Michael W. Bien is a founding partner of Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld LLP where he concentrates his litigation practice on complex commercial litigation, class actions, constitutional and civil rights law, antitrust, intellectual property, disability rights, and attorneys’ fees disputes. He was managing partner for 27 years, stepping down in January 2018.
Mr. Bien was named a California Lawyer Attorney of the Year for 2010 by both California Lawyer magazine and The Recorder and was recognized by the Daily Journal as one of the Top 100 lawyers in California in 2010, 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017. He has been recognized by Best Lawyers in America for Commercial Litigation since 2013.
Mr. Bien is a student and teacher of the art and science of trial practice. He has successfully tried to judgment several complex, multi-party class actions in federal court. He has frequently been called upon to teach trial practice and litigation techniques to other lawyers through the National Institute of Trial Advocacy as well as other professional organizations.
Mr. Bien has also frequently represented clients in the state and federal appellate courts, including the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the California Supreme Court and the Supreme Court of the United States.
His commercial litigation clients have included national and international companies such as Pfizer Corporation, Estee Lauder, Credo Mobile, Unocal, American Stores, Fluor Daniel, Roadway Express, Equity Property & Development Company, and Trans Union, as well as numerous small businesses and individuals. He has represented these and other companies in complex litigation matters in state and federal court on a wide range of issues, including antitrust, trade secrets, banking and financial regulation, employment, unfair competition, class actions and intellectual property matters.
Mr. Bien has also successfully litigated a series of major civil rights class actions against state and federal correction agencies and other public and private entities. These cases have resulted in significant prospective relief regarding unconstitutional conditions of confinement, denial of mental health care, unlawful discrimination against persons with physical and mental disabilities, protection of prisoners from sexual assault, and parole revocation reform.
He is co-lead counsel in a successful three-judge court trial that imposed a population cap on the California prison system in August 2009, which was upheld by the United States Supreme Court in its historic prison overcrowding decision, Brown v. Plata, 131 S. Ct. 1910 (2011). In late 2013, the Supreme Court declined the State’s effort to re-open the overcrowding case, handing Bien and his team another historic victory.
Mr. Bien was lead counsel in three federal court class action trials in 2013 exposing cruel and unusual mistreatment of persons with mental illness in three critical areas – denial of psychiatric hospital services, use-of-force, including pepper spray, and overuse of solitary confinement. The trials brought into public view abuses that have gone on for years in California prisons. RBGG’s clients prevailed in all three trials, and major reforms are now underway.
Mr. Bien has special expertise in class action and other complex litigation in federal and state courts. He brings to his work the unique experience and insight derived from having represented both plaintiffs and defendants in numerous such cases. Mr. Bien has extensive experience with various procedures for coordinating, prosecuting and defending complex, multi-party proceedings such as Multi District Litigation (MDL) in the federal courts, and has represented clients facing simultaneous civil, criminal and administrative proceedings. Mr. Bien has also successfully defended corporate and individual clients in class actions and other complex litigation brought under state and federal law. He has extensive experience in antitrust, unfair competition, securities, RICO, intellectual property and trade regulation litigation under federal law. He has also frequently represented clients in antitrust (Cartwright Act), indirect purchaser, trade secret, unfair competition and unfair trade practices (Business and Professions Code 17200) in California courts.
Mr. Bien has also been an officer, member, or board member for a number of community organizations, including Mission YMCA, Metropolitan YMCA, New Israel Fund, Camp Tawonga, Brandeis Hillel Day School, Jewish Community Federation, Religious Witness with Homeless People, and Jewish Vocational Service. He served as Chair of the Judiciary Committee of the Bar Association of San Francisco, and has been a member of the State Bar of California’s Commission on Corrections. He serves on the First District Appellate Project’s Board of Directors.
He previously was a partner in the San Francisco office of Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison, where he worked from 1980 through 1990. He received his J.D., cum laude, from Northwestern University in 1980 and his B.A., magna cum laude, from Brandeis University in 1977.