Kennerly, Montgomery & Finley P.C.
Michael S. Kelley

Michael S. Kelley, Esq.

Civil Litigation and Appeals

A 1990 graduate of Harvard Law School, Michael S. Kelley  practices in the areas of municipal lawcommercial litigation, and healthcare fraud. Mr. Kelley is admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court, the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee, and the trial and appellate courts of the State of Tennessee.

From 1998-2004, Mr. Kelley served as the Law Director for the City of Knoxville. In this position, he represented the City, the Mayor, and other municipal officials in all types of lawsuits in state and federal court and in various regulatory matters. Since returning to private practice, Mr. Kelley has focused on civil litigation and internal investigations for private companies and governmental entities.

U.S. News & World Report recognized Michael in The Best Lawyers in America(C) in the practice areas of Appellate Practice and Litigation - Bankruptcy for 2021-2024.

Cityview Magazine recognized Michael as a Top Attorney of Knoxville in the practice areas of Constitutional Law/Civil Rights for 2020-2023, as well as Labor & Employment Law - Employee for 2020 and 2021. He was also recognized in Appellate Practice, Bankruptcy - Creditor, and Business Litigation in 2021 and 2023.

During his twenty years in public and private practice, Mr. Kelley has represented clients in the following areas:

  • defended a large health care company in qui tam lawsuit alleging violations of Medicare statutes
  • represented governmental officials and city governments in actions for alleged civil rights violations under § 1983
  • represented many clients before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and Tennessee Court of Appeals
  • defended insurance companies in lawsuits involving failure to pay on insurance policies
  • represented property owners and developers in litigation involving real property disputes
  • defended a regional lender in multiple lawsuits and arbitration proceedings
  • represented a local development agency and city government in multiple lawsuits under the Governmental Tort Liability Act
  • conducted internal investigations for health care companies and municipal governments
  • represented lenders and borrowers in receivership actions
  • defended companies in actions alleging discrimination, harassment, and violations of federal wage and hour requirements
  • represented companies before state regulatory boards
  • defended municipality in dozens of annexation lawsuits
  • prosecuted actions against contractors and design professionals for negligent workmanship

About Michael

Michael was admitted to the Tennessee Bar in 1990 and he is a member of the Knoxville Bar Association ("KBA") and Tennessee Bar Association ("TBA"). He is currently the Firm's deputy managing shareholder.

In 1992, he was admitted to the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. In 1994, he was admitted to the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Tennessee. In 2008, he was admitted to the U.S. Supreme Court.


Michael graduated from Harvard Law School in 1990. While there, he was the Managing Editor of the Harvard Journal of Law and Technology. Before attending law school, he attended Davidson College where he received a cum laude B.A. in 1983. While there, he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa.


      Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam appointed Michael to the Board of Directors of the Knoxville Tourism and Sports Corporation during his tenure as mayor. The KTSC was dissolved after this in 2012 and re-branded as Visit Knoxville.


      Magazines and Law Reviews

      • Major Changes to Appellate Rules | DICTA: May 2017
      • “‘Something Beyond’: The Unconditional Vagueness of RICO’s Pattern Requirement,” 40 Catholic University Law Review No. 2 (1991).

      Selected Cases

      • Williams v. Redflex Traffic Systems, Inc., 582 F.3d 617 (6th Cir. 2009)
      • Lowery v. Jefferson Cnty. School Bd., 586 F.3d 427 (6th Cir. 2009)
      • Monday Foundation v. Diocese of East Tennessee, 2008 Tenn. App. LEXIS 771 (2008)
      • Massey v. R.W.Graf, Inc., 277 S.W.3d 902 (Tenn. Ct. App. 2008)
      • Hockett v. Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp., 498 F. Supp. 2d 25 (D.D.C. 2007)
      • Lane v. Am. Gen. Life & Accident Ins. Co., 252 S.W.3d 289 (Tenn. Ct. App. 2007)
      • Sharpe v. Cureton, 319 F.3d 259 (6th Cir. 2003)
      • Alcoa v. LGPAC, 123 S.W.3d 351 (Tenn. Ct. App. 2003)
      • Thompson v. Ashe, 250 F.3d 399 (6th Cir. 2001)
      • Lovelace v. City of Knoxville, 2001 Tenn. App. LEXIS 198 (2001)
      • Doane v. City of Oak Ridge, 898 S.W.2d 828 (Tenn. Ct. App. 1995)

      Reach out to Michael Today!

      Phone: (865) 546-7311

      Fax: 865-524-1773

      Or message them directly below:

      Michael S. Kelley (Direct Form)

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