Michael J. Marinello
Office: (410) 216-7900
Fax: (410) 705-0836
Michael J. Marinello is an experienced litigator at both the trial and appellate levels representing businesses and individuals in complex civil litigation, while also serving as a trusted advisor to individual clients and outside general counsel for small to mid-size companies. As a veteran himself, he also routinely handles military and veteran matters, including military criminal defense.
Mr. Marinello knows that, for some clients, engaging a lawyer for representation in legal matters – particularly litigation – can be an intimidating and daunting experience. For other clients, working with lawyers may be more familiar or even common. In either case, Mr. Marinello takes pride in understanding and internalizing each client’s particular needs and in providing honest, efficient, and cost-effective solutions. Knowing that litigation is typically an avenue of last resort, he works diligently to tailor his advice and counsel to help his clients avoid disputes altogether and, whenever possible, to resolve disputes effectively and efficiently prior to actual litigation. When litigation is necessary, however, Mr. Marinello zealously represents the best interests of his clients to maximize their success and obtain the best possible outcome – whether that be through a negotiated settlement, court judgment, jury verdict, or on appeal.
As a litigator, Mr. Marinello’s experience includes extensive representation of plaintiffs and defendants alike before state and federal courts (trial and appellate), government agencies, commercial arbitrators, and neutral mediators. On behalf of both individual and company clients, he routinely litigates all facets of business and other complex civil disputes, including direct claims and derivative suits for breach of contract, tortious interference with contracts or prospective business, business disparagement, fraud, successor liability, labor and wage claims, IP and trade secret disputes, breach of fiduciary duties, violation of covenants not to compete/solicit, and other business torts. As these matters frequently arise on an emergency basis, Mr. Marinello often assists his clients in obtaining or defending temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions, followed by permanent injunctions, as well as obtaining and defending against confessed judgments.
As a result of his litigation experience, Mr. Marinello is particularly well-suited to serve as an advisor to individual clients and as outside general counsel company clients. Understanding the pitfalls of drafting documents and what can lead to litigation enables Mr. Marinello to anticipate possible issues, advise his clients accordingly, and work to minimize and prevent the possibility of litigation in the first place. With this perspective Mr. Marinello routinely counsels and assists individuals and small to mid-size companies with all aspects of business transactions, contracts, employment matters, investigations, fiduciary and estate issues, and other business and complex civil matters, including: business ownership; the creation, organization, and financing of new companies; employment/consulting/contractor agreements; non-competition and non-solicitation agreements; confidentiality agreements; trust agreements and estate planning documents; loan agreements and promissory notes; guarantees; and commercial business transactions such as teaming agreements, joint ventures, asset sales and purchase agreements, license agreements, and other business deals. In addition, Mr. Marinello has substantial experience with compliance matters and sensitive, complex investigations, whether undertaken by outside government agencies or internally by company management.
Prior to entering private practice, Mr. Marinello served 14 years on active duty in the U.S. Navy, including seven years with the Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps. During his time in the JAG Corps, Mr. Marinello built the foundation of his litigation and general counsel experience. As a prosecutor, he prosecuted dozens of criminal cases, including numerous contested trials for rape, aggravated assault, and other violent crimes, as well as larceny, fraud, child pornography, and distribution of narcotics. As a civil litigator, Mr. Marinello represented and defended the Navy and its officials in a wide range of matters, such as wrongful discharge claims, military pay claims, disability and discrimination suits, constitutional torts, and Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act matters. He routinely worked side-by-side with Assistant U.S. Attorneys and other Department of Justice attorneys in U.S. District Courts and Courts of Appeals throughout the country, as well as the Court of Federal Claims.
In addition to litigating for the Navy, Mr. Marinello gained significant experience counseling clients during his time as a JAG. He served as the deputy general counsel to the Admiral responsible for the Navy’s Mid-Atlantic Region (covering all naval bases from Virginia to Maine) and general counsel to the commanding officer of Naval Station Norfolk, the Navy’s largest naval base. He also served as general counsel to the Commandant of Midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy, where he advised the Commandant and his staff on criminal investigations and courts-martial, Midshipmen discipline and discharge proceedings, civil litigation matters, government ethics, Congressional inquiries, public relations, and claims against the government.
Prior to becoming a judge advocate, Mr. Marinello served in the Navy as a Surface Warfare Officer in various positions onboard two warships in San Diego, California. He continues to serve as a Commander in the Naval Reserves.
Mr. Marinello and his family are residents of Annapolis, where they are actively involved in local school functions, athletic organizations, and other community events.
LL.M. in Litigation & Dispute Resolution, With Highest Honors, George Washington University Law School, 2012
J.D., Cum Laude, University of Maryland School of Law, 2006
B.S., With Merit, U.S. Naval Academy , 1999
District of Columbia
U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland
U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
U.S. Court of Federal Claims
U.S. Supreme Court
- Secured complete defense verdict following 21-day jury trial in Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County for business client against plaintiff’s claims for misappropriation of trade secrets under Maryland’s Uniform Trade Secrets Act, tortious interference with contracts, tortious interference with business relations, fraud, conversion, conspiracy and unfair competition. Plaintiff was seeking upwards of $21 million in total damages, but the jury found no liability on all counts.
- BMW of Annapolis, et al. v. BMW of North America, LLC, Case No. 02-CV-15-002872, Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County. Obtained jury verdict and damages in favor of BMW of Annapolis and its parent companies for a negligence claim against BMW of North America, LLC seeking recovery of damages sustained as a result of a vehicle fire.
- The Depot, LLC v. Board of License Commissioners for Anne Arundel County, Case No. 204, September Term 2016, Maryland Court of Special Appeals. Represented business applicant for Class A Beer Wine and Liquor license on appeal to the Court of Special Appeals after denial of the license for the Anne Arundel liquor board and denial of judicial review by the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County. Secured reversal of the Board’s decision and remand of the application to the Board as a result of the Board’s failure to follow statutory procedures, arbitrary application of the law, and insufficient findings of fact made by the Board.
- Represented one of three individual members of limited liability company before the American Arbitration Association against claims for breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, accounting and access to books and records, and other claims following a failed buy-out of the dissenting member. Successfully negotiated settlement resolving all claims.
- Bolt Sports Supply, LLC v. Schuster, et al., Case No. 24-C-17-001346, Circuit Court for Baltimore City. Represented company client against former employee and the former employee’s new employer for claims of breach of contract, misappropriation of trade secrets, breach of fiduciary duty and/or duty of loyalty, tortious interference with contracts, conversion, fraud, specific performance, declaratory relief, and injunctive relief. Successfully obtained consent order prohibiting the former employee from competing against company client or soliciting client customers and enforcing confidentiality of client’s business information.
- Spaw LLC v. City of Annapolis, Case No. 02-C-13-181644, Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County; Case No. 2, September Term 2016, Maryland Court of Appeals. Represented Annapolis property owner on appeal to the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County in the defense of citations issued by the City of Annapolis and Historic Preservation Commission. After the entry of summary judgment by the Circuit Court, successfully petitioned for a writ of certiorari in the Court of Appeals.
- Hughes v. Immediate Response Technologies, Inc, et al., Case No. 1:14-CV-1699, U.S. District Court for Eastern District of Virginia; Case No. 15-1973, U.S. Court of Appeals for Fourth Circuit. Obtained pre-discovery summary judgment in favor of company client against claims by the former CEO/President of predecessor company seeking roughly $7 million in damages. Briefed, argued, and obtained complete affirmance of district court’s summary judgment on appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
- DuCote, et al. v. DuCote, et al., Case No. 02-CV-15-001612, Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County. Represented the grantor and co-trustee of a $1.1 million irrevocable trust. Successfully defeated a motion to dismiss the case based on jurisdiction and obtained temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction removing other co-trustee who was alleged to have misappropriated funds from the trust. Successfully negotiated settlement resolving all claims.
- Prince George’s County. v. Immediate Response Technologies, LLC, Case No. CAL 15-09299, Circuit Court for Prince George’s County. Defended company client in a tax collection suit filed by Prince George’s County. Efficiently resolved the matter by successfully arguing for the State Department of Assessments and Taxation to revise its records with respect to client’s tax exemption and then clearing the alleged tax deficiency with the County.
- BRE/Mars Property Owner LLC v. Immediate Response Technologies, LLC, Case No. 399M15, District Court of Maryland for Prince George’s County. Successfully defended company client in a landlord-tenant action alleging more than $275,000 in unpaid rent. Secured complete dismissal of the claims against the company.
- HDT Expeditionary Systems, Inc. v. Immediate Response Technologies, LLC, et al., Case No. CV 14 833936, Court of Common Pleas, Cuyahoga County, Ohio. Represented company client against an alleged creditor in Ohio state court, defending claims for breach of contract, alter ego, successor liability, and fraudulent conveyance. Filed motion to dismiss based on lack of jurisdiction and facilitated efficient settlement for less than half of the damages alleged by the Ohio creditor company.
- EMS Innovations, Inc. v. Immediate Response Technologies, LLC, Case No. CAL 14-01478, Circuit Court for Prince George’s County. Defended company client against claims for declaratory judgment, breach of contract, unjust enrichment and rescission of contract. Filed counterclaims against the plaintiff for declaratory judgment, breach of contract and detrimental reliance and facilitated efficient settlement in client’s favor.
- McElroy v. Action Products, Inc., et al., Case No. 21-C-12-044601 (Consolidated), Circuit Court for Washington County. Represented the estate of the inventor of a trade secret chemical polymer used exclusively by the company he created in various medical products applications pursuant to a royalty agreement, generating annual revenues upwards of $20 million. The complex litigation involved the estate’s claims for breach of the royalty agreement, detrimental reliance, declaratory judgment, injunctive relief, misappropriation of trade secrets and other claims, as well as complicated counterclaims filed by the company against the estate. Obtained early summary judgment dismissing all counterclaims, facilitating successful, comprehensive and valuable global settlement for our client.
- McElroy v. Witt, Case No. 21-C-12-042933, Circuit Court for Washington County. Represented the estate of decedent in a claim for repayment of a $100,000 loan. Obtained summary judgment in favor of individual client in the amount of approximately $130,000. Represented the client on appeal before the Maryland Court of Special Appeals until the case was resolved as part of a global settlement with other litigation involving the estate.
- Represented and served as outside general counsel to successful Annapolis-based private equity firm, counseling and assisting the firm with corporate organization and compliance, formation of new entities, employment matters, contracts and document drafting and review, transactions between entities, facilitation of financing, and various other matters.
- Pepco v. A Thru Z Striping, LLC, Case Nos. 2015 CA 004936B and 2015 CA 004749B, Superior Court for the District of Columbia. Represented the company in two cases filed by Pepco for claims of negligence and violations of the D.C. Underground Facilities Protection Act as a result of damages caused by the company’s subcontractor.
- Nexterior Commercial Services, Inc. v. A Thru Z Striping, LLC, 02-CV-15-002355, Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County. Currently defending the company against claims for breach of contract and unjust enrichment.
- Petroleum Management, Inc. v. Bettencourt, Case No. 02-C-14-187795, Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County. Represented former corporate officer of Petroleum Management, Inc., defending against claims for conversion of corporate property, negligent breach of fiduciary duty, tortious interference and misappropriation of trade secrets. Successfully negotiated settlement for roughly 10% of the damages alleged by the plaintiff.
- Johnson, Mirmiran & Thompson, Inc. v. BZ Technologies, LLC, Case No. 02-CV-12-174011, Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County. Represented federal civil engineering contractor against claims filed by large sub-contractor. Successfully settled the case for less than half of the damages alleged by the sub-contractor.
- Represented the purchaser of a prototype yacht valued at approximately $2.8 million. Drafted and prepared complex and comprehensive “New Yacht Purchase Agreement,” incorporating sophisticated provisions pertaining to new construction vessels.
- Represented the inventor and designer of leading infant teething product line, providing advice and counsel with respect to product liability, sufficiency of warning labels, trademarks, corporate organizational matters, and subsequent purchase agreement.
- Represented the owners of a franchise donut/coffee shop before the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights, defending the company and its owners against claims of discrimination and harassment. Obtained a finding of no probable cause and complete dismissal of the allegations.
- Represented the owner of a tax sale certificate for a premier waterfront property on the Severn River valued at approximately $4 million. Retained as counsel following the client’s first level of appeal and prepared complex petition to the Maryland Court of Appeals.
- Conducted emergency, internal investigation for prominent local private school into allegations against a teacher involving inappropriate contact with students and drug use. Assisted the school with termination of the teacher and subsequent public relations/communications.
- Represented and assisted cutting-edge government contracts consultant with developing long-term, lucrative consulting agreement involving complex provisions pertaining to Federal government’s covenant against contingencies fees in the Federal Acquisition Regulations.
- Estate of Donald S. Laycock, et al. v. Rich Morton’s Lincoln-Mercury, Inc., et al., Case No. C-14-186742, Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County. Represented heirs of decedent and filed suit for breach of contract and anticipatory breach of contract related to decedent’s stock purchase agreement. Secured settlement for more than 80% of heirs’ alleged damages.
- Represented executive recruitment company and its owner, defending pre-litigation claims for violation of the Maryland Wage Payment and Collection Act. Achieved settlement for less than half of the damages alleged against the company.
- Conducted sensitive, internal investigation for Fort Meade based government contractor into allegations of sexual harassment by a poor-performing employee. Assisted the company with assessment of the employee’s allegations, reprimand of the alleged offender employee, and subsequent termination of the complainant. Provided advice and counsel to the company with respect to communications and relations with Federal government agencies regarding the allegations and assisted in preserving the company’s valuable government contract.
- Estefany Chavez-Franco, et al. v. Prompt Restoration, Inc., et al., Case No. 1:14-CV-00294, U.S. District Court for District of Maryland. Represented and defended disaster restoration and reconstruction company against purported class action claims for violations of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and Maryland wage laws. Successfully prevented class action certification and settled the case with the two named plaintiffs for a fraction of the alleged damages.
- Harford Bank v. Stoer, et al., Case No. 02-C-13-183579, Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County. Represented two minority shareholders of a therapeutic products and drug development company who had personally guaranteed the company’s $1.75 million line of credit. Successfully moved to vacate confessed judgment entered against the minority shareholders and negotiated a settlement on their behalf for a fraction of the confessed judgment amount.
Board of Trustees, Anne Arundel Bar Association
Member, American Bar Association
Member, Federal Bar Association
Member, Maryland State Bar Association
Member, Judge Advocates Association
Board Member, U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association, Annapolis Chapter
Organizer, Service Academy Business Professionals
Board of Directors, Navy Youth Hockey
Board of Directors, Broadneck Hockey Club
AV Preeminent®, Martindale-Hubbell
Rising Star, Maryland Super Lawyers (Business Litigation)
Leading Lawyer, What’s Up? Annapolis (Military Law)