Michael W. McLeod is AV (Preeminent) rated by Martindale Hubbell and is a member of McLeod Brock, who practices in the areas of Admiralty and Maritime; Personal Injury; Property, Casualty, Product Liability, Warranty and Insurance Coverage; Commercial Litigation & Banking; and Alternative Dispute Resolution. Mr. McLeod also addresses his clients’ transactional needs and employment and wage issues. Mr. McLeod routinely handles disputes and acts as an arbitrator throughout the United States appearing pro hac vice in states other than Florida, California and New York where he is admitted to the bar.
Admiralty & Maritime
Throughout his career, Mr. McLeod has helped clients to resolve disputes in nearly every area of Admiralty & Maritime Law. Mr. McLeod has also been an active speaker and leader in the maritime bar across the United States. Mr. McLeod is a past Chair of the Florida Bar Admiralty & Maritime Law Committee, is a past Vice Chair of the Florida Bar Admiralty Law Certification Committee; is a past Chair and was a former Commissioner appointed to the California Bar Admiralty & Maritime Law Specialization Committee, is a Proctor member of the Maritime Law Association of the United States, is a former South Florida Port Director for the Southeastern Admiralty & Maritime Law Institute, and is a past Chair of the Federal Bar Association Admiralty & Maritime Law Section. Mr. McLeod was certified as a specialist in Admiralty & Maritime law by the Florida Bar in June, 2000. Mr. McLeod has also earned the designation of Certified Specialist in Admiralty & Maritime Law by the California Bar making him the one of the few attorneys to be certified as a specialist in Admiralty & Maritime Law by two state bar associations. Mr. McLeod is a member of the Florida Bar Admiralty Law Committee, the Florida Bar Admiralty Law Certification Committee, the Federal Bar Association Admiralty Law Section, and the American Bar Association Admiralty and Maritime Law Committee.
Mr. McLeod graduated from the University of Florida in 1989, received his J.D. from Pepperdine University School of Law in 1991, and earned his Master of Laws (LL.M) degree in Admiralty & Maritime Law from Tulane University School of Law in 1993. For over 25 years, Mr. McLeod has successfully handled initial casualty response, investigation, recovery, mediation, litigation and trial of Passenger personal injury claims, Product Liability claims, Jones Act personal injury claims, Seaworthiness claims, Maintenance & Cure claims, Collision, Fire, Grounding & Sinking claims; Marina, Custodian and Ship Repairer Liability claims; Salvage claims, Environmental Damage claims, Charter Party Disputes, Cargo claims, Insurance disputes, Wage and Employment disputes, Ship Owner claims for Exoneration from and/or Limitation of Liability, and the foreclosure of Maritime Liens and Ship Mortgages representing individuals and corporations, insurers, ship owners, financial institutions, vessel manufacturers, and marinas in cases arising on and offshore from California to New York to the Florida Keys, the Bahamas and into South America and the United States Virgin Islands. Mr. McLeod also acts as a maritime arbitrator.
Mr. McLeod is a co-author of the Limitation of Liability Chapter of the Florida Maritime Law and Practice Manual published by the Florida Bar and LexisNexis.
Mr. McLeod addresses the transactional needs of his clients related to the purchase, sale, charter, construction, repair and/or crew management of vessels including pre-purchase inspection and survey; review of proposed terms and conditions, analysis of liability, and tax implications regarding vessel purchase, sale and brokerage agreements; new vessel construction or renovation agreements; financing and escrow concerns; charter, lease, and rental agreements; broker representation, registration and regulatory compliance, vessel ownership structure, crew employment agreements, vessel ownership succession plans and overall vessel management.
Property, Casualty, Product Liability, Warranty and Insurance Coverage
Throughout his career, Mr. McLeod has handled land based and marine complex casualty, product liability, warranty, construction, purchase and sale, rejection and revocation, and insurance coverage disputes arising from defective vessels/component parts, significant property damage and/or personal injury. Exemplary cases include successfully representing a mega-yacht owner against an international exhaust system manufacturer on theories of Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices, Breach of Warranty, and Misrepresentation recovering 100% of the damages sustained plus attorney fees and expenses; representing a leading national insurer faced with $100,000,000.00 in personal injury and property damage exposure arising from the largest propane explosion in West Virginia history; and successfully representing the insurance and nutraceutical industry in matters arising from the spontaneous ignition of chemical cargo across the United States resulting in the largest single subrogation recovery in the client’s history. Mr. McLeod carries an active caseload of marine and land based commercial claims arising from product failures and involving litigation for breach of contract, and related theories under the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act, the Florida Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act, and the Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing. In a significant number of cases, Mr. McLeod has been able to avoid litigation representing vessel purchasers, dealers and/or manufacturers to resolve and work through claims seeking the rejection, revocation and/or rescission of purchase and sale contracts via confidential settlement agreements.
Commercial Litigation and Banking
Since 2003, Mr. McLeod has enjoyed a commercial litigation practice involving marine and non-marine disputes ranging from small breach of contract actions to multi-million dollar disputes over the international provision of goods and services, breaches of yacht and aircraft sales contracts, wage disputes, etc. across the United States.
Mr. McLeod’s banking litigation practice includes offensive and defensive financial institution litigation, including the enforcement of financial instruments, mortgages and guarantees secured by vessels, real and personal property; the negotiation of lending transactions as well as the restructuring of defaulted loans, loan modifications and forbearance transactions. Mr. McLeod works closely with forensic accountants to bring cost effective results often prior to judgment. Mr. McLeod has a network of custodians and investigative personnel that can assist in seizing a vessel nearly anywhere in the world. Recent high exposure cases include successfully defending national banking interests from multiple lender liability actions claiming over $100,000,000.00 in damages resulting in the dismissal of the claims, and a $25,000,000.00 and a $19,000,000.00 guaranty recovery from the Claimants which was paid to the financial institutions and participating lenders.
Alternate Dispute Resolution
Mr. McLeod holds a Certificate in Alternate Dispute Resolution from the Pepperdine University Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution which is frequently rated the leading institute for dispute resolution in the nation. Mr. McLeod also acts as an arbitrator in maritime and non-maritime cases. In a number of instances, Mr. McLeod has been retained to facilitate resolution in cases where he is not a party representative to bring the parties to closure avoiding and/or ending costly litigation.
Mr. McLeod resides in Lighthouse Point, Florida, where he sits on the Lighthouse Point Marine Advisory Board. Mr. McLeod has enjoyed coaching youth sports in South Florida for years and is a Parishioner and a Certified Catechist of St. Coleman’s Catholic Church in Pompano Beach, Florida where his three daughters attend daycare, sixth and eighth grades.
Bar and Court Admissions
California Bar, 1992; Florida Bar, 1992; New York Bar, 2001; Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal, 1992; Northern, Central, Eastern and Southern Districts of California, 1992; Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeal, 1993; Northern, Middle and Southern Districts of Florida, 1993; United States Supreme Court, 2003; Eastern District of Michigan, 2020.
Ad Hoc Committee On Rules and Procedures, United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida (Appointed by the Honorable Chief Judge William J. Zloch, May, 2002); the Federal Bar Association (former Chair & Vice Chair, Admiralty & Maritime Law Section); the Maritime Law Association of the United States (Proctor, Committee on Practice & Procedure and Marine Finance Committee); the Southeastern Maritime Law Institute (former South Florida Port Director and current member); Florida Bar Admiralty Law Committee (former Chair & Vice Chair, and current member); Florida Bar Admiralty Law Certification Committee (former Vice Chair and current member); California Bar Admiralty & Maritime Law Specialization Committee (former Chair and Vice Chair); the American Bar Association Admiralty and Maritime Law Committee; the New York State Bar Association; Claims Litigation Management Alliance (CLM); California Lawyers Association (Litigation Section); Lawyers of Distinction; National Association of Subrogation Professionals; National Institute For Trial Advocacy; Lighthouse Point, Florida Marine Advisory Board; Miami Catholic Lawyers Guild.
150 East Palmetto Park Road, Suite 800, Boca Raton, Florida 33432
South Florida Office: (561) 465-7517
Facsimile: (561) 516-6188
Email – [email protected]