Michael Fehner is a member of the Litigation, IP Litigation, Insurance and Class Action Litigation practice groups and serves as a litigation solicitor for the firm.
Mike has a vast range of experience litigating business, insurance, commercial tort, employment and intellectual property issues in federal and state courts across the nation, concentrating on complex civil litigation and insurance coverage litigation on behalf of policyholders.
Mike has given presentations and moderated panels on insurance and intellectual property litigation issues for the Orange County Bar Association and other organizations.
Prior to joining Irell & Manella LLP, Mike worked for firms in Washington, D.C. (where he also taught legal research and writing at the George Washington University Law School) and in Minneapolis.
Mike enjoys Minnesota, his twins, the Minnesota Twins and stand-up comedy.
- Secured eight-figure settlements in several insurance cases involving environmental claims.
- Argued in federal bankruptcy court, district court and the Ninth Circuit about preferential transactions and nondischargeable debts on behalf of a major bank.
- At the trial level and in arbitration, Mike managed and litigated a number of matters in the insurance coverage context, including one long-running asbestos case involving issues ranging from jurisdiction (2004 WL 1977220) to policy interpretation (410 F. Supp. 2d 875, 480 F. Supp. 2d 1167) to discovery and privilege issues (2009 WL 1457794, 692 F. Supp. 2d 1194) to allocation and damages (2008 WL 3270922), resulting in a nine-figure settlement on a single policy, one of the three largest settlements in California in 2010.
- Defended a mortgage corporation against simultaneous class actions and seven state and federal regulatory actions in federal district court.
- Prevailed on partial summary judgment in federal court for a property developer client against a recalcitrant insurer.
- Aided in drafting a successful U.S. Supreme Court amicus brief on First Amendment issues, cited by the majority opinion, involving a California statute regulating video games should be struck down as unconstitutional (Schwarzenegger v. Entertainment Merchants Association (2011)).
- Litigated numerous proceedings involving large reorganizations in bankruptcy court, representing both debtors and creditors, including nondischargeability and other adversary proceedings in federal bankruptcy and appellate courts.
- Successfully defended, on summary judgment and appeal, international law firms from malpractice and other claims of liability.
- Mike’s appellate experience includes cases involving transportation regulation (126 F.3d 426) and antitrust issues (133 F.3d 103).
Honors & Awards
- Honored with a Pro Bono Award from Public Counsel’s Immigrants’ Rights Project (2021)
- “In California, Some Insurance Policies Age Like Fine Wine,” Western City (August 1, 2020)
- “Excess Policy Win Gives Calif. Insureds Hope For The Future,” Law360 (April 28, 2020)
- “What The Media Gets Wrong About Arbitration,” Law360 (October 26, 2016)
- “Breaking Down Liability Insurance For Transactional Lawyers,” Daily Journal (November 20, 2012)
- “Some Pragmatic Advice For The Non-Insurance Litigator,” Daily Journal (October 24, 2012)
- Minnesota State Bar Association
- District of Columbia Bar Association
- Orange County Bar Association (Insurance and Business Litigation Sections)
Yale Law School (J.D., 1995); Senior editor, Yale Law Journal; Executive editor, Yale Journal of Law and the Humanities; Coker Fellow (teaching assistant to Professor James Q. Whitman)
St. Olaf College (B.A., English, Political Science, and American Studies, 1992), summa cum laude; salutatorian; Phi Beta Kappa; National Merit Scholar; Blue Key Leadership Society
- Minnesota, 1995
- California, 2000
- District of Columbia, 1997
- U.S. District Court for the Central and Northern Districts of California
- U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
- Hon. Richard H. Kyle, U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota