Sanford L. Michelman, co-founder of Michelman & Robinson, LLP (M&R), is a partner in M&R’s Commercial & Business Litigation and Regulatory & Administrative Departments. Resident in the Firm’s Los Angeles Office, Mr. Michelman focuses his practice on the insurance, financial services, advertising and digital media industries. A leading trial attorney and litigator, he is routinely called upon to represent clients in the most difficult and complex matters that frequently extend into a wide array of industries. Mr. Michelman advocates in arbitration, administrative proceedings and in state and federal courts all over the country.
Mr. Michelman has defeated scores of class actions and large exposure cases. He routinely represents insurers, broker/agents, underwriters, private equity groups and other financial services companies, and advertising and media companies throughout the United States. Mr. Michelman also represents clients in investigations conducted by various governmental agencies including Departments of Insurance and Attorney General’s Offices in addition to the Department of Justice, Securities and Exchange Commission, Federal Trade Commission and Department of Real Estate, among others.
Mr. Michelman not only represents clients in matters involving the government, he also has experience representing the government itself and handling matters for government officials. He worked for U.S. Senator Howard M. Metzenbaum (D-Ohio), assisting with the investigation of Executive Life Insurance, Inc. and the nomination of Associate Justice Clarence Thomas to the United States Supreme Court. In 2001, the Governor of California appointed Mr. Michelman to the State Athletic Commission of which he was elected Vice-Chairman in 2002 and Chairman in 2004. Mr. Michelman is Chair of M&R's Executive and Recruiting Committees.
A significant contributor to the Los Angeles community, Mr. Michelman was the recipient of the Discovery Award by the Zimmer Children’s Museum. He sits on the Museum's Board of Directors. In addition, Mr. Michelman regularly handles matters on a pro bono basis, a commitment that extends firmwide.
Co-Founder & Chairman — Mr. Michelman is the Co-Founder and Chairman of Michelman & Robinson LLP
Insurance Consumer Class Action — Mr. Michelman successfully defended a national insurance brokerage against a class action alleging that the recording of customer telephone calls without proper disclosures was a violation of California statutes. At that time, California courts were interpreting this type of conduct as illegal and holding to the statutory damages of $5,000 per call. In this case, there were approximately 600,000 alleged calls and potentially billions of dollars in statutory damages. Mr. Michelman designed a defense predicated on the legislate intent of the statute dating back to 1967, arguing that the statutes at issue were intended to protect against “industrial espionage.” After intense argument, the court agreed with the defense and dismissed the case in favor of his client.
Insurance Company Administrative & Regulatory Enforcement Actions — A large national insurance company received an enforcement action by the Department of Insurance alleging that it was violating Proposition 103, which pertains to automobile insurance rates. The department sought significant change of business practices and a $25 million fine. Mr. Michelman sued the department, contending that the enforcement action was illegal as it was trying to enforce an “underground regulation”; a regulation that is not law. In a lengthy decision, the court held that the department’s actions were illegal and dismissed the case.
Insurance Consumer Class Action — A large insurance company was sued over allegations that its distribution channel comprised of brokers were actually “de-facto” agents. The plaintiffs sought an injunction and damages that equated to approximately $600 million for the defendant. Mr. Michelman designed a multi-prong defense that included arguments that the class representative was “inadequate” and the actions of the insurer and broker were compliant. After lengthy litigation, Mr. Michelman defeated the plaintiffs’ attempt to certify the class, and had the class representative declared “inadequate” and removed. Immediately thereafter, the plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed the case. Following this case, Mr. Michelman successfully defended ten other similar class actions.