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.



California: “Ongoing Operations” AIE Limitation Does Not Preclude Completed Operations Coverage [Global Insurance Alert]

September 06, 2017

Michael Melendez discusses the first published opinion of a California appellate court that directly addresses whether the ongoing operations limitation in additional insured endorsements precludes completed operations coverage.

Ninth Circuit: Excess Insurers Must Tread Carefully When Rejecting Demands Exceeding Primary Limit [Global Insurance Alert]

April 03, 2017

Michael Melendez discusses the Teleflex decision that provides persuasive authority that excess insurers in California must seriously consider settlement demands exceeding primary limits in electing whether to accept the settlement, reject it and assume the insured’s defense, or reject it and decline the insured’s defense.

State Farm v. Hansen: Nevada Supreme Court Adopts California Independent Counsel Rules [Global Insurance Alert]

October 13, 2015

An insured is entitled to select its own counsel where an insurer’s coverage reservation creates an actual conflict of interest between the insurer and the insured. The court further held that the insurer must pay the independent counsel a “reasonable” rate.

California Supreme Court: Insurer Can Directly Sue Independent Counsel for Excess Fees in Limited Circumstances [Global Insurance Alert]

August 14, 2015

On August 10, 2015, the California Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision that could have broad implications regarding an insurer’s right to seek reimbursement of unreasonable fees and costs directly from so-called Cumis counsel. In Hartford Casualty Insurance Company v. J.R. Marketing, LLC, ___ Cal.4th ___ (2015), the Court held that an insurer—operating under an order that expressly provided that the insurer would be able to recover payments of excessive fees—can seek reimbursement directly from Cumis counsel.

Events & Seminars

Past Events

CLM Annual Conference

March 18, 2020 - Grapevine, TX

2018 CLM Annual Conference

March 14, 2018 - Houston, TX

2017 CLM & Business Insurance Construction Conference

October 09, 2017 - San Diego, California


  • 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