Michael Garnier

Michael Garnier

Michael Garnier is a lifelong Northern Virginia resident whose litigation practice over the past four decades has focused on product liability and personal injury cases. Michael has handled many jury trials throughout Virginia and, with local counsel, also has participated in product liability cases in more than twenty other states. The diverse clients Michael has been privileged to represent include elevator companies, top pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers, telecommunications industry leaders, car rental companies, hotels, aerospace manufacturers, health care providers, construction equipment vendors, retailers, insurance companies, manufacturers of home appliances and other products, as well as individuals and various small businesses.

More than 45 years ago, summer clerkships at a law firm convinced Michael that he wanted to become a trial lawyer. Throughout his college and law school years, Michael spent each summer honing his skills, helping companies who remain his clients today. During the year after college graduation, Michael lived in Paris studying the international law of nuclear reactor accidents. He then graduated second in his law school class at the Marshall-Wythe School of Law (College of William & Mary).

In 1984, Michael joined the Northern Virginia law firm now known as Garnier & Garnier, P.C. From the start, working closely with his father (who was a successful litigator from 1960 until his retirement in 2006), Michael helped defend cases across the country for leading pharmaceutical manufacturers. He also has defended several of the leading elevator and escalator companies throughout his career. Other significant components of Michael’s practice have involved construction equipment, ladders, premises liability, various consumer products, and automobile accident litigation on behalf of rental car customers and other drivers. Michael also has represented various manufacturers in multi-district product liability litigation involving a variety of drugs and medical devices, and has defended lawsuits against architects, aerospace industry leaders, hotels, a professional football team, and a wide variety of product manufacturers, retailers, and service providers.

Michael joined the D.C. Bar in 1990 to extend the reach of his Virginia-based practice. His youngest brother, Robert, joined the firm in 1992. Garnier & Garnier, P.C. has served some clients steadily for decades, but the firm also has added new clients– almost entirely through word-of- mouth referrals from other satisfied clients. While many of their corporate clients are the leaders in their fields, Michael and Robert also have made themselves available to individual clients needing representation in serious injury cases. One of Michael’s favorite aspects of being a trial lawyer is getting to know people from so many different walks of life.

Michael is past chair of the Product Liability Committee of the Virginia Association of Defense Attorneys and has served on that organization’s Board of Directors. He has authored book chapters in American Bar Association publications on product liability, and has written and lectured on other litigation topics. In 2023, Michael was recognized by Best Lawyers as the “Lawyer of the Year” in “Product Liability Litigation – Defendants” in the Washington, D.C. region, based on confidential surveys of other lawyers.

Michael and his wife, Linda, married since 1986, have four adult children, a daughter-in-law and a son-in-law, and two grandsons. They are active in their church, where Michael plays keyboards regularly in the worship band and has led various men’s groups and home groups. He was a youth soccer coach for eighteen seasons. In 2005, Michael was among the first honorees included in the “TIPS Honor Roll” by the American Bar Association’s Torts and Insurance Practice Section recognizing “exceptional contributions” in public service and volunteer work. He was a youth crisis hotline coordinator and phone volunteer for over fifteen years. Since 1990, Michael has been a frequent speaker to youth at the Fairfax County Juvenile Detention Center.

Michael enjoys biking, running, swimming, skiing, skating, music, reading, hiking, art and photography, travel, and watching various sports. He completed the Marine Corps Marathon during law school, and more recently has participated in more than a dozen sprint triathlons.

Honors and Recognitions

  • 2005 TIPS Honor Roll, ABA Torts and Insurance Practice Section, Law and Public Service Committee (for “exceptional contributions” in public service and volunteer work).
  • Selected to Best Lawyers in America, 2013-2024 (Product Liability Litigation– Defendants; Product Liability Litigation– Plaintiffs).
  • Recognized by Best Lawyers as the 2023 “Lawyer of the Year” in “Product Liability Litigation – Defendants” in the Washington, D.C. region, based on confidential surveys of other lawyers.
  • Martindale-Hubbell: AV® Preeminent Peer Review Rating  (since 1999), indicating highest ethical standards and preeminent legal ability.
  • Selected for inclusion in both the Virginia and Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers® lists, 2020-2024 (Personal Injury General: Defense).
  • American Jurisprudence Awards/highest grade in law school classes: Contracts, Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Debtor- Creditor (tie), Virginia Procedure.
  • Order of the Coif (legal education’s national honorary society; law school class rank 2nd), 1984.

Articles and Publications

  • Virginia chapter, State-by-State Survey of the Effect of Non-Compliance with Federal Regulatory Standards in Pharmaceutical Products Liability Litigation (ABA Section of Litigation, 1995).
  • Virginia chapter, State-by-State Survey of the Law Regarding Potential Liability for Off-Label Use of Drugs and Medical Devices (ABA Section of Litigation, 1999).
  • “The Consumer Expectations Test for Design Defect Liability: Does It (and Should It) Apply in Virginia?” (VADA Journal of Civil Litigation, Summer 2006).

Reported Cases Include

  • Tuel v. Hertz Equipment Rental Corporation, No. 11-2140 (4th Cir. 2013)
  • Roanoke Cement Co. v. Falk Corp., 413 F.3d 431 (4th Cir. 2005)
  • Kling v. Key Pharmaceuticals, 35 F. 3d 556 (4th Cir. 1994)
  • Krzywda v. The Hertz Corporation, 862 F.2d 314 (4th Cir. 1988)
  • Zurenda v. Holloman and Myer, 616 F. Supp. 212 (E.D. Va. 1985)
  • Young v. Key Pharmaceuticals, 130 Wn.2d 160, 922 P.2d 59 (1996) (trial co-counsel)
  • Jones v. Otis Elevator Co., 13 Cir. CL131077, 89 Va. Cir. 138 (2014)
  • Makuta v. Xerox Corp., 20 Cir. L17251, 39 Va. Cir. 473 (1996)
  • Holderfield v. ThyssenKrupp Elevator Corp., Civil Action 1:20-cv-1599 (E.D. Va. March 30, 2022)
  • Manning v. Drury Hotels Co. and Otis Elevator Company, Civil Action  3:23-cv-586 (E.D. Va. April 18, 2024)

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Best Lawyers in America©: Copyright 2012-2019 by Woodward/White, Inc., of Aiken, SC.

Michael Garnier

Michael Garnier


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Born in Washington, D.C., 1958.

Bar admissions
  • Virginia 1984.
  • District of Columbia 1990.

      Federal Courts:

  • U.S. District Court of Virginia, Eastern District 1984.
  • U.S. District Court of Virginia, Western District 1984.
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit, 1984.
  • U.S. District Court, District of Columbia, 1986.
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit, 1988.
  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims, 1988.
  • Inactive:  U.S. District Court of Maryland (1986)
  • Inactive:  U.S. District Court of Texas, Western District (1994)
  • Lebanon Valley College (B.A. 1980, Social Sciences and French).
  • Alliance Française “Fribourg Foundation” Scholarship, 1980: Research on International Civil Liability for Nuclear Reactor Accidents, Paris, France, 1980-1981.
  • University of Paris X (Nanterre), Faculté de droit:  Nuclear Energy Law (course audit), 1980-81.
  • Marshall-Wythe School of Law, College of William & Mary (J.D. 1984) (class rank: 2nd).
  • Christian Legal Society.
  • Defense Research Institute (Member, Product Liability Committee; Trial Tactics and Techniques Committee).
  • Virginia Association of Defense Attorneys (Board of Directors, 2006-2008; Member, Product Liability Section: Vice-Chair, 2004-2005, Chair, 2005-2006).