Michael Petrella 

Partner – New York
T.+1 212 504 5551
200 Liberty Street
New York, NY 10281 V-CARD

Michael Petrella focuses on complex commercial litigation, and has successfully litigated and tried numerous business disputes in both state and federal court. His experience includes litigating matters involving securities fraud, intellectual property, antitrust, civil RICO and the full range of business torts.

Michael also has represented clients in internal shareholder disputes and leveraged buyout suits, and has extensive experience litigating corporate matters in the Delaware Chancery Court, including governance and M&A disputes.

Michael received his J.D. from Case Western Reserve University School of Law, cum laude, and his B.A. from Franklin & Marshall College.

  • Along with firm Trial Practice Group Chair, Sean O’Shea, achieved trial victory on behalf of Mar-Bow Value Partners (Jay Alix) against worldwide consulting giant McKinsey & Co, Inc.  Mar-Bow prevailed without presenting a single affirmative witness, with Mr. Petrella conducting some of the key cross-examinations. The victory was the culmination of a multi-pronged, multi-jurisdictional effort to bring McKinsey into compliance with bankruptcy disclosure laws which it had been flouting for decades.

  • In Zohar CDO 2003-1 v. Patriarch et al., No. 17-cv-0037-WHP (S.D.N.Y.), obtained dismissal at the pleading stage of nearly a dozen claims brought against MBIA for hundreds of millions of dollars by investor Lynn Tilton and her affiliate, Patriarch Partners.  In granting MBIA’s motion, the Court found that Tilton and Patriarch had “made significant use of creative license" in pleading their claims, and that “[w]hen viewed under the bright light of context," the alleged “misstatements and omissions reveal themselves as nothing more than … smoke-and-mirrors." 

  • In Cappel v. JenCap Holdings LLC, et al., C.A. No. 2020-0598-PAF, obtained trial victory in Delaware Chancery Court enforcing informational rights on behalf of investor in post-merger company managing over $7 billion in insurance premiums.
  • Obtained judgment in favor of client Kingsland Holdings Limited, which is serving as Independent Third Party in exercising remedies of United Airlines, Inc. associated with contracts effectuating loan obligations in excess of $500 million (loan secured by shares of Colombia-based Avianca Holdings SA); judgment allows Kingsland to move toward a foreclosure sale on the Avianca Holdings SA shares securing the loan obligations.
  • Securing dismissal of a civil RICO case seeking in excess of $100 million in damages against the third largest beverage alcohol distributor in the U.S., and obtaining affirmance of the dismissal on appeal to the Second Circuit. In addition, aggressively pursued offensive strategy, including successful claims for advancement and indemnification of legal fees against the plaintiff.
  • Securities fraud and related claims for private equity fund, resulting in summary judgment in excess of $100 million, $725,000 in discovery sanctions against defendant and award of attorney's fees.
  • In Bank of New York Mellon Trust Co., NA v. Morgan Stanley Mortgage Capital, Inc., obtained high eight-figure settlement on eve of trial for leading real estate investment company damaged by breach of environmental warranty concerning securitized commercial mortgage loan.
  • Breach of contract and business tort action for former president of AIG Global Real Estate; claims pertained to profit shares in all AIG real estate investments worldwide and reached favorable settlement the evening before trial in the Southern District of New York.
  • In NML Capital, Ltd. v. Republic of Argentina, No. 12-105-cv(L), represented consortium of financial firms holding more than $1 billion in Argentinian exchange bonds; obtained stay from the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit enabling the Republic's exchange bondholders to receive $3 billion in payments.
  • Litigated specific performance and breach of contract case for private equity fund arising out of defendant's refusal to close on sale of company; court entered summary judgment in favor of client, resulting in favorable settlement.
  • Co-tried and obtained multimillion dollar award for executive who conceived and introduced the Refco/Thomas H. Lee leveraged buyout.
  • Represented private equity firm in securities fraud case in New York federal court; replaced client's existing counsel after original complaint was dismissed, developed new claims, survived motions to dismiss, and obtained favorable eight-figure settlement.
  • Defended co-founders of prominent social media firm in case by former associate claiming stock valued in the nine figures; won critical motion for injunctive relief by plaintiff, resulting in ruling that plaintiff was unlikely to succeed on the merits.

*Certain representations occurred prior to Michael's association with Cadwalader.

Michael Petrella 


  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 2nd Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 6th Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Michigan
  • U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of New York
  • U.S. Tax Court
  • New Jersey
  • New York


  • Case Western Reserve University, School of Law
    J.D., cum laude
  • Franklin and Marshall College