Michael D. Mortenson

Partner

Costa Mesa
T +1 714.966.8823  |  F +1 714.754.6611

Michael Mortenson is a business trial lawyer with extensive experience representing entities and individuals in breach of contract, fraud and breach of fiduciary duty matters. He also handles appeals to the California Courts of Appeal and the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and tries cases on behalf of clients before arbitration panels. An aggressive and client-oriented advocate, Michael consistently delivers efficient service and achieves exceptional results for his clients. 

Select Experience

  • Won full defense verdict as lead trial counsel for a private equity company against breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty claims.
  • Won summary judgment for an e-commerce business against a $10 million negligence action. 
  • Obtained pretrial dismissal of all claims against an international toy company's senior secured lender against its competitor's RICO and fraudulent transfer claims.
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Experience

  • Won full defense verdict as lead trial counsel for a private equity company against breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty claims.
  • Won summary judgment for an e-commerce business against a $10 million negligence action. 
  • Obtained pretrial dismissal of all claims against an international toy company's senior secured lender against its competitor's RICO and fraudulent transfer claims.
  • Won summary judgment for a defendant private equity firm in a $25 million breach of contract action resulting from failed acquisition.
  • Successfully represented a startup internet-based business in a breach of contract and fraud action against a website developer.
  • Secured a favorable settlement for a defendant diagnostic laboratory company in a multimillion-dollar breach of contract action.
  • Obtained numerous favorable settlements for defendant employers in employment discrimination, wrongful termination and retaliation actions.
  • Successfully represented publicly traded defense contractor on appeal in which the California Fourth District Court of Appeals affirmed the Superior Court's order denying a motion to compel arbitration of a $100 million breach of contract and fraud action.
  • Represented several professional sports teams in connection with various commercial and employment litigation matters. 

Recognitions

  • Southern California Super Lawyers "Rising Star" (2012 to 2016)

Memberships

  • Association of Business Trial Lawyers
  • Orange County Bar Association
  • Federal Bar Association

Community

  • Courtney’s Sandcastle Charitable Foundation
  • San Clemente Sunrise Rotary Club: Inactive Member

Pro Bono

  • Represented the family and the estate of Navy SEAL Glen Doherty, who was killed in the September 2012 Benghazi attack, as lead trial counsel in a lawsuit against Defense Base Act insurer and insurance broker, resulting in a favorable settlement. Also served as lead counsel in damages claims filed against the CIA and the State Department, resulting in modifications to CIA and State Department policies on contractors killed in action. This work has appeared in a multitude of media sources such as the Associated Press, the Washington Post, Fox News and ABC News.
  • Represented Invisible Children in litigation and corporate matters. 
  • Obtained permanent and preliminary injunctions in two separate cases involving the state of California's compliance with the Child Welfare Act's payment requirements, which the Ninth Circuit affirmed on appeal. California Alliance of Child & Family Servs. v. Wagner, 425 F. App'x 660 (9th Cir. 2011).
  • Successfully litigated issues of first impression before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals regarding California's interpretation of, and payment obligations under, the federal Child Welfare Act, resulting in what is now widely recognized as the leading case in the United States interpreting state compliance with the funding requirements of the Child Welfare Act. California Alliance of Child & Family Servs. v. Allenby, 589 F.3d 1017 (9th Cir. 2009).

Services

Industries

Prior Positions

  • The 180 Group, LLC: Member (2000 to 2003)
  • The United States House of Representatives: Assistant to Speaker of the House, J. Dennis Hastert (1999)

Admissions

  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Central District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of California
  • California

Education

  • J.D., Case Western Reserve University School of Law, 2006; President, Student Bar Association; Ault Mock Trial Team; National Appellate Advocacy Team
  • B.A., University of Virginia, 1999