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Michael J. O'neill

Michael J. O’Neill has been a member of Nemecek & Cole since July of 2019. Prior to that he was a shareholder at Robie & Matthai. Since his admission to the Bar in 1982, Mike has represented insurance carriers in both first and third party matters. In the realm of first party coverages, Mike has represented carriers on a wide range of property issues, both real and personal. This representation includes the evaluation of diverse claims and the written interpretation of coverages. He has handled insurance appraisals and also evaluated suspect claims. In addition, Mike has represented insurance agents and brokers against claims for malpractice. Mike has also advised carriers on the entire gamut of third party issues ranging from advertising injury to toxic claims. Mike has represented his carrier clients in litigated matters whether in actions for declaratory relief, breach of contract or bad faith. Mike also has a strong history of representing his clients at the appellate level.


  • Jurist Doctor - 1982
  • University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law
  • Bachelor of Arts, - Political Science - 1977
  • University of California at Berkeley

Professional Activities

  • American Bar Association
  • California Bar Association
  • Los Angeles County Bar Association
  • Association of Southern California Defense Counsel
  • Fellow, Litigation Counsel


  • Admitted to the California Bar
  • Admitted to the Supreme Court of the United States of America
  • Admitted to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, as well as the District
  • Courts for the Northern, Eastern, Central and Southern Districts of California.

Personal Background

Mike is married to Sherry, an executive with The Cheesecake Factory. They have 2 teenage children. Their son, Michael John (MoJo), attends Crespi High School where he plays football and baseball. Josephine (Josie) will attend Agoura High School.

Notable Cases/Published Decisions

  • Tried, in state and federal courts, 17 jury trials as either first or second chair and 10 court trials as either first or second chair. Handled over 35 arbitrations as first chair, some lasting up to 10 days.
  • Obtained summary judgment on behalf of insurance carrier clients in both state and federal courts in cases involving fraud, agency malpractice, failure to defend or indemnify and various liability and property issues.
  • Malibu, Laguna Beach, San Bernardino and San Diego Fires: assisted in the resolution of numerous claims and represented carrier clients in lawsuits arising out of the Malibu, Laguna Beach, San Bernardino and San Diego Fires, including claims of insurance agent malpractice for underinsuring properties.
  • Sierra Madre, Landers/Big Bear and Northridge Earthquakes: worked as coverage counsel for major insurance carriers in the evaluation and resolution of numerous claims and represented carrier clients in actions arising from these Earthquakes. Coverage counsel for the First Excess Carriers for the Warner Brothers Northridge Earthquake claim.
  • Rosen v. State Farm (2003) 30 Cal.4th 1070
  • Kazi v. State Farm (2000) 24 Cal.4th 871
  • Waller v. Trucker Ins. Exchange (1995) 11 Cal.4th 1 (Amicus)
  • Orr v. Byers (1988) 198 Cal.App.3d 666
  • Smith v. Superior Court (1990) 217 Cal.App.3d 950
  • State Farm v. Superior Court (1996) 45 Cal.App.4th 1093
  • Everett v. State Farm (2008) 162 CalApp.4th 649
  • Washington Mutual v. State Farm (2009) 180 Cal.App.4th 639
  • Shanahan v. State Farm (2011) 193 CalApp.4th 780
  • Doan v. State Farm (2011) 195 Cal.App.4th 1082
  • Hodjat v. State Farm (2012) 211 Cal.App.4th 1
  • Reichert v. State Farm (2012) 212 Cal.App.4th 1543
  • Adams v. MHC Colony Park (2013) 221 Cal.App.4th 1093
  • Case v. State Farm (2018) 30 Cal.App.5th 397

Plubications/Speaking Engagements

  • Co-Author, “Business Interpretation and Indirect Loss,” Insuring Real Property. Matthew Bender, 1989
  • Co-author, “Point/Counter Point: Do Dictionary Definitions Control Insurance Policy Interpretation?” California Litigation (2010)
  • “Catastrophe Update: Legal Issues and Practical Perspectives,” ABA Property Insurance Law Committee's Regional Meeting, 1997
  • “Bad Faith Litigation in California,” National Business Institute Seminar, 1998, 2000, and 2001
  • “Insurance Coverage Law in California,” National Business Institute Seminar, 2002 and 2003
  • California Conference of Arson Investigators, 2001, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
  • “Emerging Issues in California: Indoor Air Quality and Toxic Mold Litigation,” National Business Institute Seminar, 2002 and 2004
  • “The Mold Challenge in California,” National business Institute Seminar, 2003 and 2004
  • “Discovery in California Bad Faith Litigation,” National Business Institute Seminar, 2004
  • “Superior Deposition Strategies in California Civil Trial Practice,” National Business Institute Seminar, 2004
  • “Getting Your Evidence and Expert Testimony Admitted into Court in California,” National Business Institute Seminar, 2005
  • “Recognizing and Responding to Potentially Fraudulent Losses,” Property Loss Research Bureau/Liability Insurance Research Bureau, Regional Adjusters Conferences, 2005
  • “Insurance Bad Faith Claims in California,” Lorman Education Services Seminar, 2006
  • “Issues in Insurance Law,” Orange County Bar Association, 2008
  • “Advance Expert Witness Deposition Tactics,” National Business Institute Seminar, 2008
  • “What Civil Court Judges Want You to Know,” National Business Institute Seminar, 2008
  • “Hot Topics in Handling Settlement Demands a.k.a. Policy Limits Demands,” Association of Southern California Defense Counsel, 2013
  • “Everything You Don't Know About E-Discovery (But Wish You Did),” National Business Institute Seminar, 2014
  • “Litigating Insurance Issues And Bad Faith Claims In The Construction Industry,” The Seminar Group, 2016
  • “How to Get Your Social Media, Email and Text Evidence Admitted,” National Business Institute Seminar, 2017