Michelle is a senior associate with a reputation as a devoted advocate for international and domestic clients in trial, appellate, and arbitration proceedings. Whether initiating a new case or stepping into a stalled lawsuit, Michelle is known for designing a comprehensive strategy that delivers outstanding results for her clients.
Michelle's experience includes class action defense, accountants' liability defense, business torts, contractual disputes, corporate dissolution proceedings, and directors and officers liability. Michelle's Spanish-language skills allow her to lead bilingual teams and advise Latin American clients as they navigate the United States' legal system and international arbitral frameworks.
Michelle leverages the Firm's global reach to best serve her clients. Recently, Michelle coordinated among White & Case offices throughout Europe and the United States to offer witness testimony by state-of-the-art video stream at a final arbitration hearing. This saved significant cost but sacrificed nothing in quality of presentation.
Michelle recently defeated a motion for class certification on behalf of a national insurance company. In that case, the plaintiff-policyholders sought approximately 100 million dollars in damages on behalf of a 50,000-member putative class. The trial court denied class certification, finding that the plaintiffs failed to meet their burden to prove that these unique, individual claims were suited for class treatment. Michelle successfully defended the trial court’s ruling on appeal, where the appellate court affirmed based solely on the briefing.
Michelle successfully obtained a dismissal with prejudice of an action pending in federal court against her client, an international airline. The trial court held that it lacked subject-matter jurisdiction over the case. After dismissal, the plaintiff appealed. Michelle successfully defended the dismissal before the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.
Michelle successfully defended her client, an international auditing firm, against a non-client investor's bid to bring a negligent misrepresentation claim as a class action. The trial court found that individualized issues predominated over the common questions presented by these claims; thus, a class action was not the superior method for adjudication. Michelle successfully defended the trial court's ruling on appeal.
Michelle played a key role on a team of White & Case attorneys who won a significant arbitration award for their client, a global petrochemical company. After a weeklong hearing, a three-arbitrator panel awarded US$ 20 million in damages (plus attorneys' fees) to the Firm's client arising from the breach of an indemnity provision in an asset purchase agreement.
Michelle successfully implemented her team's appellate strategy to protect the Firm's client, a national insurance company, from two improper discovery orders. In the first appeal, the team secured an extraordinary writ that protected the company's senior officers from abusive, in-person depositions. In particular, the appellate court noted that senior management's role is to run the company—not to spend time sitting for depositions where they lack personal knowledge of the dispute. During the second appeal, the appellate court granted another extraordinary writ, quashing a discovery order that would have improperly required to the company to disclose information protected by Florida law.
The National Association of Women Lawyers' Book Club to Explore The Partner Track with its Author, Helen Wan, 2015: Moderator