Michael L. Rich

Rich, Michael

Principal Morristown, NJ

Expand all

Michael L. Rich represents clients in business and commercial disputes and litigation, with particular expertise handling Chancery litigation disputes. His practice includes shareholder and partnership break-ups, director and officer liability claims, restrictive covenant litigation, trade secret misappropriation, unfair competition, employment law/litigation, trust and estate litigation, and other contractual/business tort disputes. He also chairs the firm's Real Estate practice group, handling real estate litigation, construction disputes, and commercial foreclosures. 

Michael has successfully litigated matters before federal and state courts (both trial and appellate), arbitration panels, and administrative tribunals. Clients, large and small, turn to him for his unique combination of experience, problem-solving abilities, thorough preparation, and deep commitment to serving his clients' interests.

Michael also has served with distinction as a mediator and arbitrator in corporate/commercial, employment and probate litigation matters, and is listed on the roster of Mediators for New Jersey's Statewide Mediation Program for Civil, General Equity, and Probate cases.

Prior Relevant Experience
  • Dillon, Bitar & Luther, L.L.C., Morristown, New Jersey: Partner (1990-2006), Associate (1984-1989)
Opinions, Decisions and Cases
  • Obtained multi-million dollar buy-out on behalf of shareholder in Oppressed Minority Shareholder action.
  • Successfully defended an international engineering and environment services firm in a commercial lease dispute where the owner was claiming oral modification of the parties' lease agreement, which would have committed the client to a $5 million additional obligation. Following a two and a half week trial, the jury unanimously returned a "no cause verdict" in the client's favor.
  • Co-counsel in connection with successful defense of 11 consolidated shareholder class action lawsuits involving a $27 million corporate merger.
  • Won multi-million dollar judgment and class action settlement on behalf of an ERISA pension plan resulting in restoration of funds looted by prior plan fiduciaries and their cohorts.
  • Won multi-million dollar arbitration award on behalf of principal of international architectural/engineering firm in connection with his separation from the company.
  • Won temporary restraints, injunctive relief and damages on behalf of employer for former employee's violation of non-compete agreement and breach of duty of loyalty.
  • Successfully defended corporate and individual clients against charges of trade secret misappropriation.
  • Successfully handled liquidation of large portfolios of defaulted commercial loans for major bank and a private hedge fund.
  • Won multi-million dollar judgment on behalf of commercial real estate brokers for unpaid commissions owed to them.
  • Won summary judgment resulting in early dismissal from action of clients, outside directors of a parent corporation, who were joined in director and officer liability suit by the New Jersey Department of Insurance.
  • Obtained preliminary and permanent injunctive relief and damages for client in trademark infringement action in federal court.
  • Successfully represented owner in suit against builder for faulty construction.
  • Successfully mediated a variety of complex commercial, employment and probate disputes.
  • Frequently cited published decisions in which victorious include Gerardi v. Pelullo, 16 F.3d 1363 (3d Cir. 1994) and Meadox Medicals, Inc. v. Life Systems, Inc., 3 F. Supp. 2d 549 (D.N.J. 1998).
Honors and Awards

No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. 

  • Recognized in Best Lawyers in America, Litigation - Commercial Litigation (2010 - 2022), Litigation - Labor & Employment (2012 - 2022), Litigation - Real Estate (2012 - 2022).
    A description of the selection process can be found here.
  • Recognized in Who's Who Legal Litigation, 2020.
    A description of the selection process can be found here.
  • Recognized in New Jersey Super Lawyers Top 100, 2018; New Jersey Super Lawyers List, Business Litigation, 2005 – 2021.
    A description of the selection process can be found here.
  • Recognized as a Marquis Who's Who Lifetime Award Winner, 2017; and Marquis Who's Who in American Law.
  • Recognized in National Register's Who's Who in Executives and Professionals.
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent Peer Review Rating, its highest rating.
    A description of the selection process can be found here.
  • Morris County Bar Association, Trustee, 2005–2009; Chancery Practice Committee, Member 2001 - present, Chair 2003-2015.
  • New Jersey State Bar Association, Equity Jurisprudence Special Committee (appointed member); Civil Trial Bar Section; Labor & Employment Section.
  • American Bar Association
  • Association of Trial Lawyers of America (American Association for Justice)
  • New Jersey Association for Justice
  • Morris Educational Foundation, Trustee, 2012 - 2016.
  • Employment Horizons, Trustee, 2000–2008.
  • New Jersey Housing Authority, Commissioner, Morris County, 1991–1997 (Gubernatorial Appointment).
Speaking Engagements
  • "Cross-Examination and Redirect – Focus on Experts and Evidence", NBI Advanced Trial Tactics Seminar, Toms River, NJ, December 19, 2018.
  • "Voir Dire and Jury Selection Strategies" and "Cross-Examination and Redirect – Focus on Experts and Evidence", NBI Advanced Trial Tactics Seminar, Toms River, NJ, December 20, 2016.
  • "Top 5 in Business Torts," New Jersey Association of Justice Boardwalk Seminar® 2015, Atlantic City, NJ, April 30, 2015.
  • "Business Valuation Roundtable: The Business Divorce," New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants, Roseland, NJ, April 21, 2015.
  • "Business Divorce – The Issues, The Drama, The Tax," Hamilton, NJ, November 18, 2014; Iselin, NJ, November 17, 2014 and Randolph, NJ, August 6, 2014.
  • Moderator, "Small Business Breakups – Avoiding a Repeat of the French Revolution," NJSBA Mid-Year Meeting, Paris, France, November 3, 2014.
  • "Top 5 in Business Torts," New Jersey Association of Justice Boardwalk Seminar® 2014, Atlantic City, NJ May 1, 2014.
  • "Making the Right Moves When Signing Employment Agreements: A Primer," SUNY College of Optometry, New York City, April 3, 2013.
  • "Real Estate and Environmental Breakfast Roundtable - The Comeback: Starting the Conversation, Porzio, Bromberg & Newman P.C., June 6, 2012.
  • “Top 10 for 2010 – A Discussion of the Ten Most Relevant Court Decisions for Labor, Employment and Immigration Practitioners for 2010,” NJSBA 2010 Mid-Year Meeting, Scottsdale, AZ, November 6, 2010.
  • Moderator, “Recent Developments in Restrictive Covenant Litigation, Probate Litigation and Related Topics,” Morris/Sussex Bench Bar Conference, Chancery Division, General Equity Breakout Session, October 22, 2010.
  • "State of Foreclosures: Finding Creative Solutions," Breakfast Briefing for Lenders on New Jersey Economic Climate: A Glimpse at Impact on Commercial Real Estate Loans, Foreclosures, Workouts and Bankruptcies, October 23, 2009.
  • Moderator, “Overview of Chancery Practice Including a Mock Order to Show Cause Involving a Non-Compete Among Doctors,” MCBA Chancery Practice Seminar, June 16, 2005.
  • “Overview of Chancery Practice and Emergent Applications in Restrictive Covenant Litigation,” MCBA Chancery Practice Seminar, May 14, 2003.



Related Media

Bar Admissions

  • New Jersey, 1984
  • United States District Court, District of New Jersey, 1984
  • United States Supreme Court, 1989
  • United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit, 1993


American University, Washington College of Law, Washington, D.C., J.D., cum laude, 1984

  • Washington College of Law Honor Society

Gettysburg College, Gettysburg, PA, B.A., magna cum laude, 1981

  • Phi Beta Kappa

Contact Address

100 Southgate Parkway

Morristown, NJ 07962-1997

Phone: 973.538.4006

Fax: 973.538.5146