Michael W. Melendez


San Francisco

(415) 593-9610

(415) 692-3688

Michael W. Melendez is a commercial litigator focusing on all types of complex insurance coverage, including construction defect, advertising injury, personal injury, directors and officers, and general liability. Mike provides claims handling and coverage advice to insurers, defends bad faith suits, and litigates declaratory relief and contribution actions.

Mike has designed and given several presentations to claims professionals and attorneys on insurance coverage and general legal issues including claims practices, constructions defect, additional insurance, independent counsel, ethics, and bad faith.

Mike has represented clients in numerous jurisdictions throughout the United States, and has tried cases and argued appeals in both state and federal courts. Mike is licensed to practice before all the state and federal courts in California and Nevada, and has been admitted to the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit and the U.S. Court of Claims.

In addition to insurance coverage, Mike has handled a variety of general commercial disputes. Mike has served pro bono as a special deputy public defender in Marin County and as an arbitrator for the Bar Association of San Francisco's Committee on Fee Disputes. Mike also served on the California State Bar's Executive Committee for the Law Practice Management and Technology Section.

Mike has earned Martindale-Hubbell's "A-V Preeminent" Peer Review Rating. He has also been selected as a Northern California Super Lawyer, a designation reserved for the top five percent of the bar.



Top Bad Faith Cases of 2021

July 12, 2022

Michael W. Melendez and Chad A. Pasternack wrote the article “Top Bad Faith Cases of 2021” for Westlaw Today.

Ninth Circuit Holds COVID-19 Business Interruption Losses Require Direct Physical Damage To The Property [Property Insurance Law Observer Blog]

November 09, 2021

In March 2020, Mudpie Inc.—a San Francisco children’s store—ceased operations when California Governor Gavin Newsom ordered all “non-essential” businesses to close due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of the shut-down, Mudpie sought coverage for loss of “business income” and “extra expense” under...

The Insured Should Have Seen It Coming: Nevada Court Enforces Prior Acts Exclusion [Casualty Coverage Chronicle Blog]

June 24, 2021

Liability policies commonly contain exclusions precluding coverage when the insured knew or should have known that wrongful acts occurring prior to a policy’s effective date could later result in a claim. In Alps Property & Casualty Insurance Company v. Kalicki Collier, LLP, No....

Recent Bad Faith Cases Regarding Reasonableness of Medical Treatment [Avoiding Insurance Bad Faith Blog]

April 19, 2021

In two recent cases, the courts showed substantial deference to patients’ treating physicians in determining the reasonableness of medical treatment. This deference appears to reflect a reluctance of courts to decide what healthcare is appropriate for a patient. In Peterson v. Western National...

Claims Handling: Questions Are the Answer [Avoiding Insurance Bad Faith Blog]

April 12, 2021

The key issue in insurance bad faith litigation is whether the claims professional reasonably handled the claim. Throughout the claims-handling process, the claims professional should constantly ask him-or-herself whether the investigation is sufficient to support a coverage determination and...

Can a Settlement Demand Above Policy Limits Fall within Limits? A Calif. Appellate Court Says Yes

March 29, 2021

Michael Melendez and Rebekah Shapiro discuss a recent California Appeals Court decision in Planet Bingo LLC v. Burlington Ins. Co., and what it means for liability insurers.

Events & Seminars

Upcoming Events

2023 CLM Annual Conference

March 29, 2023 - Tampa, FL

Alissa K. Christopher, Michael W. Melendez, and Kimberly Petrina of Cozen O’Connor’s Global Insurance Department will present at the Claims and Litigation Management Alliance (CLM) 2023 Annual Conference in Tampa, Florida.

Past Events

Duty to Settle

July 12, 2022 - Webinar

Bad Faith 2021 Year in Review

April 27, 2022 - Webinar

Eyes Open: Avoiding Bad Faith Traps

March 23, 2022 - Palm Desert, CA

2021 Claims College

September 08, 2021 - Baltimore, MD

Bad Faith 2020 Year in Review

April 21, 2021 - Webinar

CLM Annual Conference

March 18, 2020 - Grapevine, TX

2018 CLM Annual Conference

March 14, 2018 - Houston, TX


  • Stanford University, J.D., 1986
  • Stanford University, A.B., 1983

Awards & Honors

Super Lawyers (California) 2009-2016

Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent Peer Review Rated

  • California
  • Nevada
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court -- Northern District of California
  • U.S. District Court -- Central District of California
  • U.S. District Court -- Eastern District of California
  • U.S. District Court -- Southern District of California
  • U.S. District Court -- Nevada