Michael Summerhill

Michael J. Summerhill

Michael J. Summerhill is a partner in the firm’s Complex Commercial Disputes practice group. He is a seasoned litigator with extensive appellate and trial court level experience. He represents clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to startups in a variety of industries, including health care, software, health information technology, financial services and FinTech, medical device, consumer products, and venture capital.

Mike also arbitrates commercial disputes before the American Arbitration Association and other alternative dispute resolution forums.

What do you focus on?

I have more than 20 years of experience litigating cases in federal and state courts. My services range from complex commercial disputes involving a variety of industries, to specialized appellate work, to significant experience in the health tech, FinTech and GreenTech industries.

Complex Commercial Disputes

I represent clients in a variety of substantive areas including product liability, complex mass torts, securities fraud, shareholder derivative claims, fraudulent transfer claims, and complex commercial claims.


I argue appellate matters and draft briefs for various appeals, including before the U.S. Supreme Courts, U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals, intermediate state courts of appeals, the Supreme Court of Ohio and Texas, among others.

Representative Experience

Mike has represented clients in many significant matters, including:

  • A medical device manufacturer in product liability and negligence actions.
  • An appeal of defendant-favorable jury verdict in a fraudulent transfer action brought by the receiver of a bank.
  • An electric vehicle company in a breach of contract action brought by a municipality over performance of electrified fleet vehicles.
  • Officer-director defendants in a shareholder derivative action alleging self-dealing, mismanagement, and corporate waste.
  • Various companies in shareholder derivative litigation alleging breaches of fiduciary duty resulting from alleged failure of internal controls.
  • A software developer in various commercial litigation matters.
  • A manufacturer of consumer appliances in product liability, breach of warranty, and consumer fraud actions.
  • A heavy equipment manufacturer in a product liability action alleging a defect in the design of construction crane accessories.
  • A health care IT company in fraudulent transfer action brought by the receiver of a bank related to a failed merger between two publicly traded corporations.
  • An international manufacturer of food flavorings and food additives in toxic tort, exposure, and defective product litigation.
  • An international biotechnology corporation in litigation arising out of the growth and distribution of genetically engineered food.
  • Nonprofit hospitals in litigation alleging consumer fraud in the pricing of medical services to the uninsured.
  • A West Coast hospital system on product liability avoidance issues.
  • A food distribution chain in claims arising from tainted dairy products.
  • A publisher of national newspapers in commercial litigation matters.

Reported Decisions

  • Janvey v. Golf Channel, Inc., 487 SW 3d 560 (Tex. 2016) (amicus curiae)
  • Mortimore v. Merge Technologies, Inc., 344 Wis. 2d 459 (Wis. App. 2012)
  • Chicago State University v. Siemens Building Technologies, Inc., 900 N.E.2d 414 (Ill. Ct. App. 2008)
  • Kennedy v. Medtronic, Inc., 851 N.E.2d 778 (Ill. Ct. App. 2006)
  • Durgac v. Gonzales, 430 F.3d 849 (7th Cir. 2005)
  • Johnson v. Rivera, 272 F.3d 519 (7th Cir. 2001)

What do you see on the horizon?

Artificial intelligence will continue to improve, particularly in the health care space. With technological improvement comes new and emerging litigation risks, and I have been closely following developments and best practices toward helping clients manage these risks.

I am also examining the legalization of marijuana in various states through the lens of a litigator, to proactively assist clients with ever-changing and varied laws and policies. I leverage my experience to provide a multi-faceted approach that covers various aspects of the burgeoning cannabis industry, including private equity.

Consolidation in all industries continues to be a major contributor of company expansion as well as litigation risk, whether from shareholders, regulators or from unforeseen risks from acquired assets.


Adjunct faculty member, Legal Writing and Appellate Advocacy, The John Marshall Law School

Prior Experience

Before joining Nixon Peabody in August 2019, Mike was a partner at a leading midsize law firm in Chicago. Prior to that, Mike was a partner in the Chicago offices of an NLJ 500 firm as well as an Am Law 200 firm.

Publications and Presentations

  • “Exposing Fraud in Healthcare Industry: What You Need to Know on Healthcare Strike Force,” The Knowledge Group webinar series, March 10, 2015 (co-presenter)
  • “When is a Resignation Actually a Termination? The Doctrine of Constructive Termination and Coerced Resignations,” Westlaw Employment Journal, Vol. 29, Issue 14 (February 2015) (co-author)
  • “Take these Four Steps to Prepare for the Physician Payment Sunshine Act,” Med City News, May 28, 2013 (co-author)
  • “The Five-Step Protocol to Prepare for the Physician Payment Sunshine Act,” Modern Aesthetics, May 2013 (co-author)
  • “Point, Counterpoint: Will Mortimore v. Merge Healthcare Inc. have Lasting Effect on Wisconsin Arbitration?” Wisconsin Law Journal, ADR Section, Dec. 1, 2012

CDLB People

Chicago Daily Law Bulletin | August 07, 2019

This coverage highlights the arrival of Chicago Complex Commercial Disputes partner Michael Summerhill, a corporate and appellate litigator who represents clients across the country in a variety of matters.

Nixon Peabody picks up litigator from Freeborn & Peters

Law360 | August 07, 2019

This coverage highlights the arrival of Chicago Complex Commercial Disputes partner Michael Summerhill, a corporate and appellate litigator who represents clients across the country in a variety of matters.


Michael J. Summerhill



Phone: 312-977-9224

Fax: 833-958-1193

The John Marshall Law School, J.D., cum laude; Editor-in-Chief, The John Marshall Law Review

The Ohio State University, B.A.



U.S. Supreme Court

U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois

U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio

U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin


  • American Bar Association
  • International Association of Defense Counsel
  • Defense Research Institute
  • Seventh Circuit Bar Association
  • Board Member, Positive Coaching Alliance, Chicago-Chapter
  • Top-Tier Baseball
  • Chicago Volunteer Legal Services Foundation
  • Lance Armstrong Foundation
  • Imerman Angels
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