Michael W. Melendez


San Francisco

(415) 593-9610

(415) 692-3688

Michael will be speaking at an upcoming event:

2021 CLM Focus: Cyber Liability, Extra-Contractual, Insurance Coverage, Claims & Litigation Management

New York, NY 12/02/2021

Mike Melendez will present at the 2021 CLM Focus: Cyber Liability, Extra-Contractual, Insurance Coverage, Claims & Litigation Management event on December 2, 2021.

Event Details 

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.



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.

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

Upcoming Events

2021 CLM Focus: Cyber Liability, Extra-Contractual, Insurance Coverage, Claims & Litigation Management

December 02, 2021 - New York, NY

Mike Melendez will present at the 2021 CLM Focus: Cyber Liability, Extra-Contractual, Insurance Coverage, Claims & Litigation Management event on December 2, 2021.

Past Events

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

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