Michael S. Catlett, Partner


Michael S. Catlett is a partner and trial and appellate litigator at Quarles & Brady. He assists his clients in prosecuting and defending complex litigation matters in state and federal courts across the country.

Mike's national commercial litigation practice focuses on class action defense of consumer protection, RICO, and securities claims and professional liability defense of tort, contract, and malpractice claims. He represents direct sales and multi-level marketing companies in state and federal regulatory compliance matters, as well as complex commercial litigation disputes, including class actions.

Mike also represents financial institutions in bringing deficiency actions and enforcing judgments, including through fraudulent transfer claims, and in defending against lender liability and other tort claims. Finally, Mike has successfully briefed and argued appeals in both the state and federal appellate courts.

Professional liability experience:

  • Obtaining dismissal of RICO claims in a $100 million malpractice lawsuit against a large law firm arising from a complex tax shelter. The dismissal later resulted in a favorable settlement for the client.
  • Obtaining summary judgment on fiduciary duty claims asserted against a national bank arising from its role as escrow agent.
  • Successfully prosecuted claims for breach of fiduciary duty, aiding and abetting fraud, and civil conspiracy against a law firm, which resulted in a multi-million dollar settlement for the client.
  • Successfully defended lawyers and physicians against consumer fraud claims brought by governmental and private parties.
  • Successfully defended franchisor against professional liability claims brought by franchisees.
  • Obtained summary judgment on fraud and negligent misrepresentation claims brought by former students against a local law school.

Direct sales experience:

  • Representing direct sales companies and high-level promoters in federal class action RICO, securities fraud, and consumer fraud lawsuits.
  • Representing direct sales companies and high-level promoters in FTC and state attorneys general investigations, including responding to Civil Investigative Demands.
  • Representing direct sales companies in consumer fraud actions brought by state attorneys general.
  • Counseling companies on dispute resolution procedures, including arbitration, mediation and class action waiver policies.

Financial institution experience:

  • Successfully prosecuted many post trustee's sale deficiency actions against commercial borrowers and guarantors.
  • Successfully defended several financial institutions in state and federal courts against lender liability claims for RICO, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, negligent misrepresentation, tortious interference with contract, and negligent loan processing.
  • Successfully represented court-appointed receiver in obtaining millions of dollars of proceeds from borrowers in Arizona.
  • Successfully prosecuted several complex post-judgment fraudulent transfer actions and obtained millions of dollars in recoveries for clients.

Appellate experience:

  • Successfully briefed and argued appeal and obtained reversal of an administrative order in the Ninth Circuit.
  • Successfully briefed and argued appeal and obtained affirmance of summary judgment ruling in the Arizona Court of Appeals.
  • Successfully petitioned the Arizona Supreme Court for review of an adverse ruling from the Arizona Court of Appeals.
  • Successfully petitioned the Arizona Court of Appeals for special action review, and obtained reversal, of an adverse ruling from the trial court.
  • Appeared as counsel of record and on the briefs in more than 20 appeals and special actions, including in the Arizona Court of Appeals, Division One, Arizona Court of Appeals, Division Two, Arizona Supreme Court, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • Counseling clients on preserving issues for appeal and in post-judgment proceedings, including motions for judgment as a matter of law and motions for new trial.

Mike graduated summa cum laude from the University of Arizona's James E. Rogers College of Law in 2006. In law school, Mike served as the Editor-in-Chief of the Arizona Law Review and took top prize in the appellate moot court competition. Following law school, Mike served a one-year federal appellate clerkship with the Hon. Paul J. Kelly, Jr., United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.

Legal Services

Education and Honors

  • University of Arizona–James E. Rogers College of Law (J.D., summa cum laude, 2006)
    • Arizona Law Review (Editor-in-Chief, 2005–2006). Fegtly Moot Court Award
    • Order of the Coif. Aigler Memorial Award (2006)
    • Snell & Wilmer Arizona Law Review Best Note Award
    • Heurlin Award for Excellence in the Study of Federal Courts
  • Arizona State University (B.S., summa cum laude, 2002)
    • The Wall Street Journal Academic Achievement Award

Bar Admissions

  • Arizona

Court Admissions

  • Arizona Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 10th Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, District of Arizona

Professional and Civic Activities

  • Law Clerk to The Honorable Paul J. Kelly, Jr., United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, Santa Fe, New Mexico (2006–2007)

Professional Recognition

  • Selected for inclusion in Southwest Super Lawyers® – Rising Stars (2014–present: Business Litigation)