Michael D. Gaffney

Michael D. Gaffney
Michael D. Gaffney
T: (208) 557-5203
F: (208) 529-9732

Michael Gaffney is one of the most accomplished trial and appellate lawyers in Idaho. He has tried over 90 cases and argued over a dozen appeals before the Idaho and Wyoming Supreme Courts and the 9th and 10th U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals. Representing both plaintiffs and defendants, he has obtained some of the largest verdicts and settlements in the state on behalf of plaintiffs and defended individuals, companies and government agencies in some of the most difficult defenses in the state and surrounding region.  Mike worked for ten years as an insurance defense lawyer before broadening his practice to include plaintiffs representation.

On St. Patrick's Day, 2000, Mike obtained an $11.2 million defamation jury verdict in federal court, which represents the largest defamation verdict in Idaho history. Forty-five days later, Mike obtained a $2.2 million breach of contract jury verdict in the same court. That judgment was later amended to add an additional $225,000 award of attorney fees to Mike's client. Between 2000 and 2003, Mike represented two young clients in the first two Idaho cases against the Boy Scouts of America for sexual abuse. These cases resulted in confidential settlements and the discovery led to a plethora of similar claims against the BSA throughout Idaho.

Mike has represented Idaho clients in some of the toughest venues in the country, including the U.S. District Courts for the Southern District of New York (Manhattan), the Central District of California (Los Angeles) and the Middle District of Florida (Tampa). Over his career, he has handled virtually every type of lawsuit, from simple evictions to national class actions in virtually every area of the law, ranging from personal injury to complicated business lawsuits.

Over the past 30 years, Mike has mentored and trained a number of young lawyers to litigate in a style unique to Beard St. Clair Gaffney. That style is a parsimonious approach to preparing and trying cases that addresses the essentials of the case while combatting the current practice among litigators to expand, broaden and delay lawsuits to generate fees, publicity and litigation fatigue among clients so that they will settle cases for much less than they are worth. 

Mike currently focuses on business litigation, healthcare litigation, and mediation and arbitration. He has extensive experience in LLC dissolution, minority oppression cases, antitrust and securities, trademark, unfair competition, non-competition agreements, trade secrets and business torts, agribusiness, crop loss, medical and legal malpractice, physician licensure and privileges and real estate and construction litigation. Mike has assisted Iraq and Afghanistan era veterans in obtaining disability determinations from the VA for combat-related traumatic brain injury (TBI) pro bono.

Mike acts as a mediator and is an approved mediator for state and federal litigation. He has certified at the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine Law School, the Northwest Institute for Dispute Resolution at the University of Idaho College of Law and the American Health Lawyers Association medical dispute resolution training. The latter encompasses specialized mediation training for mediating medical malpractice, Medicare and Medicaid compliance and fraud, physician credentialing and HIPAA compliance disputes.

Mike is a published member of the Idaho Law Review and was recently listed for the ninth consecutive year in the 2014 Mountain States Super Lawyers in the area of Business Litigation. Mike was reappointed in 2014 as a Special Deputy Attorney General to defend the State of Idaho in tort and civil rights cases.

Mike grew up in the Dakotas and served as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer from 1974 - 1976 in southern Africa. He and his wife Julie are avid golfers, skiers, and dog lovers.


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Practice Areas

  • Business Litigation
  • Mediation & Arbitration
  • Health Care Litigation


University of Idaho College of Law
Juris Doctor 1986

University of Colorado 
Psych. Certification 1980

University of South Dakota 
MA 1978

Regis College
BS 1974


Beard St. Clair Gaffney PA
- 1995 to Present

Quane, Smith, Howard & Hull
- 1986-1995