Michael O'Brien
Partner | Calgary
Calgary: 403-260-9753

Michael is a Partner in the Dispute Resolution Group. He practices corporate/commercial litigation with a special focus on all aspects of oil and gas disputes, injunctions, major construction litigation, intellectual property litigation, and class actions. Michael's practice includes all areas of corporate, commercial and real property litigation, including mediations and arbitrations. He has appeared as counsel before all levels of Court in Alberta and has been involved in Applications for Leave to Appeal before the Supreme Court of Canada. Michael has also appeared as counsel in a number of complex multi-party arbitrations and mediations.

Michael obtained his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Calgary and his law degree from the University of Alberta. He is the author of numerous publications and has spoken extensively on issues related to the new Alberta Rules of Court. Michael is also the author of a number of publications in the areas of oil and gas law, energy law and securities litigation. He is a volunteer facilitator and competency evaluator with the CPLED Bar Admission Course and is a member of the Canadian Bar Association and the Calgary Bar Association. He is also a Board member of Calgary Legal Guidance.

SELECT EXPERIENCE

Recent matters in which Michael has been involved with include:

  • Acting for energy companies in Power Purchase Arrangement disputes (see for example ENMAX Energy Corporation v TransAlta Generation Partnership)

  • Ongoing defence and prosecution of multiple claims regarding alleged cost overruns and billing disputes with respect to the construction of an oilsands facility

  • Oil and gas litigation where he acted for an oil and gas company at trial in a C$100-million dispute regarding forward commodity contracts in the derivatives industry

  • The voluntary liquidation and dissolution of a major multi-million dollar Canadian corporation

  • Successfully striking out a defamation claim against ENMAX Energy Corporation

  • Counsel for leading multinational manufacturers and distributors in the defence of individual product liability actions involving surgical devices and hospital equipment

  • Representing ExxonMobil in successfully setting aside a trial decision finding liability under the Competition Act (see: 321665 Alberta Ltd v Husky Oil Operations Ltd, 2013 ABCA 221 (CanLII), leave to SCC denied 2014 CanLII 1208 (SCC))

  • Successful prosecution of an injunction on behalf of OPA! Souvlaki Franchise Group enforcing a Non-Competition Clause in the Franchise Agreement, including an award of full solicitor-client costs

  • Bankruptcy and insolvency litigation where he acted on behalf of Calpine in its CCAA restructuring and the restructuring of SemCanada in its CCAA proceedings

  • Successfully obtaining pretrial injunctive relief including orders for replevin relating to specialized oil and gas drilling technology (for example Catalyst Canada Services LP v Catalyst Changers Inc, 2013 ABQB 73)

  • Summarily dismissing a C$30-million putative class action against ENMAX Energy Corporation

  • Defence of class actions on behalf of Canadian and U.S. financial institutions with claims in excess of C$100-million arising from alleged ponzi schemes

PUBLICATIONS
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Blakes Bulletin on Litigation & Dispute Resolution, July 9, 2018.
Blakes Bulletin on Litigation & Dispute Resolution, March 13, 2018.
Blakes Bulletin on Litigation & Dispute Resolution, February 7, 2018.
Blakes Bulletin on Litigation & Dispute Resolution, January 5, 2018.
Blakes Bulletin on Litigation & Dispute Resolution, December 12, 2017.
Blakes Bulletin on Litigation & Dispute Resolution, November 23, 2017.
Blakes Bulletin on Litigation & Dispute Resolution, October 16, 2017.
Blakes Bulletin on Litigation and Dispute Resolution, June 9, 2017.
Blakes Bulletin on Litigation & Dispute Resolution, April 27, 2017.
Blakes Bulletin on Litigation & Dispute Resolution, March 28, 2017.
Blakes Bulletin on Litigation & Dispute Resolution, December 14, 2016.
Blakes Bulletin on Corporate & Commercial and Litigation & Dispute Resolution, August 9, 2016.
Blakes Bulletin on Litigation & Dispute Resolution and Oil & Gas, June 7, 2016.
Blakes Bulletin on Commercial Real Estate and Litigation & Dispute Resolution, May 12, 2016.
Blakes Bulletin on Litigation & Dispute Resolution and Securities Litigation , May 5, 2016.
Blakes Bulletin on Litigation & Dispute Resolution, December 15, 2015.
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