Michael A. Cottone

Cottone, Michael


Michael Cottone is a trial lawyer and appellate advocate in Holland & Knight's Nashville office. Mr. Cottone focuses his practice on representing clients in connection with a variety of commercial disputes and administrative, state and local tax, unclaimed property matters.

Mr. Cottone has broad experience advocating on behalf of clients in federal, state and local administrative disputes in court and before administrative tribunals. His experience in administrative matters includes successfully challenging the validity of federal regulations, successfully pursuing bid protests and assisting clients involved in zoning and land use disputes with local government bodies.

As part of his administrative practice, Mr. Cottone has represented clients across industries in disputes with state and local taxing authorities. His experience ranges from successfully trying multimillion-dollar tax cases to regularly representing clients in formal and informal administrative proceedings before the Tennessee Department of Revenue and Tennessee State Board of Equalization.

Mr. Cottone also advocates for a wide variety of clients in commercial matters, including real property and lease disputes, contract disputes and business tort cases.

In addition to his legal practice, Mr. Cottone is an adjunct professor at the University of Tennessee College of Law, where he teaches courses on state and local taxation.

Previously, Mr. Cottone served as a law clerk for the Honorable Eugene E. Siler of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, as well as for the Honorable J. Daniel Breen of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee.

Representative Experience

  • Led a team of attorneys in successfully overturning a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)/U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Medicaid reimbursement regulation, including delivering winning arguments at the trial court and appellate levels
  • Successfully pursued a bid protest overturning an award of a health insurance contract for local government employees

  • Obtained a summary judgment ruling that the Tennessee Department of Revenue cannot impose business tax on sales of prepackaged software, software as a service (SaaS) and cloud hosting
  • Successfully tried a real property tax case on behalf of a telecommunications client, resulting in a multimillion-dollar reduction in liability, which was affirmed on appeal
  • Successfully represented a distilled spirits manufacturer in a personal property tax dispute before the Tennessee State Board of Equalization, resulting in the complete elimination of millions of dollars in tax liability on whiskey barrels
  • Successfully obtained several favorable informal conference rulings from the Tennessee Department of Revenue
  • Obtained several positive letter rulings for clients from the Tennessee Department of Revenue
  • Drafted state and local tax legislation
  • Assisted clients with audits and voluntary compliance agreements relating to unclaimed property

  • Obtained a multimillion-dollar plaintiff's summary judgment award for a prominent hospitality and entertainment company in a dispute involving various licensing agreements for a historic music-based television program
  • Represented a tenant in a lawsuit for breach of lease agreement for failure to pay millions of dollars in rent; successfully negotiated an agreement for the tenant to purchase the building, with the purchase price crediting against the rent arrearages, and tenant remains in business
  • Successfully tried a case involving claims for conversion, breach of fiduciary duty and fraudulent concealment, resulting in a substantial award of damages and attorneys' fees


  • University of Tennessee College of Law, J.D., summa cum laude
  • Middle Tennessee State University, B.A.
Bar Admissions/Licenses
  • Tennessee
Court Admissions
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee
  • Tennessee Bar Association
  • Institute for Professionals in Taxation
  • Council on State Taxation
  • Tennessee Law Review, Editor-in-Chief, 2013-2014
Honors & Awards
  • The Best Lawyers in America guide, Ones to Watch, Tax Law, 2021-2024
  • Rising Star, Mid-South Super Lawyers magazine, 2021-2023
  • Order of the Coif
  • Micki C. Fox Award for Extraordinary Service, Tennessee Law Review, 2014