Michael Calhoon

Practice Group Chair - Energy Litigation (Firmwide) Partner

[email protected]

Washington, D.C.

P: +1.202.639.7954
F: +1.202.585.1096
Michael Calhoon Photo

I have been a trial lawyer for 27 years. I started my career trying cases in Houston, Texas, and now work out of Washington, D.C. But I have handled cases in state and Federal courts in 13 states. And I have represented both plaintiffs and defendants in cases involving thousands to billions of dollars.

As a plaintiff, I represented a media company in a $1 billion+ breach of warranty and Rule 10b-5 securities fraud case against a Paris-based media and telecommunications company. By the time of trial in New York, my team and I had taken ~60 depositions in Paris, London, Morocco, and throughout the U.S. The trial lasted four weeks and involved numerous complex financial and accounting issues that implicated subsidiaries of the French company in France, Morocco, and the U.S. under French and U.S. GAAP accounting rules. We won a unanimous plaintiff’s jury verdict and judgment by the Court in 2013 for €944 million Euros (at the time, over $1B). I was named American Lawyer's "Litigator of the Week," and the verdict was recently named as the largest verdict for a fraud case in New York over the last decade by the New York Law Journal. (Liberty Media Corp. et al. v. Vivendi Universal, S.A. In the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (2013)). The case settled for a (publicly disclosed) amount of $775 million.

As a defendant, I have tried multiple cases, including the dismissal of a $1 billion trade secret case after four weeks of trial for which I was again named as American Lawyer's "Litigator of the Week" in February 2015. (Moncrief Oil International, Inc. v. OAO Gazprom, et al. In the 17th District Court of Tarrant County, Texas (2015)).

We also look for ways to resolve a case prior to trial. Just recently, we won two consolidated cases on summary judgment motions for a client in significant subprime mortgage putback cases in the SDNY after years of litigation. These rulings were upheld by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in February 2022. (Homeward Residential, Inc. v. Sand Canyon Corp. In the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York; and In the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (2020, 2022)). Whether a case goes to trial or not, I believe in a relatively small team approach, using our understanding of both sides of the docket and years of experience to try to get to where the client is trying to go.

Related Experience

  • Lead trial counsel in a $1 billion+ breach of warranty and Rule 10b-5 securities fraud dispute for a major media company against Vivendi S.A. and Universal Studios. The trial in the Southern District of New York ended in a favorable jury verdict and a judgment by the Court for 944 million Euros for our client.
  • Lead trial counsel in a $1.37 billion international oil & gas dispute involving theft of trade secret and tortious interference for a major Russian-based natural gas company against a Texas-based independent oil & gas company. The trial in Texas state court ended in a complete dismissal of all claims by the plaintiff after four weeks of trial.
  • Lead trial counsel in a $30 million breach of contract and tortious interference dispute for a publicly-traded satellite and telecommunications company against a publicly-traded satellite and aerospace company. The trial in Virginia state court ended in a take nothing judgment for our client after a favorable verdict at trial.
  • Lead trial and appellate counsel defending a subprime mortgage originator in significant “put-back” actions brought by RMBS servicer/trustee in SDNY. The cases ended on motions for summary judgment that were upheld in February 2022 by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • Defending an electric utility in Federal court in Florida against breach of contract claims arising from a 30-year Tolling Agreement with purchase options related to a proposed gas-fired generation plant.
  • Defended former president of top pharmaceutical company in class action Rule 10b-5 action in SDNY.
  • Accounting firm-represented firm as trial counsel for Rule 10b-5 securities fraud class action case alleging $1 Billion in damages, which settled for $10 Million on the eve of trial in June 2013 (U.S. Dist. Ct., S.D.N.Y.).
  • Oil company-represented company in commercial cases in Delaware Chancery Court (all claims dismissed on summary judgment in $100 Million breach of contract suit involving a gas-to-fuels joint venture) and Alaska state court (settled case involving abandonment liability for an oil drilling platform).
  • Media and communications company-dismissal of $1 Billion conspiracy claim brought over the collapse of a German conglomerate on forum non conveniens grounds (U.S. Dist. Ct., S.D.N.Y.).
  • U.S. automotive company-take-nothing defense jury verdicts in product liability cases as trial counsel in jury trials in Texas state and federal courts with claimed damages of $1 million.
  • Consumer products company-take-nothing defense verdict in federal jury trial and appeal in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit as lead trial and appellate counsel defending against a trademark claim (S.D. Tex.).
  • Energy company-defense verdict in Texas state jury trial and appeal as lead trial and appellate counsel over the ad valorem tax valuation of a lignite coal mine that was reduced from $85M to $38M at trial.
  • Building contractor-favorable jury verdict in a trademark case as lead trial counsel resulting in an injunction and money award against a federal trademark registrant (S.D. Tex.).
  • Electronics company-trial counsel in patent infringement suit relating to mobile phone antenna technology (E.D. Tex.).
  • Financial services company-conducted internal investigation arising from alleged bidding impropriety.
  • Major Korean corporation-counsel in International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) arbitration arising from fraud by joint venture partners.
  • U.S. land developer-favorable decision in American Arbitration Association (AAA) arbitration of a significant commercial property claim.

Awards & Community

Recommended in The Legal 500 U.S., 2013, 2016, 2017, 2018 & 2020

Named "Litigator of the Week" by The American Lawyer, February 2015

Named "Litigator of the Week" by The American Lawyer, June 2012

Member of the Board of Trustees of the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia

News

results Page of