Litigator Mike Goecke helps clients resolve real estate, trust and estate, and corporate disputes in Maryland and Washington, DC.
Mike approaches litigation with a mix of IQ and EQ, bringing both intellect and emotional intelligence to his cases and clients. With a keen understanding of the human and business factors that drive litigation, he works closely with clients to identify priorities and pursue the best outcomes. His decades of litigation experience and familiarity with local courts allow Mike to efficiently size up any dispute and implement effective strategies.
Mike regularly handles cases before the Montgomery County Circuit Court and the District of Columbia Superior Court, as well as other state and federal courts in the Washington, DC area. He has also successfully litigated before the Maryland Court of Special Appeals and the Montgomery County Board of Appeals. In addition, he effectively uses mediation to avoid (or minimize) litigation to serve clients’ best interests.
Real Estate Litigation
Property owners, developers, landlords, tenants, community associations, and restaurants turn to Mike when there is a dispute involving leases, contracts, land use, or community living issues like easements or restrictive covenants.
Mike also helps people challenge (or defend) wills and trusts, and discreetly handles sensitive family disputes. He represents personal representatives, executors, trustees, and beneficiaries in lawsuits and appellate proceedings. Mike is also on Maryland's approved list of attorneys eligible for appointment to handle guardianship, and is approved, to be court-appointed legal counsel in guardianship matters.
Mike represents companies and individuals in a variety of business disputes including contract claims, as well as disputes over company control, assets, and potential violations of fiduciary duties.
Pro bono work is an integral part of Mike’s practice. Mike coordinates Lerch Early's pro bono efforts, and both the bar and the media have recognized him for his leadership in assisting indigent clients.
A former competitive swimmer and water polo player, Mike recently began competing in open water races. His favorite part of the year is traveling with his wife and daughters. Last year they hiked Hurricane Ridge in Washington's Olympic National Park, and enjoyed chocolate and Trappist ales in Belgium. A former Michigander, Mike also spends a lot of time rooting for all teams from Detroit and the University of Michigan.
The architectural and environmental control committee of a Lerch Early homeowners association client approved construction of a fence. A neighbor challenged the approval before the association’s board of directors, which upheld the committee’s approval. The neighbor then filed a complaint before the Montgomery County Commission on Common Ownership Communities.
Lerch Early demonstrated that the association acted properly and the board of directors rendered its decision without fraud or bad faith. We asked that the CCOC abide by the business judgment rule, by which a court will not interfere in the internal affairs of a corporation, absent fraud or bad faith.
The CCOC ruled that the association had the discretion on how and to what extent to enforce its rules and dismissed the complaint.
Starbucks wished to redevelop a site in Burtonsville into a new Starbucks restaurant that would include a drive-thru. Before Starbucks retained Lerch Early, the project had become “stuck” in the review process.
We identified key decision makers in County government and worked with County leaders of our zoning interpretation and path to approvals. This involved multiple meetings with planning staff and officials, as well as testimony before the Hearing Examiner.
Starbucks received all approvals necessary to redevelop a key strategic location with the Starbucks required amenities.
Real Estate Litigation