Michael D. Sanders


Chicago, IL
D 872.264.4918


Chicago-Kent College of Law J.D. cum laude, 1995

Truman State University f/k/a Northeast Missouri State University B. A. cum laude, 1991


Michael D. Sanders is a Partner in Freeman Mathis & Gary's Chicago office. Mr. Sanders practices in the area of insurance coverage and civil litigation. His insurance coverage work includes interpretation and litigation surrounding commercial general liability policies, professional liability policies, commercial property policies, automobile policies, and excess policies. He regularly counsels clients regarding complex insurance coverage issues, including the nature and extent of the duty to defend, targeted tender, trigger of coverage, risk transfer and allocation, bad faith, late notice, and breach of cooperation. He has represented clients on a diverse range of first-party and third-party insurance coverage matters including business interruption losses arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic, high-exposure personal injury lawsuits, construction defects, professional malpractice, property losses, toxic tort, and employment-related practices. He advises excess insurance carriers in catastrophic injury matters on issues of priority of coverage, subrogation, tender, case value and resolution strategy.

Michael also defends clients in a variety of civil litigation matters including the defense of professional liability lawsuits, construction accidents, premises liability actions, and construction defect matters. He has tried to verdict cases involving attorney malpractice, automobile accidents, and product liability.

Bar Admissions


U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (Trial Bar)

United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois

Representative Cases & Clients

Representation of insurance carrier in COVID-19 business interruption claims including coordinating the response to claims, defending all claims filed by policyholders in Illinois, and serving as co-lead counsel for multi-district litigation.

Representation of insurance carrier covering manufacturer that had been sued by hundreds of plaintiffs alleging bodily injury from exposure of dioxin when burning insured’s product over dozens of policy periods.

Representation of insurance carrier covering manufacturer of sirens that had been sued by hundreds of plaintiffs alleging hearing loss over dozens of policy periods.

Representation of insurance carrier covering manufacturer of polybutylene plumbing systems that had been sued by thousands of homeowners because system allegedly leaked over dozens of policy periods.

Obtained summary judgment in favor of school for disabled children in lawsuit by student alleging that delay in transfer to emergency department for appendicitis lead to catastrophic brain damage.

Obtained summary judgment on behalf of freight broker and its insurer against insurer for power unit that resulted in finding of no coverage for owner and driver of power unit as well as reimbursement of all attorney’s fees incurred defending freight broker in personal injury lawsuit.

Favorable resolution of numerous lawsuits by policyholders over disputes arising out of handling of first-party property losses alleging bad faith claims practices.

Alley 64, Inc. v. Society Insurance, 2022 IL App (2d) 210401 (finding no coverage under “contamination” provision of commercial property insurance policy for alleged COVID-19 business losses and reversing certification of class).

Sweet Berry Café, Inc. v. Society Insurance, 2022 IL App (2d) 210088 (in a case of first impression, finding that losses allegedly caused by presence of COVID-19 virus and by Governor’s closure orders are not covered under commercial property insurance policy).

Brettman v. M&G Truck Brokerage, Inc., 2019 IL App (2d) 180236 (in a case of first impression, holding that freight broker and shipper could not be held liable for conduct of trucker for an accident occurring after delivery of goods).

Nelson v. Padgitt, 2016 IL App (1st) 160571 (affirming summary judgment in favor of attorney on grounds action was time barred).

DelaTorre v. Lake Effect Development III, L.L.C. et al., 2015 IL App (2d) 140596-U (affirming summary judgment in favor of client-subcontractor for construction accident).

National Union Fire Ins. Co. of Pittsburgh, PA v. American Motorists Ins. Co., 707 F.3d 797 (7th Cir. 2013) (obtained reimbursement of settlement paid by excess insurer in complex insurance coverage dispute arising from construction accident involving issues of equitable subrogation, targeted tender, and professional liability exclusion).

Smith v. Jefferson County Board of Education, 378 Fed.Appx. 582 (7th Cir. 2010) (affirming dismissal of civil rights action for lack of specific personal jurisdiction).

Hurlbert v. Brewer, 386 Ill.App.3d 1096 (4th Dist. 2008) (holding that an insurance carrier has standing to intervene in a lawsuit to challenge agreement by plaintiff and defendant to increase judgment that was to be collected solely from the insurance carrier).

  • Illinois Bar Association
  • DRI – Insurance Law Committee