Atkin Chambers Barristers
Many of the disputes upon which Michael has been involved adopt a process of “deal-making” over a period of time. This has been necessary in connection with both commercial and construction disputes. Where the resolution of the dispute has itself been a complex agreement with many features, they have frequently involved the continuing engagement of the mediator to assist the parties in reaching agreement on future performance standards, who would be responsible, time scales for various activities and the consideration to be passed. Additionally, many of these disputes have involved the tailoring of dispute resolution or performance monitoring schemes mediated between the parties.
Michael has mediated over 1500 major construction and commercial disputes in the US, UK, Hong Kong, Singapore, Canada and Australia relating to vertical (buildings, including hotels and hospitals), horizontal (highways, bridges, and transport systems) and subsurface projects as well as power systems and process plants. Many of these disputes have involved complex design liability issues. In addition to construction related disputes, Michael has mediated a multitude of commercial, intellectual property and banking cases. He has additional specialty in international disputes of various kinds, including major governmental infrastructure projects, trans-national mergers and acquisitions, banking, insurance and other agreements. Many of these disputes have involved issues of insurance coverage and suretyship. Examples include:
o Disputes between Government of Hong Kong and joint venture consisting of European, Australian and Chinese construction companies over the design and construction of a major cable-stayed bridge structure. The dispute involved not only the design and construction of the bridge itself, but also significant issues concerning subsurface conditions in connection with the reclamation of an island to support the main bridge tower.
o Contractor claim in excess of US $70 million against the U.S. Department of the interior over the design and construction of an earth-filled dam.
o Dispute between contractor, subcontractor and U.S. Department of Energy relating to construction at a nuclear repossessing facility (Hanford).
o Dispute between contractor, subcontractor and U.S. Department of energy relating to construction of low-level nuclear waste storage facility (Oak Ridge).
o Claim for US $85 million against petroleum producer relating to the construction of an offshore drilling installation.
o Dispute between owner (major UK power producer), contractor, engineer and insurers concerning cost over runs on construction of a large-bore 5km tunnel related to subsurface conditions.
o Dispute between contractor and transmission company concerning cost over-runs and delays to the construction of a four hundred mile long gas pipeline from Canada to the U.S.
o Dispute between design/build contractor, equipment manufacturer and owner concerning cost over runs and performance issues on co-generation facility.
o Dispute between public utility and energy producer concerning steam supply contract and turbine performance issues.
o Disputes between the Hong Kong Airport Authority and contractors concerning the entire paving of the airport facility, including runways, aprons and terminal perimeter. In addition, mediated disputes concerning the design and construction of all underground access tunnels and services.
o Claims by Italian contractor against the State of California in connection with the construction of two major highway projects.
o Several disputes concerning the design and construction of resort hotels in Las Vegas, Hawaii and California.
o Dispute between Hong Kong Government and Rail Company arising from the construction of the entire rail line to the New Hong Kong Airport.
o Dispute concerning claimed $250M between joint venture of oil companies and contractor arising from the construction of processing facility in Venezuela.
o Major multi-party dispute between UK property developer and conversion of listed building to luxury flats. The dispute involved various design and construction issues pertaining to construction management, M and E design and construction and architectural design elements.
o Dispute between eight parties (owner, lessor, designers, contractors) concerning soil mechanics relating to differential settlement of commercial development in the U.K.
o Dispute between main contractor and subcontractor arising out of the constructions of off-shore drilling platforms in Nigeria.
o Dispute between rail company and joint venture contractor pertaining to the design and construction of 20km rail line, stations and viaducts in Hong Kong.
o Dispute between U. Ga. and designers and contractors arising from the construction of a major bio-containment facility.
o Dispute between Hong Kong Government and Designer concerning adequacy of concrete specification for long-span bridge.
o Dispute in U.K. between engineer and design/build contractors arising from the construction of a large power generation facility in the Philippines.
o Dispute concerning the design and construction of a power and steam generation plant at a major port in Northern U.K.
o Dispute between equipment supplier and operator concerning the design, manufacture and maintenance of eight generators in a dual cycle electrical generating plant.
o Several disputes concerning the design, construction or renovation of various health-care facilities.
o Dispute in Canada between contractor, concrete supplier and testing engineers arising out of alleged failure of concrete to meet design mix specification.
o Dispute between contractor and insurer pertaining to coverage for design issues arising from the collapse of a tunnel and highway in Asia.
o Dispute between owner and architect arising out of the construction of a major office headquarters’ development.
o Dispute between seller and purchaser of 15 Hydro-electric generation facilities pertaining to allegations of breaches of warranties, representations and fraud in the inducement.
o Dispute between mobile phone manufacturer and licensor of technology alleging breaches of representations and warranties in license agreement and fraud.
o Dispute involving “look back” accounting under acquisition agreement relating to purchase of division manufacturing secret missile components.
o Multiple disputes arising out of the sale and acquisition of a variety of businesses including health-care, defence, software development and manufacturing.
o Multiple class action suits against California banks relating to overdraft charges. Settlement involved complex issues concerning quantum, class definition, and methodology for assessing damages of individual class members.
o Dispute between German and Israeli technology firms arising out of their joint venture manufacturing and sales business in the U.S. each side claiming breach of the J.V. agreement and asking for dissolution of the partnership.
o Dispute between shareholders of a family-held heavy equipment distribution business. Buyout by one sibling involved resolution of complex financing and tax issues and agreement with equipment manufacturer.
o Dispute between U.S. manufacturer and its fidelity bond insurer involving coverage under the bond for damages suffered as a result of defalcation by employees in Turkey.
o Dispute between insured and insurers arising out of disputed coverage under the applicable policy for losses suffered by insured in the Philippines.
o Disputes between software manufacturer and some of its former distributors concerning their rights on termination of distributorship agreements.
o Dispute between Japanese, German and Italian banks arising out of loan syndication agreement and treatment of office building acquired by them through borrower default.
o Mediated several separate healthcare industry disputes including cases between HMOs and Hospitals and Medical Groups concerning entitlement and amount of capitation payments and issues arising from the termination of agreements.
o Dissolution of partnership owning several franchised fast-food restaurants. Partners alleged breach of partnership agreement fraud and self-dealing.
o Various environmental clean-up disputes including both allocation between PRP’s and insurance coverage issues.
o Various intellectual property disputes including patent rights and copyright issues involving various technologies and processes.
o Dispute between insurer, broker and various film companies arising out of film finance insurance.
o Dispute between in excess of 100 plaintiffs and accounting firm concerning failed tax avoidance scheme in the UK.
Michael has acted as arbitrator in over 150 cases involving complex construction and commercial matters, both domestic US and internationally. Cases involved design and construction issues arising from large infrastructure and vertical construction projects, energy, oil and gas, general commercial, financial intellectual property cases as well as disputes arising out of mergers and acquisitions in a variety of industries. Recent examples include:
o Dispute between contractor and consortium of petroleum producers concerning cost recovery and cost overruns on two work over platforms placed in Lake Maricaibo, Venezuela.
o Arbitration in Singapore between design-build joint venturers arising out of cost and schedule overruns on people mover project.
o Dispute between owner and design-build contractor arising from design issues and cost overruns on the Los Angeles Arena (“Staples Arena”).
o Dispute between owner and contractor over design issues, schedule and cost overruns on the Venetian Resort in Las Vegas.
o Dispute between seller and purchaser concerning responsibility for environmental clean up costs of 36 agricultural chemical sites involving subsurface conditions and means and methods. Separate but similar case involving clean up costs related to a steel manufacturing facility.
o Dispute between contractor and owner and designer over increased costs for seismic retrofit of high-rise building.
o Dispute between contractor and energy company concerning remedial costs for rebuilding 16KM off-shore oil pipeline in Angola.
o Dispute between main contractor and civil sub contractor arising from the design and construction of the rapid transit system in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
o Dispute concerning the ownership of certain advanced laser technology.
o Dispute between main and trade contractor pertaining to claims arising from construction of three-unit dual cycle power generating facility.
o Dispute between large insurance broker and sub-broker concerning duties between them and toward insured pertaining to the breakdown of turbine generators in the Philippines.
Master of Laws, University of London
Juris Doctor, Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California, Berkeley
Member, Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre and Hong Kong Government’s list approved and qualified mediators.
Taught basic and advanced mediator training courses for the American Arbitration Association; the Australian Commercial Disputes Centre, Sydney; and the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre. Has lectured and written extensively on the subject of ADR.
A trial lawyer in California and Hawaii for 20 years before becoming Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Director of URS Corporation, San Francisco, CA.
Since 1994, a full time mediator and arbitrator.