Michael D. Leffel



Michael D. Leffel is a partner and litigation lawyer with Foley & Lardner LLP. Mr. Leffel's practice focuses on complex commercial litigation matters, including class actions. Mr. Leffel is the vice chair of the firm’s Consumer Law, Finance & Class Action Practice. He is a member of the firm's Appellate, Consumer Financial Services, and Business Litigation & Dispute Resolution Practices.

Mr. Leffel has represented clients, including many Fortune 100 companies, in more than 200 class actions. The cases involved various state consumer protection statutes, the federal securities and antitrust acts, the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, the Truth-In-Lending Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the Real Estate Settlement Practices Act, and product liability claims, among other issues.

Mr. Leffel has served as counsel for clients in fifteen cases before the United States Supreme Court, and has represented parties in numerous cases before courts of appeals at both the state and federal level. He also has represented clients before various regulatory agencies and in congressional investigations.

Prior to joining Foley & Lardner, Mr. Leffel worked for Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering in Washington, D.C., where his practice focused on commercial litigation and where he was awarded the John H. Pickering award for his commitment to pro bono representation.


Mr. Leffel is a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School (J.D., cum laude, 1997). He served as the managing editor of the Michigan Law Review and authored, "A More Sensible Approach to Regulating Independent Expenditures: Defending the Constitutionality of the FEC’s New Express Advocacy Standard." After graduation from law school, Mr. Leffel served as a law clerk for the Honorable Karen Nelson Moore, United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. He has lectured on class actions, the enforceability of arbitration clauses, the constitutional implications of academic freedom, and the constitutionality of student fees.


Mr. Leffel is admitted to practice in Wisconsin, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, District of Columbia Circuits, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. He is also admitted in the U.S. District Courts for the Eastern and Western Districts of Wisconsin, the District of Columbia, the Northern District of Ohio, the Eastern District of Michigan, and the Northern and Southern Districts of Illinois.

Publications and Presentations

  • Co-authored a chapter, The Attorney’s Guide to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals (Sixth Edition, 2015), State Bar of Wisconsin CLE Books
  • “Class action waivers in arbitration agreements enforceable: High court,” Business Insurance, June 20, 2013
  • Quoted, “Attorneys React to High Court’s Arbitration Ruling,” Law360, June 20, 2013
  • “Developments in Class Actions," Litigation, Dispute Resolution, & Appellate Practice Institute 2013, May 2013
  • Quoted, “Small Pharmacies Seek Class Cert. In Caremark Antitrust Row,” Law360, November 2012
  • "Mooting Plaintiff's Case Might Not End Class Action," Law360, October 2012
  • “Debunking Class Certification Myths,” Law360, January 2012
  • “Trends in ‘All Natural’ Class Actions,” Law360, November 2011
  • “Using Offers Of Judgment in Class Actions,” Law360, September 2011
  • “Concepcion Steers Potential Class Actions Toward Arbitration,” Wisconsin State Bar News, July 2011
  • "Foreclosure Actions Could Result in FDCPA Violations," LexisNexis® Research Solutions, July 2010
  • "New Rulings from the Fourth and Eleventh Circuit Shed New Light on RESPA Liability and the Filed Rate Doctrine," LexisNexis® Emerging Issues Analysis, July 2009
  • "Current Developments in Lender Liability Law – Consumer Context Part II," Foley & Lardner LLP Web conference, April 2009

Representative Matters

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Foley represents one of the nation's largest Medicare Administrative Contractors (MAC) in a False Claims Act case that claims that the MAC should have uncovered and stopped alleged outlier "turbocharging" by a bankrupt hospital system. If the claim were to be sustained, all MACs would be at risk, as the qui tam relator admits knowing no facts about what actually transpired between MAC and CMS regarding the alleged "turbocharging"; only that the MAC should have seen and stopped the outlier "spike". The MAC intends to seek summary judgment.
False Claims Act case brought by a whistleblower against a consulting firm and our client, the Medicare Fiscal Intermediary, alleging fraud in connection with the submission of outlier claims by a bankrupt hospital system. Foley developed an unorthodox strategy of persuading CMS, the government agency responsible for administering the Medicare program, that our client followed the rules and guidance provided to it by CMS. We were able to persuade CMS to take the very unusual step of submitting evidence in support of our position (despite the fact that the United States is the effective plaintiff in the lawsuit). We filed a motion for summary judgment, based in substantial part on the CMS evidence. Summary judgment was granted on appeal in the Second Circuit.
Foley has represented the largest government sponsoried enterprise ("GSE") in over than 50 class actions and qui tams in federal court (the “Actions”) involving whether the GSE is exempt from transfer taxation under its federal charter. These Actions, brought by hundreds of counties across the United States, span twenty-three states and the District of Columbia (including actions in Alabama, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin). The issues litigated by Foley involve an issue of first impression regarding the GSE's federal statutory transfer tax exemption. Not only did Foley defeat a petition to the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation seeking to consolidate the transfer tax actions, Foley has secured victories on motions to dismiss and summary judgment motions in 20 separate actions, including a decisive victory at the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.