Michael S. Taaffe

Partner, Litigation and Disputes Regional Service Line Leader, Financial Services Business Sector Chair

Mike is Board Certified in Business Litigation and the Chair of Shumaker’s Financial Services Business Sector, leading a team of attorneys in their nationwide practice, servicing national clients.

In practice for nearly four decades, Mike's practice focuses on the representation of public and private corporations and their officers, directors, and key employees in a variety of matters, including: restraints of trade, garden leave provisions, unfair competition, client complaints, employment contracts, partnership separation, and torts, as well as securities-related litigation involving:

  • arbitration
  • securities customer disputes
  • broker-dealer recruitment
  • "raiding" litigation
  • change in control issues, deferred compensation issues
  • compensation and separation agreements
  • wrongful termination
  • Form U-5 issues

With a nationwide practice in the securities industry, Mike regularly practices before state and federal courts, as well as state and federal securities regulators and self-regulatory agencies, representing international financial advisors regarding their contractual obligations. Mike and his team have obtained numerous million-dollar recoveries in state and federal courts and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) arbitrations, including a landmark $10.25 million victory representing the Claimants in Smolchek and Ramazio v. Merrill Lynch. In 2010, Mike and his team won the first deferred compensation case of it’s kind against Merrill Lynch.

Mike is called upon on a regular basis to consult with executives in the securities industry regarding employment issues, recruitment issues, and restructuring documentation including contracts, notes and onboarding documents for financial advisors and executives. Clients regularly turn to him for assistance defending employees transitioning between firms and enforcing post termination obligations.

When managing the Financial Services Business Sector, Mike leads with a collaborative, team approach, bringing in constructive ideas from clients, industry experts, and team members to create a targeted approach to expeditiously achieve the clients’ goals, while employing innovative fee structures. Mike empowers his sector members to collaborate openly and effectively to realize their clients’ objectives, while positioning the sector as a leader in the financial services industry.

In addition, Mike is an experienced class action litigator and has been involved in numerous class actions in the securities industry.

Class Counsel in:

Mike has litigated numerous disability cases on behalf of physicians and has obtained million-dollar verdicts in federal court against some of the largest disability insurance companies. He has successfully brought claims in the disability cases for breach of contract, fraud, and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).

Mike is called upon on a regular basis to comment in many national publications, including The Wall Street Journal, Registered Representative, Fundfire, Reuters, Forbes, and other industry periodicals.

Mike is AV® Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell. He is admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the United States of America and all local state courts in the states of Florida, New Jersey, and New York, and he is also admitted to practice before the United States District Courts for the Northern, Middle, and Southern Districts of Florida, as well as the United States District Court, District of New Jersey.

Active in the Sarasota community, Mike serves as Chairman of the Board for The Suncoast Aquatic Nature Center Associates (SANCA), a nonprofit 501(c)3 business created to manage Nathan Benderson Park, a community/public asset and world class, multi-use sports venue.

Media Mentions