A Warrior For Clients
Michael P. Lyons Stands Up
Originally published in the 2019 Best Lawyers Magazine.
Listeners of the wildly popular “Dr. Death” podcast may recognize the name of Michael Lyons. Lyons represented one of the victims of former neurosurgeon Christopher Duntsch, who is currently serving life in prison after committing one of the largest medical mass torts in history. Lyons’ time on the podcast was small, but the impact he’s had on his client’s life has been quite significant.
“Injustice keeps me up at night,” Lyons said. “My clients’ problems are my problems. I knew we needed to right a terrible wrong.” Many attorneys would charitably characterize any case challenging Texas’s tort reform laws as a fool’s errand. Nevertheless, Lyons understood something had to be done, even if it meant standing up to then-Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott. Once the dust had settled, his client was taken care of and Duntsch was behind bars.
Lyons literally views himself as a warrior for his client’s cause, and he takes his job seriously. He has spent his entire career representing people who have the deck stacked against them. For the public, most people cannot afford to hire the large white-shoe law firm to fight for them, but the big corporations can and do. “The running joke for years was that I couldn’t afford to hire myself. That’s wrong and the system is set up to keep private citizens from accessing the courthouse. I can’t live with that,” Lyons said.
“My mission is to provide representation on par or better than that of any billionaire or giant multinational corporation,” Lyons says. “Your economic status or what ill-fated misfortune you’re faced with should not determine your chance to win in the civil justice system. That’s un-American.” That’s not just lip service—he means it. Lyons has a private jet on standby 24/7 with access to resources to stand up to anyone, anytime, anywhere. “When we roll in, we want everyone to know we can go toe-to-toe with anyone.”
Lyons is confident for good reason. At age 45, he has developed a reputation for getting remarkable results on big, high-exposure cases all over the country. Over a 20-year career he’s represented clients from publicly traded companies in the most complex business disputes to individuals facing life-altering personal injuries in the fight of their lives. He has tried cases before judges, juries, and arbitrators and finds himself most at home with challenging, technically complex cases. His recent case list looks more like a career list than a three-year snapshot.
A young girl is hit by a delivery truck while riding her bicycle, throwing her 25 feet and causing a traumatic brain injury. The driver is drunk, driving on the wrong side of the road and on his phone. When the defendants challenged the extent of her brain injury, Lyons brought in one of the world’s top neurologists and used cutting-edge imaging technology known as Diffusion Tensor Imaging to quantify and correlate his client’s brain injury. In another case, Lyons represented a young boy who sustained a severe brain injury when a tree limb over a playground snapped and struck him. He spent the money to scan the entire park and produce a 3D animation that captured exactly what happened. Lyons says a picture speaks a thousand words. “When you can show the jury a visual depiction of the injuries or the event that caused them in a way that speaks truth, it’s game, set, match for your client. Any juror that sees a child experience something so terrible will have a hard time forgetting it.”
Lyons has recently had a string of high-profile cases that have attracted media attention, but that isn’t what motivates him. He represents a 72-year-old woman with Alzheimer’s who was sexually assaulted by a cable technician in her home. Lyons says he wants to change the culture that allowed it to happen, “This isn’t an isolated occurrence. There’s a blind spot in how these companies hire and retain their workers. This has to get fixed.”
In January of 2018, five workers were killed when a gas well blow-out and rig fire occurred near Quinton, Oklahoma. It was the worst oilfield disaster since the Deepwater Horizon tragedy. Lyons was brought in to represent the family of one of the victims. “I was watching this unfold on CNN and the next day I got the call to get involved. It has been one of the most impactful cases of my career.” Lyons says before the case is finished, it’s his desire to change the way well control is managed and monitored. “I don’t want my client’s life to have been lost for nothing.” The world needs more warriors for justice. For the past 20 years, Michael Lyons has been one of those people.
To download a PDF version of the published article, please click on this link.