Michael McGirney

Email mmcgirney@sgrvlaw.com
Phone: (727) 490-4378
Fax: (727) 490-4989

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Michael McGirney

Member

Michael McGirney has statewide trial practice and a nationwide trial monitoring practice specializing in complex litigation with an emphasis on the defense of professionals and corporations.  He is a nationally known expert on ethics and professional liability matters.  Mr. McGirney serves as outside general counsel and ethics counsel for a number of firms.  He has spent the last thirty years representing attorneys, mediators, architects, engineers, accountants, insurance agents, directors and officer and other professionals.

Michael McGirney joined Spector Gadon Rosen Vinci as a member in 2013. He has represented attorneys in matters before the Florida Bar and has represented accountants, architects and surveyors before the Department of Business Professional Regulation.  He has also represented mediators before the Florida Dispute Resolution Center.   He has represented insurance companies in both coverage and bad faith matters. Mr. McGirney has experience in the defense of class action, mass tort and multi-district litigation.  He has served as a mediator and arbitrator. He has also served as a consulting and testifying expert witness in insurance claim matters, bad faith matters, legal malpractice litigation and ethics issues. He has served as a consultant and risk manager for a number of entities.  He has also authored a number of articles and book chapters on legal issues.

Mr. McGirney frequently lectures on ethics, mediation, professional liability and trial matters.  He has been certified by the State of Florida on mediator ethics and he has served as an instructor on mediator ethics and liability throughout the State of Florida.  He has also served as a guest lecturer at insurance companies, law firms, bar associations, real estate operations, insurance agencies, architectural firms and law schools throughout Florida.

He is a 1978 graduate of La Salle University of Philadelphia where he received his Bachelor of Science Degree with a dual major in Business Administration and Psychology. He obtained his Juris Doctorate in 1990 from UIC John Marshall Law School of Chicago.

Prior to engaging in the practice of law, Mr. McGirney spent 12 years in various managerial claim positions for a number of insurance carriers.  He has claims experience in all lines of insurance.  He has 10 years of experience handling professional liability matters on a country-wide basis.  In 1986, he helped form a third-party administrator servicing claims and litigation on a nationwide basis for general liability, professional liability and captive insurance programs, including captive legal malpractice programs for domestic and London markets.  Some of the programs he developed are still in use today.

Upon graduation from law school in 1990, he helped open the Tampa Office of Stephens, Lynn, Klein and Mc Nicholas, where he was the managing partner of the general liability and non-medical professional liability groups. During his ten-year tenure at that firm, the office grew from two to 15 attorneys and the firm grew from 18 to 62 attorneys.

In 2000, he was asked to open the State of Florida for the Philadelphia firm of Marshall, Dennehey, Warner, Coleman & Goggin, one of the only defense only law firms in the country.  He served as the managing partner of the Tampa Office and opened offices in Ft. Lauderdale, Orlando and Jacksonville.  He acted as regional managing attorney for the Florida operations of the firm and served on the firm’s Board of Directors.  Mr. McGirney was responsible for the growth of the firm’s Florida Operation in which the firm opened four offices with 50 attorneys with approximately $15 Million in annual revenue in four years.

In 2007, he opened and managed the Tampa Office of Daniels, Kashtan, Downs, Robertson & McGirney.  He was responsible for the formation of the firm’s legal malpractice defemse group and acted as general counsel and ethics counsel for the firm.

Mr. McGirney has achieved an AV Preeminent Rating from Martindale Hubbell and has been named a Florida Super Lawyer in the areas of professional liability defense, construction litigation and insurance coverage. He has also been listed in Tampa Bay Magazine as a Best Lawyer in Professional Liability.  He has been named a Top Lawyer in Tampa Bay and South Florida. He has been included in Who’s Who in Law and was named a Best Lawyer in America.  He was also named Florida Lawyer of the Year in 2017 by Corporate America Magazine.

Representative cases include:

  • Obtained a summary judgment in the U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida for an insurance company being sued for bad faith.  Successfully argued that there could be no bad faith claim if the insured had an excess policy of insurance.  The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the summary judgment after a ruling by the Florida Supreme Court on the issue.
  • Obtained a defense verdict in a legal malpractice case for a law firm in Florida State Court.  The case was one of clear liability against the law firm but prevailed at trial by arguing that there were no damages in the case.
  • Obtained a defense verdict in a class action lawsuit against a mortgage foreclosure law firm.  Argued that the Florida Doctrine of Litigation Immunity would apply to an incorrect mortgage payoff letter, which was the basis for the class action lawsuit. The trial court ruled that the Doctrine did not apply to a statutory litigation such as the FCCPA but the Florida Supreme Court overturned the trial court ruling and held that the Doctrine would apply to all litigation.
  • Obtained a dismissal on a case of first impression in which an expert witness was sued for malpractice for his testimony at trial.  Argued that the Florida Doctrine of Litigation Immunity would apply and the trial court agreed, dismissing the case with prejudice.
  • Obtained a defense verdict for a law firm sued for its settlement of a case at mediation.  Able to convince the trial court to allow the mediator to testify at trial about what occurred at mediation.  After hearing testimony of mediator, the jury returned a defense verdict.
  • Obtained a favorable verdict for an architect being sued for the design of residential property.  Plaintiffs claimed $3,900,000 in damages.  Argued that the Plaintiff was not entitled to more than $10,000 in damages and the jury agreed.  The Plaintiff ended up paying attorney’s fees at conclusion of case.
  • Obtained a verdict for an insurance company seeking the rescission of legal malpractice insurance policy.  Convinced the Court that the lawyer, who was employed by a corporation but represented that he was an attorney in a law firm, made material misrepresentations in the insurance application and the policy was declared void.
  • Obtained a summary judgment for an insurance company sued by a nationally known home building company. The policyholder settled a large class action matter and sued the insurer for coverage.  Obtained the summary judgment based upon the argument that the policyholder never satisfied the self-insured retention levels for each policy period as the original class action lawsuit was for claims over a five year period.
  • Obtained a favorable settlement for an engineering firm, which was a party in a $250 Million lawsuit for design defects in a fresh water reservoir supplying water to the Tampa Bay region. Settlement was obtained early in the litigation for a nuisance settlement.
  • Obtained a defense verdict for an insurance agency being sued for wrongful termination of an agent working for the agency.  Established that there was a valid basis for terminating the agent.
  • Obtained a dismissal of a class action lawsuit brought against an insurance company for its failure to pay travel expenses to an insured for medical visits. Established there was no coverage for the expenses.
  • Obtained a defense verdict for a company sued for multiple chemical sensitivity damages by a school teacher.  Established the alleged injuries were not valid injuries as they based on junk science.
  • Obtained a defense verdict for a law firm that failed to timely disclose an expert witness in a property damage case.  Established that there was no coverage in the underlying matter.
  • Obtained a defense verdict for an insurance agent’s placement of uninsured motorist coverage on a motorcycle insurance policy by establishing that the Plaintiff could not afford the additional cost of the insurance coverage.
  • Obtained a dismissal of an action brought by the Florida Department of Business Professional Regulation against a Chief Financial Officer of a Fortune 500 Company.
  • Resolved an action brought against a law firm for its involvement in representing a company which sold a $1 Billion in insurance viaticals.
  • Was able to obtain a resolution of a copyright infringement case against an architectural firm arising out of the design of a municipal building.

Practice Areas

  • Commercial Litigation
  • Cyber Security
  • Insurance Coverage and Casualty Litigation

Professional Organizations

  • American Bar Association, Member of Standing Committee on Lawyers Professional Liability
  • Hillsborough County Bar Association
  • Clearwater Bar Association
  • St. Petersburg Bar Association
  • Defense Research Institute
  • Professional Liability Underwriting Society
  • Professional Liability Defense Federation
  • American Institute of Architects, National Allied Membership
  • Agents of America
  • Claims and Litigation Management Alliance

Education

  • LaSalle University B.S (Business Administration & Psychology) 1978
  • UIC John Marshall Law School of Chicago J.D. 1990

Admissions

  • Illinois Bar
  • Florida Bar
  • United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois
  • United States District Court. Middle District of Florida\
  • United States District Court, Northern District of Florida
  • United States District Court. Southern District of Florida
  • US Supreme Court
  • US Court of Appeal, 11th Circuit
  • Florida District Court of Appeal, 1st District
  • Florida District Court of Appeal, 2nd District
  • Florida District Court of Appeal, 3rd District
  • Florida District Court of Appeal, 4th District
  • Florida District Court of Appeal, 5th District