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J.D., West Virginia University College of Law, (West Virginia Law Review, Executive Notes Editor, 2007)
B.A., Political Science, Marshall University
Michael is a native of Bartley, West Virginia, a rural, blue collar community in Southern West Virginia. His working-class upbringing in a family of coal miners, construction workers, and service-industry workers taught him the importance of hard work and dedication. It also taught him that individuals, consumers, and employees are not always afforded a fair shake. With these lessons in mind, Michael takes pride in aggressively, effectively, and zealously representing his clients to vindicate their rights against more powerful, sophisticated corporations.
After earning a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Marshall University, Michael attended the West Virginia University College of Law, where he was a member of the West Virginia Law Review and served as Executive Notes Editor. Michael also had a scholarly law review article published while in law school. He obtained his law degree from West Virginia University in 2007.
Michael is a seasoned litigator with significant experience in a wide variety of litigation matters in state and federal courts. He has represented and counseled clients in regard to employment matters, serious workplace injuries under West Virginia’s deliberate intent statute, product liability matters, mass torts, toxic torts, wrongful death cases, consumer protection matters, and general personal injury litigation.
Michael has extensive experience and knowledge in the litigation of workplace injury claims brought pursuant to West Virginia’s deliberate intent law, which allows employees to sue their employers for damages in excess of their workers compensation benefits where their employer knowingly violated safety standards to cause serious injury. Michael’s experience in this area of the law includes claims in the mining, construction, and manufacturing industries. His experience in these industries and his prior experience representing employers in health and safety matters give him a deep understanding and knowledge of the safety rules employers must follow to keep their employees safe. This knowledge is invaluable in representing employees who have been seriously injured as a result of their employers’ intentional disregard of these safety rules.
Michael is also an experienced litigator of employment matters. He has litigated matters involving race discrimination, gender discrimination, disability discrimination, sexual harassment, constructive discharge, FMLA retaliation, retaliatory discharge, political firings, and wrongful discharge in violation of public policy. Michael is guided by a sense of fair play, equality, and justice in his representation of employees who are wronged by their employers.
Michael also has a wealth of experience in product liability litigation. He has litigated cases involving products ranging from industrial footwear to large industrial equipment. He has extensive experience in mass tort and toxic tort litigation involving exposures to toxic chemicals.
Prior to joining Bailess Smith, Michael spent nearly 10 years working at large defense law firms where he defended employers, product manufacturers, and other companies. Michael’s prior experience as a defense lawyer gives him a unique understanding of how corporations litigate and evaluate cases. He uses this knowledge to even the playing field for his clients who have been wronged by large, sophisticated corporations.
Michael currently resides in Hurricane, West Virginia with his wife, Carla, and their two sons, Vincent and Elijah.