Picture of Michael J. deBarros

Michael J. deBarros


Mike deBarros is the leader of Kean Miller’s Insurance Coverage and Recovery practice group. Mike represents insureds in obtaining the insurance coverage they purchased and bargained for. He defends the rights of Fortune 500 companies and local businesses faced with insurance disputes.

Mike has handled hundreds of Texas and Louisiana insurance matters involving commercial general liability (CGL), directors and officers liability (D&O), employment practices liability (EPLI), fiduciary liability, pollution liability (PLL), crime, builder’s risk, commercial property, errors and omissions (E&O), and cyber/privacy insurance policies. He litigates and negotiates business-critical verdicts and settlements – often in excess of a million dollars.

From pursuing insurance carriers for failure to pay, to litigating settlements within stated policy limits, Mike has collectively recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for his clients. He brings veteran know-how to enforcing policyholder rights under a wide variety of insurance policies.

Mike’s knowledge of Texas and Louisiana insurance law makes him a go-to advisor in the region. Mike helped “write the book” on insurance law. He is the author of the Louisiana and Florida chapters of the ABA's Reasonable Expectations: Interpreting Insurance Policies in Common Law Jurisdictions, and a co-author of the ABA’s The Reference Handbook on the Commercial General Liability Policy. Moreover, Mike’s familiarity with the major carriers often results in his ability to anticipate their next move and then leverage that position as the catalyst for his client’s win.

Mike also drafts a full array of insurance provisions – designed to keep his clients away from potential disputes. He negotiates client insurance provisions and contracts with vendors, property owners, and other service providers. In everything he does, Mike is appreciated for being hyper-efficient in conserving client resources and bringing significant value to his clients.

In addition to his insurance coverage practice, Mike represents trustees, succession representatives, businesses, owners, directors, and officers in a variety of commercial disputes, including trust and estate matters and antitrust, RICO, and shareholder derivative lawsuits.

Representative Experience
  • Obtained $30+ million under CGL and pollution liability policies for sinkhole-related losses
  • Obtained $25+ million in coverage for a Fortune 500 company for insurers under general liability policies for injuries sustained by plant workers and contractors after a plant explosion
  • Obtained $10+ million in indemnity and defense payments for an energy company from its contractors and their insurers for injuries arising from a well blowout
  • Obtained $7.6+ million in insurance proceeds for one of the world's largest outdoor advertising companies for hurricane-related property damage, business interruption losses, attorneys fees, court costs, and bad faith damages
  • Obtained $5+ million in insurance proceeds for client for water damage caused to hotel by defective construction
  • Obtained $1.8+ million from insurers of industrial product manufacturer for on-site injury
  • Obtained $1.5+ million in defense and indemnity payments from an insurer under D&O policy on behalf of a former CEO who was accused in engaging in various wrongful acts
  • Obtained $1.5+ million for an insured for Hurricane Ida losses in less than one month after being hired
  • Obtained $600,000+ in insurance for client for damage to pre-engineered metal building
  • Obtained $200,000+ for clients under a cyber and privacy liability policy for funds wired during phishing scam
  • Obtained a favorable settlement for a Texas insured against its insurer in a lawsuit filed by its insurance company to rescind the insurance policy for misrepresentations
  • Obtained summary judgement against an insurer for bad faith failure to pay claims pursuant to La. R.S. 22:1892
  • Briefed and obtained a landmark ruling from the Louisiana Supreme Court that an insured’s cause of action for “bad faith” against its insurer under Louisiana law is subject to a 10-year prescriptive (statute of limitations) period. See Smith v. Citadel Ins. Co., 2019-00052 (La. 10/22/19); 285 So. 3d 1062.
  • Briefed, argued, and obtained a landmark ruling from the Louisiana Supreme Court expanding an insured’s bad faith causes of action against its insurer. See Kelly v. State Farm Fire & Cas. Co., 14-1921 (La. 5/5/15); 169 So. 3d 328.
  • Obtained a favorable settlement for a local port commission after obtaining summary judgment that the port commission was an "additional insured" under contractor's CGL policy
  • Obtained a favorable settlement for one of the nation's largest agricultural formulators and distributors after defeating an insurer's motion for summary judgment claiming there was no insurable "property damage" to the rice crops
  • Obtained a ruling that D&O and EPL insurer owed a duty to defend a national seasoning manufacturer against claims by one of its co-owners
  • Obtained a favorable settlement under CGL and PLL polices for releases of untreated wastewater from a wastewater treatment facility
  • Obtained dismissal of all claims made by an insurance company against one of the nation’s top insurance brokers against an insurer’s claims for defense and indemnity
  • Persuaded the court to reject the (nearly always applied) manifestation trigger theory in construction defect claims under CGL policies 
  • Argued and obtained dismissal of a civil RICO suit alleging over $300,000 in damages
  • LSU Law Center, J.D., cum laude, 2009
    • Secretary, Intellectual Property Law Association
    • Member, Black American Law Students Association
  • Louisiana State University, B.S., 2005
  • Louisiana
  • Texas
  • All United States District Courts in Louisiana
  • United States District Court for the Southern and Eastern Districts of Texas
  • United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit
  • President, Wex S. Malone American Inn of Court
  • Member, Tort Trial and Insurance Coverage Litigation Committee, American Bar Association
  • Member, Baton Rouge Bar Association
  • Member, Louisiana State Bar Association
  • Member, Federal Bar Association
  • Member, Constitutional Court Clerks’ Alumni Association
Articles, Publications and Presentations
  • "Rising Star," Louisiana Super Lawyers, 2018-2019
Community Service
  • Board of Directors, Baton Rouge Green (2020-Present)
  • Past Member, Board of Directors, Big Buddy Program
  • Founding members, Crawfish King Cook-Off
  • Jambalaya Cook benefitting Capital Area United Way
Super Lawyers
Michael Debarros Super Lawyers