Michael J. F. SMITH












(559) 229-3900, Fax (559)229-3903

Litigation, including Employment, Business, and Insurance Matters


Expertise/Matters Profile:

Mr. Smith is an "AV" rated business trial attorney with over twenty years of experience.


He represents employers and others in litigation, primarily in the areas of wrongful termination, discrimination, and  harassment, wage and hour litigation, and related matters.  

He also represents individuals and businesses in business, insurance and real estate disputes, with a preference for complex, challenging litigation.


Mr. Smith has extensive trial and appellate experience.  He also has negotiated the resolution of many cases through every form of Alternate Dispute Resolution.  He is a mediator with the Fresno County Superior Court's ADR program, and regularly serves as a Judge Pro Tem, mediator,   arbitrator, and early neutral evaluator 

He is available for ADR matters as a mediator or arbitrator, and for assignment as an  in dependant investigator, discovery referee or Special Master.

Education/Professional Designations:  

University of California, Hastings College of the Law,  San Francisco, California, J.D.  High Honors, 1983; Order of the Coif; Thurston Honor Society, Hastings Law Journal;

University of California,  Riverside, Bachelor of Arts, Phi Beta Kappa, Summa Cum Laude, 1977; M.A. (Philosophy) 1979  

Representative Cases:

o       Cook v. Lindsay Olive Growers, 911 F.2d 233 (9th Cir. 1990)

(Religious discrimination/ Section 301 pre-emption case. Summary judgment affirmed on appeal)

o       Rose v. Wells Fargo, 902 F.2d 1417 (9th Cir.1990)

(Wrote the summary judgment and appellate briefs in this age discrimination / statistical disparity in RIF/merger case; oral argument was by Mr. Erik K Hansen. Summary judgment was affirmed on appeal)

o       Ariza v. Vallicorp, 1998 U.S. App. Lexis 6617, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California, and 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

(CFRA/FMLA case.  Obtained a summary judgment, but one CFRA claim was reinstated on appeal. Then obtained a defense judgment on the remaining CFRA claim at trial.)

o       Spencer v. Quinlan, Kershaw & Fanucchi, (1999 and 2000) Fresno County Superior Court.

 ( Obtained a defense verdict in a wrongful termination case, and defense judgment in an overtime/wage appeal that was tried separately. Judgment for attorneys fees entered in favor of the employer on the wage claim.)

o       Avila v. Winton Ireland, Strom & Green, (2000) Stanislaus County Superior Court

( Obtained Defense judgment at trial in an ˇ°independent contractorˇ± case.)

o       Hinkle v. Hershey Chocolate Company , (2000) U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California

(Obtained summary judgment in favor of the employer in a wrongful termination case.)

o  Reich, et. al. v. City of Turlock (1993) multiple cases in U. S. District Court, Stanislaus County Superior Court, Fifth District Court of Appeal and 9th Circuit Court of Appeal

(Obtained a series of Summary Judgment rulings on behalf of the City of Turlock in a collection of developer related "takings" lawsuits, defended them on appeal, and prevailed on related insurance coverage disputes.


Numerous other cases that have been resolved by settlement, ADR and other means on behalf of many different Central Valley employers


Professional Affiliations:  

American Bar Association

American Bar Association Labor & Employment Law, Litigation and Torts & Insurance Sections

State Bar of California, admitted December, 1983

State Bar of California Employment Law and Litigation Sections

Fresno County Bar Association (former Member of its Board of Directors)

Association of Business Trial Lawyers, San Joaquin Valley Chapter

Former President, Fresno County Young Lawyers' Association

Association for Conflict Resolution

Human Resource Association of Central California



Admitted to Practice:  

United States District Court; Central, Northern, and Eastern Districts of California

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

State of California