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Michael A. Geibelson
Michael Geibelson is the Managing Partner of Robins Kaplan LLP's California offices, the Past Chair of the California State Bar’s Litigation Section, a Fellow of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers (ACREL), the premier organization of U.S. real estate lawyers.
Michael is a business trial lawyer who represents retailers, restaurateurs, developers, technology and cannabis companies, and partnership participants in real estate and other business disputes involving false advertising and unfair competition, class actions, misappropriation of trade secrets, supply agreements, copyright and trademark. He frequently publishes and speaks on topics concerning litigation skills and strategies to make litigation, electronic discovery, and trial more efficient and less costly.
Michael has extensive trial experience, and has secured victories for his clients at trial in a wide range of cases: from the representation of a foreclosing lender in the termination of a lease for a state-of-the art cannabis production facility, to the decertification of a class action involving alleged privacy violations with exposure to statutory damages of more than $1 Billion, to violations of the Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act.
Michael is extensively involved in community and legal affairs. In addition to his work with the Litigation Section, he is a member of the Board of the Bandini Foundation (operator of the Heroes Golf Course at the West Los Angeles VA), the Advisory Board of Angel City Sports (a paralympics organization) the past chair of the Editorial Board of Los Angeles Lawyer Magazine, and has performed extensive pro bono work involving adoptions, environmental issues and small business disputes.
- At trial, representing a lender who foreclosed on property, secured termination of lease and ~$8.6 Million award of damages for failure to pay for change orders.
- Secured summary judgment and award of fees and costs enforcing right to exercise option period under commercial lease.
- Secured denial of class certification in action alleging false advertisement of product characteristics in over 900 models of consumer product under California Unfair Competition Law (UCL) and False Advertising Law (FAL), Business & Professions Code Section 17200 and 17500.
- Obtained denial of class certification in an action alleging false advertising of battery life representations concerning hundreds of models of laptop computers under California Unfair Competition Law (UCL) and California Consumers Legal Remedies Act (CLRA).
- At trial, secured decertification of class action claim for statutory privacy violations under California law.
- Obtained finding of copyright misuse and denial of preliminary injunction against major studio in representing national retailer of movies.
- Secured order compelling individual arbitration based upon acceptance of loyalty / rewards program terms and conditions in putative national class action relating to alleged privacy violation, and dismissal of affiliated out-of-state defendants.
- Obtained summary judgment for national retailer in "loss leader" claims under the Unfair Practices Act (California Business & Professions Code §§ 17030, 17043, 17044); affirmed on appeal (9th Cir. 2010)
- Obtained denial of class certification for online retailer in case of first impression under Song Beverly Credit Card Act, California Civil Code Section 1747.08, involving requests for consumers' personal identifying information in online credit card transactions.
- Secured settlements in excess of $400 million on behalf of a consumer electronics retailer in a direct action arising from allegations of a price-fixing conspiracy between the leading makers of cathode ray tubes, which were once integral components of televisions and computer monitors.
- Obtained summary judgment in lease dispute arising out of developer's failure to construct premises during negotiation of lease amendment, and defeating claims of waiver and estoppel affirmed on appeal. (http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/nonpub/E055373.PDF).
- Obtained denial of class certification for brick and mortar retailer in Song Beverly Credit Card Act (Zip Code) claim, California Civil Code Section 1747.08, holding requests for personal identification information as part of Reward Program enrollment and member lookups are special purposes incidental to the transactions and do not violate the Act.
- Secured termination of shopping center lease at trial related to landlord’s failure to satisfy opening co-tenancy condition and implied contract terms related to development of premises according to Site Plan.
- Obtained denial of class certification in coordinated action alleging failures to redeem gift cards in violation of California Civil Code Section 1749.5, along with dismissal of claims for violations of False Advertising Law (California Business & Professions Code §§17200, et seq.) and Consumers Legal Remedies Act (California Civil Code §§1750, et seq.)
- Obtained summary adjudication in lease dispute relating to interpretation of cap on common area maintenance (CAM) charges / tenant's share of operating expenses.
- Obtained dismissal of putative class action alleging violations of Unfair Competition Law (California Business & Professions Code §§17200, et seq.) and Consumers Legal Remedies Act (California Civil Code §§1750, et seq.) arising out of retailer's mail-in rebate program.
- Obtained order striking complaint on anti-SLAPP motion in malicious prosecution action for semiconductor manufacturer pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure Section 425.16.
- Obtained award of over $3 Million in civil penalties, attorneys’ fees and costs, and a permanent injunction through trial of Clean Water Act case before the Hon. Manuel Real.
- Defended $2 million claim for misappropriation of trade secrets to a verdict of $494.03, and obtained grant of nonsuit for individual defendant.
- Obtained Temporary Restraining Order and Permanent Injunction preventing disclosure of customer lists and trade secret information for industrial supply company in Food & Beverage, and Hospitality industries.
- Obtained $4.2 Million verdict, including punitive damages, for fraud arising out of sale of veterinary biologics.
- Lead defense counsel in a number of Best Buy matters involving individual and putative class claims for unfair competition, deceptive trade practices, and false advertising.
- Obtained summary judgment in sales representative’s claim for wrongful termination from industrial supply company.
- Defense counsel in a breach of contract and antitrust dispute between a medical device manufacturer and a start-up regarding a medical technology.
- Obtained policy limits settlement through trial of negligence claim.
- Awarded Wiley M. Manuel Pro Bono Certificate
California Lawyers Association for providing at least 50 hours of pro bono legal services (2023)
- Listed in 500 Leading Litigators in America
- Named to LA Business Journal’s Thriving in their 40’s List (2020)
- Southern California Super Lawyer
Super Lawyers (2010-2023)
- "Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi L.L.P. Pro Bono Award" (2006)
- Public Interest Law Foundation Pro Bono Award
Public Interest Law Foundation of Loyola Law School (2005)
- Rising Star
Law & Politics Magazine (2004-2009)
- Wiley W. Manuel Award for Pro Bono Legal Services
Presented by the Board of Governors of the State Bar of California (2004, 2006)
- Angel City Sports, Advisory Council (2019-present)
- The Bandini Foundation (the operator of the Heroes Golf Course of the West Los Angeles Veterans Administration)
- Disability Rights Legal Center, Board of Directors; President (2007-2010); Vice-President (2006-2007); Pro Bono Attorney Panelist (1999-present)
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
- U.S. Court of Federal Claims
- U.S. District Court, Central District of California
- U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California
- U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan
- U.S. District Court, Northern District of California
- U.S. District Court, Southern District of California
- U.S. Supreme Court
- Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, J.D. (1995)
- University of California-Berkeley, B.A.
- Harvard Law School, Executive Education - Leadership in Law Firms (2015)
- American College of Real Estate Lawyers, Fellow
- Institute for Corporate Counsel of the USC School of Law and Los Angeles County Bar Association Corporate Law Department Section, Advisory Board (2010-2012)
- California State Bar Litigation Section: Chair, Executive Committee (2011-2012); Vice-Chair (2010-2011); Treasurer (2009-2010); Secretary (2008-2009); Member (2006-present); California Litigation Review, Editor
- Los Angeles Lawyer (A Monthly Publication of the Los Angeles County Bar Association): Editorial Board, Chair (2010-2011), Articles Coordinator (2009-2010), Member (2003-present)
- American Bar Association
- Los Angeles County Bar Association
- Association of Business Trial Lawyers
- Recent Developments 2022: Changing Legal Interpretations for Changing Times
International Council of Shopping Centers Law Conference (October 26, 2022)
- Top Five Issues and Developments in Commercial Leasing Law
National Retail Tenants Association, Phoenix, Arizona (September 12, 2022)
- One Year…And Counting: A Review Of Covid-19 Court Decisions Impacting Retail Leases
National Retail Tenants Association, Webinar (March 25, 2021)
- Lease Clauses and Rent Pauses: COVID Considerations in Leasing
Strategies and Tactics American College of Real Estate Lawyers, Webinar (March 17, 2021)
- The Big Danger of the Small Breach – Litigation
International Council of Shopping Centers Law Conference, Webinar (October 14, 2020)
- What’s Next?! Asserting Lease Rights When You Close Stores for COVID-19
National Retail Tenants Association, Webinar (March 25, 2020)
- Fencing in Personal Data to Minimize Risks of Privacy Class and Regulatory Actions
AI Legal Summit: Solutions for Averting IP and Privacy Litigation in the Age of Artificial Intelligence, San Carlos, California (May 9, 2019)
- Commas in the Courtroom: Drafting Trial-Ready Leases by Thinking Backward
International Council of Shopping Centers Law Conference (October 24, 2018)
- Commas in the Courtroom: Preparing for Deposition (before you begin Drafting)
National Retail Tenants Association (October 1, 2018)
- E-discovery 2018: Key Issues and Practical Guidance on eDiscovery for Corporate and Outside Counsel
Webinar, The Global Cyber Institute and Thompson Reuters (May 10, 2018)
- Patent v Trade Secret Protection
AccessMCLE, Webinar (May 24, 2017)
- From the Litigator’s Perspective: Your Leases on Trial
International Council of Shopping Centers Law Conference, Hollywood, Florida (October 28, 2016)
- Preparing for a Deposition
Webinar, CEB, California State Bar (June 8, 2016)
- From Courtroom to Contracts: Seminal Cases Which Affect Lease Drafting and Shopping Center Operation
International Council of Shopping Centers Law Conference, Phoenix, Arizona (October 28, 2014)
- How Unambiguous Terms Get Twisted
International Council of Shopping Centers Law Conference (October 24, 2014)
- EDiscovery on a shoestring
California State Bar, Litigation Section (October 23, 2014)
- Impact of Federal Trade Secret Legislation and Recent Cases: Protecting Your Company’s Trade Secrets
Practising Law Institute, Webcast (April 9, 2014)
- Los Angeles County Bar Association Corporate Law
Los Angeles County Bar Association Corporate Law Department Section (February 14, 2014)
- Remedies for Deals Gone Bad
Session Chair, Information Management Network, Dana Point, California (May 13, 2013)
- The Changing Focus of Class Action Litigation: State v. Federal Courts
California Retailers Association (CRA), San Francisco, California (November 1, 2011)
- Trade Secrets and Unfair Competition: Rights and Remedies
Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Nevada (September 3, 2010)
- Everything You Need to Know to be Ready for Trial (Moderator)
Continuing Education of the Bar, Los Angeles, California (May 7, 2010)
- Best Practices for Winning at Litigation & Trial
The Litigation Section of The State Bar of California, San Francisco, California (December 5, 2009)
- Expanded Judicial Review of Arbitration Awards Post Hall Street v. Mattel: Evaluating and Crafting Arbitration Provisions to Preserve Judicial Review Options
Legal Publishing Group of Strafford Publications, Telephone Conference (December 18, 2008)
- Reservations of Rights in the Defense of Third Party Claims
The American Bar Association Section of Dispute Resolution and The ABA Center for Continuing Legal Education, Teleconference and Webcast (November 12, 2008)
- Managing and Responding to Electronic Discovery Demands
California State Bar, Monterey, California (September 26, 2008)
- Cross Examination: Techniques & Evidentiary Issues for the Experienced Litigator (Panelist)
Continuing Education of the Bar, Costa Mesa, California (May 30, 2008)
- Managing and Responding to Electronic Discovery Demands
California State Bar, Hyatt Regency Mission Bay, San Diego, California (January 19, 2008)
- Best Practices for Demonstrative Evidence at Trial
California State Bar, Anaheim, California (September 30, 2007)
- Complex Litigation: Basic & Recent Developments
CEB California, Garden Grove, California
CEB California, Los Angeles, California (July 20, 2007)
- Best Practices for Demonstrative Evidence at Trial
California State Bar Litigation Section Trial Symposium, San Francisco, California (April 28, 2007)
- The Trial Lawyer’s Approach to Business Torts: Thinking Beyond Your Client’s Damages
Ventura County Trial Lawyers’ Association, Oxnard, California (April 24, 2007)
- Discovery Skills
Lorman Education Services, Santa Ana, California (April 16, 2007)
- Managing and Responding to Electronic Discovery Demands
California State Bar, Claremont Hotel, Oakland, California (January 20, 2007)
- The Trial Lawyer's Approach to Business Torts: Thinking Beyond Your Client's Damages
Santa Barbara County Bar Association, Santa Barbara, California (September 12, 2006)
- Uncomplicating the Complicated
Consumer Attorneys Association of California, Lake Tahoe, NV (March 25, 2006)
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