Riseberg, Michael Headshot

Michael D. Riseberg

Partner and Co-Chair, Litigation


Michael Riseberg is a litigator with 20 years of experience representing businesses, insurers, and professionals in a wide range of matters involving construction law, legal malpractice defense, employee stock option disputes, real estate development, products liability, trucking accidents, general liability defense, insurance coverage, environmental coverage, and bad faith. Michael has tried a number of significant cases in the state and federal courts in Massachusetts. He has also argued before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court and Appeals Court and briefed matters for the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. Recently, two of Michael’s cases, Klairmont v. Gainsboro Restaurant and Swarovski Aktiengesellschaft v. Building #19, Inc., were included on a list of the 100 Most Important Decisions of 2013 by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly. Michael also advises insurers and businesses on insurance coverage matters.

Representative Experience

  • Doe v. Harbor Schools, Inc., 446 Mass. 245 (2006). Michael argued before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, and was successful in getting the Appeals Court’s decision reversed and affirming a grant of summary judgment for the client. The decision set a precedent in the Commonwealth on the operation of the statute of limitations in breach of fiduciary duty cases.
  • Swarovski Aktiengesellschaft v. Building #19, Inc., 704 F.3d 44 (2013). Michael authored the brief for Building #19 in this Lanham Act and trademark infringement case before the First Circuit Court of Appeals. Swarovski alleged trademark infringement over Building #19’s use of “Swarovski” trademark in newspaper advertisements. The First Circuit reversed the preliminary injunction against Building #19.
  • Klairmont v. Gainsboro Restaurant, Inc., 465 Mass. 165 (2013). Michael authored an amicus curiae brief for the MassDLA in this wrongful death case in which the SJC held that a violation of the building code is not a per se violation of G.L. c. 93A.
  • First Marblehead Corp. v. House, 541 F.3d 36 (1st Cir. 2008). After successfully trying this case with his partner in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, Michael authored the appeal before the First Circuit, in which the underlying judgment and jury verdict were affirmed.  The client, a publicly traded company in the student-loan business, was sued by a former employee for allegedly denying him the right to exercise stock options worth more than $8 million.
  • Leavitt v. Brockton Hospital, Inc., 454 Mass. 37 (2009). Michael authored an amicus curiae brief for the Massachusetts Defense Lawyers Association. In adopting the position advocated by the client, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court limited the potential tort liability of medical providers to nonpatient third parties.
  • Kelly v. OE Plus, Ltd., 69 Mass.App.Ct. 1105 (2007), review denied 449 Mass. 1109 (2007). Michael authored the brief in this double wrongful-death case before the Massachusetts Appeals Court. The court affirmed a grant of summary judgment for the client.
  • United States Fire Ins. v. Peerless Ins., 18 Mass. L. Rptr. 64 (Middlesex Super. Ct. June 15, 2004)(Brassard, J.).  Michael was successful in defeating the defendant’s motion for summary judgment in this case involving equitable contribution rights among insurers. The court’s decision addressed a number of insurance coverage questions not previously considered by Massachusetts courts.
  • Clean Harbors Envtl. Servs. v. Boston Basement Techs., Inc., 75 Mass. App. Ct. 709 (2009). Michael authored the brief for the insurer in this appeal of a coverage issue concerning the application of the pollution exclusion to a claim for reimbursement of costs of cleaning up a home-heating-oil spill.

Recognition and Awards

  • Listed, The Best Lawyers in America®
    • Commercial Litigation, 2014–2024
    • Insurance Law, 2014–2024
  • Selected, Massachusetts Super Lawyers List, 2016, 2021-2023
  • Named, Boston magazine, Top Lawyers, Civil Litigation/Defense, 2021-2023
  • Martindale-Hubbell – Rated AV Preeminent®, 5.0 out of 5.0 and the highest rating available, 2005–2023
  • AVVO – Rated 10/10, “Superb” and the highest rating available, 2016
  • Selected, Massachusetts Rising Stars List, 2005

Professional and Community Involvement

  • President (2015–2016); Director (2010–2015), Massachusetts Defense Lawyers Association
  • Member, DRI, The Voice of the Defense Bar
  • Member, USLAW Network, Inc., 2011–present