Litigation

We cut our teeth on some of the toughest laws in the country. California venues remain among the top ten national litigation hellholes. Archer Norris attorneys manage the risks of litigation and use dispute resolution to add certainty to our clients’ business futures. Admitted to practice in 12 states, we defend local, national and international companies, employers and insurance carriers in civil litigation across California, Nevada and beyond. 

Focused on Solutions to Conflicts

Our background includes complex cases and unique and esoteric disputes. These include allegations of defective windows and elevators to claims of food tainting, Legionnaires’ disease, groundwater contamination, business fraud and breach of fiduciary duty.

Approaching Litigation with a Decisive Focus

When possible, we resolve litigation challenges early and decisively on summary judgment.  Our courtroom reputations promote efficient and fair proceedings in arbitration and mediation. And we remain undaunted by the prospect of trial.

Reducing Risks at Critical Junctures

Business clients engage Archer Norris at the earliest signs of conflict, days before trial, or at the appellate level in writ proceedings before state and federal courts. For clients seeking courtroom counsel capable of turning on a dime, we offer our On Call Trial Counsel services. Clients strategically deploy this rapid-response, ramped-up trial defense team for their tough, and frequently intractable, cases.

Recognized for High Performance Counsel

Archer Norris trial attorneys hold leadership positions in preeminent international, national and state defense-bar associations and speak before influential industry organizations. Many of our attorneys are peer-elected members and participants in ABOTA, American Inns of Court, Association of Defense Counsel and Defense Research Institute.

Name Title Phone Email V-card
Aguilar, Joseph Senior Associate 925.930.6600 vcard
Alberto, Janell Senior Associate 925.930.6600 vcard
Buck, Jeffrey Special Counsel 415.653.1480 vcard
Chao, Louis Special Counsel 213.437.4000 vcard
Coggshall, William Partner 925.952.5416 vcard
Collier, Sharon Partner 925.930.6600 vcard
Covington, Matthew Partner 415.653.1480 vcard
Diaz, Charles Partner 213.437.4000 vcard
Ficenec, James Partner 925.930.6600 vcard
Gallagher, Erin Senior Associate 925.930.6600 vcard
Gillespie, Richard Senior Associate 925.952.5461 vcard
Gillette, Keith Partner 925.930.6600 vcard
Greeson, Chad Partner 925.930.6600 vcard
Hamerling, Jeffrey Of Counsel 925.930.6600 vcard
Harnett, Christopher Partner 925.930.6600 vcard
Hinton, Robert Partner 213.437.4000 vcard
Isbell, Allan Special Counsel 925.930.6600 vcard
King, Andrew Partner 925.952.5508 vcard
Kortum, John Partner 925.930.6600 vcard
Krause, Nandor Partner 925.952.5411 vcard
Lambie, Adrian Senior Associate 925.930.6600 vcard
Latham III, Robert Partner 213.437.4000 vcard
Lee-Chun, Kathy Senior Associate 213.437.4000 vcard
Levitskaia, Julia Associate 415.653.1480 vcard
Lim, Derek Partner 925.930.6600 vcard
Marchiano, David Senior Associate 925.930.6600 vcard
Meeks, Jordan Associate 415.653.1480 vcard
Molinelli, Jasun Partner 925.930.6600 vcard
Osborne, Michael Partner 415.653.1480 vcard
Phillips, Anthony Senior Associate 415.653.1480 vcard
Pleau-Fuller, Alissa Senior Associate 916.678.5308 vcard
Pliner, Jessica Senior Associate 925.930.6600 vcard
Porter, James Senior Associate 925.930.6600 vcard
Riso, Jennifer Partner 415.653.1480 vcard
Schwartz, Seth Partner 925.930.6600 vcard
Senn, Sean Partner 213.437.4000 vcard
Smith, Summer Partner 415.653.1480 vcard
Soriano, Jocelyn Special Counsel 925.930.6600 vcard
Staples, William Partner 925.952.5473 vcard
Straus, Douglas Managing Partner 925.952.5531 vcard
Thames, Jonathan Partner 415.653.1480 vcard
Tonsing, Jon Of Counsel 925.930.6600 vcard
Trembley, Christopher Senior Associate 213.437.4000 vcard
Wallace, Kirstin Senior Associate 925.952.5423 vcard
Ward, Kenneth Partner 925.952.5425 vcard
Wasser, Shain Associate 949.975.8200 vcard
Welch, Stephen Partner 925.930.6600 vcard
Young, Probal Partner 925.930.6600 vcard
Young, Zachary Associate 925.930.6600 vcard

Business and Commercial Disputes

  • Bad Faith - Arbitration win protected insurance company client from $25 million policy limits demand in bad faith action.
  • Business Bad Faith - Defended a general contractor by persuading the court that the plaintiff, a bonding company, failed to act in good faith toward our client. We shifted the burden for over $2 million of construction costs from the contractor back to its bonding company.
  • Business Fraud - Obtained a defense verdict, on behalf of insurers, in an extensive, high-demand trial involving allegations of business fraud.
  • Business Torts - Acted as plaintiff’s counsel in a business torts case involving claims of misappropriation of quarry resources made by our client against his former business partner. We obtained a multimillion-dollar verdict on his behalf.
  • Construction Business Dispute - Represented Chevron in a $30 million claim for cost overruns, manufacturing delays, and breach of contract in the construction of several offshore oil platforms. The binding arbitration before a three-judge panel in Houston resulted in a confidential settlement. Among the issues were extreme time constraints due to a “fast track” schedule, analysis and exchange of almost 100,000 pages of complex documents, involvement of a bankruptcy court, and verification of Letters of Credit for the benefit of Chevron.
  • Housing Discrimination - Appeared before the Supreme Court of California defending a racial discrimination housing matter. Our attorneys declared a portion of the Government Code unconstitutional and protected our client from thousands of dollars of potential damage claims.
  • Intellectual Property - Achieved a favorable settlement for a software company allegedly in violation of intellectual property rights in a “look and feel” case contending copyright infringement.
  • Medicare Reimbursement - Prevailed at the appellate level on behalf of our client, a hospital, in mandating the government to reimburse our client’s nearly $1 million MediCal payment. At issue was the refusal of the California Department of Health Care Services to consider our client’s request for reimbursement.

Catastrophic Injury and Wrongful Death

  • Brain Injury - Removed a California brain injury case to Australia and assisted Australian counsel in achieving the first structured settlement ever entered into in the Queensland, Australia court.
  • Burn Death - Represented the City and County of San Francisco, and our attorneys substituted in as counsel of record for Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), in a personal injury/wrongful death action stemming from an explosion. Investigation revealed that the explosion was triggered when the backhoe operator lit a cigarette after he saw he had punctured the gas line. He and a fellow worker were severely burned, and his fellow worker survived. Records revealed that just before being intubated, the smoker told a nurse he was sorry for lighting the cigarette. He died a few days later. Archer Norris attorneys were able to locate the nurse to verify the statement. This information facilitated the negotiation of a very satisfactory settlement on behalf of our clients
  • Elevator Injury - Defended an elevator maintenance company in a complex injury and negligence case involving an infant death on Christmas Eve in an older elevator. We successfully reduced our client’s liability to a nominal amount.
  • Industrial Machinery - Achieved successful settlement in the defense of a manufacturer of a tin finishing machine at a steel plant facing catastrophic injury claims related to the severing of an arm.
  • Jackhammer Injury - Eliminated liability for our client, an electrical contractor, in a wrongful death claim connected to a jackhammer-related accident. During our defense, we were able to assign liability to the U.S. Navy.
  • Public Entity/Diving Injury - Defended a public entity in a complex multimillion-dollar lawsuit resulting from a catastrophic injury that rendered a diver quadriplegic.
  • Public Transit Injury - Significantly reduced the damages awarded to the plaintiff following personal injuries sustained from a bus window falling into the bus and hitting her head. Effective use of expert testimony and computer animation, along with vigorous discovery and successful motions, lowered the ultimate verdict amount.
  • Transportation Injury - Obtained a favorable arbitration decision for SuperShuttle, a pioneer and national leader in door-to-door airport ground transportation. A franchise operator who suffered catastrophic injuries claimed that Super Shuttle had failed to procure adequate insurance. The arbitration decision rejected the plaintiff's more than $5 million claim and ruled our client was entitled to recover attorneys fees.
  • Truck Injury - Negotiated a favorable settlement for a truck driver involved in a serious injury accident with a Boy Scout leader. We drastically reduced our client’s liability in a challenging case.
  • Truck v. Motorcycle Death - Obtained a favorable settlement in a wrongful death claim made against our client, the driver of an 18-wheeler, involving a motorcyclist’s fatal accident.

Class and Mass Tort Action

  • Defective Windows Class Action - Defended the manufacturer in this class action claiming defective design and manufacturing involving 80,000 potential homes and millions of windows. Structured a favorable settlement with a nominal cash payout and an extended warranty.
  • Lending Practices - Defeated multiple motions for class certification in a case involving our client, a lender, facing allegations of conspiring with a manufacturer. We achieved a favorable settlement for our client.
  • Transportation and Consumer 17200 Protections - Defended a federal class action against global moving company, North American Van Lines, alleging violations of federal transportation and state consumer protection laws. Damages were in excess of $50 million. We defeated the action by obtaining an order to dismiss all state law claims on preemption grounds. We then defeated plaintiffs' motion to certify a class on the federal issues. Of the remaining two named plaintiffs with small claims, one settled for a nominal amount and we obtained the dismissal of claims for the remaining named plaintiff.
  • Unfair Business Practices - Avoided class certification prior to settlement in multiple cases across several states, including unfair life insurance sales practices in California and Arizona.

Construction Litigation

  • Apartment Construction - Successfully defended a contractor against claims made by an apartment complex owner of alleged construction defects in breezeways and stairways.
  • Construction Disputes - Extensive experience representing private clients and subcontractors in litigation involving construction defects, delay claims, mechanics liens and other contentious issues. Clients have included such trades as graders, sewers, framers and concrete subcontractors.
  • Homeowners Associations (HOA) - Advise and represent HOAs, managers and their insurers in multiple disputes involving defective construction claims.
  • Shopping Center Construction - Defended general contractor of an Emeryville shopping center against claims of waterproofing defects at a multilevel, retail center. Assertive handling of the plaintiff’s allegations led to a favorable settlement for our client.
  • Stop-Notice/Mechanics Lien - Represented construction lender in $6 million stop-notice and mechanics-lien litigation on a major shopping center project. We strategically protected its interests by changing loan arrangements and successfully resolving the lawsuit.

Employment Litigation

  • Discrimination - Settled a case involving our client who was suffering financial setbacks and laid off numerous employees. Plaintiff claimed that she was selected because she was an older, African-American female. During discovery, we established that the plaintiff was marginally competent at best and was a very reasonable candidate for termination.
  • Employment Agreement - Defended an international employer that recruited an executive employee who subsequently claimed that the employer deceived him by inducing him to take a job in India, and he refused the assignment. The lawsuit resolved for a nominal sum paid to the employee based on evidence developed during discovery that the employee really just developed “cold feet” over working in India.
  • Employment Defense Verdict - Obtained a defense verdict for our client, who was sued by his former employer after he moved to a competitor and his entire staff followed. Our winning argument was based on facts that our client was free to work for a competitor and that he neither took trade secrets nor unlawfully recruited former co-workers.
  • Racial Discrimination - Counseled a public sector executive official in an administrative investigation into high profile allegations of racial discrimination and retaliation filed by numerous employees.
  • Wrongful Termination - Achieved a defense verdict for an employer against claims of wrongful termination, sexual discrimination and defamation by a former employee.
  • Wrongful Termination - Defended a client that laid off a highly skilled, pregnant public relations executive and retained a more senior but arguably less capable male. The lawsuit resolved for a small amount after discovery established that the retained employees had greater skills and training than plaintiff had presumed.

Environmental and Toxic Tort Litigation

  • Asbestos - Successful high-volume defense results in asbestos claims against individual, multiparty and class action defendants.
  • Benzene - Defended independent oil company against claims made by survivors of a deceased plaintiff, a tree trimmer, alleging that benzene in his trimming machine’s gas exhaust caused his fatal leukemia. Using a sophisticated argument in court filings, we achieved a zero payment settlement and shut down future litigation threats.
  • Environmental Remediation Verdict - Achieved a 12-0 defense verdict, following a four-week trial, on behalf of a remediation contractor facing allegations related to mold, sewage and personal injury claims in an Oakland Hills property. Following the trial, the client was awarded attorney costs, which was later affirmed on appeal.
  • Environmental Response Cost Recovery - Represented owner of property on San Francisco Bay in action for recovery of environmental response costs in action against ship scrapping operators, the federal government, oil company and railroad operator. Contamination included lead, copper, mercury, asbestos and other contaminants.
  • Groundwater Contamination - Represented insurer in dispute with California city municipality over coverage cost of investigation and remediation of groundwater contamination. This complex case, which involved arguments before the Supreme Court of California, multiple defendants and federal environmental regulatory law, was successfully resolved.
  • Legionnaire’s Disease - Representing building owner in Southern California against claims of injuries allegedly attributed to Legionnaire’s Disease.
  • Mold - Obtained a defense verdict for multiple owners/managers of a property during a three-month trial involving claims of mold-related injuries. We convincingly undermined plaintiffs’ arguments linking routine mold exposure and serious permanent physical injury.
  • Mold Exposure - Multiple cases defending against claims of mold-induced injuries, including one made by an emergency room physician alleging serious injury due to mold in his hospital’s ventilation system.
  • Public Entity/Environmental Defense - Defended against a citizen’s suit brought under the Federal Clean Water Act alleging serious violations of NPDES discharge permit. In a separate matter, Archer Norris guided the government entity through civil and criminal investigations by USEPA, State Department of Fish and Game, and county prosecutors.
  • Toxic Torts - Defended large array of injury claims related to exposure to benzene, toluene, silica, tetrachloroethylene (PCE), water contamination and welding fumes.

Financial Services Litigation

  • Consumer Lending Litigation - Represent several banks and financial services companies in consumer claims involving the Truth in Lending Act (TILA), fraud, Fair Debt Collection Practice Acts (FDCPA), Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) and other regulatory issues for licensed and regulated lenders.

Government and Public Agencies

  • Government Tort Claims - Representing appeal on behalf of a contractor against the City of Berkeley connected to defective construction claims involved with a city library.

Insurance

  • Public Entities/Insurance Indemnity - In a case involving a plaintiff, a cable installer, who slipped and fell from a utility pole jointly owned by PG&E and Pacific Bell, Archer Norris attorneys represented both utilities. Liability and damages were disputed. The case settled. A cross-complaint filed on behalf of PG&E and Pacific Bell against Viacom for indemnity under the use agreement was referred to binding arbitration. The arbitrator awarded PG&E and Pacific Bell attorneys' fees and settlement contributions, plus attorneys' fees to pursue indemnity.
  • Real Estate Appraisal / Arbitral Immunity - Represented a real estate appraiser who performed work as a party appointed appraiser in a fire insurance claim, obtaining a defense judgment based upon arbitral immunity that was affirmed by the California State Court of Appeal. Plaintiffs' petition for review by the California Supreme Court was denied.

Premises Liability

  • Premises Liability/Shopping Center Security - Called to the case after the trial had already commenced, we represented a shopping center owner, on behalf of his excess insurer, in a case involving armed rape and robbery at the shopping center. A previous court had issued an affirmative ruling to the owner to hire security. Our persuasive arguments resulted in a verdict favorable to the defendant that was considerably lower than policy limits.

Product Liability

  • Chain Saw Scalping - Successfully represented the manufacturer of a chainsaw in a defective product case involving the scalping of a minor using the machine. We achieved a nominal-amount settlement on behalf of his client.
  • Defective Windows Class Action - Defended the manufacturer in this class action claiming defective design and manufacturing involving 80,000 potential homes and millions of windows. Structured a favorable settlement with a nominal cash payout and an extended warranty.
  • Food Contamination - Secured a defense verdict for a leading supplier of specialty chemicals. Client faced allegations from a large food supplier that it was responsible for tainting nearly 20 million cans of fruit and $5.6 million in damages. Our client emerged victorious after a three-week trial. The plaintiff was found to be 90 percent at fault and ultimately entitled to nothing and eventually responsible for attorney fees too.
  • Snow Thrower - Obtained a defense verdict for a national retailer in a product liability case alleging defective design of a snow-throwing machine.

Professional Liability

  • Professional Malpractice - Defend engineers and design professionals in construction defect claims, personal injury claims and contractual fee disputes.

Transportation

  • Cargo - Defense of foreign and domestic common carriers in cargo damage/non-delivery claims. These include pertinent federal and U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit precedents covering interstate air cargo and over-the-road truck transit, including the Warsaw Convention and Carmack Amendment.
  • Commercial Vehicles - Significant trial experience, with a particular emphasis on insurance coverage and defense issues, with commercial vehicle accidents and public transit agency matters.
  • Public Transit - Significantly reduced damages awarded to plaintiff following $1.2 million demand involving personal injuries sustained from a bus window falling into the bus and hitting the plaintiff’s head. Effective use of expert testimony and computer animation, along with vigorous discovery and successful motions in limine, limited theories of liability and limited non-economic damages awarded to plaintiff.
  • Transportation Injury - Obtained a favorable arbitration decision for SuperShuttle, a pioneer and national leader in door-to-door airport ground transportation. A franchise operator who suffered catastrophic injuries claimed that SuperShuttle had failed to procure adequate insurance. The arbitration decision rejected the plaintiff's more than $5 million claim against and ruled that our client was entitled to recover attorneys’ fees.