Overview

Jan M. Michaels, a principal of Michaels & May, P.C., began his practice as a commercial litigator with the Chicago law firm of Lord Bissell & Brook. Mr. Michaels handles complex commercial litigation on both the trial and appellate levels involving a wide variety of subjects, including environmental exposures, products liability, mass tort and construction defect insurance coverage litigation, trademark infringement, trade secrets, securities, employment, consumer protection, and class action defense. Mr. Michaels has litigated cases across the country, including suits pending in California, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Oklahoma, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Mr. Michaels also has substantial alternative dispute resolution experience.

Mr. Michaels is a member of the American, Illinois, and Chicago Bar Associations.

 

Presentations and Publications

Jan Michaels, Michael J. McNaughton and Sridevi Krishnan, University of Kansas Law Review,  "The 'Non-Cumulation' Clause: Policyholders Cannot Have Their Cake and Eat it Too"  61 U. Kan. L. Rev. 701 (2013).  A commentary digest of this article was printed in Mealey's Litigation Report: Insurance, Vol. 27, No. 29 (June 5, 2013).

Litigation Highlights

In Mallinckrodt v. Continental Insurance Company, et. al., Circuit Court of St. Louis County, Missouri, Case No. 05-CC-001214 (pending), Mr. Michaels took a lead role in preparing and arguing a summary judgment motion seeking pro rata by time-on-the-risk allocation in a complex long-tail environmental coverage dispute.  The Missouri Circuit Court recently ruled in favor of the carriers, setting new precedent in Missouri on this issue. The matter remains in trial court. A post-trial appeal is anticipated.

In AAA Disposal Systems, Inc. v. Aetna Casualty And Surety Co., 355 Ill. App. 3d 275 (2nd Dist) (unpublished), appeal denied, 2005 Ill. LEXIS 296 (Ill. Jan 26, 2005), the Appellate Court affirmed the trial court’s ruling that the policyholder failed to provide timely notice and that a showing of prejudice was not required to prevail on the late notice coverage defense. The Appellate Court also ruled that, in applying pro rata allocation, primary policies must first be horizontally exhausted before any excess policies may be reached, and that the policyholder was responsible for the damages allocated to years in which its insurers are insolvent.

In Cinergy Corp. v. St. Paul Surplus Lines Insurance Company, 873 N.E.2d 105 (Ind. Ct. App. 2007), Mr. Michaels obtained summary judgment in favor of his insurer client, the court ruling that the insurer had no obligation to pay defense costs or to indemnify the policyholder for sums it might expend as a result of allegations that it violated the Clean Air Act by failing to obtain permits before modifying its power plants. The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld the rulings in two separate appeals. Mr. Michaels argued the appeal. See also Cinergy Corp. v. St. Paul Surplus Lines Insurance Company, No. 32A01-0309-CV-327 (Ind. Ct. App. May 25, 2004) (unpublished).

Mr. Michaels served as co-appellate counsel for an insurer in another significant Clean Air Act case, Newnam Manufacturing, Inc. and Dalton Corp. v. Transcontinental Insurance Company, 871 N.E.2d 396 (Ind. Ct. App. 2007). In Newnam the policyholder sought defense and indemnity for a suit brought by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management claiming that the policyholder had failed to obtain the requisite permits before making a major modification to its manufacturing plant. The Indiana Appellate Court upheld the trial court’s grant of summary judgment, finding that the insurer had no obligation to either defend or indemnify the insured.

In Maremont Corp. v. Continental Casualty Company, 326 Ill. App. 3d 272 (Ill. App. Ct. 2001), appeal denied, 198 Ill. 2d 617 (2002), Mr. Michaels obtained summary judgment for his excess insurer client on the basis that pro rata allocation of damages applied, and that the policyholder must horizontally exhaust its primary policies before any excess policies could be reached. The appellate court affirmed summary judgment, finding that the claims did not reach the client’s excess policies. Mr. Michaels was lead appellate counsel and argued this case.

Mr. Michaels served as lead appellate counsel and argued the appeal in Northern Illinois Gas Company v. The Home Insurance Company, 334 Ill. App. 3d 38 (Ill. App. Ct.), appeal denied, 202 Ill. 2d 614 (2003). The Appellate Court affirmed summary judgment in favor of Mr. Michael's client, finding that the carrier had no obligation to indemnify the policyholder for sums it had spent in voluntarily investigating and cleaning up several former manufactured gas plant sites. The court enforced the voluntary payment clause in the client’s insurance contract and held that the insurer had not become “legally obligated” to clean up the sites, as the policies required.

In Samuels Recycling Co. v. Cont’l Cas. Co., 713 N.W.2d 193 (Wis. Ct. App. 2006), Mr. Michaels and Mr. May obtained the dismissal of claims that the insurer had wrongfully denied coverage for government-imposed environmental cleanup costs and that it had acted in bad faith. In a related case, Mr. Michaels and Mr. May successfully argued that the policyholder should not be permitted to re-litigate claims that had been dismissed in a prior proceeding based upon a recent change in Wisconsin environmental law.

Jan M. Michaels Principal Direct: 312.428.4734 mailto:jmichaels@misspclaw.com

Jan M. Michaels
Principal
Direct: 312.428.4734
mailto:jmichaels@misspclaw.com

Education

  • B.A. in Anthropology, magna cum laude, State University of New York at Albany.
  • J.D., magna cum laude, University of Notre Dame Law School, 1989.

Bar Admissions

  • Illinois Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois
  • Trial Bar of the Northern District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin

Professional Affiliations

  • American Bar Association
  • Illinois Bar Association
  • Chicago Bar Association