Michael B. Buckley is an AV-rated trial attorney who has tried over 100 jury trials. His practice includes a wide range of complicated litigated matters, including aviation matters, insurance coverage, bad-faith/excess liability, professional liability, commercial torts/fraud and products liability. He has tried cases throughout the states of Florida and New York, in the state and federal courts.
Before forming his firm, Mike was a partner with the Fowler, White, Burnett, P.A. firm in Miami, Florida for ten years, where he was responsible for trying significant cases. Before that, Mike was a partner with the Anderson, Moss, Parks, Russo & Cohen, P.A. firm in Miami, Florida, where he handled significant personal injury cases, complicated insurance and commercial litigation, and aviation matters. Mike began his legal career at Kelly, Drye & Warren in New York, New York, where he handled and tried significant commercial matters and tort/insurance cases, including assisting with the Bhopal litigation for Union Carbide and handling the wrongful death case of the survivors of one of the astronauts killed in the space shuttle Challenger disaster.
Mike graduated from Rutgers University in 1979, magna cum laude, with a major in Political Science and minor in Economics. He graduated from New York Law School, cum laude, in 1982. He was in invitational member of the Law Review and published a Case Note.
Mike has been involved in such notable cases as:
Mike was lead counsel in Rosado v. DaimlerChrysler Financial Services Trust, 2013 WL 1338047 (Fla., April 4, 2013) which was a significant victory in the Florida Supreme Court, whereby, in a 5-2 decision, the court held that the "Graves Amendment" (49 U.S.C. § 30106) is constitutional and preempts Florida's vicarious liability statute (F.S. §324.021). Not only did the court adopt Mike's preemption argument, but they also ruled that the Florida statute is not a financial responsibility law, which would have been within the Graves Amendment's exception. This decision effectively puts the last nail in the coffin of motor vehicle vicarious liability for long-term automobile lessors. This decision is a total victory for the auto leasing industry in Florida.
Mejia-Haffner v. Lillington/Pico Ski Resort Partners LLC., a ski injury case tried to a jury in the District of Vermont which created significant new law on the issue as to which party has the burden of proof on the Vermont "sports injury statute," which essentially statutorily adopts the doctrine of primary assumption of the risk. See 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 150944, 2016 WL 6475968 (D. Vt. 2016).
Domb v. Gerstein, a UCC and breach of contract case regarding non-complying goods and damages flowing therefrom, with fraud counterclaims, successfully tried to a jury for the plaintiff in the Florida Circuit Court in Palm Beach County.
In re: Crash of American Airlines Flight 965 at Cali, Colombia, as lead liability defense team.
In re: Crash of Delta Flight 191 at Dallas/Fort Worth, junior partner to Robert L. Parks, one of the leading members of the Plaintiff Steering Committee.
In re: San Juan DuPont Plaza Hotel Fire Litigation, represented United Technologies’ Otis Elevator Division with regard to various death claims and hundreds of smoke-inhalation claims, in what was the largest multi-district hotel fire litigation in the history of the United States.
Allen Gee v. BDO Seidman & Seidman, an accountant malpractice case, resulted in $16 million judgment against a large accounting firm in Miami;
Billian v. Mobil Corp., a large commercial fraud case that was successfully tried to a jury and subsequently made significant new law in the appellate courts.
2800 SE Dune Drive Condo. Assoc. v. Mobil Land Development Corp., a construction defect case involving approximately $10 million in damages which Mike represented the developer, Mobil Land;
Chamberlain v. Mobil Corp., a class action ADA case that had potential corporate‑wide ramifications for Mobil.
Zazio v. Wells Fargo, a negligent security case in which a deranged psychotic murderer attempted to decapitate the Plaintiff in a public restroom at a mall where Wells Fargo provided security; case was tried to a jury and resulted in a defense verdict.
Halpeny v. Allianz Ins. Co., a class action coverage case with respect to a catastrophic automobile crash resulting in numerous deaths involving in significant new appellate law in Florida;
Rock & Fill Corp. v. Tarmac America, Inc., a commercial fraud case that was successfully tried to a jury in Miami on behalf of the plaintiff and upheld on appeal;
American Health Care, Inc. v. Dun & Bradstreet, Inc., a commercial libel case that was successfully tried to a jury in the Southern District of Florida;
Griffith v. Mercedes Benz, a product liability case involving multiple deaths that was successfully tried to a jury on behalf of Mercedes in Tampa;
American Somax Ventures, Inc. v. Mobil Land Development Corp., a complex commercial case tried to a jury on behalf of the defendants (a one-month trial) in Palm Beach County regarding responsibility for a failed residential development;
Kamis v. Mizner Tower Condominium Assoc., a construction defect and negligent maintenance case successfully tried to jury trial in Palm Beach County on behalf of the defendant;
Goldsmith Motors, Inc. v. Chemical Banking Corp., a commercial fraud and UCC 4-401 case successfully tried to a jury on behalf of the plaintiff in Queens County, New York;
Monticello Insurance Company v. City of Miami Beach, et. al., a complex coverage case, with a breach of the duty to defend excess liability claim as well, tried on behalf of plaintiff in federal court in Miami.
Allianz Global Risks v. Travelers, a primary-excess dispute among these parties, successfully tried for the plaintiff in Nassau County, New York;
Barclay v. Mobil Land Development Corp., a fraudulent misrepresentation case successfully tried to a jury in Martin County, Florida;
Nadine Lewis v. Winn-Dixie, a slip and fall case involving an un-operated alleged herniated disc successfully tried by Mike on behalf of the plaintiff in Miami and resulting a $1 million verdict for the plaintiff;
Equico Lessors, Inc. v. Maruka Machinery Corp., a commercial fraud case successfully tried to a jury in Orange County, Florida for the defendant;
Payne v. Valiant Air, $9 million bad faith case settlement arising from a general aviation accident.
Donovan v. J.R. Brooks & Sons, Inc., a significant personal injury case, handled on behalf of the plaintiff, resulting in a $5 million settlement;
Sibaja v. Dow Chemical Co., a case involving 165 allegedly sterilized Costa Rican farm workers (from exposure to an agricultural product) who filed suit in Miami state court, which I removed to the federal court and then had dismissed, thereby establishing the rule that the doctrine of form non conveniens was procedure such that federal law pertaining to the doctrine applied under Erie. At the time, Florida did not recognize the doctrine under the Houston v. Caldwell rule, and, so this ruling, dismissing the case, from the district court, which was upheld by the 11th Circuit federal court of appeals, was dispositive as to the case;
Vega v. Fireman’s Fund Ins. Co., a $16 million bad faith/excess liability case which I defended for the insurer and obtained a result by which our client paid a small part of the excess judgment because we successfully third-partied-in the defense firm which provided improper advice leading to the insurer’s refusal to defend and the excess judgment;
Allianz Ins. Co. v. State Farm Mutual, an excess vs. primary bad faith case successfully tried on behalf of the plaintiff, Allianz, in New York City;
Allianz Inc. Co. a/s/o Mercedes Benz USA v. Sachs, a subrogated indemnity recovery case on behalf of Allianz resulting in full recovery of a $1 million judgment in the federal court, Southern District of New York;
DaimlerChrysler v. Pambianchi, a subrogated indemnity recovery case on behalf of DaimlerChrysler resulting in full recovery of a $750,000 judgment in the federal court, District of Connecticut.
Hanna et. al. v. Ward Manufacturing, Inc., represented the defendant in this significant products liability case which impugned an entire industry of a natural and propane gas supply product, which was tried to a jury in the federal court for the Middle District of Florida in April, 2016
Mike graduated from Rutgers University in 1979, magna cum laude, with a major in Political Science and minor in Economics. He graduated from New York Law School, magna cum laude, in 1982. He was in invitational member of the Law Review and published a Case Note.
Bar Admissions & Professional Memberships:
Mike is admitted to practice in state and federal courts in Florida, New York and California. He is also a member of the Lawyer-Pilots' Bar Association, Million Dollar Advocate and DRI.
Presentations & Publications
Presenter: plaintiff's case in mock trial at Trial Seminar of Federation of Insurance and Corporate Counsel, 1999 Winter Conference and 2000 Summer Conference
Speaker: Accountant Malpractice Current Issues, Miami, Florida, August, 1998. Seminar sponsored by the Florida Bar and Interstate Insurance Company
Authored: Attorneys' Malpractice Current Issues, Summer Conference, Practicing Law Institute, New York, N.Y. July, 1999.