Photo of Michael P. Cooney

Michael P. Cooney Member

Areas of Practice


Bar Admissions

  • Michigan, 1986

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 6th Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Michigan
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court, Central District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of California


University of Notre Dame, J.D.

University of Notre Dame, B.S.M.E.

Michael P. Cooney is the Director of Dykema’s Litigation Department. A highly experienced trial attorney, his national trial practice is focused on product liability, class action, patent, and commercial litigation. He is regularly called upon by Fortune 500 companies to try high exposure cases in the country’s toughest venues and against some of the country’s top trial attorneys. Mr. Cooney, who has a mechanical engineering degree, has extensive experience presenting complex engineering, business, and science related disputes to juries, judges, and arbitration panels.


  • Mr. Cooney has tried numerous cases to verdict throughout the U.S. He serves as national and regional trial counsel for automotive manufacturers and suppliers on a variety of commercial and intellectual property disputes. He has defended class action, intellectual property, and product liability cases involving a wide variety of commercial and consumer products and technology, including motors vehicles, medical devices, recreational vehicles, water craft, industrial equipment, home appliances, lift trucks, and power tools.
  • Mr. Cooney also serves as national and regional coordinating counsel for litigation matters, managing the overall defense of claims, developing defense strategies, streamlining discovery, and preparing and presenting company witnesses and experts. He counsels product designers, manufacturers, and sellers on safety, regulatory, trade secret, and intellectual property matters, including NHTSA and CPSC investigations and disputes. He also provides product liability avoidance advice, including design reviews, product warnings, and user manuals.
  • Mr. Cooney is highly regarded in the area of automotive crashworthiness litigation, safety technology and safety regulation. He is well-known for his technical expertise, particularly in the areas of occupant restraints, fuel systems, vehicle handling and stability, hybrid power trains, telematic systems, driver distraction, and connected vehicles. Mr. Cooney is recognized for his knowledge of legal and regulatory issues related to hybrid and electric vehicle technology.
  • Sally Small, as guardian of Keanna Small v. Ford Motors Company and Key Safety Systems, Inc., 9:12-cv-80841-KAM, USDC, MD, FL. Defense verdict following a three week trial and after less than two hours of deliberation. Plaintiff sued Defendants, alleging that Keanna Small was ejected from the front passenger seat of a 2002 Explorer during a rollover accident because of a defect in a seat belt. Ms. Small was ejected from the Explorer and sustained a traumatic brain injury. Plaintiffs asked the jury to return a verdict in excess of $100 million, as compensation for $2.2 million in past medical expenses, $26 million for future medical and life care, and pain and suffering.

  • Harman v Key Safety Systems, Inc., Mobile, Alabama, Case No. CV-08-901193. Defense verdict following a three week trial on plaintiffs’ claim that a defective seat belt system caused her to be ejected from her 2003 minivan during a rollover accident. Plaintiff Patricia Harman, who was 6 weeks pregnant, sustained injuries that rendered her quadriplegic and caused her son to be born with cerebral palsy. Plaintiffs sought damages that included over $22 million in economic loss and future medical expenses.

  • Evangelista v. Key Safety Systems, Inc., Superior Court of New Jersey, Case No. L-2845-09. Defense verdict following a two week trial on claims that a defective airbag sensor prevented a vehicle airbag from deploying and allowed plaintiff to sustain a severe neck injury that rendered her quadriplegic.  

  • Kline v General Motors Corporation, St. Louis City, Missouri, Case No. 042-09579. Defense verdict following 4 week trial of allegations that fuel system design defect caused a post-collision fire and burn death of the 16 year old occupant of a GM sport utility vehicle; upheld on appeal, Missouri Court of Appeals, Case No. ED 89839, Missouri Supreme Court Case No. 08-4593.

  • Sobczak v General Motors Corporation, Cook County, Illinois, Case No. 00 L 4917, defense verdict after three week trial on claims that engine fuel management and exhaust system design defects caused automobile fire and permanent, disfiguring burn injuries.

  • Morris v OnStar, et al, USDC, Eastern District of Michigan, MDL 1867. Defeat of a putative national class action alleging the plaintiffs’ alleged loss of telematics services as the result of the transition by cellular service provides from analog to digital services.

  • Motor City Casino v State of Michigan, Wayne County, Michigan, Case No. 08-02349. Obtained a temporary restraining order preventing the State from closing casinos, and causing over $1,000,000 a day in lost income to the casinos, due to a budget crisis that prevented state oversight of casinos

  • Verry v General Motors Corporation, Eastern District of California, Case No. 2:06-CV-01566-LKK-EFB, successful resolution of highly visible litigation involving the outside frame design of GM's C/K pickup; Mr. Cooney serves as GM's national counsel in the defense of all claims arising out of the C/K pickup fuel system.

  • Wheeler, et al. v Rheem Manufacturing, et al., Wayne County, Michigan, Case No. 99-906781 NO. Defeat of class certification for water heater defendants in putative class action challenging alleged component part failure.

Memberships & Involvement

  • State Bar of Michigan, Litigation Section Council Committee, Programs Chair; Character and Fitness Committee; Intellectual Property Section
  • Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association; Chairman, Litigation Section
  • American Bar Association
  • Defense Research Institute

Recognized on Michigan Super Lawyers® "Top 100 List," 2017-2018, 2020

Named a Litigation Star by Benchmark Litigation, 2013-2020

Named "Lawyer of the Year," Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions - Defendants Law, Detroit, Michigan, by The Best Lawyers in America®, 2022

Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America® for Product Liability Litigation - Defendants, Commercial Litigation, and Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions - Defendants, 2013-Present. Copyright 2015 by Woodward/White, Inc., Aiken, SC

Recognized by The Legal 500 United States for Litigation - Product Liability, Mass Tort, and Class Action Defense (2012-2021); Transport: Rail and Road – Litigation (2018-2019, 2021)

Recognized in Managing Intellectual Property magazine as an IP Star for Patent Litigation, 2014-2017

Named a Top Lawyer by dbusiness Magazine for Product Liability Litigation, 2010-2019

Named a Michigan Leading Lawyer in the areas of Class Action/Mass Tort Defense, Commercial Litigation and Products Liability Defense Law by the Leading Lawyers Network, 2012-2017

Recognized in Michigan Super Lawyers® for Personal Injury - Products: Defense, Class Action/Mass Torts: Defense, Business Litigation, Intellectual Property Litigation, 2008-Present

Recipient of an AV® Preeminent™ Rating by Martindale-Hubbell  

Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America

Member, Trial Law Institute

Member, Diversity Law Institute