About Mike

Mike Brown is a partner in the firm’s Litigation group. Mike has practiced in the Lake Tahoe area for over 25 years, and his practice encompasses the full range of complex environmental, commercial, construction and real estate litigation. Mike’s litigation experience includes the representation of groundwater management agencies, agribusiness companies, large housing companies, real estate investment trusts, developers, contractors and businesses in real estate and administrative law matters, and in real property and business litigation in state and federal courts. This includes the litigation of claims for breach of contract, fraud, nuisance and trespass, diversion of surface water, partition of real property, inverse condemnation, products liability, misappropriation of trade secrets, violations of the Sherman Act and Cartwright Act, and unfair competition.

Mike’s recent courtroom successes include a multimillion-dollar settlement on the second day of trial in October 2017 of a real estate dispute on behalf of a large international developer/homebuilder in an action filed in Placer County. In 2018, Mike successfully defended a cotton merchant client in an international arbitration against a $300 million claim under the Sherman Act and obtained an award of over $3 million in attorneys’ fees and costs. This case was recognized as one of the top verdicts in 2018 by the California Daily Journal.

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  • Current litigation counsel to groundwater management agency in multiple court actions involving groundwater adjudications and claims to invalidate a groundwater sustainability plan.
  • Obtained favorable settlement in 2020 for international agribusiness company in dispute over rights to use of geothermal resource in Nevada.
  • Obtained arbitration award in favor of cotton merchant client in the defense of a $300 million antitrust claim and obtained an award of over $3 million in attorneys’ fees and costs.
  • In October 2017, obtained a multimillion-dollar settlement on the second day of trial from Defendants on behalf of large international developer/homebuilder in a real estate development dispute.
  • Aspen Grove Condo. Ass’n v. CNL Income Northstar LLC (2014) 231 Cal.App.4th 53. Co-lead trial counsel for a 180-unit condominium development following a 14-day bench trial in 2012, obtained an interlocutory judgment for a mandatory injunction against the upslope developers and successor property owners (Northstar Village) for their poor design and unreasonable development practices caused by the diversion of stormwater at the Northstar Village Resort to an infiltration basin during the $200 million expansion in 2004. Representation also included the successful defense of the appeal in a published decision of the interlocutory judgment in October 2014, and the subsequent litigation and guidance to the client through the continuing damage investigation, recommendations for repair and remediation, and representation in the damage phase of the nuisance/trespass and water diversion litigation through successful high seven-figure settlement for client.
  • In 2014, successfully represented hotel developer in contractual dispute with property owner during due diligence period, which allowed development to proceed.
  • In 2014, successfully represented small shopping center owner in resolution of contractual dispute with tenant.
  • In 2014, represented large utility company in quiet title and easement dispute with property owners.
  • In 2011, secured a bench trial judgment in favor of water company in dispute with homeowners’ association concerning scope of easement to develop facilities at Lake Tahoe. Representation also included advising company on issues concerning the regulations of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (“TRPA”).
  • In 2010, secured a complete defense and affirmative award on cross-complaint for developer of condominium project in a contractual and mechanic’s lien dispute with contractor following multiday binding arbitration.
  • Representation of developers, contractors and real estate firms in land use and construction defect litigation, which in 2010 involved obtaining a $5 million settlement prior to trial for a large housing company client.
  • Representation of large national electrical product distributor in $6 million product liability action in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California.
  • Representation of property owners in complex partition actions. See LEG Investments v. Boxler (2011) 183 Cal. App. 4th 484.
  • Representation of property owners in defending enforcement actions with regulatory agencies including the TRPA.
  • Representation of large publicly traded real estate investment trusts in real estate and commercial litigation in Nevada.
  • Representation of businesses and owners of residential real property in general real estate matters and disputes with local, state, and federal regulatory agencies.
  • Representation of landlords and tenants in commercial lease disputes in California and Nevada.
  • Representation of distributor of telecommunications products in the successful resolution of claims for violation of the Lanham Act in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California.
  • Representation of payment technology company in a trade secret misappropriation lawsuit, obtained a dismissal of the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of Nevada.
  • Representation of Intrawest, a resort developer, in numerous real estate and commercial matters in California and Nevada.
  • Successfully litigated, arbitrated, and mediated a large number of disputes, including construction defect claims, real estate and homeowners’ association matters, and insurance coverage disputes.
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Honors & Activities

Professional Honors & Activities

  • Named by Best Lawyers® as Litigation—Land Use and Zoning Law “Lawyer of the Year,” Sacramento, 2014
  • Included in The Best Lawyers in America® (Litigation—Land Use and Zoning), 2006–2023
  • Recipient, Stoel Rives LLP Andrew Guy Pro Bono Award, 2018
  • Past President, Tahoe Truckee Bar Association
  • Member, American Bar Association
  • Member, California Bar Association
  • Member, Nevada County and Placer County Bar Associations

Civic Activities

  • Board member, Truckee-Donner Chamber of Commerce, 1999–2005
  • Board member, Contractor’s Association of Truckee-Tahoe Community Project, 2006–present
  • Member and former Board member, The Rotary Club of Truckee, 2012–present
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