proved U.S. Bank acted in good faith and denied UBS’s request for terminating sanctions in its entirety. Mr. Collyard’s client subsequently received nearly a billion dollars in a settlement on behalf of the trusts at issue.
Mr. Collyard also served as lead counsel for U.S. Bank in a financial litigation case in the Eastern District of Virginia. That 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.
Mr. Collyard is also lead counsel on behalf of a securitization trustee in several financial litigation matters involving damages in the billions of dollars.
Mr. Collyard was also 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.
Mr. Collyard has also successfully handled several intellectual property matters for clients. For example, 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 also 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 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.
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 kids who are very loud, creative, and funny. He is very active outside the office and is usually playing electric guitar, big mountain skiing, riding single-track trails on his mountain bikes, golfing with his kids, playing hockey with his former 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.
Kelley v. BMO Harris Bank, N.A.
Served as lead counsel for Douglas Kelley, the Trustee of the BMO Litigation Trust in the largest Ponzi scheme cases in U.S. history. In November 2022, Mr. Collyard secured a $564 million jury verdict, the largest in Minnesota history. In June 2023, a federal judge in St. Paul issued an Order for BMO Harris Bank to pay pre- and post-judgment interest on the $564 million jury verdict, bringing total liability to over $1 billion in favor of Mr. Collyard’s client.
John F. Kennedy Receiver for Education Corporation of America
Served as co-lead counsel for John F. Kennedy, the Receiver for Education Corporation of America (ECA), a privately held company that operated for-profit colleges across the United States. The company abruptly announced its closure in late 2018, leaving thousands of students unable to complete their education. The claims brought against former officers and directors of ECA alleged that they breached their fiduciary duties of care. Mr. Collyard helped secure a favorable $28 million settlement.
The People of the State of California v. U.S. Bank National Association, et al.
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 plaintiff 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.
MASTR Adjustable Rate Mortgages Trust 2006-OA2, et al. v. UBS Real Estate Securities, Inc.
Served as lead counsel for U.S. Bank as a securitization trustee in a mortgage backed securities case against UBS. That case was being handled by Quinn Emanuel and Mr. Collyard was brought in to first chair a $2 billion-dollar evidentiary hearing in New York federal court where his client was accused of intentionally destroying critical evidence. The judge found that Mr. Collyard proved U.S. Bank acted in good faith and denied UBS’s request for terminating sanctions in its entirety. His client subsequently received nearly a billion dollars in a settlement on behalf of the trusts at issue.
Rubloff Development Group, Inc., et al. v. SuperValu, Inc., et al.
Represented SuperValu, Inc. in a complex antitrust and racketeering case in federal court in Illinois. The plaintiffs’ initial demand was approximately $30 million. Mr. Collyard argued, and won, a motion to dismiss the case, removing it from the claims against SuperValu. As a result, the plaintiffs agreed to dismiss their remaining claims and settling the case for $0.
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).
- "Alum Wins Largest Jury Award Ever in Minnesota," Mitchell Hamline Alumni (October 31, 2023)
- "Interest Charges Raise BMO Harris’ Liability Above $1B in Petters Case," Minnesota Lawyer (June 29, 2023)
- "BMO Harris Sees Ponzi Verdict Stick, Hit $1B With Interest," Law360 (June 26, 2023)
- "Michael A. Collyard: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at a Case That Made Minnesota History," Attorney at Law Magazine (April 3, 2023)
- "Settlement in for-profit college case secured," Minnesota Lawyer (March 23, 2023)
- "Litigator who won largest Minnesota jury verdict got no-frills start," Star Tribune (March 21, 2023)
- "How Robins Kaplan Helped Secure $28M Settlement for Ga. State Senator," Law.com (March 20, 2023)
- "St. Anthony: Minneapolis litigator who won largest Minn jury verdict got no-frills start," Star Tribune (March 21, 2023)
- "Education Corporation of America Hit With $28M Settlement," Inside Higher Ed (March 15, 2023)
- "For-Profit College Operators Will Pay $28 Million After Students Were Locked Out," Republic Report (March 14, 2023)
- "Shuttered for-profit college firm to pay $28M settlement over closures," Higher Ed Dive (March 13, 2023)
- "2022 Attorneys of the Year: Michael Collyard," Minnesota Lawyer (February 16, 2023)
- "Simplicity and Sanctions: How Robins Kaplan Won a $524 Million Verdict Against a Ponzi Schemer," The National Law Journal (November 28, 2022)
- "BMO Harris Bank Hit With $563M Verdict In Ponzi Scheme Trial," Law360 (November 8, 2022)
- "Jury Orders BMO Harris To Pay More Than $550 Million in Ponzi Scheme Case," American Banker (November 8, 2022)
- "BMO Harris Bank Found Partly Liable in Petters Ponzi Plot," Bloomberg Law (November 8, 2022)
- "Canada's BMO Books $834 Mln Charge Over U.S. Ponzi Lawsuit Loss," Reuters (November 9, 2022)
- "BMO Ordered to Pay $563M In Petters Fraud; It's Largest Financial Penalty by a Minnesota Jury," Star Tribune (November 8, 2022)
- "BMO Harris Hit With Record $564 Million Verdict in Tom Petters Ponzi Scheme Case," Twin Cities Business Journal (November 9, 2022)
- "Federal Jury Awards Record $564M Verdict Against BMO Harris Bank in Tom Petters Case," Pioneer Press (November 9, 2022)
- "BMO to Take Billion-Dollar Charge After Losing Ponzi Lawsuit in U.S.," The Globe and Mail (November 8, 2022)
- "Jury Awards $563 Million Verdict in Lawsuit Related to Tom Petters Ponzi Scheme," KARE11 (November 8, 2022)
- "BMO Harris handed setback in multibillion-dollar court battle," American Banker (July 25, 2022)
- "Defunct Colleges' Owners Can't Escape $50M Self-Dealing Suit," Law360 (October 1, 2021)
- “Defunct College Owners Accused Of Self-Dealing In $50M Suit,” Law360 (April 1, 2021)
- "Bankruptcy judge orders trial for BMO Harris Bank in Tom Petters Case," Minneapolis Star Tribune (July 4, 2019)
- "Judge Orders Trial for BMO Harris Bank Over Lost Data in Petters Scheme," Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Business Journal (July 5, 2019)
- "5 Ways to Slash Ediscovery Costs," Law360 (June 9, 2010)
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