| Practice Description: |
Michael Gallagher, who joined Burke Wise Morrissey Kaveny in August 2015, brings his extensive insights as a Cook County prosecutor and as a defense attorney to the clients he represents.
His breadth of experience and level of success in the areas of civil, appellate and criminal practice is unparalleled for an attorney his age. At 32, he became the youngest supervisor in the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, responsible for defending the county and its approximately 22,000 employees in over 650 pending state and federal lawsuits.
As supervisor of the Torts and Civil Rights Section, Michael oversaw 19 attorneys and the defense of clients including the nation’s largest single-site jail, second largest sheriff’s department, and second largest public health system. He has successfully prosecuted or defended 26 of 27 jury trials in state and federal court including matters of wrongful death, catastrophic injury, medical malpractice and class-action claims. In one memorable case, he was assigned as lead counsel to retry a matter involving catastrophic injuries that had previously resulted in a $35 million verdict against the Cook County Sheriff’s Office. On retrial, he achieved a not-guilty verdict for all defendants.
He also successfully defended Cook County and 18 individual sheriff’s department officers in a four-week wrongful death jury trial. The plaintiff in the case demanded $31 million. The jury, though, returned a verdict in favor of all defendants.
Michael has also thrived since joining Burke Wise Morrissey Kaveny. In his first jury trial as a plaintiff’s attorney, he helped secure a “bad faith” jury verdict against Illinois’ largest provider of medical insurance for a record $14.3 million. This included $13 million in punitive damages. Since 2007, he has secured more than $100 million in plaintiff and defense verdicts.
Known professionally for his tireless research and persuasive legal writing skills, Michael has argued in the state and federal appellate court on four occasions while drafting over 65 appellate briefs and motions for summary judgment on issues ranging from wrongful death, class-action liability, medical malpractice, highway construction, premise liability, and §1983 civil rights claims. He provides that rare combination of trial and appellate experience that allows him to effectively advocate for his clients at every stage of litigation. In recognition of his experience and leadership, Law Bulletin Publishing Company named Michael L. Gallagher one of its 2016 "Forty Under 40." Leading Lawyers also included him on its 2016 list of "Top 10 Illinois Emerging Lawyers," an honor reserved for attorneys age 40 or younger.
Notable Cases and Results:
$14.3 million "bad faith" verdict against Illinois’ largest medical insurance provider which included a record $13,000,000 in punitive damages. The matter was Michael’s first jury trial as a plaintiff’s attorney. Hana v. ISMIE (2015)
$31 million defense verdict on behalf of 18 individual Sheriff Officers alleging wrongful death as a result of positional asphyxiation. The matter was Michael’s first jury trial as a civil defense attorney. Richman v. Sheriff Sheahan et. al., (2008)
$35 million defense verdict on behalf of a Sheriff’s Officer that struck the plaintiff’s vehicle rendering her a quadriplegic. Petraski v. Officer Thedos (2009)
Defense verdict in a class action trial alleging unconstitutional medical care involving tens-of-thousands of inmates over a seven-year time period. Plaintiffs’ demanded $25,000,000 million prior to trial. Smentek v. Sheriff Dart (2014)
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois
U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals
Year of Birth: 1977
Law School: DePaul University College of Law, J.D., 2003
Law School Honors/Involvement: CALI Excellence Awards Trial Advocacy I & II
Graduate School: Drake University, M.P.A., 2000
Undergraduate School: Drake University, B.A., 1999
Undergraduate School Honors/Involvement: Varsity football, Pioneer League Academic All-Conference, 1996-1999
Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney
Supervisor of Torts and Civil Rights Section, 2010-2015
Torts and Civil Rights Section, 2007-2009
Criminal Division, 2004-2006
Appellate Division, 2003-2004
Bar/Professional Association Involvement:
Federal Bar Association
Chicago Bar Association
CBA Federal Civil Practice Committee
Awards; Honors; Recognitions:
- 2016 "Forty Under 40," Law Bulletin Publishing Company
- Emerging Lawyers, recognized in General Personal Injury Law and Professional Malpractice, 2016-present
- Listed among "Top 10 Illinois Emerging Lawyers," 2016-present
Burke Wise Morrissey Kaveny will help you seek and secure just compensation if you or a loved one were wrongfully harmed – by negligent medical care, in an automobile or other transportation accident, by a product that was poorly made or designed, or in an unsafe workplace. Because we represent only people and families who have suffered significant personal injury or catastrophic loss, we know how to prove to a jury where liability rests and to do everything possible through the legal system to help make things right.
For more than a decade our firm’s goal has been to communicate clearly to clients like you about the issues involved, to build your trust and confidence and to guide you through to a successful resolution. Since opening our doors as a firm we have secured in excess of $280 million for our clients, including more than $1 million each in some 50 cases. And in their collective careers our lawyers have compiled an impressive record of success through verdicts and settlements for our clients valued in excess of $750 million.