The Supreme Court has put an end to a jurisdictional contrivance used by the plaintiffs’ bar to shop for a friendly state forum, even if neither the plaintiff, nor the defendant, nor the actionable conduct took place in those states. In last month’s Bristol-Myers Squibb Company v. Superior Court decision, the Court ruled that out-of-state plaintiffs could not piggyback on the claims of in-state plaintiffs to assert jurisdiction over an out-of-state defendant. In doing so, the Court rejected the notion that plaintiffs’ counsel can exploit the claims of a handful of in-state plaintiffs as a hook to bring a nationwide lawsuit against an out-of-state corporation in the plaintiffs’ preferred forum.
Shawn Ledingham is a partner in the firm's Trial Strategies practice, successful in obtaining victories through motion practice and defending client interests at trial. He has represented over thirty Fortune 500 companies and subsidiaries in litigation, as well as many other businesses, sports leagues, law firms, and public entities.
Shawn is a member of the firm's Sports Law Group and has a deep understanding of the legal framework of today's sports industry. Shawn has represented and counseled a wide range of sports leagues and teams, including Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer, the National Basketball Association, the Women's National Basketball Association, the National Football League, the Pac-12 Conference, the Big East Conference, the World Surf League, the Drone Racing League, and Oracle Team USA.
Shawn also has substantial experience in toxic tort, product liability, and environmental litigation. A member of the firm's Product Liability & Consumer Litigation Group, Shawn defends clients in cases of alleged environmental contamination, product design or manufacturing defects, and improper or inadequate labeling.
Shawn is actively involved in promoting justice in his community and is a member of Proskauer's Pro Bono Committee. During the summer of 2019, Shawn served as a pro bono prosecutor with the Los Angeles Office of the City Attorney, prosecuting three jury trials as sole trial counsel and resolving many other cases short of trial. Shawn also served as counsel to the Los Angeles County Citizens' Commission on Jail Violence, investigating excessive use of force by deputies within the county jail system. For his work on jail reform, Shawn received the ACLU of Southern California's Community Service Pro Bono Award and a commendation from the County of Los Angeles.
While in law school, Shawn was managing editor of the New York University Law Review.
In Disney’s The Lion King, the wise lion Mufasa sits atop a rock crag with his heir, the cub Simba, looking down on the Serengeti below. “Everything the light touches,” Mufasa instructs, “is our kingdom.” A similar scene plays out in countless law firms each year, when newly admitted attorneys are trained on the boundaries of the attorney-client privilege, a realm of communication protected from disclosure to outsiders. The California Supreme Court recently cast a shadow over this privilege, however, calling into question the extent to which it applies to one of the most common forms of attorney-client communication: an attorney’s bill.
In September, California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (“OEHHA”) announced that it had adopted amendments to the regulations governing California’s Proposition 65, which requires that businesses provide a “clear and reasonable warning” before exposing an individual to any chemicals that California has determined cause cancer or reproductive harm. Although a business can create its own warning and hope that a court will conclude it is “clear and reasonable,” OEHHA has promulgated a series of regulations establishing a so-called “safe harbor” — warnings that are considered per se clear and reasonable. So, although OEHHA dubs the safe harbor warnings as “non-mandatory guidance,” for any company not willing to bear the risk of creating its own warning, the “safe harbor” regulations are de facto requirements.
President Andrew Jackson is reported (likely inaccurately) to have flaunted a Supreme Court decision by retorting, “John Marshall has made his decision; now let him enforce it!” Any litigant who has been on the receiving end of an unwanted court order may find this sentiment a familiar one. As a federal judge in Arizona recently reminded Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, however, refusal to comply with a court order in a civil lawsuit can be criminal. Neither Presidents nor Sheriffs are above the law when it comes to complying with a civil order, and other civil litigants would do well to remember the consequences of such disobedience.
What happens in the jury room, stays in the jury room. Except when it doesn’t. Earlier this month, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the appeal of a Colorado man whose counsel learned, after the guilty verdict was rendered, that one of the jurors had made statements in deliberation that the defendant must be guilty and his alibi witness could not be trusted, because both men were Hispanic. The case, Peña-Rodriguez v. Colorado, pits two fundamental aspects of jury trials against each other: the inadmissibility of evidence about what was said or done during jury deliberations versus the right to a fair trial by unbiased jurors. The Supreme Court’s ruling could open up jury verdicts to possible challenge when those verdicts appear to be the result of racial or other bias.