Picture of Michael J. deBarros

Michael J. deBarros

Partner

Michael deBarros is a partner in the Baton Rouge office of Kean Miller. Michael assists insureds in obtaining insurance coverage from insurers in a wide variety of coverage disputes. He has represented clients in obtaining coverage under first-party commercial property insurance policies for losses arising from hurricanes, floods, and rain. He has also represented clients in obtaining coverage under commercial general liability (CGL), cyber and privacy, directors and officers liability (D&O), employment practices liability (EPLI), fiduciary liability, environmental impairment liability/pollution liability (EIL/PLL), crime, and builder's risk insurance policies. Michael is a member of the ABA Tort Trial and Insurance Coverage Litigation Committee, 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.”

Michael also represents businesses, owners, directors, and officers in a variety of commercial disputes, including antitrust, RICO, and shareholder derivative lawsuits.

Prior to joining the firm, Michael clerked for Judge Ralph E. Tyson at the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana and Justice Nkabinde at South Africa’s highest Court. Michael also externed for Justice John L. Weimer at the Louisiana Supreme Court.

Michael is listed as a Rising Star by Louisiana Super Lawyers 2018 - 2019.

Representative Experience
  • Obtained over $30,000,000 under CGL and pollution liability policies for sinkhole-related losses.
  • Obtained over $25,000,000 in coverage for a Fortune 500 company from insurers under general liability policies for injuries sustained by plant workers and contractors after a plant explosion.
  • Obtained over $10,000,000 in indemnity and defense payments for an energy company from its contractors and their insurers for injuries arising from a well blowout. 
  • Obtained over $5,500,000 in insurance proceeds for one of the world's largest outdoor advertising companies for hurricane-related property damage and business interruption losses.
  • Obtained over $1,800,000 from insurers of industrial product manufacturer for on-site injury.
  • Obtained over $1,500,000 in defense and indemnity payments from insurer under D&O policy for a former CEO who was improperly accused of engaging in various wrongful acts. 
  • Obtained over $200,000 for client under a cyber and privacy liability policy for funds wired during phishing scam. 
  • Obtained penalties, attorneys' fees, and costs for an insured on summary judgment for an insurer's "bad faith" failure to pay property damage claims and make written offers to settle.
  • 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 rice crops.
  • Obtained a ruling that Directors and Officers Liability (D&O) and Employment Practices Liability (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 a defense for a global Fortune 500 company under an Employment Practices Liability (EPL) insurance policy.
  • Represented one of the nation’s top insurance brokers against an insurer’s claims for defense and indemnity. 
  • Persuaded a 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. 
Education

Michael received his B.S. in Business Administration from Louisiana State University in 2005. He received his J.D., cum laude, in 2009 from the LSU Law Center where he served as secretary of the Intellectual Property Law Association and was a member of the Black American Law Students Association.

Admissions
  • Admitted, Louisiana, 2009 and Texas, 2011; All United States District Courts in Louisiana; United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas; United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit
Memberships
  • Baton Rouge, Louisiana State, and Federal Bar Associations; Wex S. Malone American Inn of Court; Constitutional Court Clerks' Alumni Association
Articles, Publications and Presentations
Community Service
  • Board of Directors, Baton Rouge Green (2020-Present)
  • Past Board of Directors, Big Buddy Program
Super Lawyers
Michael Debarros Super Lawyers