Vice-President / Executive Committee
Michael’s Contact Information
A trial lawyer for 20 years, Michael has had the good fortune to spend the last 14 years at McNeer, Highland, McMunn and Varner, L.C. Michael became a Shareholder at McNeer Highland in 2004 and was voted onto the firm’s managing Executive Committee in 2010. Michael currently serves as the leader of the firm’s Professional Liability and Products Liability practice groups. Michael maintains an AV® Preeminent™ Attorney Peer Review Rating.
- North Carolina Bar, 1994
- West Virginia Bar, 1996
- U.S. District Court, Middle District of North Carolina, 1994
- U.S. District Court, Southern District of West Virginia, 1996
- U.S. District Court, Eastern District of North Carolina, 1998
- U.S. District Court, Northern District of West Virginia, 2000
- Fourth Circuit, U.S. Court of Appeals, 2002
Primary Practice Areas:
Professional Liability Litigation; Products Liability Litigation; Insurance Coverage, Extra-Contractual Liability and Bad Faith; Toxic, Environmental and Mass Torts; Nursing Home Litigation; Trucking Litigation; Asbestos Litigation; Oil and Gas Litigation; Dental Malpractice; and, Construction Defect Litigation.
Michael is an established and successful trial lawyer who has first chaired more than 30 trials. While his practice is most heavily focused on professional liability, products liability and toxic, environmental and mass torts, he has substantial experience litigating cases in a wide variety of practice areas. Michael is frequently retained by insurance carriers and corporate clients to protect their interests in West Virginia’s most dangerous jurisdictions.
Some of Michael’s more significant matters have included:
- Defense of product manufacturer in case involving death from pipeline explosion
- Natural gas explosion at a residential structure involving multiple fatalities
- Deliberate intent claim resulting from employee fall at a power station resulting in death
- Defense of manufacturers, distributors and employers in numerous chemical exposure cases
- Defense of product manufacturers in numerous cases involving industrial machinery and heave equipment
- Defense of propane distributor in multiple wrongful death lawsuits resulting from explosion
- Defense of insurance carriers in numerous cases involving coverage, extra-contractual and bad faith litigation
- Defense of nursing homes and long term care facilities in cases involving death from alleged inadequate care
- Defense of international testing facility in mass tort litigation alleging harmful chemical exposure
- Defense of lawyers and accountants in numerous cases alleging professional negligence
- Ongoing defense of multiple clients in asbestos litigation
- Ongoing defense of employer in Black Lung litigation
International Association of Defense Counsel (IADC)
2005 – Present
Member of peer-reviewed, invitation-only professional association for corporate and insurance defense lawyers internationally. Michael has served in the following leadership positions:
- Chair, Professional Liability Committee (2011 – 2013)
- Vice Chair, Product Liability Committee (2009 – 2011)
- Vice Chair, Membership Committee (2013 – present)
- Regional Membership Committee Chair, Mid-Atlantic Region (2012 – present)
- Member, CLE Planning Committee (2013)
- Member, Business Litigation, Products Liability, Medical Defense & Health Law Committees
- Member, Social Medial Task Force (2009 – 2011)
- Member, Web Site Task Force (2010 – 2013)
- Member, Product Liability, Professional Liability, Transportation and Toxic and Hazardous Substances Committees
- Member, Professional Liability Roundtable Planning Committee (2010 – present)
- Member, By-Laws Task Force (2014 – 2015)
- 2014 – present (West Virginia Member)
Insuralex is a group created by independent law firms that specialize in Insurance and Reinsurance coverage, defense and related litigation. Michael is McNeer, Highland, McMunn and Varner’s member lawyer.
Michael is also a member of the American Bar Association (ABA), Defense Research Institute (DRI) and Defense Trial Counsel of West Virginia (DTCWV)
Personal Information and Education:
Michael is a native of Clarksburg, West Virginia, and graduated from Washington Irving High School in 1986. After high school, Michael attended Marietta College on a baseball scholarship, but transferred after suffering a serious leg injury which left him unable to continue in intercollegiate athletics. Thereafter, he graduated from Fairmont State College in 1991 with a B.S. in Business and with a minor in Political Science. Michael obtained his law degree from North Carolina Central University in 1994.
Michael has been married to his wife, Diana, since October 21, 2000. Together, Michael and Diana have a beautiful 12-year-old daughter, Sarah, who excels in soccer. In addition, Michael is the stepfather of Heather, a graduate of WVU’s School of Pharmacy, and Eric, who is completing his final semester of studies at West Virginia University in the school’s Wood Sciences Program. Diana teaches art at Heritage Christian School.
Memberships & Associations
“McNeer, Highland, McMunn & Varner LC is well-known for meeting the challenges of its clientele in a very straightforward manner while maintaining a close attorney-client relationship. The attorneys on staff provide dedication to detail and professionalism to each client in a variety of practice areas. We are large enough to handle all your legal needs, and small enough to care.”
– James N. Riley (Director/President)