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Michael T. Hornak

T: (714) 641-3472

Mr. Hornak is a senior partner at Rutan & Tucker, where he is Co-Chair of the firm’s Cybersecurity, Privacy and Corporate Governance Practice Group and Unfair Competition/Class Action Defense Group.  He has a broad range of experience in litigating commercial and business matters.  Mr. Hornak’s expertise extends to intellectual property disputes, shareholder and partner governance, contract and tort claims, and the defense of consumer and shareholder class actions.

Mr. Hornak is equally adept in federal and state court settings, arbitration, mediation, and pre-litigation counseling and emphasizes early case evaluation, goal assessment, and creative approaches to obtaining effective results.

Mr. Hornak is repeatedly recognized as one of the Best Lawyers in America (Woodward/White) and as a Southern California Super Lawyer (Law & Public Media).  Mr. Hornak is actively engaged in the Orange County community and recognized for his contributions by business and government. He is a former managing partner of Rutan & Tucker and heads the firm's technology review committee. 

Areas of Expertise

  • General business and commercial litigation 
  • Intellectual property (including patent, trademark, copyright, trade secret, and cyberdata) litigation and counseling 
  • Corporate governance issues, including disputes involving shareholders, partners, officers, and directors 
  • SEC and other government agency investigations 
  • Defense of class actions brought by consumers and shareholders, including matters relating to unfair business practices, public company mergers, and Song-Beverly litigation 
  • Cybersecurity
  • Proposition 65 litigation

Representative Business Litigation Matters

  • Counsel for national bank in action against guarantor asserting unenforceability of obligation.  Obtained multi-million dollar settlement after start of trial.   
  • Lead counsel for national homebuilder in claim against co-developer for millions owed for advances made for master development. Favorable resolution, with client acquiring co-developer’s interest in project. 
  • Lead counsel for engineering company in successful action to force Fortune 200 buyer to release million-dollar escrow holdback. 
  • First chair in litigation against professional tour to recover sponsor fees. Resolved by multi-million dollar settlement. 
  • First chair in successful defense of majority owners of three-county farming business, defeating minority family member’s claims for breach of fiduciary duties and wrongful discharge.  
  • Plaintiffs’ counsel in successful action against underwriter of securities offering. Arbitrated to award exceeding $20 million. 
  • Successful defense of majority owner doctors against claims by partner physician for breach of fiduciary duties.
  • Defense of nutritional products company, internet company, and hotel chain in multiple Prop. 65 matters. All resolved for less than cost of defense. 
  • First chair representation of minority shareholders of closely held electric cart manufacturing business in action against majority officers, directors, and shareholders for breach of fiduciary duties, forcing purchase of client’s interest in business. 
  • Co-defended national hotel chain and private equity firm in action for tens of millions of dollars brought by investor alleging securities fraud, RICO, and breach of contract, resulting in dismissal of all claims. 
  • First chair defense of majority owners of restaurant group against claims of breach of fiduciary duties, resulting in acquisition of major portions of complaining shareholder’s interest. 
  • First chair defense of insurance company in multiple actions asserting misrepresentations by independent agents and unfair business practices by company. Matters successfully resolved without trial. 
  • First chair representation of foreign real estate firm and developer in action against multi-national real estate development trust for failure to honor joint venture to develop shopping center in Mazatlan. Favorably resolved after rulings on pre-trial motions.   

Representative Intellectual Property Litigation Matters

  • Successfully pursued claims by leading manufacturer of secure identity solutions against Fortune 20 licensee for breach of license to proprietary technology, trade secrets, and trademarks.
  • Defense of national media company against claims for copyright infringement. Settled for less than costs of defense. 
  • Co-lead counsel in patent litigation upholding validity of key radio frequency and antenna patents. 
  • Successful pursuit of monies owed to developer of back-office web-based software utilized by major restaurants and fast food chains, based on breach of software license agreements.

Exemplar Class Action Matters

  • Obtained dismissal of Song-Beverly claims against major online retailer, affirmed on appeal, with determination that Song-Beverly Act does not apply to online transactions.
  • Obtained dismissal with prejudice of consumer class action claims based on alleged design defect in all-in-one printers, successfully defeating class certification.
  • First chair defense of packaged food company and its directors in six class actions filed in two states asserting breach of fiduciary duties by board in approving merger involving private equity firm. Resolved with no payment to class. 
  • First chair defense of stem cell research public company and its directors in multiple actions in two states asserting breach of fiduciary duties by board. Resolved with no payment to class. 
  • First chair defense of Song-Beverly Act claims against multiple restaurants charged with having wrongfully collected personal data of customers. Resolved with no monetary payment to plaintiff class. 
  • First chair defense of online shopping company in nationwide class action involving inaccurate pricing of products and alleged deceptive practices. Resolved at no cost to client. 
  • Lead counsel in defense of class action against life insurance company for alleged misrepresentations of agents concerning policy benefits. Successfully resolved after defeating plaintiffs’ motion for class certification. 
  • Successful lead defense of Internet company charged with unfair business practices for selling products where manufacturer offered mail-in rebates it failed to honor.  
  • Obtained dismissal of putative class action against analytics firm against claims that home equity lines of credit were improperly frozen.

Representative Governmental and Corporate Investigations

  • Representation of Regional Center re EB-5 investor program in SEC investigation.
  • Successful lead defense of internet retailer against claims by state attorneys general that client misrepresented rewards program.  
  • Advise major private equity shareholder on securities issues relating to hostile takeover bid.
  • Representation of retailer in investigation by Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) relating to sale of product, where manufacturer failed to honor its mail-in rebates. FTC terminated investigation without action. 
  • Representation of public companies and individuals in multiple SEC proceedings relating to securities laws compliance. 
  • Internal corporate investigations of insider trading & tipping. 
  • Internal corporate investigations of alleged practices violating anti-trust laws, and advice to clients thereon. 

General Counsel and Advice, Including Intellectual Property and Cybersecurity Matters

  • Representation of multiple companies in numerous matters involving claims of trade secret misappropriation by former or existing employees. 
  • Provide advice to multiple companies regarding Cybersecurity breaches.  Drafted breach notifications to consumers and relevant governmental entities.
  • Successful defense of breach of contract claims against online nonprofit university in pre-lawsuit resolution.
  • Successful defense of worldwide company in year-long investigation of alleged infringement of software publishers' copyrights. 
  • Advice and counseling of clients in branding, Lanham Act, licensing, and anti-trust issues. 
  • Counseling to multiple companies on liability avoidance relating to partnership and joint venture disputes and corporate governance issues. 
  • Anti-trust counseling re pricing, channels, competitor relationships, and general business practices. 

Presentations (partial list)

  • Orange County Bar Association, Corporate Counsel Section, Presentation - Cybersecurity 2017: What General Counsel Need to Know
  • Orange County Business Council Cybersecurity Task Force, Incident Planning and Response, with Jim Dinneen, Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Private Sector Office, April 2016
  • California Lawyer Privacy Roundtable, February 2016
  • Panelist, 2016 Chapman Law Review Symposium on Cyber Wars: Navigating Responsibilities for the Public and Private Sector, Chapman Law Review, January 2016 
  • Cybersecurity 2016: What General Counsel Need to Know, MCLE In-House Series, December 2015
  • Cybersecurity 2015: Breaches Do (And Will) Happen, November 2015 
  • American Corporate Counsel Association, Southern California Chapter, Roundtable Presentation. Topic: “Ethics Issues for In-House Counsel.”
  • Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB), Advanced Course of Study: Intellectual Property Litigation. Topics: (a) Anti-trust Concepts for the IP Practitioner, and (b) trade secrets.
  • Orange County Bar Association, Corporate Counsel Section. Topic: Developments re Trade Secrets.
  • Forum for Corporate Directors, Panel Presentation. Topic: "The Changing Role of the Corporate Director."


  • "Cybersecurity Strategies for Small and Middle-Market Companies," Orange County Business Journal, June 2016
  • "California Lawyer Roundtable Series – Privacy," Daily Journal publication, February 2016
  • "The Attorney Who Came In From The Cold," OC Register, Business Section, August 2013

Representative Clients

  • Brother International Corporation
  • Buy.com (Rakuten)
  • CalAtlantic Group, Inc.
  • California Strawberry Commission 
  • HID Global
  • Impac Mortgage
  • LuLaRoe, Inc. 
  • Sharkeez Restaurants and affiliated companies 
  • Triple M Packing

Memberships & Associations

  • American Bar Association (Litigation, Intellectual Property, and Business Law Sections)
  • Association of Business Trial Lawyers
  • Orange County Bar Association
  • Orange County Business Council, Chairman of the Board (2013); Co-Chair, Legal Affairs (2018); Co-Chair, Advocacy and Government Affairs (2011); Executive Committee (2007-2014, 2018); Board of Directors (2006-present); Chair, Strategic Planning (2014); Chair Emeritus 
  • Orange County Bar Foundation - Project Youth OCBF (Past President [2001], Trustee [1990-2003], Founding Fellow, 9th Annual Society of Fellows Distinguished Fellow) 
  • Rutan & Tucker (Managing Partner 2006-2009; Executive Committee 2003-2005; Co-General Counsel 2003-2009; Technology Review Committee, Chair 2015-present)
  • Yale Alumni Schools Committee, Orange County (Director, 1992-2008, Member, 1990- present)
  • Yale Club of Orange County 

Awards & Honors

  • Best Lawyers in America, 2006-2018 (Listed for Commercial Litigation, Intellectual Property Litigation, Trade Secrets Law [2017 Orange County Lawyer of the Year], and Bet-the-Company Litigation [2017 Orange County Lawyer of the Year])

        Best Lawyers Award Badge

  • Southern California “Super Lawyers” 2006-2018
  • Honorable Mention as one of the Most Influential Business People of Orange County in 2008 (Orange County Business Journal)
  • AV® Preemininent™ rating with LexisNexis/Martindale Hubbell
  • Recognized in Joint Resolution of California Legislature for contributions to business community, leadership of Orange County Business Council, and achievements for Orange County. 
  • Recognized by unanimous Resolution of the Orange County Board of Supervisors for performance-based leadership style, innovative spirit, and consensus approach to problem solving. 
  • Certificate of Recognition from Mission Viejo City Council for enhancing Orange County’s prominence as an ideal place to live and do business.