EXPERIENCE & EXPERTISE
Michael’s work includes a focus on the infrastructure, transport and mining sectors where he assists principals, contractors and their insurers in resolving property damage and personal injury claims, generally including complex insurance and indemnity considerations, and often acting for multiple parties. Michael has acted in defence of the public liability claims arising from many key Queensland developments including the Gateway Upgrade North works, the Dinmore to Goodna road upgrade project, the Safelink Alliance project, the Moreton Bay Rail Link project and the Curragh Coal Mine, to name a few.
He has experience in relation to various aviation and marine matters, including the Lockhart River aviation disaster and has run Supreme and District Court trials relating to sunken and damaged yachts. He acts in sensitive and institutional abuse claims for sporting, church and other similar and related bodies. This has included defending a local sporting club and its state and national body following multiple highly publicised incidents and the criminal conviction of an individual volunteer. Michael also acted in a coronial inquest for a foster care agency after the death of an infant garnered significant media attention and safety concerns relating to witnesses.
He has acted in flood, fire and fraud claims arising from industrial special risk and home and contents policies alike. Examples include with respect to a digger that caught fire at a coal mine, an anticipated class action filed in Victoria following the 2015 Brisbane floods, and a suspected fraud claim relating to a residential dwelling following the 2011 Brisbane floods.
Michael has a reputation for balancing the various stakeholder interests in claims arising from many of the noteworthy projects that have been undertaken across Queensland.
He has been appointed as an independent legal expert by multiple stakeholders upon whom those entities relied to determine questions of liability and insurance between them.
He has a special interest in alternative dispute resolution and is well regarded by his clients for his commercial and strategic thinking, efficiency and resolution-focus. He is skilled at taking the most complex of cases and crystallising the evidence into the key issues that will decide the case.
Michael has achieved favourable outcomes for his clients in a variety of matters across various jurisdictions including Queensland, Victoria, New South Wales, ACT and Western Australia. The Lockhart River aviation disaster included litigation in Illinois, Missouri, NSW and Queensland.
Using his background in biotechnology and immunology, Michael acted for a pathology laboratory in relation to a wrongful birth matter where a child had Turner Syndrome but his parents had been advised prenatal testing was negative. His education and time working in laboratories assisted him in the investigation and interpretation of evidence. He also combined his biotechnology and legal expertise to successfully negotiate a very complicated matter for a sandstone Australian university that had entered into a private agreement to analyse, produce and scale bio-significant volumes of fatty acids for potential therapeutic benefit and commercial production. Various decision-makers on both sides of the dispute were scientists and Michael’s combined expertise, along with his resolution-focus and ability to untangle complex claims enabled a long-standing and acrimonious matter to be settled without a trial.
For more than a decade, Michael has been a trusted advisor for insurers, brokers and private companies alike particularly for project work, often delivered over a number of years for any one project. He is brought on board at the first sign of a claim and remains involved through his institutional knowledge of the stakeholders, and their formal and informal arrangements. He produces savings for clients not only by negotiating great outcomes based on the evidence of the case, but by bringing knowledge of the contractual and insurance structures in place on a project from one claim to another. He has also provided robust front-end advice on contractual, policy and risk management wordings, to prevent or limit further claims made possible through his experience in litigating such issues.