Veteran litigator Michael Foster has a well-honed ability to see the big picture and quickly narrow options to the best possible solution. As a former partner at one of the biggest law firms in the country, Michael has successfully represented some of the most noteworthy national clients in their toughest legal battles and recently won the largest jury verdict in United States history for a prisoner secondhand smoking case that led to a statewide ban on prisoner smoking. Michael has argued before state, federal, and appellate courts across the country and has received numerous awards and recognition from bar associations and legal publications for his legal work and for his outstanding character and pro bono commitment to individuals who cannot afford legal services.
Michael relishes time in the courtroom and fights on behalf of victims who have experienced adverse situations due to liability, negligence or wrongdoing. He has been on both sides of the courtroom and knows how the most aggressive defense firms and insurance companies approach and defend cases. This insider’s knowledge enables Michael to craft winning legal strategies for his clients, whether their matters are large or small.
From growing up in a family of attorneys, Michael’s legal intuition comes to him naturally. Michael’s father was an attorney and six of his aunts and uncles are attorneys or judges who practiced in the area. Michael was born and raised in the Kansas City area and is a former Division 1 college athlete. This collective background has contributed to Michael’s unrelenting drive to compete and win. Michael and his wife spend most of their free time raising their three young children.
- First-chaired a jury trial in a pro bono case in the Western District of Missouri for a two-time convicted felon who alleged that secondhand smoke was harming him. The inmate received the largest known jury verdict for a prisoner secondhand smoking case (Section 1983 claim), and the verdict led to a smoking ban throughout Missouri prisons (U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, 2017).
- Defeated the Federal Trade Commission in their request for receivership and permanent injunction involving an Overland Park, Kansas-based manufacturer of bitcoin mining equipment. The FTC has lost less than 1% of its motions for preliminary injunctions, and the case garnered international publicity (U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, 2014).
- Part of a team of attorneys who obtained $60+ million in settlements for natural gas purchasers based on antitrust claims. Took depositions against parties who were represented by some of the biggest U.S. law firms (U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada, 2008-2018).
- Obtained millions of dollars in judgments for a Kansas City-based Fortune 500 telecommunications company (2017-2018).
- Obtained a settlement for over $1.4 million dollars in a section 1983 injury claim after three other lawyers rejected the client's case. (2019).
- Obtained a $200,000 settlement for two individuals involved in a motorcycle wreck in Overland Park, Kansas (2018).
- Obtained a $130,000 policy limits settlement for an individual injured while she was getting out of her car (2020).
- Obtained $100,000 policy limits settlement in car wreck (2019).
- Represented an NFL Football Club on litigation matters and assisted them through mediations (2015-2018).
- Involved in the bankruptcy preference actions of one of the largest bankruptcies in Kansas City history, representing and securing millions of dollars for the creditors’ trust (U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Missouri, 2009-2012).
- Defended an insurance agent in FINRA arbitration action seeking millions of dollars. Settled the lawsuit for nearly nothing the Friday before the arbitration (2014).
- Challenged a large European bank in the District of Kansas bankruptcy court before the bank ultimately accepted the clients’ offer to settle the matter before trial (2014).
- Obtained judgment in a bench-tried case regarding ownership of residence (Jackson County, 2013).
- Obtained judgment in a bench-tried case regarding promissory note (Jackson County, 2013).
- In 2018, along with a former Polsinelli colleague, Michael received the Legal Champion Award from Missouri Lawyers Weekly for successful representation of an inmate over health concerns where the verdict led all Missouri prisons to go smoke-free.
- Michael received the Pro Bono Publico Award in 2018 from the Missouri Bar Association at its annual meeting for Outstanding Pro Bono Service and Professional Character.
- In 2011, while an associate at Polsinelli, Michael was awarded Largest Plaintiff Wins from Missouri Lawyers Weekly for scoring the second largest settlement in Missouri worth $56 million dollars.
- In 2019, Michael received a the Super Lawyers, Rising Stars distinction. This distinction is given to less than 2.5% of attorneys.
- In 2019, Michael received the distinction of The National Trial Lawyers, Top 100.
- Presented Continuing Legal Education Seminar for United States Western District of Missouri Annual CLE in 2018 on Civil Trial Technology.
- Presented Continuing Legal Education Seminar for United States District Court - Western District of Missouri on Prisoner litigation.
- Working with Judge Richard Posner on the Posner Center of Justice for Pro Se’s, nationwide pro bono legal-services organization for assisting pro se litigants.
- 2016 graduate of the Missouri Organization of Defense Lawyers’ Trial Academy, an immersive litigation preparation program led by experienced trial attorneys and judges.
- 2012 graduate of the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association’s Bar Leadership Academy, a seven-month program designed to develop emerging leaders in the Kansas City legal community.
Publications and Presentations
- Co-author, Mulitstate Consumer Class Actions, For the Defense, July 2018.
- Co-author, Cryptocurrency Class Action Lawsuits: A New Frontier, Polsinelli Class Action Alert, March 2018.
- Co-author, Issuers of Tokens: Beware, Class Action Lawsuits Are Coming, Polsinelli Financial Technology and Regulation Alert, February 2018.
- Co-author, This Article Will Self-Destruct: Your Employees’ Use Of These ESI-Destroying Apps Could Subject You To Sanctions, Polsinelli Financial and Fiduciary Litigation Alert, June 2014.
- Co-author, Red Flags Part III: Director and Officer Liability, American Bankruptcy Institute Journal, Vol. XXX, No. 6, July/August 2011.
- J.D., cum laude, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law, 2008
- UMKC Law Review
- Marvin Rich Scholarship recipient
- B.S., cum laude, Drake University, 2004
- Presidential Scholar
- All Academic Missouri Valley First Team – Golf
- Missouri, 2008
- Kansas, 2009
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
- U.S. District Court, Western District of Missouri
- U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Missouri
- U.S. District Court, District of Kansas
- U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan
More About Michael
Michael’s family has been apart of the Kansas City legal community since the 1940’s. Michael's love of law cultivated as he watched his father practice law growing up and dreamt of following in his footsteps. Michael grew up playing golf and ended up going to Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa on a golf and academic scholarship where he was on the All-Missouri Valley Academic First Team.
Running a firm with Brian keeps Michael very busy but he always finds time to spend with his wife, Melissa, and his three young children. Michael spends most of his free time at his children's sporting events, the gym, and still trying to chase the golf ball around the golf course.
Michael and Melissa also love to travel, some of the coolest places him and Melissa have been to together include Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Japan.