Michael Labbee

Associate

MichaelL@SmolkerBartlett.com

Areas of Practice:

Litigation

Michael is a member of the Firm’s Litigation Practice Group where he represents clients in the areas of complex business litigation, maritime and admiralty litigation, as well as disputes involving the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”). Michael has represented clients in state and federal courts throughout Florida, and served as appellate counsel for clients in each of Florida’s five district courts of appeal, the Florida Supreme Court, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. His experience includes litigating a variety of complex contract claims, business torts, products liability claims, and real estate disputes.

Michael’s admiralty practice comprises all phases of maritime litigation including in rem actions, Rule B attachment actions, collisions, allisions, cargo cases, Jones Act and LHWCA actions, limitation of liability petitions, marine insurance and contact matters. His ERISA practice includes litigating preemption issues, benefits entitlement, fiduciary breach claims, COBRA litigation, church plan issues, and “stock drop” suits. Michael’s representative experience includes:

Defending a global company against class action claims under ERISA for unpaid benefits and breach of fiduciary duty related to the company’s employee health benefit plan.

Representing a national corporation in a two-week trial, which culminated in a successful final judgment in its favor including both damages and attorneys’ fees, on a claim for breach of contract related to the failed development of 50+ acres of waterfront property. The final judgment was affirmed in full on appeal.

Michael received his undergraduate degree from the University of Central Florida and his J.D. from Stetson University College of Law. While attending Stetson, Michael received high grade awards in Trial Advocacy and Products Liability, completed Stetson’s Honors Program, worked as a research assistant for professors Tim Kaye and Jason Bent, and served as a Notes and Comments Editor for the Stetson Law Review. Michael has received an AV preeminent peer review rating from Martindale-Hubbell and has been named a Florida Super Lawyers Rising Star. Michael is also active in the local community serving as the president-elect of the Great Futures Professional Council for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Tampa Bay and as a member of the Associate Board of Ambassadors for the American Cancer Society.

Bar & Court Admissions:

Florida
United States Court for the Northern District of Florida
United States Court for the Middle District of Florida
United States Court for the Southern District of Florida
United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

Professional & Community Involvement:

Florida Bar Association (member of the standing committee on Admiralty law)
Hillsborough Bar Association (member of the Law Week committee)
American Bar Association (TIPS – Admiralty Law Committee and Employee Benefits Committee)
Great Futures Professional Council for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Tampa Bay (President-Elect)
The Tampa Connection (Class of 2016-2017)
Associate Board of Ambassadors for the American Cancer Society (member)

Professional Recognition:

Martindale-Hubbell AV® Preeminent Peer Review Rated
Selected for inclusion in Florida Super Lawyers® – Rising Stars: Business Litigation (2017-present)