Michael J. Cummins
Mr. Cummins, who is one of the original members of the firm, has been practicing for more than 20 years. His practice areas include property and marine insurance, maritime casualty, property damage and personal injury defense, subrogation (both landside and marine), commercial litigation, and contract negotiation and drafting, with an emphasis on transportation, construction, and maritime related transactions.
He has successfully prosecuted and defended numerous cases through trial and appeal. He assists insurers in recovery and coverage matters, including bad faith and fraud, and represents their insureds in claims involving vessel repairs, marina and port liability, storage, property damage and personal injuries. He also assists commercial clients and public entities in resolving disputes, including product liability and international business and maritime transactions. He also regularly advises and assists clients with negotiating and drafting contracts, including charter parties (voyage, time, and bare boat), towage, vessel purchase and repair, construction, and other landside issues.
His published case results include Motorola v. Federal Express, 308 F. 2d 995 (9th Cir. 2002), a case which involved two issues of first impression before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and Nissan Fire and Marine and Hitachi Data v. Bax Global, 2008 U.S.App. LEXIS 12624 (9th Cir. 2008), and unpublished results include American Guard Services, Inc., v. First Mercury Ins. Co., (9th Cir. 2018); wherein, the court, affirmed the lower court’s finding that no duty to defend or indemnify existed under the CGL policy. Mr. Cummins was also amicus counsel in 2019 before the United States Supreme Court in the case The Dutra Group v. Batterton, 139 S.Ct. 2275 (2019), in which the Court held that the preclusive effect of the Jones Act limits recoverable damages to compensatory damages, and thus bars recovery of punitive damages.
Mr. Cummins was also recognized by Best Lawyers® as one of the top attorneys in Northern California. He has also spoken before many organizations, including the San Francisco Marine Claims Association, Marine Insurance Association of Seattle, Association of Marine Underwriters of San Francisco, and the Inland Marine Underwriters Association. His more recent presentations included the following topics: “The Unsettled Work of Broker Liability” (IMUA, 2018); “Federal Preemption: Claims Against Ocean and Inland Intermediaries” (Pacific Admiralty Seminar, 2017); “Navigating Insurance Claims Flowing From the Hanjin Bankruptcy” (AMUSF, 2017) and “War Risk Insurance” (MIAS Day of Education, 2017).
California State Bar
U.S. Supreme Court Bar
Association of Marine Underwriters of San Francisco
Maritime Law Association of the United States
Mr. Cummins graduated from University of California Hastings College of Law in 1996. While at Hastings, in addition to being a member of the Hastings Law Journal, he clerked for the Honorable Carlos Bea, who is now a Circuit Judge for the United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit. Prior to Hastings, Mr. Cummins obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance (summa cum laude) from Golden Gate University in 1985.