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Gerald Schneeweis represents manufacturers of prescription and over the counter medications, medical devices and other FDA-regulated products in state and federal courts, and a variety of businesses in commercial and intellectual property disputes.

Gerry represents clients in state and federal trial and appellate courts. His clients include pharmaceutical and medical device companies, as well as other manufacturers in product liability litigation asserting claims of design and manufacturing defect, failure to warn and off-label promotion. He acts as coordinating, regional, and local counsel in federal and statewide coordinated proceedings, asserting product liability claims against life sciences manufacturers and research entities. He served as lead coordinating counsel in multi-plaintiff product liability litigation on behalf of a dermal filler manufacturer/clinical trial sponsor and several of its former executives, officers and directors. He counsels manufacturers and insurers on various product liability issues, including adequacy of warnings, marketing, and FDA rules on promotion of off-label use.

In addition, Gerry represents industrial, consumer and agricultural research companies in product liability, breach of warranty and breach of contract litigation. His experience also includes the representation of clients in design and engineering firms and retailers in commercial disputes, unfair competition and business torts, as well as intellectual property litigation.

Education

J.D., Southwestern University School of Law, Los Angeles, California
B.A., St. Mary's College of California, Moraga, California

Recognitions

Named among Best Lawyers in America© for Commercial Litigation by Best Lawyers (2021-2022)

AV Preeminent Peer Review Rated – Martindale-Hubbell

Memberships

American Bar Association – International Life Sciences and Health Law Committee of the International Law Section, Co-Chair

American Bar Association – Litigation and IP Sections

American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA)

Defense Research Institute, Drugs and Devices Committee

State Bar Licenses

California, Massachusetts

Court Admissions

U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit
U.S. District Ct., S.D. of California
U.S. District Ct., C.D. of California
U.S. District Ct., E.D. of California
U.S. District Ct., N.D. of California
Experience
Representative Trial Matters:
  • Obtained defense verdict at trial on behalf of innovator pharmaceutical manufacturer in product liability lawsuit alleging severe osteoporosis from long-term use of anti-seizure medication.
  • Obtained defense verdict at jury trial for prescription ocular lens manufacturer against breach of contract claim brought by consultant, a corporate spin-off advisory firm.
  • Obtained defense verdict at jury trial for large consumer appliance manufacturer in subrogation action by insurer seeking recovery for its payment of over 100 separate claims, despite court’s pretrial order granting summary adjudication as to liability and causation against our client.
  • Won seven-figure jury verdict and injunctive relief for client law firm in defamation and unfair competition action against competitor law firm arising from defamatory statements on competitor’s website and in list-serves.
  • Won jury trial on behalf of insurer-client in breach of fiduciary duty case in Nevada state court against former employee, a high-ranking executive who leaked attorney-client communications to competitors and to counsel suing his former employer.
  • Obtained defense verdict at trial on behalf of fire protection engineering firm against multi-million dollar breach of contract and negligence claims asserted by commercial office building owner and its insurer for repairs to parking structure.

Representative Appellate Matters:

  • The California Court of Appeal affirmed summary judgment on behalf of client, a local municipality, in wrongful death action, based on “natural condition of unimproved public property” immunity in Government Code.
  • The California Court of Appeal granted our petition for a writ of mandate following the trial court’s denial of summary judgment to our municipality client in 135 consolidated actions for serious property damage to nearby residences caused by blast waves from controlled explosion of cave by the City’s contractor. The appellate court, construing a Government Code section conferring immunity in a case of first impression, found that the City had met the prerequisites for establishing the immunity for measures taken to stabilize “gradual earth movement.”
  • In a landmark California Judicial Coordination Proceeding, the California Supreme Court affirmed grant of summary judgment in favor of our chemical manufacturer-client in 2500-plus plaintiff coordinated state proceeding in state court alleging serious health issues following cosmetic surgeries. The Supreme Court agreed with our position that our client, which did not manufacture the product, but which did lab tests on an ingredient in the 40’s and 60’s, was not liable under the “negligent undertaking” theory advanced by the Plaintiff’s legal committee.
  • In an important case on the scope of coverage for wrongful termination claims under a workers’ compensation policy, the California Supreme Court construed language in Part II of our client’s policy and determined that it did not afford the potential coverage for a wrongful termination suit brought by insured’s employee.
  • In a federal civil rights and wrongful death action, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment for sheriff’s deputy by U.S. District Court in wrongful death action following deputy’s use of deadly force when the decedent attempted to stab him in the leg with a sharp fishing pike.
  • In a federal breach of warranty case, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s denial of summary judgment as to our client, a foreign-based horticultural research entity, for its attorneys’ fees in breach of warranty action by 16 separate plaintiffs/kiwifruit growers in U.S. District Court. We also won the summary judgment giving rise to the attorneys’ fees claim in the first instance, after being presented with a multimillion dollar demand shortly before the hearing.
  • In a commercial insurance coverage/bad faith action, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment for our insurer client, which had disclaimed coverage under “advertising injury” provision in CGL policy for a large defense contractor firm whose wholly owned subsidiary’s CEO had pled guilty to bribes of Defense Department officials.
Articles
Presentations
  • Moderator, “How Will Law Treat Science and Medicine Once the Pandemic Subsides?” American Bar Association, International Law Section, May 13, 2020
  • Speaker, “Food Law Court – Litigation Hot Topics,” 2018 Food Law Forum, November 7, 2018
  • Moderator, “There’s No Place Like Home: Challenges to Jurisdiction in Life Sciences Litigation,” American Bar Association Section of International Law Lifesciences Conference, June 2018
  • Guest Speaker, “Legal and Regulatory Updates in the Life Sciences Industry,” webinar for life sciences industry insurer, January 31, 2017
  • Moderator, “Navigating Relationships with Codefendants and Third Party Witnesses,” American Bar Association Section of Litigation Regional CLE Workshop – Current Issues in Pharmaceutical, Medical Device, and Biotech Litigation, November 4, 2016
  • Speaker, “Life Sciences Claims and Litigation Trends,” presentation to life sciences industry insurer, September 9, 2015
  • Instructor, “Federal Preemption” and “Off-Label Promotion,” online business litigation courses on FDA regulations of life sciences companies, San Diego State University Masters’ program in Regulatory Affairs, May 2012
  • Guest Speaker, “Best Practices to Avoid & Minimize Product Liability Litigation: a US and EU Perspective,” webinar for life sciences industry insurer, May 25, 2011