Kristin A. Linsley is a litigation partner in the San Francisco office of the firm. Her practice has focused upon complex business litigation in a wide spectrum of matters affecting the firm’s corporate clients. Ms. Linsley was recently selected as one of The National Law Journal’s Outstanding Women Lawyers -- one of the 75 most accomplished female attorneys working in the legal profession today. For many years, she has been named among California's "Top Women Lawyers" by the Daily Journal and has been profiled by Law360 as a Female Powerbroker.
Ms. Linsley served as law clerk for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in 1989-90 and for Judge Douglas H. Ginsburg of the D.C. Circuit in 1988-89. She graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1988. She received an A.B. magna cum laude in 1982 from Harvard University, where she was captain of the women’s cross country team and a member of the All-East and All-Ivy teams for track and field and cross country.
In January 2008, Ms. Linsley was appointed by the U.S. Supreme Court to serve as a Special Master in an original case before the court, South Carolina v. North Carolina, Original No. 138. Ms. Linsley presided over the proceedings in the case until it settled in early 2011. Ms. Linsley has spoken frequently on the issue of original jurisdiction and water allocation disputes between states. An index of the court proceedings and related documents can be viewed here.
Ms. Linsley frequently writes and speaks on a range of legal issues, including the Alien Tort Statute, especially in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Kiobel. She has spoken at the ABA Environmental Law Section conference in Indianapolis, Bay Area Chapter of the American Constitution Society, Duke University, the Federalist Society in San Francisco, Georgetown University Law Center, Pepperdine University, UC Hastings, UC Irvine School of Law, UCLA and Rutgers University, among others.
Ms. Linsley has an active appellate practice, representing clients in a wide range of industries in appeals before the 9th Circuit, the California Supreme Court, the California appellate courts and the Supreme Court. Ms. Linsley has briefed and argued numerous cases in the 9th Circuit and the California appellate courts, including cases involving complex business transactions, cutting edge jurisdictional and procedural issues, statutory interpretation and intellectual property and telecommunications issues. Ms. Linsley has developed a reputation for her clear, effective communication style, both in argument and in written briefs. Some of Ms. Linsley's specific appellate engagements are described below, under the relevant substantive heading.
Complex Transactions and Claims
Ms. Linsley has litigated many cases involving complex transactions and claims of corporate fraud. Ms. Linsley led a Munger, Tolles & Olson team that won dismissal of all but two claims brought by a bankruptcy trustee arising from the 1995 spin-off of Crown Paper Co. by James River Corp., including all claims against the accounting and valuation firms, the former officers and directors and the financial advisors involved in the spin-off. Ms. Linsley argued the case for all defendants on appeal in the 9th Circuit and secured an affirmance of the district court’s dismissal. Ms. Linsley was part of a team representing Silicon Valley-based Rambus in a successful appeal to the Federal Circuit from a major fraud verdict. She led the briefing team in defense of Verizon Communications in an appeal in the California Court of Appeal from dismissal of a class action lawsuit arising from Verizon’s termination of a merger agreement with Northpoint Communications. Ms. Linsley argued the case and secured an affirmance of the dismissal. In 2002, Ms. Linsley was part of the Munger Tolles team that represented the companies of California Gubernatorial candidate Bill Simon after a jury returned a $78 million fraud verdict against them arising from a failed joint venture. Together with Munger Tolles colleague Brad Brian, Ms. Linsley persuaded the trial judge to vacate the verdict and enter judgment in favor of the Simon companies. Ms. Linsley also successfully briefed and argued a 9th Circuit appeal for Koch Industries in connection with a $29 million default judgment.
Ms. Linsley has litigated numerous cases either arising directly from bankruptcy proceedings or significantly relating to such proceedings. The Crown case, discussed above, involved significant bankruptcy issues and a related bankruptcy litigation, all of which were integral to the successful resolution of the matter. Ms. Linsley also argued a separate appeal relating to the jurisdiction and powers of the Bankruptcy Court. Ms. Linsley was the lead lawyer representing Dornier Luftfahrt GmbH, a German affiliate of San Antonio-based Fairchild Aerospace, in litigation in federal bankruptcy court in Denver over leases for aircraft operated by Mountain Air Express. Ms. Linsley also represented U.S. Airways in a significant dispute with Bank of America in bankruptcy court in Alexandria, Virginia. Numerous other matters handled by Ms. Linsley, including the Enron matter, discussed below, and the Verizon/Northpoint matter, discussed above, have involved significant bankruptcy elements or issues.
Ms. Linsley's international law practice advises U.S. corporations doing business abroad, including claims brought under the Alien Tort Statute (“ATS”). She represented Unocal Corp. in a highly-publicized ATS action arising from the construction of a gas pipeline in Myanmar. Significant results included (1) successful motions under the act of state doctrine to dismiss all property-related claims, as well as a claim filed by a member of the Myanmar military; (2) denial of plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary injunction; and (3) dismissal of all of plaintiffs’ remaining claims through summary judgment. She also represented Archer Daniels Midland in its successful motion to dismiss an ATS action on the ground, among others, that the ATS does not extend liability for international law violations to corporations—an issue currently before the Supreme Court.
Ms. Linsley is a vice chair of the ABA Section on International Law and Practice. She has given numerous presentations on ATS litigation at the invitation of the ABA, the International Law Society, the American Society for International Law and other organizations.
Ms. Linsley has a national securities practice representing corporations as well as individual officers and directors. Important results include the dismissal of all claims against Kirkland & Ellis LLP in the Enron securities class actions consolidated in Houston. Kirkland was one of only two “secondary actor” defendants dismissed. Ms. Linsley represented Gemstar-TV Guide International, Inc. in its successful motion to dismiss a federal securities class action in Los Angeles. Ms. Linsley represented the former CEO and CFO of Bank of America in a major multidistrict securities action in St. Louis arising from the merger of Bank of America and Nationsbank. She secured a dismissal with prejudice of a class action against Merrill Lynch in San Francisco brought by issuers of securities included in Merrill’s HOLDRS product. She was the lead lawyer representing a Beverly Hills brokerage firm in a "raiding" case brought by one of the nation’s leading discount brokers. She also won a $3.8 million judgment for another brokerage firm against a former executive.
Ms. Linsley has represented defense and aerospace companies in a variety of matters. In 2003, she secured a plaintiff’s verdict for Northrop in a federal court bench trial in Virginia on a claim against the United States Air Force for out-of-scope work on an aircraft contract. She was an integral member of the Munger Tolles team representing The Boeing Corp. in a trade secrets action filed by Lockheed-Martin and secured a dismissal with prejudice of all Lockheed-Martin’s RICO counts. Ms. Linsley was the lead lawyer representing Dornier Luftfahrt GmbH, a German affiliate of San Antonio-based Fairchild Aerospace, in litigation in federal court in Denver over leases for aircraft operated by Mountain Air Express. She also led Dornier’s defense of an arbitration over leases with Horizon Air Industries, a subsidiary of Alaska Air. Ms. Linsley also was one of a team representing Northrop as plaintiff in a federal court case against the Canadian government and a Canadian defense contractor arising from a technology license for Northrop’s F-5 fighter aircraft.
Ms. Linsley is admitted to practice in the U.S. Supreme Court, the 9th Circuit, the Federal Circuit and the federal and state courts in California and New York. She is a member of the ABA Litigation Section.