A senior attorney with 26 years of litigation experience, Mike has tried in excess of 200 jury trials to verdict in the state and federal courts of Pennsylvania, as well as other jurisdictions throughout the United States.
Mike is a shareholder in the Professional Liability Department and defends cases involving mass torts as well as general liability matters.
Mike began his law career in the Philadelphia District Attorney's office where he served as an assistant district attorney for five years. He then joined the civil litigation firm of Krusen, Evans and Byrne in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. After trying numerous asbestos-related cases, he cofounded the firm of Kelley, Jasons, McGowan, Spinelli and Hanna in Philadelphia where he focused on the preparation and trial of complex personal injury, products liability, and criminal cases.
Significant Representative Matters
Defended a local corporation in a case where plaintiff, a carpenter, was electrocuted while setting up scaffolding around defendant's electrical generators. Plaintiff, who was 33 at the time of his injury, suffered closed head injuries and was unable to return to work. Plaintiff's medical bills totaled $750,000. His past and future lost wages were in the millions, and his settlement demand was in excess of $3.5 million. After a six-week jury trial in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, the jury awarded plaintiff $750,000 in damages.
Defendant's Motion for Directed Verdict was granted after a three-week jury trial in federal court in Philadelphia. Represented a corporation that at one time manufactured and sold bathtub inserts to hotels throughout the United States. Plaintiff alleged he pulled the grab bar on a bathroom insert which broke, causing him to fall out of the tub, injuring his back, hips, shoulders, and legs and permanently disabling him. Plaintiff's defective design and manufacture claim was dismissed as to the defendant as a result of successor liability arguments.
Defended a national fast food retailer in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia. Plaintiff alleged negligent hiring, negligent retention, and failure to properly supervise. The co-defendant employee falsified his employment application and failed to disclose that he had been convicted of armed robbery. He thereafter allegedly told one of his supervisors at the fast food establishment that he had a criminal record. Months later, codefendant employee brought a gun to work and showed it to several of his co-workers during their shift. At the end of his shift, co-defendant employee shot and wounded two of his co-workers and killed two other co-workers in a field about 300 yards from defendant's retail establishment. This case settled for a confidential amount on the day of jury selection.
Tried to verdict a one-week reverse bifurcated jury trial in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, where seven mesothelioma cases were consolidated for trial. Two of the plaintiffs were living and five were deceased. Defendants did not contest the diagnoses of mesothelioma or that exposure to asbestos caused the mesotheliomas. Defendants also did not present any medical evidence in the damage phase of the trial. In five of these cases, the jury returned verdicts in the low five figures. In the other two cases, the jury returned verdicts in the low six figures. Defendant was able to settle all of these cases based on the low Phase I verdicts and avoid a Phase II liability trial.
Tried a group of 26 asbestos cases to verdict before a jury in an eight-week trial in state court, Baltimore, Maryland. The plaintiffs' diseases included lung cancer, asbestosis, mesothelioma, colon cancer, and kidney cancer. In all of these cases, plaintiffs presented medical evidence that their injuries were caused by occupational exposure to asbestos. Defendant presented evidence that the plaintiffs' diseases were not caused by asbestos but other causes, including smoking. Defendants received outright defense verdicts in 14 of these cases and minimal verdicts in nearly all of the remaining cases.
Represented a contractor that allegedly installed asbestos-containing pipe covering. Plaintiff alleged his mesothelioma was caused by exposure to the asbestos-containing products of various defendants. This was an all issues trial where plaintiff presented state-of-the-art and failure to warn evidence, as well as evidence on causation. On the eve of trial, all co-defendants settled, leaving contractor alone in the courtroom to defend this matter. Although the jury rendered a verdict for Plaintiff, after setoffs and credits, our client paid zero dollars.
Tried a consolidated group of three asbestos lung cancers cases to verdict before a jury in state court in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. These cases were reverse bifurcated with damages being tried first. Plaintiffs alleged their lung cancers were caused solely by occupational exposure to asbestos. Defendants alleged Plaintiffs' lung cancers were caused solely by their smoking histories. Our client received outright defense verdicts in two of the three cases and a verdict of $190,000 in the third case. During the liability phase of this third case, Plaintiff alleged his injuries were caused solely by exposure to our client's asbestos product. The jury disagreed and found that our client was liable for only $20,000 of this verdict and that other Defendants were liable for varying amounts.
Seminar, Direct and Cross Examination, Pennsylvania Bar Institute, 1989
How To Conduct Effective Opening And Closing Statements, American Bar Association Section of Litigation, National Conference for the Minority Lawyer, 1999
Past Employment Positions
Philadelphia District Attorney's Office, Assistant to District Attorney, 1981 - 1986
Pro Bono Activities
Director, Valley Green Bank
President, Germantown Branch Board of Settlement Music School
President, Center City Crime Victim Services Board
Treasurer, Neighborhood Interfaith Movement
University of Virginia School of Law, Charlottesville, Virginia, 1981 J.D.
Virginia State College, 1978 B.A.
Honors: magna cum laude
Major: Political Science
- Virginia State College (B.A., magna cum laude, 1978)
- University of Virginia School of Law (J.D., 1981)
- Pennsylvania, 1982
- U.S. District Court Eastern District of Pennsylvania, 1982
- U.S. Court of Appeals 4th Circuit, 1993
Associations & Memberships
- American Bar Association
- National Bar Association
- Pennsylvania Bar Association
- Philadelphia Association of Defense Counsel
- Pennsylvania Defense Institute