Michelle Thurber Czapski serves as chair of the Insurance Practice Group and has over twenty years of experience representing major corporate clients in litigation and alternative dispute resolution proceedings, including class actions.
She has successfully represented insurance and financial service companies, automotive and other product manufacturers, Tier-1 automotive suppliers, telecommunications companies, and pharmaceutical companies in matters involving product liability claims, consumer protection act claims, insurance and ERISA disputes, contract matters, and a broad range of other commercial and business disputes.
Ms. Czapski serves as lead trial counsel and regional counsel for AIG/American General and its family of financial services companies with responsibility for insurance and related litigation throughout the Midwest. She is a case evaluator for the Oakland County and Wayne County (Michigan) circuit courts and a commercial litigation panelist.
Crain's Detroit Business honored Ms. Czapski as one of Southeast Michigan's "Notable Women Lawyers" in 2017. Michigan Super Lawyers 2019 lists her as one of the Top 50 Women Attorneys in Michigan. She is also listed in Michigan Super Lawyers 2009-2019 under Business Litigation, Class Action/Mass Torts, and Insurance Coverage, is listed in DBusiness Top Lawyers 2020 under Insurance Law and Litigation-Insurance, and is listed in Benchmark Litigation 2020 as a Local Litigation Star. She is AV® Preeminent Peer Rated by Martindale-Hubbell.
Honors, Awards, and Recognition
- Crain's Detroit Business "Notable Women Lawyers in Michigan," 2017
- DBusiness Magazine "Top Lawyers" 2013, 2014, 2016, 2018-2020, Insurance Law and Litigation-Insurance
- Michigan Super Lawyers 2019, Top 50 Women
- Michigan Super Lawyers 2009-2019, Business Litigation, Class Action/Mass Torts, and Insurance Coverage
- Benchmark Litigation 2020, Local Litigation Star
- Martindale-Hubbell® AV Preeminent® Peer Rated for Highest Level of Professional Excellence; Endorsed for High Ethical Standing
- State Bar of Michigan
- Member, Litigation Section Council
- American Inns of Court
- Detroit Bar Association Chapter, Master of the Bench
- National Foundation for Judicial Excellence
- Member, Board of Directors
- Defense Research Institute
- Life, Health, Disability and ERISA Committee Marketing Chair
- Commercial Litigation Committee Immediate Past Chair
- Automotive Litigation SLG, Insurance Committee
- "From the Chair" (final column as chair of the DRI Commercial Litigation Committee), The Business Suit, December 5, 2019
- "Mentoring'" The Business Suit, November 2013
- "Who Pressed 'Enter' Anyway? Enforcing Contracts in an Electronic World," For the Defense, October 2012, Vol. 54, No. 10
- ABA ERISA Survey of Federal Circuits, 2012 edition, author of chapter on the Sixth Circuit
- "The Sometimes Rocky Relationship Between 'Lead' and 'Local' Counsel: How to Make it Work," The Business Suit (DRI Commercial Litigation Committee Newsletter), February/March 2009
- Insurance Law Settlements and Negotiations, Aspatore Books, author of chapter entitled, "Helping The Client Make Smart Decisions," 2008
- Introducing Evidence at Trial, (ICLE), contributing author of chapters on Spoliation of Evidence, Entire Statement, and Compilations and Summaries, 2007
- Presenter, “Disability Insurance Basics,” DRI Boot Camp for New Life, Health and Disability Lawyers, November 2013
- Presenter, "Deposition Techniques: The Purpose and Plan for Every Deposition," and faculty member, ICLE Deposition Skills Workshop, June 9 – 11, 2013
- Presenter, "The Purpose and Plan of Every Deposition: Making Your Deposition Work for You," ICLE Deposition Skills Workshop, June 2013
- Presenter, "Managing Mental/Nervous Disability Claims-Current Trends," DRI Life, Health, Disability and ERISA Seminar, April 2013
- "Class Actions: Issues and Ethics in the Use of Offshore Vendors for Document Review," Presentation and Manuscript, DRI Annual Meeting, October 2011
- Presenter, "Conducting Effective Jury Voir Dire," MDTC Annual Meeting, May 2011
- "Beneficiary Jeopardy: Understanding the Answers to Conflicting and Bizarre Beneficiary Issues," Presentation and Manuscript, DRI Life, Health, Disability and ERISA Claims Seminar, April 2010
- Panelist, Arbitration Advocate, ICLE Advanced Negotiation and Dispute Resolution Workshop, March 2010
Ms. Czapski's recent matters include:
- Lead counsel representing a charitable foundation against securities fraud and conspiracy claims pending in Jefferson County, Colorado.
- Won summary judgement and subsequent appeal to the Michigan Court of Appeals on behalf of a global insurance company in a case challenging the company's electronic transaction processes.
- Lead counsel representing appliance manufacturer in purported class action alleging defect in 44 million microwave ovens nationwide.
- Won a defense verdict in a jury trial in an action claiming negligence, breach of warranty, and breach of contract for injuries sustained on the lift gate of a leased delivery truck.
- Obtained a defense jury verdict in a product liability case against an automotive company, involving claimed defects in a wheel/axle assembly on a light duty truck. The jury specifically found that no defect existed.
- Obtained judgment in favor of insurer of ERISA plan, affirming denial of long term disability benefits and obtained a rare award of overpaid benefits in favor of the insurer.
- Won reversal of summary judgment before the Michigan Court of Appeals based on a finding of no duty of care on the part of a financial institution for the benefit of the relative of its customer and owner of collateral.
- Represented major pharmaceutical company before Congress and Executive Branch in effort to obtain fair treatment in matter before the Food and Drug Administration.
- Obtained summary judgment on behalf of a Tier 1 automotive supplier in a lawsuit brought by a supplier of metal fabricated parts claiming the breach of a multi-million dollar oral requirements contract.
- Obtained summary judgment prior to consideration of class certification in a putative class action against a telecommunications company challenging the way calling zones are configured for billing purposes.
- Obtained summary judgment for a Tier 1 automotive supplier in an opinion that clarified the application of the U.C.C. to commercial transactions made with requirements purchase orders.
Successfully defended automotive supplier and sole shareholder in a “bet the business” lawsuit alleging fraudulent trade practices and veil-piercing claims for the sale of a plastics company.
- Successfully represented telecommunications company in an action alleging antitrust violations, breach of contract, and business torts brought by an internet service provider claiming the right to be the exclusive provider of internet services in Mid-Michigan.
- Prevailed on a motion to defeat class certification in a purported class action brought in Wayne County Circuit Court against a telecommunications company alleging improper billing practices for the use of voicemail.
- 12/10/2019ARTICLE | Czapski Takes a Bow as Term as DRI Commercial Litigation Committee Chair Draws to a Close
- 11/01/201970 Bodman Attorneys Included in DBusiness Top Lawyers 2020
- 10/24/2019Bodman "Highly Recommended" in Benchmark Litigation 2020
- 09/06/2019Four Bodman Attorneys Named to Michigan Super Lawyers "Top 50 Women" List
- 09/03/201949 Bodman Attorneys Listed in Michigan Super Lawyers 2019
- University of Michigan Law School, J.D., cum laude
- University of Michigan, B.A., with high distinction
- Defense Research Institute
- American Inns of Court (AIC)
- State Bar of Michigan