Michael J. O'Neill
One of the founding members of Robie & Matthai, Michael O'Neill has practiced in the field of insurance law for over thirty years. His expertise extends to both first and third-party claims in all types of personal lines and commercial coverages. He has tried a number of bad faith cases in both the state and federal courts.
Michael has assisted in the resolution of numerous claims and represented carriers in lawsuits arising out of the wildfires in San Diego, Malibu, Laguna Beach, San Bernardino and Lake Tahoe. He has defended claims of insurance agent malpractice, including those asserting under insurance. He has served as coverage counsel in the evaluation and resolution of complex claims arising out of multiple earthquakes including the Northridge, Landers/Big Bear and Sierra Madre earthquakes.
Michael is a regular panelist in the field of insurance law, the author of a treatise chapter on business interruption losses, and an acknowledged expert on the appropriate adjustment of first party claims. He has regularly litigated the issues created when a purported policy limits demand is followed by a substantial judgment in third-party cases.
Michael has also served as a part of the appellate team on numerous insurance issues. He works closely with Natalie Kouyoumdjian to be certain that even the most complex coverage issues are clearly explained so that the Appellate Court will recognize the ramifications of their opinion.
Michael obtained a defense verdict in a bad faith jury trial in which the plaintiff asked for millions in contract benefits. In the same action, despite plaintiff's demand for over $850,000 in damages for a related breach of a bailment contract, and admitted liability on that portion of the case, Mike convinced the jury to award only $85,000.
Michael co-tried a six week bad faith case in which the plaintiff received a nominal award of contract benefits but took nothing as a result of a Code of Civil Procedure section 998 offer. The plaintiff now owes the firm's client over $70,000 in costs.
Michael's motion for summary judgment was granted and upheld in a reported decision in which the court of appeal explained and clarified critical issues of law and duty in favor of the carrier. (Everett v. State Farm (2008) 162 Cal. App. 4th 649.)
Addressing substantial legal issues involving a mortgagee's claim for contract benefits and a competing claim by a purchaser, Michael obtained summary judgment which resulted in a favorable appellate decision in favor of the carrier. (Washington Mutual v. State Farm (2009) 130 Cal. App. 4th 639.)
Service to the Courts
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