Mike Daly focuses his practice on representing clients involved in litigation over business, insurance and maritime disputes.  He has tried, arbitrated, and otherwise litigated cases involving breach of contract, personal injuries, liability under the Jones Act and General Maritime Law, vessel arrests and maritime attachments, and availability of insurance coverage under general liability, marine and health insurance policies.  He recently recovered a multimillion dollar judgment following a jury trial in Rhode Island federal court. 

Mike is a frequent author and speaker on topics including federal court practice and procedure, admiralty law, and insurance coverage.  For several years, he taught a course on federal court commercial litigation at the Roger Williams University School of Law.  In 2016, Chief Judge William Smith appointed Mike to serve as co-chair of the local rules review committee for the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island.  He also is a co-author of the Local Admiralty Rules for the District of Rhode Island.   

Honors & Distinctions

  • Ranked in The Best Lawyers in America® for Commercial Litigation since 2016
  • Recognized as a Rhode Island Super Lawyer in Business Litigation since 2013, and as a Rhode Island Super Lawyer “Rising Star” in 2011 and 2012
  • Recognized as a top "40 Under 40" by Providence Business News in 2013

Professional Activities

    Speaking Engagements

  • American Claims Institute, Admiralty Claims and Litigation, Houston, TX, February, 2016, 2015 & 2014 
  • American Bar Association, Annual Meeting 2015, Unsettling Issues With Mass Tort Settlements, Chicago, IL 
  • Rhode Island Federal District Court Conference: Admiralty Law Arrests and Attachments, October 2013
  • National Business Institute: Insurance Coverage Law, 2012 2008 & 2007
  • Defense Counsel of Rhode Island, CLE Seminar: Damages: Legal, Practical and Pragmatic Considerations of Value Assessment, May 2011
  • Maritime Law Association, Recreational Boating Committee Meeting: Piracy and Recreational Boating, May 2010
  • American Bar Association/(TIPS), Insurance Coverage Litigation Committee Annual Meeting: Insurance Coverage for Maritime Piracy, February 2010
  • Rhode Island Federal District Court / Federal Practice Series Seminar: Admiralty Law and Jurisdiction, March 2009

    Professional Associations

  • Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section of the American Bar Association, Admiralty Committee (Chair, 2009-10, vice chair 2010-present), The Brief (Editorial Board 2012-14)
  • Maritime Law Association
  • Rhode Island Bar Association


Recent Developments in Admiralty and Maritime Law. Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Law Journal (2011, 2010 & 2009). (Co-author).

Marine and Coastal Law, Cases and Materials 2nd Ed. Praeger Publishing. 2010.

Punitive Damages, Rhode Island Chapter. DRI Survey of Punitive Damages Laws. 2009.

Intellectual Property. Chapter, DRI Young Lawyers Form Book. 2009.

Has the Antiquities Act Gone Down With the Ship?  A Preemption Analysis of Rhode Island's Shipwreck Laws, 6 Roger Williams U. Law Rev. 539 (2001).

Civic Activities

Harbor Management Commission, Portsmouth, R.I., May, 2013-present

Legal Committee, Save the Bay, 2008-present

School Committee Member, Portsmouth, R.I., June 2012 - November 2012

Board Member, Portsmouth Public Education Foundation, 2011-2012

Youth Soccer Coach, Portsmouth, R.I., 2009-2012, 2014-2015


Practice Areas

Representative Experience

  • Advised tugboat company in connection with the death of a captain and compliance with U.S. Coast Guard reporting requirements.
  • Negotiated prompt release of tugboat that was arrested (pursuant to admiralty Rule B) in connection with ongoing litigation over a maritime towage agreement.
  • Representation of marine lender to arrest (pursuant to admiralty Rule C) a vessel and foreclose on a preferred ship mortgage.

Representative Experience

  • Recovered a $2.9 million judgment following a federal court jury trial in a case involving a dispute over a long term business contract between companies involved in the plastic film industry. 
  • Obtained summary judgment for health insurer in ERISA action involving claim of wrongful denial of health benefits.
  • Obtained a favorable order for a general contractor seeking to enforce an Ohio arbitration clause. The matter was named as one of the most important Rhode Island opinions of 2012 because it was the first time a court concluded that the Federal Arbitration Act preempted a Rhode Island statute that prohibits out-of-state arbitration in certain construction matters.
  • Obtained summary judgment for yacht manufacturer that was sued for alleged design defects and breach of warranty.
  • Representation of annuity companies in a series of high-profile lawsuits centering on a secretive Stranger Owned Annuity Transaction scheme.
  • Obtained arbitration award for national boat builder in a dispute over its termination of a dealership agreement.
  • Obtained favorable resolution on behalf of a national bank sued for wrongful repossession of a yacht subject to a preferred ship mortgage.
  • Defense of home builder in connection with a series of lawsuits alleging various construction defects and breaches of warranty.
  • Defense of gaming company in litigation over an alleged breach of a multimillion dollar royalty agreement.
  • Representation of life, health and disability insurers in connection with coverage disputes governed by ERISA and state law.
  • Wrote amicus brief in the First Circuit Court of Appeals concerning the constitutionality of Rhode Island's campaign finance and disclosure laws.
  • Obtained favorable and fair resolution on behalf of coastal property owners cited for violations of state environmental regulations.