Mike Martinez is a litigator and trial attorney whose practice is concentrated in the defense of product liability, premises liability and occupational injury disease claims, with an emphasis on asbestos litigation. He has a near-decade of experience in all phases of asbestos trial practice, including regularly conducting lead examination of fact and expert witnesses at depositions; devising legal strategy and pursuing innovative legal defenses in various jurisdictions nationwide; overseeing large document productions; maintaining voluminous document repositories; preparing corporate witnesses for deposition; arguing dispositive and pretrial motions; and defending his clients' interests at trial, including serving on a 3-person trial team that procured a defense verdict for an industrial insulation contractor in a McLean County, Illinois lung cancer jury trial.
Mike also has extensive appellate experience, having served as lead appellate counsel for asbestos defendants in the Indiana Supreme Court and Illinois’ Fourth District Court of Appeals, and recently prevailing before the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in his defense of a national telemarketing firm accused of violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. He has been recognized as a “Rising Star” by Illinois Super Lawyers magazine for 2017 -2021 and was a featured speaker at the 2017 and 2019 Annual Conference of the National Forum for Environmental & Toxic Tort Issues (FETTI).
Prior to joining DeHay & Elliston, Mike served as a junior partner at a boutique toxic tort defense firm, after having first developed a strong foundation for his practice defending contractors, engineers, construction professionals, premises owners, manufacturers, distributors and insurance companies in high-exposure construction defect, premises and product liability claims. Mike has also represented victims of employment harassment and discrimination, including prevailing on summary judgment in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois on a contested claim of racially discriminatory pay disparity on behalf of an indigent client who had initially filed pro se against a major university represented by a top law firm.
A local of the Chicago area, Mike is passionate about giving back to his community. He is a member of the Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois and participates in its JD Mentors program, maintaining long-term mentorship relationships with newer attorneys of diverse backgrounds. He previously served as a court appointed special advocate for children in the child welfare system and regularly donates to various youth-based community groups in the Chicago area. When he is not practicing law, Mike enjoys spending time with his family, riding bikes on the lakefront, playing pickup basketball and listening to live music.
State Bar of Illinois (2009)
State Bar of Indiana (2010)
State Bar of Missouri (2016)
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (2010)
United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (2018)
Northern Illinois University College of Law, J.D., Magna Cum Laude (2009)
University of Illinois: Urbana Champaign, B.A., Rhetoric - Professional Writing (2006)
Illinois Asbestos Litigation Likely to Feel the Effects of Indiana's Expansion of Premises Liability in Asbestos Claims, FETTI Spring 2017 Case Law Update Newsletter.
Where There’s a 'Will,' There Should Be a Way: Why In re Salvino Unjustifiably Restricts the Application of Sec. 523(a)(6) to Exclude Willful & Malicious Breaches of Contract, 29 N. Ill. U. L. Rev. 441 (2009).
Relatively Exclusive: A National Overview of Employer Liability for Toxic Torts, The National Forum for Environmental and Toxic Tort Issues (FETTI), 26th Annual Conference,Union League Club, Chicago, IL,September 26, 2019.
Recent Developments and Emerging Trends in Asbestos Premises Liability, The National Forum for Environmental and Toxic Tort Issues (FETTI), 24th Annual Conference, Union League Club, Chicago, IL, October 5, 2017