Michelle Ybarra

Tel. (415) 676-2271


University of Chicago Law School, J.D., 2008

Harvard University, B.A., cum laude, 2003

Prior Experience

Howard Rice

Michelle Ybarra

Ms. Ybarra has represented clients in commercial litigation and arbitration matters, including intellectual property, antitrust, securities and appellate disputes.

She has also handled numerous cases pro bono, 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.

During her undergraduate education, she served as president of The Ghana Education Project's Harvard University chapter. In this role, she led student efforts to implement HIV/AIDS education, built libraries in Ghanaian villages, organized fundraising, and acted as liaison and spokesperson to government and tribal leaders.

Cases of Note

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 preliminarily approved the settlement in June 2016. The Fairness Hearing is scheduled for December.

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.

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.


Awards and Honors

  • Top Defense VerdictDaily Journal, 2016. We used the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Alice Corp. Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank International to prove that patents in lawsuits against Facebook Inc. and LinkedIn Corp. were invalid based on subject matter ineligibility.
  • Rising Star, Super Lawyers, 2016
  • Pillar of Character Award, Northside Independent School District, 2006
  • Harvard College Scholarships for academic distinction, 2003
  • National Hispanic Scholar, Harvard University, 2001-2003
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