Michael R. Christian

Attorney at Law

Michael Christian has deep experience in business, real estate, natural resources, administrative law and litigation.  For nearly 30 years he has represented businesses of all sizes with interests ranging from real estate to mining and ranching to internet-based business.  He represents active operators in oil and gas exploration in Idaho for all local legal needs.  He has litigated disputes across a wide variety of subjects.  He provides services including:

  • Contract negotiation, preparation and review including leases, real estate purchase and sale agreements, easement agreements, surface use agreements, asset and stock purchase agreements, business mutual aid agreements, and vendor contracts.

  • Litigation of contract, real estate and other commercial disputes.

  • Advising business clients regarding human resources issues including employment agreements, employee policy manuals, terminations, severance agreements, discrimination and harassment claims, and non-compete, confidentiality and non-solicitation agreements.

  • Representing clients in proceedings before state and federal agencies and local government councils and commissions.

  • Mineral title opinions, including drilling and division order title opinions for oil and gas clients.

  • Governmental relations including drafting and supporting legislation and representing clients in the negotiation and drafting of county ordinances.

Michael has litigated a broad range of business and real estate issues, including both enforcing and defending against claims under employee non-compete, confidentiality and non-solicitation agreements, intellectual property disputes, boundary and easement disputes, and contract disputes of all stripes.  He has conducted bench and jury trials in several Idaho counties, and the United States District Court and Bankruptcy Court for the District of Idaho.  He has successfully argued appeals to the Idaho Supreme Court and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.  His significant results include:

  • Defeated employer claim attempting to enforce employee noncompete agreement, obtaining summary judgment and payment of client’s attorney fees by employer.

  • Defeated CERCLA cost recovery claim for historic mine tailing contamination on summary judgment.

  • Defeated claims alleging breach of geothermal lease on summary judgment and obtained judgment for attorney’s fees against plaintiff lessor.

  • Trial counsel in month-long trial of construction dispute, resulting in recovery of more than $300,000 for client and defeating opposing party’s $1,700,000 counterclaim.

  • Obtained summary judgment against United States in mining claim patent dispute, and award of attorney’s fees in favor of client under Equal Access to Justice Act.

  • Settled multi-million dollar intellectual property claim against manufacturing client for less than 5% of claim after deposition of opposing party.

  • Obtained voluntary dismissal of property damage negligence claim after successful exclusion of plaintiff’s expert witness.

  • Settled multiple partnership dissolution disputes on favorable terms.

  • Settled minority shareholder oppression claim on favorable terms for client frozen out of profits from lucrative contracting business.

Michael received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Northwestern University in 1987, and his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Washington in 1990.

In his free time Michael enjoys travel with his family, USTA tennis leagues, and writing fiction.

Michael received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Northwestern University in 1987, and his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Washington in 1990.

In his free time Michael enjoys travel with his family, USTA tennis leagues, and writing fiction.

Contact Mike

p. 208-473-7009
f. 208-473-7661
mike@smithmalek.com