Michael Forte practices in the areas of retail and hospitality, government and product liability. He also has significant experience litigating construction defect cases, casualty cases and health care matters.
Michael's retail and hospitality clients include national retailers and property management companies. He and his team were recognized in 2012 as Sears Holdings Corporation's "Go-To Firm for Litigation" in a survey conducted by American Lawyer and Corporate Counsel magazines. He has first-chaired trials in Hillsborough, Palm Beach, Pinellas and Polk Counties.
On many occasions, Michael has prevailed on summary judgment, obviating the need for a trial. One such case was Hall v. Sunjoy Industries Group, Inc., 764 F. Supp. 2d 1297 (M.D. Fla. 2011), which involved injuries from an allegedly defective product displayed within a retail store. The Hall opinion has been cited by more than 70 other courts and mentioned in more than 20 secondary sources.
Michael has defended law enforcement officers in both federal and state courts in cases involving 42 U.S.C. Section 1983 allegations and state law claims. In Henry v. Livingston, 2014 WL 5823229 (M.D. Fla. 2014), Michael defended two police officers in an issue of first impression within the Eleventh Circuit, which is whether the doctrine espoused in Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994) applies to minor plaintiffs. The court agreed with Michael that the Heck doctrine applies to minors, and went on to dismiss the false arrest claims against the officers on that basis. Michael has lectured on this and other law enforcement issues, and his articles have been published in Florida Police Chief magazine.
In his construction law practice, Michael represents contractors and subcontractors sued for commercial and residential construction projects. He has defended against claims of alleged construction defects, as well as related mold claims resulting from water intrusion.
His product liability work includes the defense of automobile and aviation manufacturers, as well as the defense of automobile and boat manufacturers in breach of warranty matters. In his health care matters, he has assisted managed care providers in disputes with physician practice groups. Some of his written work appears in national publications such as the National Law Journal.