Michael R. Halvorsen is the managing partner of the Los Angeles office. He began his career as an intern under veteran Santa Barbara litigator Barry L. Snyder in the late nineties while attending the University of California at Santa Barbara. Mr. Halvorsen earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in English from UCSB in 1999. After graduation, he continued working at Mr. Snyder’s firm for another year as a law clerk before starting law school at the University of San Francisco School of Law in the Fall of 2000.

At USF, he received the Best Oral Argument Award from the Moot Court Board, was the Executive Articles Editor of the Maritime Law Journal, a pupil in the U.S.F. Inns of Court, Quarter-Finalist in the Judge John R. Brown Moot Court Competition in New Orleans, and Finalist in the San Francisco Trial Lawyers’ Association’s Mock Trial Competition. He also authored Citation and Precedent: A Practitioner’s Guide to Citation and Precedent Value of Opinions Published in AMC under the Ninth, Fifth, Eleventh, and Second Circuit’s Rules, 199 U.S.F. MLJ 199. Thereafter, he was invited to be the first student ever to address the bi-annual Pacific-Admiralty Conference. During the summer of his second year in law school, he clerked for a national firm where he focused on the defense of manufacturers in product liability litigation. He received his Juris Doctor degree in May of 2003.

Mr. Halvorsen joined Phillips, Spallas & Angstadt LLP the same day he passed the California State Bar in November 2003. After working in the firm’s San Francisco office for two years, he moved to Los Angeles where he continued to practice litigation in all California state and federal courts together with pre-litigation investigations and mediations. In February 2007, he led the opening of the firm’s Los Angeles office.

Mr. Halvorsen’s primary practice areas include most areas of litigation including product liability, complex landlord-tenant disputes, consumer warranty under state and federal statutes, significant personal injury, premises liability, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, and homeowner’s association disputes. He enjoys working with all clients including Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Forest River, American Junkie restaurants, Howl at the Moon, and many other smaller ‘mom and pop’ clients.

Mr. Halvorsen has been part of the trial teams for many lawsuits during his career often in either a lead counsel or co-lead counsel capacity. He continues to be a critical aspect of managing litigation for clients through trial.

Mr. Halvorsen has been a member of the California State Bar in good standing continually since 2003. He is a member of American Bar Association, Association of Southern California Defense Counsel, U.S.F. Inns of Court, San Francisco County Bar Association, and the Los Angeles County Bar Association. He is admitted in all federal courts in California including the United States District Court for the Northern, Central, Eastern, and Southern Districts of California.


Mr. Halvorsen’s published opinions include:

  • Douglass v. Serenivision, Inc., et al. (2018) 20 Cal. App. 5th 376 (affirming trial court order confirming arbitration award for client of $1.8 million in commercial breach of contract case involving internet advertising)

Mr. Halvorsen’s practice has also yielded numerous favorable opinions and legal precedent, including:

  • Ancheta v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., (2013) Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board, ADJ 2077612 (favorable settlement for defendant after multiple day trial)
  • Ceballo, Elizabeth v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., (2011) Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board, ADJ 3219677 (verdict for defendant on all claims after multi-day trial)
  • Cowan v. Belido (2016) Alameda County Superior Court, RG 15 772677 (favorable resolution of all claims for client for less than 20 percent of pre-suit demand)
  • Douglass v. Serenivision, Inc., et al., (2018) 20 Cal. App. 5th 376 (affirming trial court order confirming arbitration award for client of $1,800,000 in commercial breach of contract case involving internet advertising)
  • Estrada v. WEC Alpha Group, LLC, (2016) United States District Court for Central District of California, 3806-DMG (housing discrimination case resulting in favorable resolution for client for less than 15% of pre-suit settlement demand)
  • Elzahr v. Sorrento at Dublin Ranch, (2013/2014) Alameda County Superior Court, RG 13685780 (favorable resolution of all claims against client in wrongful death case for less than 5 percent of pre-suit settlement demand with motion for summary judgment pending)
  • Gallagher v. Woodard, et al., (2016) San Francisco County Superior Court, CGC-15-545747 (favorable resolution of all claims for clients for less than 15 percent of pre-suit demand)
  • Gauchat-Hargis v. Forest River, Inc., (2012/2013) United States District Court for Eastern District of California, 02737-KJM-EFB (favorable settlement for Forest River for less than 15 percent of pre-suit settlement offer on eve of trial with favorable ruling on subsequent motion for attorneys’ fees)
  • Haniff v. 830 Lake St. HOA, (2015-2017) San Francisco County Superior Court, CGC-14-541903 (HOA and discrimination case resulting in favorable settlement for client for less than 10 percent of pre-suit settlement demand on eve of trial)
  • Hansen v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., (2011) Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board, ADJ 1546921 (verdict for defendant on all claims after multiple day trial)
  • Harris v. Forest River, Inc., et al., (2015) United States District Court for Central District of California, 5:15-cv-00484-PA (order granting Forest River’s motion to transfer venue to Indiana)
  • Hendricks v. KeyTurn, Inc. dba Hands On Property Management, et al., (2017) Los Angeles County Superior Court, BC 597166 (favorable resolution of all claims for clients for less than 10 percent of $1,200,000 policy demand)
  • Highbridge v. Evarone, (2017) Los Angeles County Superior Court, BC 631428 (favorable resolution of all claims for client for less than 10 percent of pre-suit demand)
  • Jelicic v. Sea West Management, Inc., (2011/2012) Los Angeles County Superior Court, BC 454169 (favorable resolution for all clients for less than 5 percent of pre-suit demand after partial summary judgment)
  • Lopez, Jose v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., (2008) Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board, UNO 0469978 (verdict for defendant on all claims after multiple day trial)
  • Manfro v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., (2010/2011) United States District Court for Central District of California, 04699-SVW-FMO (favorable settlement for Wal-Mart for less than 10 percent of pre-suit settlement demand after partial summary judgment)
  • McAfee v. Forest River, Inc., (2014) Riverside County Superior Court, RIC 1205606 (verdict against Forest River for 20 percent of pre-trial settlement demand)
  • McCoy v. Forest River, Inc., (2015/2016) San Diego County Superior Court, 00042826 (favorable settlement for Forest River for less than 20 percent of pre-suit settlement demand on eve of trial)
  • Ortiz v. Little Caesar’s Pizza, (2015/2016) San Luis Obispo County Superior Court, 15 CV-0509 (favorable settlement for client Little Caesars for less than 10 percent of pre-suit settlement demand)
  • Read v. Chew, (2007/2008) San Mateo County Superior Court, CIV 452613 (premises liability case involving a skylight resulting in favorable resolution for client for less than 15 percent of pre-suit settlement demand on eve of trial)
  • Strosina v. Odom, (2009/2010) Alameda County Superior Court, HG 09449331 (favorable resolution for client for less than 5 percent of pre-suit settlement demand)
  • Taghizadeh v. Amron Ltd. Partnership, Los Angeles County Superior Court, LC 103284 (orders sustaining demurrers to all claims against clients resulting in dismissal)
  • Trupiano v. Miller, (2009/2010) Napa County Superior Court, 26-48638 (wrongful death involving multiple horses that escaped from clients’ property resulting in favorable settlement for clients during trial)
  • Wilkes v. Forest River, Inc., (2010) Binding Arbitration (arbitration award in favor of Forest River and dealer after multiple day arbitration hearing)

Honors

  • Best Oral Argument Award, Moot Court Board, 2001
  • Executive Articles Editor, Maritime Law Journal, 2002-2003
  • Quarter-Finalist, Judge John R. Brown Moot Court Competition, 2002
  • San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association’s Mock Trial Competition, Finalist, 2002

Publications

  • Citation and Precedent: A Practitioner’s Guide to Citation and Precedent Value of Opinions Published in AMC under the Ninth, Fifth, Eleventh, and Second Circuit’s Rules, 199 U.S.F. MLJ 199 (2003)