Michelle Ybarra is a fierce advocate for all her clients, whether they be start-ups, multinational corporations, or individuals. Her practice focuses on intellectual property, class action, and legal malpractice disputes spanning the sharing economy, cybersecurity, and gaming industries, among others. An experienced litigator, Michelle has delivered her clients decisive victories in state and federal courts around the country, and has tried multiple cases.
She has also effected sweeping changes through her pro bono work, including challenging California’s Proposition 8 on behalf of individual married plaintiffs, and representing a San Quentin death row inmate in a successful Administrative Procedures Act challenge to California’s lethal injection protocol, which stayed executions in California.
Outside of the courtroom, Michelle writes and speaks on cutting edge issues—most recently trade secret and employee mobility, as well as evolving jurisprudence regarding the enforceability of online consumer contracts. She serves on the Board of California ChangeLawyers and chairs the organization’s Nominations Committee.
Essential Access Health, et. al v. Azar
We represent Essential Access Health, California’s primary Title X grantee, in a suit challenging the Trump administration’s draconian new family planning regulations as unconstitutional and violative of the Administrative Procedures Act. In April 2019, we won an injunction preventing the regulations from taking effect in California and protecting access to quality reproductive care for the one million Californians who depend on Title X services each year.
Cotter, et al. v. Lyft, Inc.
We represent technology company Lyft, which connects individuals in need of a ride to drivers willing to transport them. This putative class action addresses an issue critical to the new economy: whether Lyft drivers have been misclassified as independent contractors rather than employees. In summer 2016, the parties entered into a proposed settlement that does not require the re-classification of Lyft drivers as employees. The court approved the settlement in early 2017.
Bowe v. Public Storage
We defended the United States’ largest self-storage operator, Public Storage, from a consumer class action lawsuit. The plaintiff alleged our client deceived customers who bought tenant insurance policies. The plaintiff claimed Public Storage sold tenant insurance to him and other storage consumers without properly disclosing that the company retains a “substantial portion” of the premiums. The suit claimed that the insurance program offered by Public Storage was “a hidden profit center for itself that kicks back unconscionable profits at the expense of consumers.” The suit, filed in Miami federal court, sought restitution for all of the insurance premiums paid to Public Storage by its customers over the past four years. Within three months of being retained, and just seven months before trial, we prevailed on a Summary Judgment Motion which dismissed the class’ RICO claim. The matter settled favorably two days before trial.
United States v. McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., et al.
As lead counsel for McGraw Hill and its Standard and Poor’s division, we defended our client from the government’s suit which sought at least $5 billion in penalties under the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act. The government accused S&P of fraud in its rating of hundreds of residential mortgage backed securities (RMBS) and collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) in the years leading up to the financial crisis in 2008. McGraw Hill ultimately settled with the government, and more than 20 states that made similar claims under state laws.
Bascom Research, LLC v. LinkedIn Corporation
We represented LinkedIn in a patent-infringement suit filed by Bascom Research. We obtained a stay of discovery pending the Supreme Court’s decision in Alice, then won summary judgment invalidating all asserted claims. The victory was chosen by The Daily Journal as one of the year's "Top Defense Verdicts."
Taxi Company v. Ride-Sharing Company
We defended a popular ride-sharing company in this unfair competition case. Prior to the hearing on the first motion, we convinced the plaintiffs to dismiss our client from the complaint.
Plaintiffs v. Sacramento Casino Royale
We successfully represented four residents of Sacramento County who sued a California card room for offering “Vegas style” games in violation of the California Constitution and Penal Code. On the eve of trial, the Bureau of Gambling Control instituted state-wide rule-making to address the issues raised by Plaintiffs’ complaint.
April 26, 2019
On April 26 District Court Judge Edward Chen granted a statewide preliminary injunction in Essential Access Health v. Azar, et al., a lawsuit challenging the Trump Administration’s sweeping changes to the federal Title X family planning program. Read more
March 22, 2019
Representing Essential Access Health and Dr. Melissa Marshall, Keker, Van Nest & Peters filed a motion for a preliminary injunction seeking to prevent the Department of Health and Human Services from enforcing sweeping changes to the Title X Family Planning Program. Read more
November 12, 2018
Women Leaders in Tech Law through their work in courtrooms, boardrooms and classrooms, are helping the law and the legal profession address novel issues raised by technological advances. Read more
June 19, 2017
Facebook Inc. asked a California federal judge on Monday to toss a putative class action alleging the company misled advertisers with false consumer viewing metrics. Read more
Bob Van Nest, David Silbert, Dan Jackson, and Michelle Ybarra used a 2014 U.S. Supreme Court decision to prove that patents in lawsuits against Facebook Inc. and LinkedIn Corp. were invalid based on subject matter ineligibility. Read more
Rachael Meny, Jamie Slaughter and their team removed a major threat to Lyft's business model when they settled a proposed class action lawsuit without classifying drivers as employees. Read more
Both attorneys have played key roles in several of the firm’s recent noteworthy matters. Read more
David Silbert and his team score a win for LinkedIn. Read more
One name mentioned by virtually everyone the Daily Journal spoke to was Keker & Van Nest. Lawyers at some of the best firms in California said they model themselves after the litigation powerhouse. Read more
Ben Hur and Michelle Ybarra will cover what constitutes “cloning,” and how courts and current IP laws address this hot topic. Read more
- “Trade Secret and Employee Mobility San Francisco” Bridgeport Continuing Education, 2017
- "Four Tips for Fending Off IP Litigation," co-authored with Justina Sessions, The Daily Journal, 2016
- "Defeating Mobile Game Clones: Why Copyright Protection is Not Enough," VentureBeat, 2013, co-authored with Ben Hur
- "When Clones Attack: How to Protect Social/Mobile Games from Copying," Intellectual Property Today, 2012, co-authored with Ben Hur
- "Three Ways Game Developers Can Avoid Cloning," TechRepublic, 2012