Michael J. Goecke

Litigation Attorney

Principal

mjgoecke@lerchearly.com
7600 Wisconsin AvenueSuite 700Bethesda, MD 20814

Education

  • Wayne State University Law School (J.D. 1998)
  • University of Michigan (B.A. in English, 1994)

Admissions

  • Maryland
  • District of Columbia
  • Michigan
Overview

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 for each dispute. His decades of litigation experience and local bar knowledge allow Mike to quickly size up any situation 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 also has 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, sales contracts, land use, or community living issues like easements or restrictive covenants.

Fiduciary Litigation
Mike also helps people challenge (or defend) wills and trusts, and discreetly handles sensitive and personal disputes. He represents personal representatives, executors, trustees, guardians, and beneficiaries in lawsuits and appellate proceedings.

Commercial Litigation
Mike represents companies and individuals in 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. In his spare time, he enjoys playing with his kids, travel, and rooting for all teams from Detroit and the University of Michigan.

Education

  • Wayne State University Law School (J.D. 1998)
  • University of Michigan (B.A. in English, 1994)

Admissions

  • Maryland
  • District of Columbia
  • Michigan
Education & Admissions

Education

  • Wayne State University Law School (J.D. 1998)
  • University of Michigan (B.A. in English, 1994)

Admissions

  • Maryland
  • District of Columbia
  • Michigan
Honors & Awards
  • Listed in Best Lawyers in America, Trusts and Estates (2018-present)
  • Leadership in Law Award, The Daily Record (2016)
  • Bar Leader, Montgomery County Bar Foundation (2016)
  • Pro Bono Award, Pro Bono Resource Center (2015)
  • President's Citation for Outstanding Pro Bono Service, Bar Association of Montgomery County (2015)
  • Henry Lerch Pro Bono Award (2013, 2015)
Community Involvement
  • Pro Bono Resource Center (Board of Directors, 2016-present)
  • Homeless Persons Representation Project's Annual Campaign to End Homelessness (Campaign Committee, 2014)
  • Catholic Charities Legal Network Advisory Board (2012-2018)
  • Maryland State Standing Committee on Pro Bono (2012-2017)
Professional Memberships
  • Maryland State Bar Association  
  • District of Columbia Bar Association
  • Bar Association of Montgomery County, Maryland
  • Montgomery County Bar Foundation (Chair, Pro Bono Program 2012-present)
  • Catholic Charities Legal Network Advisory Council (2014-present)
Insights
Success Stories
Representative Matters

Real Estate Litigation

  • Obtained summary judgment and award of attorneys' fees for $250K in Washington County Circuit Court on behalf of a mall owner against a retail chain restaurant.
  • Won a trial verdict in Montgomery County Circuit Court, securing an easement that enabled the owner of 100+ acres of landlocked farmland to access and sell portions of the property and its density rights.
  • Won a trial verdict in a contract dispute between a landlord and tenant in DC Superior Court that enabled the landlord to collect 100% of previously withheld payments, as well as attorneys’ fees.
  • Won a six-figure judgment and obtained possession of property on behalf of a national retailer in an action against a Montgomery County franchise tenant.
  • Successfully defended the owner of a multimillion-dollar property against charges that his property renovations violated the community’s restrictive covenants. Despite the existence of the covenants, the court ruled in our client’s favor, holding that that the plaintiffs had failed to notify him in a timely manner. The victory saved him potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars in construction costs.
  • Represented a landlord (restaurant) against a tenant (nightclub in downtown DC) and obtained a six-figure judgment for back rent.
  • Prevailed after a three-day bench trial in a contract and construction dispute between a landlord and tenant involving construction build-out delays on a popular bar in Dupont Circle. Obtained and enforced judgment for $165K and also recovered $85K in attorneys’ fees.
  • Represented a  landlord (restaurant) against a tenant (pizza store) and evicted the tenant for non-payment of rent.
  • Obtained summary judgement in support of a city's effort to annex land, allowing a development project to proceed.
  • Sued commercial landlord for fraudulent inducement and successfully negotiated rent abatement and other concessions that enabled our tenant client to obtain a use and occupancy permit from Prince George’s County.

Fiduciary Litigation

  • Represented a personal representative in a DC probate dispute and successfully petitioned the court to remove a co-personal representative for violating fiduciary duties.
  • Won a dispositive summary judgment motion on 28 out of 29 issues in a complex will contest between siblings in Montgomery County Circuit Court. As a result, the sibling challenging the will withdrew his final issue on the eve of trial, and forfeited his claim to 25% of the estate.
  • Recovered hundreds of thousands of dollars for the personal representative of an estate in a case alleging fraud and other misconduct by one of the decedent’s children. By involving the Office of the State’s Attorney for Montgomery County, which investigated and determined that criminal conduct had occurred, obtained a swift and comprehensive settlement.
  • Obtained an inheritance of nearly $50K for a 90-year-old homeless man in connection with a pro bono representation, enabling him to receive critical medical treatment.

Commercial Litigation

  • Representing an international manufacturer of turbo machinery in state and federal court relating to alleged defects and breach of contract.
  • Successfully negotiated a resolution on behalf of a U.S.-based manufacturer and provider of genomics and proteomic products.
  • Enforced a non-compete agreement against a former employee for a prominent public adjusting company.
  • Represented a minority member of an LLC that owned a restaurant and bar on Capitol Hill, and successfully mediated and negotiated a settlement agreement giving the client control of the company.

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