Michael R. Rizzo

Michael R. Rizzo

Partner - Los Angeles
Download vCard
300 South Grand Avenue
14th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90071
TEL: 213.243.6193
ALT TEL: 626.893.7801
Print PDF


Michael R. Rizzo leads our Firm's Chambers USA Tier I ranked Government Contracts practice on the West Coast. 

Mr. Rizzo helps clients avoid disputes and government investigations.  He designs government contracts compliance programs that, once implemented, reduce legal department expenditures on disputes and litigation in future years.

When government or commercial disputes cannot be avoided, Mr. Rizzo defends his clients in both the public and private sectors.  He represents defense contractors, design/build firms, and companies in the transportation and information technology industries who perform federal, state government, local government, and private contracts.  Mr. Rizzo has served as lead counsel in defending lawsuits filed under the Civil False Claims Act and in contract dispute matters before the ASBCA, the CBCA, the American Arbitration Association, and in California State and Federal Courts.  Mr. Rizzo has 22 years of experience in resolving termination disputes at the federal, state and local government levels.  He has prepared and litigated successful claims against the Departments of Defense, Energy and NASA for contract changes, defective specifications and delay and disruption arising from the government's administration of major weapon systems and infrastructure contracts.  He frequently represents clients under investigation for alleged quality assurance and pricing improprieties and is experienced in developing and managing internal investigations.  

Notable Engagements

Mr. Rizzo obtained a Motion to Dismiss with Prejudice in 2014 on behalf of Lockheed Martin in a third party beneficiary matter decided by the Central District of California.  Caltex Plastics, Inc. v. Lockheed Martin Corp., CV 14-544 PA (Ex) April 24, 2014.

Mr. Rizzo successfully represented Hughes Aircraft Company in a Ninth Circuit case that set the standard for the statute of limitations applicable to retaliation claims in California under the Federal False Claims Act.  U.S. ex rel. Lujan v. Hughes Aircraft, 243 F.3d 1181 (9th Cir. 2001).

Mr. Rizzo defended Rockwell Collins' award by the California Department of General Services of an information technology contract for an integrated public safety vehicle environment in a protest by L-3 Communications worth more than $300 Million.  At the time, this was the largest protest in the history of the California Alternate Pilot Protest Program.

Mr. Rizzo successfully resolved an eight figure Contract Disputes Act claim arising out of a design-build firm's performance of infrastructure task orders in the Iraq reconstruction effort.

Mr. Rizzo successfully resolved what are believed to be the two largest terminations for default stemming from the Iraq reconstruction effort, obtaining terminations for convenience on behalf of his client.

Mr. Rizzo has favorably resolved, as lead counsel, recent inquiries into whether his clients should be suspended or debarred, demonstrating their present responsibility and compliance with revised internal controls that Mr. Rizzo formulated.

Mr. Rizzo served on MLA's teams that (1) successfully resolved two of the nation's largest major weapon system terminations, and (2) prevailed in Civil False Claims Act matters before the Ninth Circuit and U.S. Supreme Court.


Bar Admissions

Court Admissions


  • "Establishing Some Order: When The Government Should Act As Appellant In CDA Litigation," The Government Contractor, October, 2014
  • "California Public Procurement Handbook, 2014 ed.," West Publications, September 2014
  • "Contract Performance," Federal Publications Seminars, Western Briefing Conference: A Review and Outlook, December 2012-2014
  • "Government Contract Disputes, 2010 - 2011 ed., Chapter 17, Subcontractor Disputes," West Publications, November 2010
  • "California Public Procurement Handbook, 2010–2013 ed.," West Publications, November 2010
  • "Health Care Exchange, Breaking New Ground," Daily Journal, October 2010
  • "Erosion of the Sovereign Acts Doctrine? How Recent Winstar and Spent Nuclear Fuel Litigation Impacts Government Contractors," The Procurement Lawyer, Vol. 42, No. 3, Spring 2007
  • "Performance Problems," West Publications Year In Review, February 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005
  • "Contract Performance," Federal Publications Seminars, Western Briefing Conference: A Review and Outlook, December 2010 and 2009
  • "Administrative Remedies Aimed at Combating Procurement Fraud - Suspension and Debarment," Metropolitan Corporate Counsel, January 2005
  • "Limitation of Liability Case Study," Federal Publications Seminars: 40th Western Briefing Conference on Government Contracts, October 1999

Seminars and Presentations:

  • "Shining Light on the Subcontracting Perspective," NCMA Subcontracting Management Training Forum, March 27-28, 2014
  • "Understanding Mandatory Flowdowns & Tailoring Subcontract Clauses to Mitigate Risk," Public Contracting Institute, Webinar, March 2014, May and December 2012
  • "Using Drones in the News and Entertainment Industries: Legal and Regulatory Issues," Southwestern Law School, February 7, 2014
  • "Contract Performance," Federal Publications Seminars: 2013 Western Briefing Conference: A Review and Outlook, December 5, 2013
  • "Self-Governance—A Discussion on Ethics & Compliance in Aerospace & Defense," NCMA Aerospace & Defense Training Forum, March 14, 2013
  • "Contract Performance," Federal Publications Seminars: 2012 Western Briefing Conference: A Review and Outlook, December 6, 2012
  • "Contractor/Subcontract Flow-Downs and Negotiation of Subcontractor Terms & Conditions," NCMA, South Bay Chapter, January 2012
  • "Recent Developments in State and Local Government Procurement," ABA's Section on Public Contract Law 6th Annual State and Local Procurement Symposium, May 2011
  • "Contract Performance," Federal Publications Seminars: 2010 Western Briefing Conference: A Review and Outlook, December 1, 2010
  • "Strings Attached to Federal Stimulus Funding," CLE Construction Law Conference, March 4-5, 2010
  • "Performance Problems," Federal Publications Seminars: 2009 Government Contracting Review & 2010 Outlook Conference, December 2, 2009
  • "The Pendulum Swings Back: Weapon Systems Acquisition Reform Act of 2009," NCMA, South Bay Chapter, June 9, 2009
  • "Contract Claims/Equitable Adjustments," NCMA, June 29, 2007
  • "Teaming to Bid on Large Projects: A Legal and Practical Perspective," Association of Language Companies Annual Meeting, June 18, 2005
  • "Conducting the Effective Voluntary Disclosure," NCMA, San Fernando Valley Chapter, February 17, 2005
  • "Organizational Conflicts of Interest," NCMA, South Bay Chapter, January 18, 2005
  • "Handling the CID, Federal Agents, Suspension and Debarment," Construction Superconference, December 8, 2000
  • "How Changing Paradigms Within Client Companies are Changing Expectations for Lawyers," American Management Association, November 7, 2000
  • "Government versus Commercial Contracts...Are They Really That Different?" "War Stories and Practical Guidance, Government Criminal Investigations"