Michael Kichline is a partner in Dechert’s litigation department, a practice that is top-ranked by Chambers USA and distinguished for its “unbeatable reputation in all areas of business litigation” and handling of “the monster cases.”
Mr. Kichline litigates complex, high-stakes matters for corporations and their boards of directors and executives, financial institutions, investment and commercial banks, private equity firms, investors and professional firms. His experience spans a wide range of matters, including securities class actions, derivative suits, M&A disputes, and litigation arising from corporate, financial, commercial and/or consumer transactions. He appears in federal and state courts throughout the country and handles matters in specialized courts, such as the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Commerce Program. He has been selected to serve as the next Chair of the Business Litigation Committee of the Philadelphia Bar Association.
Mr. Kichline is listed as a leading litigator Best Lawyers in America for his securities litigation practice. In addition, Mr. Kichline is recognized in Chambers USA, which notes his “excellent work in securities litigation matters.” He has also “earned plaudits for his securities class action and derivative litigation practice” and is viewed as “rapidly making a name for himself.”
Securities Class Actions – The defense of class actions alleging securities violations for clients in a wide range of industries, including GlaxoSmithKline (pharma), Constar International (packaging), PMA Corporation (insurance/reinsurance), Select Medical (specialty hospitals), OSI Pharmaceuticals (bio-pharma), and Advanta Corporation (business credit cards).
Derivative Actions – The defense of derivative actions alleging breaches of fiduciary duty and alleged corporate governance violations, including winning the dismissal of an action against Cephalon Corporation and its board of directors alleging Caremark violations based on allegations of off-label sales and marketing of pharmaceutical products.
Bankruptcy Trustee Litigation – The defense of actions brought by parties in control of bankrupt or defunct entities, including the defense of JPMorgan and Bear Stearns in an action by the Chapter 7 Trustee of American Business Financial Services, a failed sub-prime lender. The Trustee, seeking more than $1 billion in alleged damages, asserted claims for fraud and aiding and abetting fraud and/or breach of fiduciary duty arising out of the banks’ roles in securitizing sub-prime mortgages.
M&A Litigation – The litigation of disputes arising in all phases of M&A transactions, including disputed auctions, proxy contests and claims by disappointed suitors and disgruntled shareholders seeking to enjoin transactions. Representations include the defense of proxy claims and breach of fiduciary duty claims in First Niagra corporation’s $300 million acquisition of Harleysville Financial Corporation, the defense of the special committee in Insignia Financial Service’s $420 million sale to CB Richard Ellis, the defense of Select Medical in its $2.3 billion “going private” transaction, the defense of private equity purchasers in Vertrue’s $800 million “going private” transaction, and the defense of Elsag Bailey in multi-district/multi-state tortious interference litigation arising out of its takeover of Fischer & Porter Company. Mr. Kichline has also litigated numerous post-closing disputes, including the successful trial of claims for Teleflex arising out of the acquisition of a business from Danaher Corp. and the prosecution of fraud and RICO claims for the Riverside Company arising out of an acquisition.
Lender Liability – The defense of financial institutions in lender liability matters, including the defense of Citizens Bank and Citizens Financial Group in an action brought by a real estate developer alleging breach of alleged financing commitments and fraud and alleging hundreds of millions of dollars in damages.
Lawyer Liability – The defense of professional firms, including the defense of a national law firm on claims by Jackson National Life Insurance seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in damages on claims for malpractice and aiding and abetting fraud, breaches of fiduciary duty and usurpation of a corporate opportunity.
Consumer Class Actions – The defense of consumer class actions alleging common law claims and/or violations of consumer statutes, including the defense of Signal Holdings, the largest provider of cell phone insurance, in a nationwide consumer fraud class action; Conectiv Energy in class action litigation arising out of its exit from the Pennsylvania energy market; Rent-A-Center in class actions alleging RICO violations; and Information leasing Corporation, an ATM leasing business, in a nationwide class action alleging fraud and consumer protection violations.
Complex Commercial Litigation – The representation of plaintiffs and defendants in complex commercial disputes, including the representation of Crown Holdings on contract claims against Level 3 Communications; Navistar on claims by and against Caterpillar; Air Products and Chemicals on claims by and against Lyondell Chemical; MetLife in contract and tortious interference litigation brought by a start-up business, and Elsag Bailey in massive contract litigation with the City of Detroit.
Civil Justice Reform Efforts
Mr. Kichline is active in efforts to advance the state of the law in the direction of curtailing predatory and abusive litigation. He often represents the Washington Legal Foundation in advocacy before appellate courts. Mr. Kichline has authored or co-authored amicus briefs in support of the defense in all of the recent securities-related cases before the United States Supreme Court: Dura Pharmaceuticals (loss causation); Tellabs (scienter); and Merck (statute of limitations). He co-authored briefs in United States v. Nacchio (materiality) in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit and United States v. Pacific Gas & Electric (environmental crime) in U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Pro Bono Trial Work
Mr. Kichline has, on occasion, been appointed by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania to represent litigants on a pro bono basis, including:
Capers v. Kraynak – Won verdict at trial in favor of a prisoner alleging constitutional violations
Hatchett v. Ayers – Mr. Kichline and a colleague together won a verdict at trial in favor of a prisoner alleging constitutional violations
Temple University, B.A., 1988, Magna cum laude
Temple University Beasley School of Law, J.D., 1991, Magna cum laude, member of the Moot Court Honor Society
Supreme Court of the United States
United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
Member, Board of Trustees, Philadelphia Bar Foundation