Michael Olin’s civil trial skills before juries, judges and arbitration panels have continually received accolades from peers, clients and the media. His work encompasses extraordinarily diverse subjects in all venues across Florida, the United States, and even in foreign countries.
In just the last few years, for example, he has successfully tried a property conversion case against U-Haul involving the valuation of over 500 high quality master tape recordings of well-known classical musicians, recorded in the 1970s and 1980s; a personal injury case against Big Tobacco – Philip Morris – whose cigarettes the jury found caused his client’s disfiguring and life-altering oral cancer; and a fraud claim against a Wall Street titan who wrongly and secretly twisted what appeared to be otherwise legal process so he could wipe out the loan of a second mortgage holder on property one of his companies had purchased. In all three of these cases, the clients recovered not only millions of dollars in compensatory damages, but millions of dollars in punitive damages. Most recently, he tried and won a claim for bad faith against Geico, which had wrongly exposed its policy holder to a multi-million dollar judgment, and required Geico to pay that full judgment, plus attorney’s fees, despite its policy limits of only $250,000 in coverage.
Michael also has a niche practice in entertainment litigation, having represented HBO, Time Warner, Top Rank, Inc. (Bob Arum’s company), Bernard Hopkins and Golden Boy Promotions, LLC (Oscar De La Hoya’s company) in litigation or arbitration. The Top Rank and Golden Boy matters involved eight and nine figure claims and were tried to a successful verdict before juries.
Michael also knows how to settle cases. For example, he was the lead plaintiff’s liability lawyer for the 163 victims in the crash of American Airlines flight 965 into a mountain near Cali, Colombia. Over a two-day period, he argued and obtained a summary judgment on liability from then U.S. District Court Judge Stanley Marcus, who shortly thereafter was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. Judge Marcus found – without a trial and in an opinion of more than 100 pages – that American’s pilots were guilty of willful misconduct. This extraordinary result on a summary proceeding less than three years after the crash, and just a few weeks before a jury trial was to begin, established American’s liability for full damages to all the passengers. After the ruling, his firm’s cases were all settled within a few months.
In short, Michael’s practice is far ranging, and he likes it that way. He handles business disputes and class actions, of all kinds, for small and large businesses as well as Fortune 500 companies, and for both Plaintiffs and Defendants. Michael is equally comfortable with all manner of personal injury claims for plaintiffs, from automobile accidents to aviation accidents, medical malpractice and product liability cases, along with business tort claims, like fraud, civil theft and tortious interference. He is regularly engaged by other lawyers in their personal cases, whether business, law or injury related, and frequently requested by other lawyers to assist in preparing and trying complex cases that require his level of courtroom experience and expertise.
Michael has lectured at numerous Florida Justice Association, American and Florida Bar and American Association for Justice seminars on various subjects, and is a past chairman of AAJ’s Aviation Section. He has published articles and book chapters in several Bar and independent publications in the areas of Aviation law and expert witnesses.
Michael obtained his B.A. degree in Economics, with High Distinction, and his J.D. magna cum laude, from the University of Michigan where he was a member and Associate Editor of the Law Review, and a member of the Order of the Coif Honor Society. He then returned to Florida and worked as a law firm associate where, after three years, was made a partner and then a named partner at the prestigious Miami litigation firm, Podhurst Orseck, where he remained for many years.
Michael has been recognized for excellence by his peers in both personal injury work and business and commercial litigation every year for more than a decade, and, among other awards, has been:
- Inducted in 2002 into the elite and “invitation only” International Academy of Trial Lawyers, a select group whose U.S. membership is limited to only 500 lawyers.
- Acknowledged as a “Super Lawyer” and one of the Top 100 lawyers in Florida
- Recognized in the annual publication “The Best Lawyers In America”
- Named as one of the “Legal Elite” by “Florida Trend Magazine,” and as a member of its Hall of Fame
Michael participates in a variety of civic activities, and is a former officer and long-term Board member of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation, where he has served on the Executive Committee, the Financial Management Committee, the Long Term Strategic Planning Executive Committee, and as the legal advisor to the Audit Committee. For two years he chaired the Allocations Committee, responsible for distributing all the funds raised by the organization. He served as a member of that committee for over ten years before his chairmanship.
Bar and Court Appointments
- Florida Bar Rules of Civil Procedure Committee For 13 Years, Vice-Chair, Two Years
- Florida Supreme Court Appointee to Business Jury Instruction Committee, served 10 years
- Southern District of Florida Appointee to Federal Bar Professional and Grievance Committee
- Florida Bar, Young Lawyers Section, Board of Governors, served four years
Voluntary Bar Memberships
- Florida Justice Association, served on Board of Directors for 18 years
- American Association for Justice, served as a Florida State Delegate for four years, on the Board of Governors for ten years, on the Public Interest Committee for seven years, and as Chairman of the Aviation Section
- International Academy of Trial Lawyers
- American Board of Trial Advocates, Past President of Miami Chapter
- Litigation Council of America
- Federal Bar Association
- Cuban American Bar Association
- Dade County Bar Association, served three years as Board Member of Young Lawyers Section
- Miami-Dade Trial Lawyers Association, three years on Board of Directors
Awards and Recognition
- Florida Super Lawyers, Top 100Florida Justice Association Crystal Eagle Award recipient
- Florida Justice Association Silver Eagle award recipient for Outstanding Leadership
- Florida Justice Association “Unsung Hero” Award.
- Florida Trend’s Florida Legal Elite and Hall of Fame Member.
- South Florida Legal Guide’s Top Lawyers.
- Best Lawyers in America
- Law Dragon 3000
- Law & Politics “Super Lawyers” and Top 100 Lawyers in Florida
- Miami Herald Super Lawyer Section, Top 100 Lawyers in Florida
- Ch. 12 “Expert Witnesses”, Florida Civil Trial Practice, 3rd Ed. 1984.
- “Expert Witnesses” in Barry, Desmond, Ed., Litigating the Aviation Case: From Pretrial to Closing Argument, 2nd Ed. 1998;
- “Punitive Damages Under the Warsaw Convention,” Trial, February, 1991.
- “Handling a Major Air Disaster,” in Papadakis, M.P., Ed., Civil Trial Practice: Winning Techniques of Successful Trial Attorneys, 2000.