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Michael Barnes

Work 1 415 882 5007

Work Department

Insurance Litigation


Michael Barnes is a coverage advisor and trial lawyer in Dentons' Litigation and Dispute Resolution practice. As a member of the firm's Core Coverage and Claims Practice, Michael counsels insurers on claims-handling and coverage issues, defends bad faith suits, advises on drafting of policies and endorsements, and litigates contribution actions among insurers. Michael has advised clients on thousands of claims in more than thirty states under policies of general liability, homeowners, commercial and personal automobile, contractors' liability, environmental impairment liability, professional liability, directors and officers liability, disability, health and accident, fidelity, long-term care and marine insurance. In addition to advising clients in California and the West, he has acted as national coverage counsel for firm clients, coordinating coverage positions and drafting briefs on significant issues involving their business philosophies. Michael also handles commercial litigation, including the defense of class actions and agency disputes, against insurers and other firm clients.


Michael joined Dentons (then Sonnenschein Carlin Nath & Rosenthal) in 1988, and has been a partner since 1992. He serves as a Member of the Editorial Board for the Insurance Litigation Reporter and was a founding member and chair of the Executive Committee of the Bar Association of San Francisco's Insurance Practice Section.


Michael is admitted to practice in California; the US District Courts for the Central, Eastern, Northern and Southern District of California; and the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.


University of Michigan Law School, 1985, JD Duke University, 1982, AB, summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa

United States: Industry focus

Healthcare: health insurers

Within: Leading lawyers

Michael Barnes - Dentons

Within: Healthcare: health insurers

Dentons’ department covers the full gamut of work for health insurers including transactions, regulatory mandates and insurance litigation. In a recent highlight, practice co-chair Bruce Baty and Jodi Adolf in Kansas City advised the Medical Protective Company on the design and implementation of reinsurance programs for healthcare facilities; the pair also acted for Luxottica and EyeMed Vision Care on its vision plans and various compliance issues. Other key names include San Francisco-based Michael Barnes and Bruce Merlin Fried in Washington DC. In March 2019, former practice co-head Kara Baysinger in San Francisco and New York-based Matthew Gaul moved to Mayer Brown.

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