Michael S. Wilk

Michael S. Wilk

by Onyinyechi Muilenburg

Michael S. Wilk, a well recognized arbitrator and mediator, draws upon more than fifty years of courtroom and boardroom experience in his Alternative Dispute Resolution practice.

Michael joined the Firm immediately after graduating with honors from the University of Texas School of Law in 1966, where he was an Associate Editor of the Texas Law Review.

Throughout his career Michael has worked in commercial law and began practicing at a time that allowed him to work on commercial transactions and commercial litigation. Noted for his business acumen and creative problem solving, Michael has broad experience in real estate, corporate and mergers and acquisition transaction matters for clients ranging from sophisticated multi-national corporations to local family owned companies. He has represented buyers and sellers of businesses and commercial real estate, and is particularly adept in advising clients about the overall structure and supervision of business transactions.

In 1991, Michael incorporated Alternative Dispute Resolution as part of his law practice and began acting as a mediator and arbitrator, drawing from his years of experience as a transactional lawyer and civil litigator. He is recognized as a leader in ADR. Michael is a former chairman of the ADR Section for the State Bar of Texas for 2005-2006, and served on the ADR council. He also served on the inaugural board of directors of the Association of Attorney Mediators, and later as National Director and as National President. In 2011, he was inducted as a Charter Member of the Texas Chapter, National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals, awarded in recognition of a level of excellence in the practice of Alternative Dispute Resolution. In 2010, he became a member of the International Mediation Institute. He is a Certified Mediator by the Texas Mediator Credentialing Association (Credentialed Distinguished Mediator). Beginning January 1, 2013, Michael made the decision to focus his practice almost exclusively on ADR, serving as a mediator and arbitrator in a wide variety of commercial disputes.

For over twenty years, Michael oversaw the Firm’s representation in high-stakes complex litigation in state, federal, probate and bankruptcy courts throughout the State of Texas. He advised clients in contested civil litigation addressing issues of contract, oil and gas, alternative and renewable energy, labor and employment, real estate, partnership and corporation disputes, banking, common-law fraud and breach of fiduciary duty. In keeping with the Firm’s strong financial background, Michael has successfully defended financial institutions in lawsuits involving claims of breach of good faith and fair dealing, usury, anti-trust, lender liability and family trust mismanagement. He represented and advised clients in matters involving bankruptcy and creditors’ rights. Michael is experienced in probate and trust disputes, and has advised and represented clients in will contests and cases involving allegations of breach of fiduciary duty. He is routinely tapped by the Firm’s other lawyers to provide counsel and representation to our clients in mediation and arbitration proceedings.

Michael served as Director of the Harris County Dispute Resolution Center, Chairman of Peer Mediations and Schools Task Force for the Houston Bar Association and the Houston Bar Association ADR Section and on the State Bar of Texas Grievance Committee, as a member and Past Chairman 4B. He was also an adjunct professor at South Texas College of Law, teaching negotiable instruments, bank deposits and collections and secured transactions. Michael has also been recognized by Thomson Reuters as a Texas Super Lawyer for ADR, from 2003 through 2016, and as a top lawyer in ADR by HTexas Magazine in 2012 through 2016. Michael is rated AV by Martindale Hubbell.

Until recently, Michael has served as the longtime President of the Firm, and as a member of the Executive Committee. In 2017, Michael made the decision to focus solely on his ADR practice, and stepped down from his leadership roles at the Firm, and is now “Senior Counsel” to the Firm.

During the past year, Michael has continued his active ADR practice and conducted 25 mediations, was appointed or selected in 8 arbitrations and served in 6 final arbitration hearings, three of which as chairman or sole arbitrator. He also assisted in writing and editing two chapters in the CCA Guide to Best Practices in Commercial Arbitrations and in making three presentations on commercial arbitrations: (i) “Emergency Arbitrations,” at the Annual Meeting of the College Commercial Arbitrators; (ii) “Red Flags and Risk Areas: Challenges to Arbitrator Authority,” and (3) “Disclosures, Dispositive Motions and Discovery Disputes in Arbitration,” for the ADR Section of the Houston Bar Association.

Please find Mr. Wilk’s CV here.

ARBITRATION:

In excess of 125 (over 78 as chairman or sole arbitrator) commercial disputes between domestic and multi-national companies, originating through the above mentioned panels and before the ICC International Court of Arbitration.

Energy

  • Dispute between geophysical service provider and exploration company relating to the interpretation and construction of a service agreement for seismic shoot in Africa.
  • Various claims regarding contract interpretation including a drilling contract of an off-shore rig, provisions of a service contract maintenance, repair of a blowout preventer, and long-term operator agreement for the manufacture of products from certain feed stocks.
  • Dispute between two gas companies concerning the obligation to pay excise taxes.
  • Dispute involving a refinery and chemical company dealing with the purchase, storage and sale of certain supplies of by-products used in the manufacturing chemicals and out-put requirements.
  • Disputes between exploration companies and service companies involving alleged damages to well and reservoir.
  • Dispute regarding representations and warranties in Asset Purchase Agreement involving fuel gases, including propylene, and provisions relating to working capital and account receivables.

Commercial

  • Contract disputes and termination damages issues between multi-national retail companies and a software company for the manufacture of an application for mobile devices.
  • Dispute between holder and issuer of warrants for common stock regarding the proper exercise of the warrants and whether the triggering event had occurred as referenced in the warrants.
  • Breach of fiduciary duty and securities fraud dispute between customer and financial advisor including allegations of the purchase of unsuitable investments and failure to properly diversify investments and to educate itself about the investor’s needs and financial knowledge.
  • Accounting malpractice disputes involving a bankruptcy trustee and an alleged failure to give a going concern opinion and allegations of improper use of company valuation.
  • Dispute between minority and majority shareholders for alleged mismanagement and breach of fiduciary duties in paying excessive compensation and benefits.
  • Claims against a bank for alleged wrongful dishonor, fraudulent inducement and wrongful foreclosure and cross actions for collection of obligations under notes and guaranties.
  • Dispute between international banks regarding alleged fraudulent wire transfers.

Healthcare

  • Alleged breach of support services agreement between company providing nonclinical business, administrative and marketing services to medical practices throughout the country and physician.
  • Dispute between insurance companies and physician practice groups regarding timely payment of medical claims and applicability of prompt pay statutes.
  • Dispute between physician and owner of a clinic regarding the physician’s base compensation and incentive compensation after the closing of the purchase. 

MEDIATION EXPERIENCE:

Mediated over 1750 commercial disputes between domestic and multi-national companies, mainly ad-hoc, including the following representative sample:

Energy

  • Case involving insurance coverage for loss of an offshore sub-sea well in the North Sea under an Energy Package Policy issued by various London insurers and alleged damages to the assembly allegedly caused by severe windstorm.
  • Dispute between exploration company and service company involving alleged fraud, a bad squeeze job, incompetent control of water flow, and failure to pay for services rendered.
  • Dispute involving the failure of a wireless drift indicator to accurately monitor the angle of the drill bit during drilling operations.
  • Dispute between developers and suppliers of resin coated sands used in fracking involving allegations of breach of contract, violation of trade dress, and unfair competition.
  • Dispute between contracting parties concerning the alleged faulty design and construction of a special use drilling platform and unfair pricing for the completed rig.
  • Dispute involving a service company suit to recover on a sworn account and cross action for damage to wells and threat of bankruptcy of defendant.
  • Claims for personal injury and property damage caused by a superfund site between 2000 individuals and a refinery accused of dumping toxic waste.
  • Dispute involving alleged breach of a commission agreement seeking specific performance of delivery of assignment of overriding royalty interest allegedly due for finding an operator of an offshore oil and gas concession in the Mediterranean.

Commercial

  • Dispute between parties to an exclusive license agreement for the sale and distribution of hardware and software tools that measure emissions in refineries and chemical plants to determine if the company is in environmental compliance.
  • Mediation of over 20 personal injury claims against an Energy Company resulting from the explosion of a refinery.
  • Dispute involving buyer and seller of a condominium unit for breach of purchase and sale agreement relating to time for closing and completion of the unit and plans and specifications for construction of the unit.
  • Dispute between minority investor-shareholders of medical technology company alleging fraud, interference with business relationships, breach of fiduciary in operations, and management of companies in which some of the investors may own interests.
  • Claim by FTC seeking injunctive relief and penalties against a technology advertising company for allegedly participating in deceptive and unfair acts and practices in the course of transmitting unsolicited commercial electronic text messaging.
  • Will contest lawsuits involving allegations of incompetency and undue influence.

• Fellow, College of Commercial Arbitrators
• Certified, International Mediator Institute
• Credentialed Distinguished Mediator, Texas Mediator Credentialing Association
• Past Chair, State Bar of Texas Alternative Dispute Resolution Section
• Past President, Association of Attorney Mediators, Inc.
• National Association of Distinguished Neutrals
• Texas Association of Distinguished Neutrals
• Past Chairman, State Bar of Texas Grievance Committee
• Former Director, Harris County Dispute Resolution Center
• Houston Bar Association (Chairman Peer, Mediation in Schools Task Force 1993-1994)
• Houston Bar Association (Past Council Member, Alternative Dispute Resolution Section)
• American Bar Association (Alternative Dispute Resolution Section)
• Sustaining Life Fellow, Texas Bar Foundation (Fellow)
• Continuing Life Fellow, Houston Bar Foundation (Fellow)

Michael S. Wilk
mwilk@hirschwest.com
vcard | LinkedIn

 
  

Education

  • Bachelors from The University of Texas at Austin
  • J.D. from University of Texas School of Law (with honors)

 


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