By Doug Chartier
LAW WEEK COLORADO
For the past 25 years of his nationwide practice, his role as national counsel for several big-name companies has had Mike O’Donnell going places. But the past year has been one for the books.
This summer, O’Donnell went to Florida to lead his team, and client Michelin, to a complete defense verdict against $80 million in claimed damages. He and the same team won a complete defense for Michelin in a similar product liability case 10 months prior, that time in Arizona and against a claim of $20 million in damages.
O’Donnell is the chairman of Denver-based trial defense firm Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell, and he’s been national counsel for such companies as General Electric, Pfizer and Fresenius. He was also hired this year as Michelin’s national resolution counsel in addition to its trial counsel.
He estimated that he’s spent a combined four months in trial this year, and he has spent most of 2016 on the road. This summer’s Dukes v. Michelin, for one, was a nine-week trial that had him and his team working 14-hour days during the week and eight- to 10-hour days on weekends.One of his most significant victories in 2016 came at home in Colorado, however. Auto-Owners Insurance v. Summit Park ended up becoming much more than just a series of favorable rulings for his insurer client.