Michael R. Pontrelli

Partner

Overview

Michael R. Pontrelli is a partner and litigation lawyer with Foley & Lardner LLP. Among other areas, Mr. Pontrelli’s practice has focused on high-stakes insurance and reinsurance matters, ERISA claims, disputes among the principals of closely-held businesses, and real estate litigation. He is a member of the firm’s Business Litigation & Dispute Resolution and Environmental Regulation Practices and the Insurance & Reinsurance and Life Sciences Industry Teams.

Mr. Pontrelli handles a range of complex litigation in federal and state courts across the country. He brings to the table a pragmatic, businesslike approach to achieving client objectives, coupled with forceful advocacy whenever necessary. A seasoned trial and appellate lawyer, Mr. Pontrelli has had particular experience structuring, managing, and resolving large cases.

Representative Experience

  • Securing a judgment worth $200,000,000 in a federal court case over rights to share in the compensation paid to policyholders when a mutual life insurance company converted to a stock company.
  • Defeating at trial and on appeal the pension-related claims brought against a Fortune 500 company by a former director and senior executive officer. (See Hampers v. W.R. Grace & Co., 202 F.3d 44 (2000).)
  • Winning decisions worth several million dollars in a lawsuit on behalf of a leading defense contractor and its excess insurance carrier against the primary carrier for coverage of losses sustained by the defense contractor in two class actions.
  • Enforcing valuable easement rights in a case marked by extensive discovery and motion practice, a multiweek trial, and an appeal. (See Dent v. Lovejoy, 85 Conn. App. 952 (2004), cert. denied, 272 Conn. 912 (2005).)
  • Advising on and resolving disputes for leading insurers over myriad direct and reinsurance coverage matters, including directors' and officers', banking, professional and fiduciary liability, antitrust, environmental, first-party property, patent and trademark, and products liability.
  • Obtaining favorable results for both plaintiffs and defendants in cases involving "freeze-out" claims by minority stockholders of close corporations.

Recognition

In 2004, 2006, 2007, and 2013 - 2016, he was named a Massachusetts Super Lawyer, an honor received by 5% of the state bar.

Education

After receiving his A.B. from Harvard College (with honors, Phi Beta Kappa) and his J.D. from Harvard Law School (with honors), Mr. Pontrelli clerked for the Honorable Stephanie K. Seymour of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.

Publications

He is the principal author of "Close Corporations and the Duty of Utmost Good Faith and Loyalty" in the book Massachusetts Corporation Law and Practice, a widely-cited reference work for business lawyers and litigators.

Admissions and Professional Memberships

Mr. Pontrelli is admitted to practice in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, and the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Representative Matters

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Represented a large Japanese manufacturer in a complex breach of contract and trade secret misappropriation suit filed by our client's U.S. joint venture partner. The contracts related to engineered polymers made by the joint venture company.
Obtained a $200 million judgment for Mutual of America Life Insurance Company in litigation arising out of the demutualization of John Hancock Life Insurance Company. As the owner of a large, group annuity contract, Mutual of America claimed that it was entitled to a substantial pay-out in connection with John Hancock's demutualization. John Hancock disputed Mutual of America's claim, contending that the contract in question was actually a contract of reinsurance for which no demutualization consideration was due. We brought suit against John Hancock on behalf of Mutual of America and in a decision representing the first modern precedent defining the elements of reinsurance, obtained the payout sought by our client.

Insights

EPA Issues Nanotechnology White Paper
11 April 2007
Foley Attorneys Named 2007 Massachusetts "Super Lawyers"
25 October 2007

Pontrelli Quoted on Nanotechnology

01 July 2007
InsideCounsel