Michael T. Mervis, a partner in the Litigation Department, is a trial lawyer focusing in the areas of complex commercial litigation, litigation concerning distressed loans and investments, intellectual property litigation and entertainment industry litigation. He is the East Coast co-chair of the firm’s Commercial Litigation Practice Group.
Michael has participated in numerous bench and jury trials, as well as arbitration hearings, in a wide variety of jurisdictions (including New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Florida, Oklahoma, Indiana, Texas and California). Michael has participated in trials for clients in the recording, consumer products, motion picture, venture capital, cable television, health care, real estate, energy and banking industries. He has been involved in trials concerning copyright, false advertising, trade secret, contract, business tort and RICO claims, as well as a variety of contested matters in bankruptcy cases.
Michael’s work for clients in connection with distressed loans and investments includes the representation of debtors, creditors and other stakeholders in contested bankruptcy court matters. He also has extensive experience representing lenders and investors in the real estate industry, including the defense of lender liability claims and the prosecution of foreclosure, fraud and other business tort claims against recalcitrant borrowers. For example, Michael recently obtained summary judgment on behalf of a lender dismissing lender liability claims asserted by the borrower, a multi-billion dollar REIT, in connection with a high-profile condominium conversation project in lower Manhattan. The grant of summary judgment was affirmed on appeal (102 A.D.3d 587). Michael also obtained summary judgment on behalf of a lender against a defaulting borrower who claimed that capital contributions made to the SPE which secured the loan were really loans to the SPE (decision reported at 611 F. Supp. 2d 203).
Michael’s intellectual property work includes a focus on false advertising litigation, as well as representing advertisers before the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus. Michael has been recognized by US Legal 500 as a “rising star” and “one to watch” in the false advertising field. Michael has also focused on representing content owners in significant copyright disputes. For example, he helped the major motion picture studios obtain a permanent injunction that prevented an online “hacker” magazine from distributing decryption software that allows the unlawful copying of DVDs (decision reported at 111 F. Supp. 2d 294). He also represented a leading international database provider in preventing a start-up Internet company from making unauthorized competitive use of data (favorable decision involving key copyright preemption issue reported at 91 F. Supp. 2d 677). Michael is also active in the representation of clients in non-compete and trade secret litigation.
In the entertainment industry, Michael has represented major and independent record labels and music publishers, as well as popular recording artists (including Eminem, Dr. Dre and Britney Spears). For example, on behalf of Ms. Spears, her record label and associated music publisher, Michael obtained summary judgment dismissing a copyright infringement claim concerning a best-selling album (decision at 2003 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8823, affirmed by Third Circuit at 2004 U.S. App. LEXIS 10773). Michael also obtained a directed verdict for a record company in a jury trial involving alleged tortious interference with the plaintiff’s contract with a successful recording artist. He obtained summary judgment on behalf of a record label in a defamation action based on song lyrics by a well-known hip hop artist (decision reported at 30 F. Supp. 2d 420). Michael has also represented film studios and production companies, actors and the world’s leading promoter of anatomical exhibitions.
Michael is the firm’s hiring partner and has long served as to the co-chair of the firm’s Summer Associate Program.