Hill, Farrer & Burrill LLP


Michael K. Collins

Of Counsel

Hill, Farrer & Burrill LLP
One California Plaza
300 So. Grand Avenue, 37th Floor
Los Angeles, California 90071-3147

  • (213) 620-0460 - General
  • (213) 624-4840 - Fax

MICHAEL K. COLLINS has a broad business litigation practice with emphasis on matters involving real estate and business litigation, construction, professional liability defense, and insurance coverage.  He has practiced continuously in the Los Angeles area for over 40 years, during which time Mr. Collins has tried more than 150 civil cases to judgment or verdict and has resolved more than a thousand others by motion, settlement or other means before trial.  Mr. Collins has tried cases in the counties of Los Angeles, Ventura, San Bernardino, Orange, San Diego and Riverside (including dozens in Riverside, Palm Springs and Indio).  He has also arbitrated dozens of business, real estate, construction and professional liability disputes.  Mr. Collins’ professional liability practice is limited to the defense of attorneys and law firms. Otherwise, he represents both plaintiffs and defendants.  In addition to the areas of emphasis listed above, Mr. Collins has substantial experience in the areas of insurance bad faith, anti-SLAPP motions, golf course design and operation, patent infringement, unfair competition, CC&Rs disputes, mechanic’s lien law and everything related to the purchase, sale or development of real property.

Michael Collins also specializes in civil appeals and extraordinary writs.  He has briefed and argued more than 100 California and federal appeals and writ of mandate matters.  In addition to scores of unpublished opinions, Mr. Collins was sole or lead appellate counsel on cases resulting in 19 officially published appellate opinions, including five California Supreme Court decisions.

Mr. Collins received an A.B. degree in 1965 from Washington University in St. Louis and pursued a year of post-graduate study in chemistry.  He received his law degree in 1969 from the School of Law at Washington University in St. Louis where he was a member of Order of the Coif and Editor-in-Chief of the law review.  Mr. Collins was admitted to the California Bar in 1970 and is admitted to practice in all state and federal courts in California.  He is a long-time member of Wilshire Country Club and served as President in 2008-2009.

Writ of Mandate Petition in Supreme Court Determination

Handled writ of mandate petition that resulted in Supreme Court determination, as matter of first impression, that settlement agreements must be signed by the parties, not just by the lawyers, to be summarily enforceable under Code of Civil Procedure §664.6.

Residential Developer condominium HOA Fraud

Defended a large residential developer in an action by the condominium HOA and owners attacking the CC&Rs and alleging fraud in the sale of units and many claims for equitable relief.  Was sole attorney in the 10 week trial in Indio, which resulted in a judgment for the developer.

Pharmaceutical Sales and Taxes

Represented pharmaceutical manufacturer in successful trial to obtain refund of sales and use taxes from State of California, then briefed and argued appeal affirming the judgment based on new interpretation of statutory definition of “medicine”.

Law Firm in Malicious Prosecution on SLAPPback

Defended two well-known Southern California law firms against charges of malicious prosecution, obtaining dismissal of action based on successful SLAPPback motion and successfully defended the judgment on appeal, resulting in opinion confirming that the clients had probable cause to bring the underlying action.

Foreclosure Action Lapsed Claim

Persuaded the Court of Appeal to overrule a well established 15-year old precedent to find that that the voluntary release of a lapsed claim of mechanic’s lien does not preclude the claimant from filing a foreclosure action based on a new claim for the same work.

Contractor/Property Owner Contract Breach

Defended a general contractor in an arbitration against a property owner charging breach of contract, fraud, construction defects and bodily injury.  Defeated claims exceeding $4 million and limited contractor’s liability to $60,000.

Business Owner/Operator Class Action

Defended major golf course owner/operator sued in a certified class action by current and former home owners and country club members seeking damages of over $40 million for allegedly void transfer fees arising from easement provisions in recorded CC&Rs.  Was sole counsel for defendant at trial which resulted in judgment for defendant and was sole attorney for respondent on appeal which affirmed the judgment for the golf course owner.

Class Action Discovery New Laws

Handled trial court and appellate proceedings that made new law in the areas of class action discovery.

Defended Lawfirm with Anti-SLAPP Motion

In July, 2010, defended prominent Los Angeles law firm in action for legal malpractice, breach of fiduciary duty and conflict of interest.  Won an anti-SLAPP motion which resulted in dismissal of the case and received an attorney fee award against plaintiffs.

Bifurcated Divorce Exception

Established as a matter of first impression that precedent that permits “bifurcated divorce,” allowing dissolution of marriage before division of community property, as an exception to the one judgment rule.  Sole appellate counsel on appeal determining as matter of first impression that a plaintiff’s voluntary dismissal of an action for economic reasons does not constitute the favorable termination necessary to support a claim of malicious prosecution.