Lauren M. Michals

Lauren Michals represents clients in single actions, complex litigation, and multi-district litigation in state and federal court. She serves as local and national counsel in cases involving commercial disputes, foods, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, construction materials, and asbestos-containing products.

My practice currently focuses on toxic tort, product liability and commercial matters and includes counseling, preventative measures and, when necessary, litigation through to trial and appeals. In particular, it involves food-related claims, product recalls (FDA and CPSA matters), toxic exposure cases and environmental regulations and resulting claims. I regularly counsel clients on regulatory compliance, warranty and indemnification issues. My practice increasingly involves defense of unfair competition, false advertising and California Consumer Legal Remedies Act (CLRA) litigation.

I have over 20 years of experience representing companies involved in California’s Proposition 65 (Safe Drinking Water & Toxic Enforcement Act) matters including preventive counseling and defense of claims brought by private enforcers, public interest groups and the State of California. I deal with a range of products, such as candy, hardware, snack foods, home goods, and personal care products, and a wide range of chemicals, including lead, acrylamide and phthalates. I regularly counsel clients on compliance and risk mitigation in relation to Proposition 65 and other regulatory matters.

My toxic exposure work includes developing national defense strategies, often involving complex scientific issues, strategic motions and trials. I defend claims arising out of the use of products as well as premises liability, and obtained a significant appellate ruling limiting premises liability claims brought by family members. Products I recently worked on include automotive, construction and personal care products.

My clients include major international corporations as well as small businesses that suddenly find themselves implicated in potential litigation.

What do you see on the horizon?

I see an increase in actions involving the food industry, ranging from product labeling to the safety of individual ingredients, and especially in the area of unfair competition, slack fill, and false advertising claims. We are developing strategies to prevent and to successfully defend such claims should they arise.

Representative Experience

  • Campbell v. Ford Motor Company, 206 Cal. App. 4th 15 (May 2012)
  • National and local counsel breast implant litigation for several defendants, defending claims related to systemic and local injury
  • Defense and counseling in numerous Proposition 65 matters brought by both private litigants and the State of California involving foods, dietary supplements and a variety of consumer products
  • Daubert and Frye motions in state and federal courts around the United States
  • Defense of CERCLA claims brought by the State of California against a large battery manufacturer
  • Defense of claims, including false advertising, asserted by the State of California involving the sale of water treatment devices
  • Private anti-trust litigation involving the computer industry
  • Defense of premises liability claims related to toxic exposure
  • Defense of claims arising out of the use of diet drugs
  • Defense of product liability personal injury claims related to minimally invasive surgical platform


  • “How not to overreact: Prop 65 updates and other chemical regulations,” Nixon Peabody Annual MCLE Seminar, San Francisco, January 2018
  • “Prop 65: The Wild Wild West—The Latest Updates from California and Beyond,” American Conference Institute (ACI) Toxic Tort & Environmental Litigation Conference, Chicago, IL., June 2017
  • “California Supreme Court Clarifies Limits On Recovery of Medical Expenses in Tort Actions,” Nixon Peabody Products: Class Action, Trade & Industry Representation Alert, August 23, 2011 (with Ross M. Petty)
  • “Green Chem Regs—Coming to Products Near You?” Law 360, January 25, 2011 (with Ross M. Petty)
  • “Mixing Business with Ethics: The Duty to Report Malpractice by Trial Counsel,” Professional Lawyer, Volume 20, Number 1, 2010 (with David H. Tennant)
  • “The Duty to Report Malpractice by Trial Counsel,” Defense Research Institute, November 2009 (with David Tennant)
  • “Children’s Products: The CPSIA, CA’s Phthalate Regulation, and Proposition 65: Living in Harmony?” Law Journal Newsletters, Products Liability, Law & Strategy, Volume 29, Number 4, November 2009 (with Alexandra Epand)
  • “California Environmental Common Law,” California Environmental and Natural Resource Law Handbook, 12th ed., Government Institutes, Rockville, Maryland, 2004
  • “No Slam Dunk: Federal Law May Not Pre-empt Proposition 65,” San Francisco Daily Journal, 1997


  • “Environmental Hazard Compliance in Sale of Goods: California’s Prop 65 and Safer Consumer Products Act,” Strafford live CLE webinar, January 2016
  • “Proposition 65: Acrylamide in Foods,” SNAXPO 2003, International Snack Food Association National Meeting, San Francisco, CA, 2003
  • “Clinical Trials: Product Liability Pitfalls and How to Minimize the Risk,” Medtech Insight Conference, Investment in Innovation: A Preview of Early Stage Medical Companies, San Francisco, CA, 2002

A Post-Thanksgiving Litigator of the Week Runner-Up and Shout Out Marathon

The American Lawyer | December 04, 2020

This week’s “Litigators of the Week“ column by American Lawyer includes the dismissal for outsourcing facility Leiters, Inc. in a multiple-state dispute. Leiters was represented by Chicago partners Ethan Trull, John Ruskusky, and Lisa Sullivan, and associates Bill Kirby and Tina Jonsson; and San Francisco partner Bruce Copeland and counsel Lauren Michals—all in the Complex Commercial Disputes group.

Starbucks Can Use Agency Finding To Defend Prop 65 Suit

Law360 | July 15, 2020

This article covering recent developments in CERT v. Starbucks, et al., mentions San Francisco Complex Commercial Disputes partner Greg O’Hara and counsel Lauren Michals for representing Kroger and Ralphs Grocery in the case. During Wednesday’s hearing, the judge denied motions for summary adjudication, explaining that defendants can use a recent California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment regulation to defend against allegations they violated a state cancer warning requirement.


Lauren M. Michals


San Francisco

Phone: 415-984-8261

Fax: 866-904-8316

University of Chicago Law School, J.D.

University of California, Santa Barbara, M.A.

University of Michigan, B.A., with honors


U.S. District Court, Central District of California

U.S. District Court, Northern District of California

U.S. District Court, Southern District of California

U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

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