Bethany Kristovich is a litigation partner in the Los Angeles office of Munger, Tolles & Olson. Ms. Kristovich’s practice is focused on complex civil litigation, with a particular emphasis in high-stakes trials, including in the consumer protection, product defect and personal injury contexts. She also handles contract and indemnity disputes, including in the media distribution area. Ms. Kristovich is co-chair of the firm’s class action practice group and a member of the firm’s policy committee.
Ms. Kristovich has earned recognition for her legal victories. She was named one of California’s Top 20 Lawyers Under 40 by the Daily Journal and selected as a “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers. Ms. Kristovich was also part of the legal team that helped the firm win Law360’s Class Action Practice Group of the Year award for her work as part of a trial team for Philip Morris USA.
Since joining Munger Tolles, Ms. Kristovich has had a counsel-table role at numerous high-stakes trials and arbitrations, two of which were class action trials in which the plaintiffs requested over a billion dollars in damages. She has also been called upon to defend against numerous applications for preliminary injunction.
- Philip Morris USA in obtaining a favorable verdict in a false advertising trial in which plaintiffs, a class of nearly 200,000 smokers, received an award of $5 million – far less than the $1.5 billion in damages originally sought.
- Philip Morris USA in the successful defense of a three-month California consumer class action trial relating to the marketing of “light” cigarettes. Plaintiffs recovered nothing on their claims, and the judgment was affirmed on appeal. This victory was recognized by the Daily Journal as a Top Defense Verdict of 2013.
- Occidental Chemical Corporation in significant environmental litigation arising out of the Bayou Corne sinkhole in Assumption Parish, Louisiana.
- A major technology company in a confidential product-defect arbitration with a nine-figure demand.
- A confidential bet-the-company arbitration between an independent television station and a major distributor. After arbitration, the arbitrator ruled entirely in Ms. Kristovich’s client’s favor.
- A major retailer in the defense and settlement of several unfair competition and false advertising class actions after early briefing.
- A major product manufacturer in obtaining a favorable settlement in a putative unfair competition class action.
- Intel in:
- obtaining a settlement in a certified class action brought on behalf of several million purchasers of computers containing the first version of the Pentium 4 processor alleging violations of the Unfair Competition Law.
- defending, preparing for trial, and ultimately obtaining a settlement in an antitrust case brought by a class of current and former employees of various technology companies alleging that the defendants conspired to abstain from cold-calling each other’s employees.
- A major gaming company in successfully resolving contract disputes following a cross-border equity acquisition.
- An independent television channel in a dispute with a large media company.
- A major construction company in favorably settling litigation with a developer after vigorous discovery.
- Southern California Edison in a breach-of-contract dispute.
- An independent television channel in obtaining a favorable settlement in a dispute with a distributor after arbitration had commenced.
- An independent channel as plaintiff in a carriage dispute with a service provider in a JAMS arbitration. At the conclusion, the arbitrator found entirely in favor of the firm’s client.
- A major national law firm in a lawsuit alleging violations of the California False Claims Act.
- A law firm in obtaining a favorable settlement on the eve of trial in a legal malpractice action arising from the firm’s representation of a Delaware corporation after extensive litigation and briefing.
- A law firm in obtaining affirmance in the California Court of Appeal of the lower court’s dismissal of malpractice claims on statute of limitations grounds.
Other Noteworthy Commercial Matters
- J. Paul Getty Trust in settling claims and obtaining dismissal of a lawsuit brought by the Western Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America alleging that eight pages from the Zeyt’un Gospels, a medieval Armenian gospel manuscript, were the property of the church.
Ms. Kristovich is a prolific speaker and author who has addressed a range of legal issues at such events as Digital Hollywood and conferences hosted by the ABA and Ms. JD.
Ms. Kristovich is an active member of the community. She was appointed by the Board of Trustees of the State Bar of California to serve as a member of the 2019 Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation. The commission assists California’s governor in the judicial selection process by providing independent evaluations of candidates for judicial appointment and nomination. In 2017, Ms. Kristovich was appointed as a member of the professional development committee of the American Bar Association Section of Litigation. She serves on the board of the California Women’s Law Center, and she is a previous member of the advisory board of the Western Center on Law and Poverty. As a former debater, she volunteers for the Los Angeles Metropolitan Debate League, an organization that encourages high school students in urban schools to participate in debate.
Before joining the firm, Ms. Kristovich served as law clerk to the Honorable Edward Rafeedie in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
Ms. Kristovich received her J.D. from the USC Gould School of Law, where she was elected to the Order of the Coif and served as an articles editor for the Southern California Law Review.