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Michele C. Barnes

Fax +1.415.882.8220
For nearly twenty years, Michele Barnes has represented companies facing product liability and mass tort actions involving claims for personal injuries and economic losses. Ms. Barnes develops and coordinates legal strategies relating to depositions, motions, negotiations, and trials. She provides efficient management of common issues without sacrificing creativity in resolving them and has initiated defensive strategies which have challenged the status quo and have resulted in favorable outcomes for her clients.

As a member of the national trial team for the firm’s product liability practice group, Ms. Barnes has handled more than a dozen trials in Northern and Southern California, as well as in the state of Washington. She has experience in all phases of trial practice, including voir dire, opening statements and examination of witnesses, and she has argued numerous pre- and post-trial motions.

Ms. Barnes is a founding member of the San Francisco office’s Women in the Profession (WIP) group. She is actively involved in the training and mentoring of young lawyers.

Ms. Barnes frequently collaborates with lawyers in other K&L Gates offices, including Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, Pittsburgh and Seattle. Through her relationships within the firm, she is able to provide clients access to experience in connection with their construction, corporate, employment, financial services, intellectual property and real estate needs.

Professional/Civic Activities

  • American Bar Association
  • Bar Association of San Francisco
Ms. Barnes’ representative engagements, which she led or handled as a key member of the team, include:
  • Petitioned the Court of Appeals for a writ of mandate and successfully stayed enforcement of a discovery order which would have required the disclosure of privileged information.
  • Drafted successful summary judgment motion, which was ultimately affirmed as the first published opinion in California to maintain the limited scope of strict products liability and negligence for equipment manufacturer’s whose products were used with and around others’ defective products. See Taylor v. Elliot Turbomachinery Co. (2009) 171 Cal.App.4th 564.
  • Persuaded Superior Court during oral argument to reverse its tentative ruling on technical procedural and evidentiary grounds and obtained summary judgment.
  • Secured dismissal of wrongful death claims after eliciting admission from plaintiffs’ medical expert that there was no support for his causation opinions.
  • Deposed economic expert and successfully drafted and argued motion in limine to exclude $12.5 million of claimed economic loss.
  • Obtained dismissal of entire action during the plaintiff’s deposition after extracting an admission from the plaintiff that she had forged the exculpatory document.
  • Successfully removed state court claims to Federal Court based upon federal question jurisdiction.