Michael L. Reitzell

Attorney in Truckee, CA

Michael L. Reitzell is a trial lawyer who practices in all aspects of civil litigation. He advises and represents business clients in a variety of areas, including commercial disputes, unfair competition, antitrust, fraud, products liability and toxic torts, breach of contract, and risk management. Mr. Reitzell is very involved with the sports and recreation and hospitality industries, defending manufacturers, retail businesses, ski areas and resort operators in civil matters, with a focus on cases involving catastrophic injuries and wrongful death. He practices at both the trial and appellate levels, serving as lead counsel at trial and at mediations for Duane Morris clients. In addition to his significant litigation experience, Mr. Reitzell works closely with clients on risk management and business operations issues to prevent litigation.

In 2010, Mr. Reitzell was the recipient of the Duane Morris Pro Bono Award, which recognizes commitment to pro bono service and honors those who work to achieve equal access to justice. He has twice been appointed by the Nevada Supreme Court to handle pro bono matters before the state's highest court. Every year since 2011, Mr. Reitzell has been named a "Rising Star" in Northern California Super Lawyers magazine, which is given to only 2.5% of attorneys in the state.

Mr. Reitzell is an active member of the Defense Research Institute (DRI), where he currently serves as Vice-Chair of the Recreational Products Specialized Litigation Group and Steering Committee Member of the Products Liability Committee. He previously held several Steering Committee positions for the Young Lawyers Committee from 2004-2011, including Chair of the Annual Meeting Subcommittee.

Mr. Reitzell is a 2001 graduate of the University of California, Davis School of Law and a 1997 graduate of the University of Southern California with a B.A. in broadcast journalism.

Representative Matters

· Obtained defense decision in favor of G4S Justice Services, LLC as lead trial counsel in a business litigation action brought by the losing bidder in connection with a public safety contract to provide electronic monitoring and case management for detainees of the San Francisco Sheriff's Department. Plaintiff had sought several million dollars in damages through claims of interference with contract and prospective economic advantage. G4S was awarded its costs of suit, including expert witness fees. Achieved dismissal of five additional causes of action before trial, including a claim for unfair competition.

· Obtained an order dismissing a putative products liability class action against a major Japanese retailer filed by plaintiffs who had sought refunds and medical monitoring for alleged lead poisoning.

· Zatarain v. Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, 2010 WL 3404760 (Cal.App. 3 Dist.). Plaintiff appealed from a judgment in favor of Mammoth Mountain Ski Area after the court sustained two demurrers and ultimately struck plaintiff's amended complaint without leave to amend. Plaintiff had sought damages for claims of negligence, gross negligence, and various forms of discrimination. Mr. Reitzell argued the case before the Third District Court of Appeal, which affirmed the judgment in Mammoth's favor. The Supreme Court denied appellant's petition for review.

· Willig v. Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, 2010 WL 302436 (Cal.App. 3 Dist.). Mr. Reitzell was part of the trial and appellate teams who achieved a defense verdict in favor of a ski area after a five-week jury trial. The case involved a snowboarder who sustained injuries resulting in paraplegia. Plaintiffs sought over $10 million in damages. The verdict was upheld in a unanimous decision on appeal, with the Supreme Court denying appellants' petition for review.

· After being appointed pro bono counsel by the Nevada Supreme Court, Mr. Reitzell assisted a veteran father in obtaining a revised parenting plan for custody of his eight-year-old daughter. By reaching a settlement, the father dismissed his appeal to the Nevada Supreme Court, avoiding a lengthy appeal process and further litigation at the district court level.

· Obtained summary judgment for Mammoth Mountain Ski Area in a case involving an injured snowboarder with medical expenses exceeding $500,000. Plaintiff had signed a release of liability that Mr. Reitzell effectively argued barred any claims against the ski area. The judgment included an order awarding costs to the client and discovery sanctions against plaintiff.

· Souza v. Squaw Valley Ski Corp. (2006) 138 Cal.App.4th 262. Mr. Reitzell handled the case through discovery, summary judgment and argued the appeal before the Third District Court of Appeal in California. The Court, in a published opinion, affirmed summary judgment.

· Vine v. Bear Valley Ski Co. (2004) 118 Cal.App.4th 577. Mr. Reitzell was part of the legal team that obtained reversal of a $9.7 million verdict in a snowboard injury case. The case was retried and resulted in a defense verdict.

· Assisted in representation of a large ski resort in settling an environmental claim brought by the State of California, which had alleged Cal. Business & Professions Code §§ 17200, et seq. and CEQA violations.

· Successfully defended a major toy manufacturer in a "nonprofit" organization's unfair competition suit. The plaintiff attempted to force toy makers to contribute toward a settlement or cease their Internet sales and marketing operations two days before Christmas under the guise of the California unfair competition and false advertising laws (Business & Professions Code §§ 17200, et seq.). The trial court denied the plaintiff's application for a temporary restraining order and it ordered total dismissal of the suit (and an award of attorneys' fees) through an anti-SLAPP motion.


· Hancock Rothert & Bunshoft LLP
- Associate, 2001-2005

· Duane Morris LLP
- Special Counsel, 2011-present
- Associate, 2006-2010

Professional Activities

· Association of Ski Defense Attorneys
- Member, Board of Directors

· Defense Research Institute
- Products Liability Committee
-- Vice-Chair, Recreational Products Specialized Litigation Group
-- Former Chair, Webcasts
-- Member, Steering Committee
- Former Steering Committee Member, Young Lawyers Committee
-- Former Chair, Annual Meeting, Activities, and Substantive Liaison Subcommittees

· Tahoe-Truckee Bar Association
- Former Vice-President and Treasurer, 2007-2010

Honors and Awards

· Recipient of the Duane Morris Pro Bono Award, 2010

· Outstanding Subcommittee Chair, DRI Young Lawyers Committee, 2007-2008

· Named a "Rising Star," Northern California Super Lawyers magazine, 2011, 2012 and 2013

· Daily Journal's Top Verdicts of 2006: Willig v. Mammoth Mountain Ski Area

Civic and Charitable Activities

· Volunteer, Habitat for Humanity, "Rebuild New Orleans, Build the Future" New Orleans, Louisiana, February 2007

· Volunteer, Ronald McDonald House, Las Vegas, Nevada, February 2006

· Volunteer, Arizona Food Bank, Phoenix, Arizona, February 2008


· Co-author, "California Supreme Court Issues Key Ruling on Protection of Witness Statements," Duane Morris Alert, June 27, 2012

· Featured in "And the Defense Wins," DRI's The Voice, March 7, 2012

· Author, "'All We Want Are the (Material) Facts, Ma'am,' Focus on the Material Facts for a Successful Motion for Summary Judgment," For The Defense, August 2009

· Author, Punitive Damages: A State-by-State Compendium, Nevada Chapter, The DRI Defense Library Series, August 2009

· Author, Product Liability Compendium: Warnings, Instructions, and Recalls, Nevada Chapter, The DRI Defense Library Series, September 2012

· Author, Product Liability Cases and the Duty to Warn: A 50 State Compendium, Nevada Chapter, The DRI Defense Library Series, December 2007

· Co-Author, "Counseling Clients in Extreme Sports and High-Risk Activities," Entertainment and Media Law Client Strategies: Leading Lawyers on Case Strategies, Exceeding Client Expectations, and Negotiating Deals (Inside the Minds), Aspatore Books, October 2007

· Author, "How We Almost Lost Our Blackberries... Well, Not Really," For The Defense, June 2006

· Author, Unfair Trade Practice Compendium, Nevada Chapter,The DRI Defense Library Series, December 2005

· Co-Author, Tort Reform and You - Perfect Together?, DRI Annual Meeting Course Materials, October 2004

Speaking Engagements

· "Social Media 3.0-The Certainties and Uncertainties in the Law," Association of Ski Defense Attorneys Annual Seminar, Deer Valley, Utah, February 24, 2013

· "Social Media 2.0-The Ever Changing Landscape in the Legal World," Association of Ski Defense Attorneys Annual Seminar, Whistler, British Columbia, March 4, 2012

· "Using Social Media as a Litigation Tool," Association of Ski Defense Attorneys Annual Seminar, Sun Valley, Idaho, March 8, 2011

· "Hot off the Presses: Product Liability Case Law Update," sponsored by the Defense Research Institute's Products Liability Seminar, Las Vegas, Nevada, April 8, 2010

· "Best Approaches To Advising Clients On How To Handle Electronically Stored Information Before Litigation," Association of Ski Defense Attorneys Annual Seminar, Beaver Creek, Colorado, March 1, 2009

· "The Dude Factor: Preparing the Unprepared Witness," sponsored by the Defense Research Institute's Young Lawyers Seminar, Orlando, Florida, June 6, 2008

· "Taking a Byte Out of E-Discovery: How to Advise Your Clients Before Problems Arise," sponsored by the Defense Research Institute's Products Liability Seminar, New Orleans, Louisiana, February 7, 2007

· "Getting the Judge to Toss Your Product - Winning Strategies & Arguments for Summary Judgment," sponsored by the Defense Research Institute's Products Liability Seminar, Las Vegas, Nevada, February 8, 2006

· "A Wild Ride in 2003: The Year in Review of Recreational Products Liability Cases and Reports," sponsored by the Defense Research Institute's Products Liability Seminar, Recreational Products Specialized Litigation Group Meeting, New Orleans, Louisiana, February 12, 2004

+1 530 550 2050
Client Rating N/A help_info
Submit a client review

Peer Rating N/A help_info

Areas of Law

  • Trial Practice
  • Insurance
  • Insurance Coverage
  • Risk Management
  • Reinsurance
  • Products Liability
  • Sports Law
  • Ski Area Liability


Experience & Credentials


Special Counsel

Admission Details

Admitted in 2001, California
2005, Nevada
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
U.S. District Court for the Central District of California
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California
U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada
Supreme Court of the United States

Law School Attended

University of California, Davis School of Law
Class of 2001

University Attended

University of Southern California
Class of 1997

Birth Information

Born in 1976

Associations & Memberships

American Bar Association; Bar Association of San Francisco; Nevada State Bar (Member, Young Lawyers Executive Council); Tahoe-Truckee Bar Association (Former Vice-President and Treasurer, 2... More

Contact Information


+1 530 550 2050


+1 530 550 8619


Send email to Michael L. Reitzell

Office Information
Michael L. Reitzell
Special Counsel
 11149 Brockway Road, Suite 100,
Truckee, CA 96161-2213

Maintains an office in multiple locations

About Client Rating
About Peer Rating

Welcome to Martindale-Hubbell® Client Review, a new ratings service that allows you to view and provide feedback on a lawyer or law firm on service and relationship qualities such as Communication Ability, Responsiveness, Quality of Service, and Value for Money.

Determining a Rating

The Client Review Rating is determined through aggregation of validated responses. This compilation of Client Reviews translates to a numerical rating and associate descriptive term on a scale of 1 -5. 1 being lowest as "Rated" and 5 being highest as "Preeminent".

  • 4.5-5.0 Preeminent
  • 3.0-4.4 Distinguished
  • 1-2.9 Rated

Martindale-Hubbell uses a third-party resource to validate that the respondent is a living person, but cannot confirm the lawyer/client relationship, which in many cases is confidential. Clients must affirm that they are a client of the lawyer or firm identified for review at the time of the completed Client Review.

The Reviewers

Those who complete Client Reviews are clients of law firms who hired a lawyer within the last year, whose matter is not pending, and want to share their experience of that lawyer or law firm with other potential clients. Reviewers can be of any type from in-house counsel, corporate executives, small business owners to private individuals, and even sometimes another lawyer in a different jurisdiction.


Client Reviews are anonymous and reviewers' identities are not published; however a summary of basic demographics will be part of the display of responses.

Why do we collect demographics as part of the review?

Those who are researching a lawyer or law firm like to see that there are other clients who might be "like them". This is valuable information contributing to the decision-making process of hiring a lawyer.

Martindale-Hubbell's role

Martindale-Hubbell facilitates the process of Client Review by gathering responses, validating them and aggregating results for display online. The content of the responses are entirely from reviewers, the clients of the firm or lawyer.

It is important to note that Martindale-Hubbell does not undertake to develop Client Reviews for all firms and lawyers. Therefore, the fact that a firm or lawyer has not been reviewed should not be construed unfavorably. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome and Martindale-Hubbell accepts no responsibility for the content or accuracy of any review over which Martindale-Hubbell exercises no editorial review or control.