C. Michael Heihre

Partner

Michael is a partner in the Firm’s Litigation Department.

Known for his meticulous, strategic approach to resolution of complex disputes, Michael has successfully navigated clients through their most significant legal matters.  His clients report that he is a tireless advocate, approaching every matter with an unrelenting commitment to his client and the law.  For more than forty five years, he has been called upon to serve as lead counsel in some of the most notable actions throughout the state. He has been repeatedly recognized by Best Lawyers in America® in the categories of Bet-the-Company Litigation and Commercial Litigation, among others, and Benchmark Litigation identifies him as among the Litigation Stars in Hawaiʻi.

Michael has extensive experience as a trial lawyer, arbitrator, construction adjudicator, and mediator in the resolution of disputes involving antitrust and trade regulations, business, commercial, construction, contract, financial, insurance, intellectual property, product liability, and real estate matters. He has tried numerous cases to verdict, recently securing a complete defense verdict in a four week jury trial in federal district court.

Michael’s practice has been shaped by early experiences as pro bono lead counsel in land use, zoning, evictions, and native Hawaiian rights cases in federal and state courts, where he gained a deep appreciation for the power of the law and the impact of effective legal representation that is aligned with the client’s mission, vision, and values.

Commercial and Business Litigation, Arbitration and Mediation

  • Arbitrator and mediator in commercial and business arbitrations and mediations in contract; finance; intellectual property; investment; personal injury and property damages; tort; and unfair and deceptive trade practices law.
  • Lead counsel in state and federal court litigation involving antitrust, competition, and trade practices; arbitration law; bad faith insurance practices; construction law; contract and tort claims; environmental laws; mergers and acquisitions of businesses; shareholder and derivative actions; franchises; hotel management agreements and related fiduciary duty issues; intellectual property; officers and directors; product liability; professional corporations; real estate transactions; real estate finance and development; and real estate partnerships and limited liability companies.
  • Lead counsel in state and federal court litigation involving insurance coverage for policy holders in commercial, construction, environmental, and property matters.
  • Lead counsel in state and federal litigation pertaining to land use development rights and lease disputes.
  • Lead counsel in state court litigation and mediations pertaining to securities laws and employee benefits.
  • Lead counsel in federal court litigation related to the design, financing, and development of alternative and renewable energy facilities.
  • Lead counsel in state court, federal court, and mediation proceedings pertaining to product liability actions.

Class Action Litigation

  • Lead counsel in federal court class action regarding legal malpractice and breach of fiduciary duty claims
  • Lead counsel in state court class action on insurance matters.
  • Lead counsel in state court class actions involving the sale and distribution of food products and vitamin supplements.
  • Lead counsel in putative federal court class action predicated on alleged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
  • Lead counsel in state court class action involving the sale of luxury automobiles.

Construction and Real Estate Litigation, Arbitration and Mediation

  • Arbitrator and mediator in the resolution of disputes pertaining to residential, offices, hotels, resorts, industrial, and commercial properties.
  • Lead counsel for developers, contractors, lenders, and owners in federal and state court proceedings involving the design, development, financing, construction of residential, offices, hotels, resorts, industrial, and commercial properties.

Court Annexed Arbitration Program

  • Arbitrator in more than 30 arbitrations in the Court Annexed Arbitration Program and the Pilot Project for Arbitration of Contract Cases (First Circuit Court, State of Hawaii) involving tort and contract claims.

Private Property, Government Regulation, and Takings (Government Acquisitions) Litigation

  • Lead counsel in state and federal court actions involving governmental ordinances and statutes pertaining to zoning by initiative and referendum; rent control; eminent domain (compulsory acquisition); just compensation; public use; regulatory takings (uncompensated government compulsory acquisition); and state historic preservation laws.
  • Lead counsel in federal and state court actions involving development of real property and damages; development of common interest communities and applicable covenants, conditions, and restrictions; and time share developments.
  • Lead counsel in arbitrations on the fair market value of property, calculation of fair market rent, and use restrictions for leasehold government property.
  • Lead counsel in state and federal court quiet title actions (resolution of disputes over title of property and boundaries).
  • Lead counsel in real estate valuation arbitrations for residential, commercial, industrial, resort, and golf course properties and state court litigation involving leaseholds and permits for use of property interests including submerged properties.
  • Pro bono lead counsel in land use, zoning, evictions, and native Hawaiian rights cases in federal and state courts.

Awards

  • Benchmark Litigation Guide
  • Litigation Star
  • The Best Lawyers in America®
  • Arbitration
  • Bet-the-Company Litigation
  • Commercial Litigation
  • Construction Law
  • Construction Litigation
  • Eminent Domain and Condemnation Law
  • Litigation – Construction
  • Litigation – Real Estate
  • Real Estate Law
  • 2010 Honolulu Construction Lawyer of the Year
  • 2013 Honolulu Litigation Real Estate Lawyer of the Year
  • 2015 Honolulu Eminent Domain and Condemnation Law Lawyer of the Year
  • Chambers USA™ America’s Leading Business Lawyers
  • Litigation: General Commercial (Band 1)
  • Honolulu Magazine’s Hawaii’s Best Lawyers
  • Martindale-Hubbell, AV Preeminent

Education

  • B.A., University of Hawai’i,  with Highest Honors
  • J.D., Georgetown University Law Center
  • Diploma, International Commercial Arbitration, The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators
  • Pepperdine University School of Law, Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, Advanced Mediation Skills, (21 hours of training)
  • Pepperdine University School of Law, Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, Mediating the Litigated Case (42 hours of training)
  • Kuala Lumpur Regional Centre For Arbitration, Adjudication Conversion Course)

Admissions

  • State of Hawai’i Courts
  • United States District Court for the District of Hawai’i
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • United States Supreme Court

Memberships

  • American Arbitration Association, Panel Member for Real Estate and General Business
  • American Bar Association
  • Asian International Arbitration Centre (fka Kuala Lumpur Regional Arbitration Centre), Panels of Arbitrators, Adjudicators, and Mediators
  • Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, Fellow
  • Dispute Prevention & Resolution, Inc., Panel of Neutrals (Commercial/Business, Construction/Design, Estates/Probate/Trusts, Intellectual Property, Real Property, Partnership/Corporate Law, General Civil, and Banking/Finance)
  • Federal Court Bar Association
  • Asian Institute of Alternative Dispute Resolution, Fellow
  • Hawai’i State Bar Association
  • International Bar Association
  • International Centre for Dispute Resolution (Singapore), Panel of Arbitrators.
  • Inter-Pacific Bar Association
  • Malaysian Institute of Arbitrators, Fellow
  • Malaysian Society of Adjudicators, Fellow
  • Society of Construction Lawyers (Malaysia)