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Michael J. Guzman

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Michael Guzman represents both plaintiffs and defendants in high-stakes, complex disputes. Mike has successfully played the lead role in many trials before juries, judges, arbitrators, and administrative panels in federal and state proceedings.

Mike’s representation of his clients has resulted in precedent-setting verdicts, including two of the largest antitrust verdicts in U.S. history.  In total, he has won more than $2.5 billion to date in verdicts for his clients, and he has secured dismissals or favorable resolutions for defendants facing billions in claims.

Mike has deep expertise in antitrust, class action, and aggregate litigation.  He has prosecuted and defended claims of price-fixing and unfair competition.  He has defended clients against fraud, product liability, RICO, and mass tort claims.  In class-action litigation, Mike has served as court-appointed lead counsel, trial counsel, and a member of executive committees.  He also represents direct-action plaintiffs.   

Mike’s private practice experience is complemented by his government service.  He was appointed as Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the United States Department of Justice in the Environment and Natural Resources Division.  In that position, he shared responsibility for managing more than 300 attorneys in the Division with an active caseload exceeding 5,000 matters. 

Noteworthy Representations

  • In re Juul Labs, Inc., Marketing, Sales Practices, and Products Liability Litigation, MDL 2913 (N.D. Cal.; 9th Cir.), and Attorney General claims.  As lead counsel, Mike represents various current and former board members in multidistrict litigation and in Attorney General claims.  He crafted litigation, regulatory, and settlement strategies that have helped the company dramatically reduce its litigation burden so that it can focus on its customers and core mission.
  • In re Urethane Antitrust Litigation, MDL No. 1616 (D. Kan.). In one of the few antitrust class actions to go to trial, Mike served as co-lead trial counsel for a class of direct purchasers in a four-week trial alleging price-fixing by the Dow Chemical Company.  The jury ultimately rendered a $1.2 billion verdict, which was upheld by the Tenth Circuit, and the case settled while under review by the United States Supreme Court.  In its final approval order of the settlement, the District Court wrote:  “[i]n almost 25 years of service on the bench, this Court has not experienced a more remarkable result.” 
  • In re Steel Antitrust Litigation, No. 08-cv-5214 (N.D. Ill.). Mike served as court-appointed co-lead class counsel on behalf of a class of direct purchasers that included the major automakers as well as a number of other Fortune 500 companies in a proposed class action alleging manufacturers colluded to reduce steel output and stabilize prices.  After defeating a motion to dismiss and persuading the court to certify a class, the claims settled on favorable terms.  This case was built by the investigation of counsel and without the benefit of a Department of Justice investigation. 
  • Baker, et al. v. Anschutz Exploration Corp., et al. (W.D.N.Y.). Mike represented defendant Anschutz Exploration Corporation (AEC) against claims by a group of homeowners that AEC’s natural gas exploration activities in New York contaminated residential water wells.  Plaintiffs sought $2 billion in alleged damages.  Mike persuaded the court to streamline discovery by focusing first on the alleged contamination and causation issues.  This had the effect of shifting many of the burdens of discovery onto plaintiffs.  Ultimately, Mike persuaded the court to preclude plaintiffs’ causation expert and grant complete summary judgment in favor of defendant.
  • Conwood Company, L.P., et al. v. United States Tobacco (W.D. Ky.). Mike served as a member of the trial team for Conwood Company in a four-week jury trial with Mark Hansen and Neil Gorsuch.  The jury found that United States Tobacco abused its monopoly power and awarded $1.05 billion in damages – all of which was paid after appeal. 

Presentations and Publications

Mike frequently presents on complex litigation and litigation funding topics:

  • Co-author: With Motor-Voter Bill, Congress May Have Invited a Constitutional Challenge, Washington Legal Foundation (1994) (with Neil Gorsuch)
  • Co-Author: Will the Gentlemen Please Yield? – A Defense of the Constitutionality of State-Imposed Term Limitations, 20 Hofstra L. Rev. 341 (1991) (with Neil Gorsuch)

Education

Harvard Law School, J.D., magna cum laude, 1991

  • Book Review and Commentary Editor, Harvard Law Review, 1989-1991

Brigham Young University, B.A., summa cum laude, university honors, 1988

Clerkship

Law Clerk, Judge Douglas H. Ginsburg, U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit, 1991-1992

Government Service

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice, Environment and Natural Resources Division, 2008-2009

Legal Assistant, Hon. George H. Aldrich, Iran-United States Claims Tribunal, 1992-1993


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