For more than 30 years, Michael L. Kirby has been involved in civil litigation, trying more than 50 jury trials throughout his career and obtaining total recoveries valued in excess of $275 million as lead counsel.  His expertise is extensive and covers a variety of practice areas that involve business, partnerships, real estate and investor disputes. He has received multiple Outstanding Trial Lawyer awards from Consumer Attorneys of San Diego (CASD).

A founding partner at KIRBY & KIRBY LLP (and formerly a founding partner of Post Kirby Noonan & Sweat), Kirby is recognized as one of the most well-respected trial lawyers in San Diego County.

Kirby is listed in Best Lawyers® – the leading rating of U.S. lawyers – for Bet The Company Litigation (San Diego Lawyer of the Year 2015) and Commercial Litigation for multiple years.

Since 1994, Kirby has been a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) – a national organization of civil trial attorneys – and has served on its national board of directors. He is a master in the American Inns of Court – William B. Enright Chapter.  Kirby was also named one of the top attorneys in California – five years in a row – by California Super Lawyers magazine, an honor given to only five percent of attorneys in the state.

He was a founder of the Association of Business Trial Lawyers of San Diego, served four years as a Southern District of California Lawyer Representative to the Ninth Circuit and is the president of the San Diego chapter of the International Network of Boutique Law Firms.

In his spare time, Kirby enjoys golfing and traveling with his wife, fly fishing and playing with his grandchildren.

Education

  • University of Iowa, J.D., 1970
  • University of Iowa, B.A., 1967

Professional Memberships and Activities

  • American Board of Trial Advocates
  • State Bar of California, Litigation Section
  • American Bar Association, Litigation Section, Securities Litigation Committee
  • The Association of Trial Lawyers of America
  • California Trial Lawyers Association
  • San Diego Trial Lawyers Association
  • Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America

Litigation Practice Area

  • Commercial Litigation
  • Securities Litigation
  • Class Actions
  • Business Torts

 

Notable Case Achievements

  • Defamation: Trial

Represented a physician sued for defamation, seeking $3 million in damages. The physician countersued for defamation. In a trial in September/October 2014, all of the plaintiff’s claims were defeated, and Kirby obtained a verdict $250,000 in compensatory damages and $2.5 million in punitive damages for his client

  • Real Estate: Judgment

Obtained judgment for defendants after trial in 2014 in San Diego Superior Court, defeating plaintiffs’ claims for $13 million

  • Real Property: Litigation/Settlement

Successfully handled litigation that cleared a major easement and made possible the development and construction of the new regional FBI center in San Diego, which opened in 2013

  • Contract Dispute: Arbitration

Served as the lead attorney representing a Liquidating Trust for the Benefit of Creditors created by the Bankruptcy Court in San Diego to pursue claims by a major distributor who was terminated by a national direct broadcast satellite entertainment company. After a hotly contested eight-day arbitration before the American Arbitration Association, the Arbitration Panel issued an award in favor of the Liquidating Trust of more than $9.5 million. That award was confirmed by the Court of Appeal in October 2014

  • Investor Claims: Trial

Obtained more than $15 million against a developer, $1.1 million in compensatory damages and $5.7 million in punitive damages against a title/escrow company in a four-month jury trial involving a scheme to defraud elderly investors – some of whom lost their life savings. The trial focused on plaintiff’s theories of fraud, aiding and abetting, and conspiracy against the financial planner/developer and a national title/escrow company. Kirby received the San Diego Consumer Attorneys’ Outstanding Trial Lawyer Award for this case

  • Securities: Settlement

Obtained a settlement of $91 million for class action plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed against a national securities brokerage firm in a case that began in San Diego Federal Court, and was later transferred to the U.S. District Court of New Jersey. All investors, many of whom were elderly or retired, recovered their losses in full

  • Trade Secrets: Trial

Obtained a defense verdict for a national securities broker dealer in a seven-week jury trial in San Diego Superior Court, defeating all damage claims for more than $30 million

  • Contract Dispute: Dismissal

Obtained dismissal of action in 2012 by former bank CEO seeking $20 million in compensation allegedly due

  • Franchise: Trial

Represented the plaintiff, a terminated franchisee, in an action in San Diego Superior Court, which resulted in a jury verdict of $7.6 million, including $6 million in punitive damages. Kirby received the Outstanding Trial Lawyer Award for his work in this case

  • Contract Dispute: Arbitration

Recovered $500,000 for his client, a California company, in an arbitration proceeding in Tampa, Florida, and also defeated all of the plaintiff’s claims of more than $6 million against his client

  • Maritime Law: Trial

Represented a tuna boat captain against a helicopter manufacturer, which resulted in a jury verdict in excess of $3 million for his client

  • Business Tort: Summary Judgment

Obtained a summary judgment in favor of his clients, a Michigan bank and its directors, in a business tort case involving alleged damage claims of $30 million in Arizona Superior Court

 

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For almost 20 years, Jason Michael Kirby has represented hundreds of clients in litigation cases throughout Southern California.  Kirby's primary practice areas are business and real estate litigation, but he has handled almost every form of civil litigation case at some point during his career.    

Kirby is a plaintiff's lawyer and a defense lawyer.  He has tried cases as each.  He is  convinced that doing both plaintiff's work and defense work gives him a better perspective on the evidence and strategy in every case.      

As lead trial counsel in a 2018 jury trial, Kirby obtained a $2.1 million jury verdict in a sexual abuse case against a teacher and the San Diego Unified School District.  As lead counsel in a 2017 arbitration, Kirby successfully defended claims made by an unlicensed broker-dealer that was trying to collect a deal fee on a multi-million dollar stock sale of a well-known, local pet food company.  In so doing, he also obtained a Judgment against the unlicensed broker-dealer for over $1 million comprising damages on a cross-complaint, attorney's fees, costs, and interest.  

Kirby is rated AV Preeminent® by Martindale-Hubbel®, which reflects the highest level of professional excellence.  His rating is measured by both those lawyers in San Diego that have worked with him on cases and by those lawyers that were on the other side of his cases.  His rating and lawyer feedback about him is publicly available at www.martindale.com.  For the past 6 years, Kirby has been listed as one of the Top Lawyers for Business Litigation by San Diego Magazine.

While in law school, Kirby served as a full-time law clerk at the San Diego Superior Court for the Honorable J. Richard Haden (Ret.), an independent calendar judge assigned to more than 500 civil cases.  In 2001, Kirby started his career at Post, Kirby, Noonan & Sweat, one of then top litigation firms in San Diego.  In 2007, Kirby was admitted as a partner to Kirby, Noonan, Lance & Hoge.  Kirby remained a partner until July 1, 2016.  He and his father then started their own firm, KIRBY & KIRBY LLP.  

Kirby lives in Point Loma with his wife, Jill, and daughter, Chloe.  Kirby enjoys skiing, playing music, and being at home with his family. 

Education

  • California Western School of Law, Juris Doctor (2001)
  • University of Arizona, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (1995)

Professional Memberships and Activities

  • San Diego County Bar Association
  • American Inns of Court
  • Association of Business Trial Lawyers
  • Consumer Attorneys 

 

Notable Case Achievements

 

TRIAL EXPERIENCE 

Year:                  2018

Case Title:           Doe v. San Diego Unified School District, et al.

Venue:                San Diego Superior Court, Case No. 37-2016-00016326

Judge:                Hon. Frederick L. Link

Client:                 Plaintiff

Experience:         Lead trial counsel

Type of case:      Negligent supervision

Result:                $2.1 million jury verdict for Plaintiff

 

Year:                  2018

Case Title:           Step Strategy Advisors v. Solid Gold Health Products for Pets, Inc., et al.

Venue:                American Arbitration Association (San Diego), Case No. 01-16-0005-7036

Client:                 Defendants/Cross-Complainants

Experience:          Lead trial counsel

Type of case:       Breach of contract/fraud

Result:                $1,160,077.83 awarded to Defendants/Cross-Complainants and defeated Plaintiff’s damage claim of more than $6 million

 

Year:                  2017

Case Title:           Doe v. School District

Venue:                San Diego Superior Court, Case No. 37-2015-000XXXXX

Judge:                 Honorable Joan M. Lewis

Client:                  Plaintiff

Experience:          Lead trial counsel

Type of case:       Negligent supervision

Result:                Confidential

 

Year:                  2014

Case Title:           Milliner, DDS, MS v. Signorino, DDS, MSD

Venue:                Judicate West (San Diego), Case No. A1880007-27

Client:                 Plaintiff

Experience:          Lead trial counsel

Type of case:       Fraud in the inducement of purchase agreement/rescission

Result:                $121,677.14 and rescission of purchase agreement to Plaintiff

 

Year:                  2011

Case Title:           Andreasson v. Safety Syringes, Inc.

Venue:                JAMS (San Diego), Case No. 1240019451

Client:                 Plaintiff

Experience:          Co-counsel at arbitration

Type of case:       Wrongful termination

Result:                $570,434.81 awarded to Plaintiff

 

Year:                  2010

Case Title:           La Chance v. The Purpose Rose Mexican Restaurant

Venue:                Mendocino Superior Court, Case No. SCTMCVG 08-52664

Judge:                 Honorable John A. Behnke

Client:                  Plaintiff

Experience:          Lead trial counsel

Type of case:       Personal Injury/Trip and fall

Result:                Jury verdict for Defendant

 

Year:                  2010

Case Title:           Mechling v. Global One Group, LLC

Venue:                San Diego Superior Court, Case No. 37-2009-0082565

Judge:                 Honorable Charles R. Hayes

Client:                  Plaintiff

Experience:          Lead trial counsel

Type of case:       Breach of fiduciary duty/fraud/elder abuse

Result:                $2,301,016 jury verdict for Plaintiff

 

Year:                  2009

Case Title:           Ascent-Biltmore Carlsbad, LLC v. 24 Hour Fitness USA, Inc.

Venue:                San Diego Superior Court, Case No. 37-2008-00080454

Judge:                Hon. Raymond F. Zvetina (Ret.) – Judicial Reference

Client:                 Plaintiff

Experience:         Co-counsel at arbitration

Type of case:       Breach of contract

Result:                $579,413.50 awarded to Plaintiff

 

Year:                  2008

Case Title:           Desaro v. San Diego Gas & Electric, et al.

Venue:                San Diego Superior Court, Case No. GIE 032689

Judge:                 Honorable Laura W. Halgren

Client:                 Defendant

Experience:          Co-counsel at trial

Type of case:        Defense of wrongful death and personal injuries to multiple plaintiffs

Result:                 Jury verdict for Defendant  

 

Year:                   2006

Case Title:           Woolcott v. Kohlenberg

Venue:                 San Diego Superior Court, Case No. GIC830301

Judge:                  Honorable Linda Quinn

Client:                  Defendant/Cross-Complainant

Experience:          Co-counsel at trial

Type of case:        Breach of contract

Result:                 Jury verdict for Defendant/Cross-Complainant

 

Year:                    2005

Case Title:            Conservatorship of the Person of Mary H.

Venue:                 San Diego Superior Court, Case. No. D044680

Judge:                  Honorable Kenneth K. So

Client:                  Plaintiff

Position:               Lead trial counsel

Type of case:        Represented County in conservatorship proceeding

Result:                 Jury verdict for Plaintiff

 

Year:                   2004

Case Title:            Kiel Laboratories, Inc. v. WE Pharmaceuticals, Inc.  

Venue:                 American Arbitration Association (Florida), Case No. 03 199 Y 00113 03

Client:                  Defendant/Cross-Complainant

Position:               Co-counsel at arbitration

Type of case:        Breach of contract

Result:                 $488,640 for Defendant/Cross-Complainant       

 

Year:                    2004

Case Title:            Bucolo v. Linsco Private Ledger Financial Services, et al.

Venue:                 NASD (Las Vegas), Case No. 02-04622

Client:                  Defendant

Position:               Co-counsel at arbitration

Type of case:        Breach of fiduciary duty

Result:                 Award for Defendant

 

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