Education

University of Michigan

A.B., 1977

Harvard Law School

J.D., 1980
  • cum laude
  • President, Harvard Defenders

Bar Admission

Michigan

1980

Francis R. Ortiz

Member and Practice Department Manager: Appellate, Healthcare, Insurance and Regulatory & Administrative

Prominent Assignments

Successfully represented clients in dozens of state and federal court trials and American Arbitration Association or securities industry arbitration hearings, and argued in federal and state appeals courts for over 35 years.

Lead counsel for commercial bank in Indiana federal court multi-million dollar class action alleging reverse discrimination in mortgage lending.

Lead counsel and obtained appellate court reversal of class certification in multi-million dollar ERISA class action against Michigan’s largest health care company in action alleging breach of fiduciary duty by the collection of subsidy designed to benefit senior citizens.

Lead counsel and secured summary judgment for auto manufacturer in ERISA Section 510 discrimination class actions brought by employees alleging international misclassification of their employment status to avoid accrual of pension benefits.

Successfully defended former officers and directors in $50 million fraud suit brought by creditor committee of failed Health Maintenance Organization.

Successfully represented South African alloy wheel manufacturer in a two phase AAA arbitration for allegedly causing the loss of over $30 million in sales commissions.

Successfully defended a jewelry manufacturer against allegations of bank fraud involving damage claims of $30 million in New Jersey federal court.

Successfully represented auto manufacturer and secured dismissal of multi-million dollar false claims act lawsuit.

Successfully defended bank trustees in various cases involving claims of breach of fiduciary duties.

Obtained appellate reversal of substantial damages housing discrimination jury verdict against mortgage bank.

Obtained summary judgment for auto industry manufacturer in ERISA class action alleging breach of promise to provide lifetime health care benefits to retirees.

Longstanding trial and appellate counsel for national financial services companies.

Longstanding trial and appellate counsel for several major life, health and disability insurance companies.

Representative Clients

  • Ford Motor Company
  • JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A.
  • HSBC Financial Services, Inc.
  • John Hancock Financial Services, Inc.
  • Sun Life of Canada

Professional Involvement

  • Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association, President
  • Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Counsel
  • Federal Bar Association
    • Executive Board Member, Eastern District of Michigan 
  • University of Detroit Mercy Law School, Former Adjunct Professor
  • Hispanic Bar Association, Director

Publications/Presentations

  • “Recent Cases Invigorate Defenses Against Class Actions,” BlueCross BlueShield Association Legal Affairs Bulletin, No. 1035, April 2012.
  • "Applicability of Michigan’s Comparative-Fault Statutes to Probate Litigation" Michigan Bar Journal, March 2011
  • "Trial Tactics-Fair or Fowl" presentation, Michigan Defense Trial, Counsel, November 2007
  • "Arbitration and ERISA Claims," Michigan Defense Quarterly, April 2007