Michael R. Pontrelli


Michael R. Pontrelli


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

Representative Experience

  • Secured a judgment worth US$200m 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.
  • Defeated 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).)
  • Won 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.
  • Enforced 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).)
  • Advised on and resolved 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.
  • Obtained favorable results for both plaintiffs and defendants in cases involving “freeze-out” claims by minority stockholders of close corporations.

Awards and Recognition

  • Massachusetts Super Lawyer, an honor received by 5% of the state bar (2004, 2006, 2007, and 2013-2016)

Presentations and Publications

  • Principal author, “Close Corporations and the Duty of Utmost Good Faith and Loyalty,” Massachusetts Corporation Law and Practice, a widely cited reference work for business lawyers and litigators
26 March 2024 Deals and Wins

Foley Represents Avantus in Investment from KKR to Support Renewable Energy Development

Foley & Lardner LLP served as legal advisor to Avantus in its signing of a definitive agreement by which investment funds and accounts managed by KKR.
15 July 2022 In the News

Oyvind Dahle and Michael Pontrelli Author Article on Recent Advancement in Human Genomics

Foley & Lardner LLP Partner Michael Pontrelli and Associate Oyvind Dahle collaborated to author the Drug Discovery World article, “Why a Recent Advancement is a Giant Leap for Human Genomics”, discussing the implications of the first complete, gapless sequence of the human genome.
13 April 2022 Blogs

Giant Leap for Human Genomics

In a technical breakthrough, the human genome has now been nearly 100% sequenced. This development promises broad ranging implications for science and medicine.
6-17 December, 2021 Events

Foley's Annual CLE Week

Join us for Foley & Lardner's Annual CLE Week - Six mornings of training programs covering key business, industry, and ethics topics.
Every Tuesday & Thursday from December 1 - 17 2020 Events

Virtual CLE Week

Foley invites you to our Virtual CLE Week – six mornings of training programs covering a range of key business, industry, and ethics topics. Each day will feature a different set of one-hour programs, with the exception of the three-hour Working Through the Pandemic presentation on Tuesday, December 8, and the three-hour Ethics presentation on Thursday, December 17.
26 October 2016 Events

Trending Legal Issues in Insurance

Cybersecurity. Ethical standards. New regulatory developments. These are some of the timeliest issues facing the insurance industry today.