Practice

Trials

Brilliant Problem-Solvers and Fearsome Trial Opponents

In a survey conducted by The American Lawyer, clients said they called on Munger, Tolles & Olson in “precedent-setting cases that require a creative mind.” Where resources are needed, the survey noted that we are able to deploy an “army of trial lawyers capable of waging war.”

We excel at untangling our clients’ most complicated legal challenges, offering novel litigation strategies and connecting with juries and judges at trial. Munger, Tolles & Olson attorneys are not only superior legal practitioners — but also we love trying cases. When clients choose our attorneys to represent them, they send an unmistakable message to the opposition that they are ready and willing to go to trial if necessary and that their case will be litigated aggressively at every step.

Clients

We have achieved extraordinary victories on behalf of:

  • 99 Cents Stores
  • Amgen
  • Beats Founders
  • Disney Enterprises Inc.
  • DoubleLine Capital
  • Fortress Investment Group
  • Garda
  • Lucasfilm Ltd. LLC
  • Norton Simon
  • Phillip Morris
  • Plains All American Pipeline
  • Rent-A-Center
  • Southern California Edison
  • Steves & Sons
  • Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings (TEPCO)
  • Transocean
  • Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
  • Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
  • University of California
  • Wells Fargo

Related Practices

Team

Munger, Tolles & Olson is consistently recognized for setting the highest standard of excellence in the courtroom. Our firm has trial lawyers in California, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. Many of our trial lawyers have experience trying cases as federal prosecutors, and we have multiple partners who are fellows of the American College of Trial Lawyers. Our team includes:

L. Ashley Aull
Robyn K. Bacon
Lauren Bell
Brad D. Brian 
Jennifer L. Bryant 
Hailyn J. Chen
Victoria A. Degtyareva
Lisa J. Demsky 
Rose L. Ehler
Bryan H. Heckenlively
Benjamin J. Horwich
Jonathan Kravis
Jacob S. Kreilkamp
Bethany W. Kristovich
Craig Jennings Lavoie 
Daniel B. Levin
Carolyn H. Luedtke
Ronald L. Olson
Glenn D. Pomerantz
Laura D. Smolowe
John W. Spiegel
Gregory P. Stone
Faye P. Teller
Donald B. Verrilli, Jr.
Adam B. Weiss
Blanca Fromm Young

Experience

Munger, Tolles & Olson litigators are known as much for providing long-term strategic leadership on cases as for their remarkable ability to parachute in on the eve of trial. We have prevailed in trials after decades of hard-fought litigation, and we have won astonishing trial victories despite having only a few weeks to prepare. Key representations include:

  • FIGS, a medical apparel company, and its co-founders against Lanham Act false advertising, intentional interference, and unfair competition claims brought by the industry incumbent, resulting in a full and complete defense verdict following a three-week federal jury trial. Read the full story.
  • Plains All American Pipeline, a pipeline operator, in parallel criminal and civil actions that included more than a dozen lawsuits in state and federal court, in the aftermath of a pipeline leak that spilled oil onto Refugio State Beach. We defended Plains in a criminal trial in Santa Barbara on claims brought jointly by the state attorney general’s office and the Santa Barbara County district attorney’s office. More than thirty counts were dismissed before trial on the criminal side, and we negotiated a $230 million settlement on the civil side.
  • Steves & Sons in the first matter ever in which a jury, not a regulatory body, had required divestiture as a remedy in private litigation over a completed merger.
  • Wells Fargo in cases arising from the opening of unauthorized accounts by personnel, one of the highest-profile challenges the bank has faced since the 2008-09 crisis.
  • Successfully represented a major national bank in obtaining a unanimous jury verdict against a former high-level employee who alleged that a workplace call in connection with a multibillion-dollar foreign exchange transaction had been illegally recorded. This victory was recognized as a Top Defense Verdict of the Year by the Daily Journal.
  • Disney, Lucasfilm, Twentieth Century Fox, Warner Bros, Marvel, New Line and Turner Entertainment in a complete trial victory for several motion picture studios against unlicensed streaming service VidAngel, followed by a successful resolution of claims in VidAngel’s bankruptcy.
  • Rent-A-Center, which operates about 2,500 rent-to-own consumer goods stores in the United States, in an expedited trial in the Delaware Court of Chancery challenging Rent-A-Center’s termination of a proposed merger. The judgment resulted in payment to Rent-A-Center of a $92.5 million termination fee.
  • Fortress Investment Group in a five-week bench trial against claims brought by HM Ruby, a life settlement hedge fund, which alleged breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, unfair competition, negligent misrepresentation, promissory estoppel and fraud and sought $200 million in damages. The trial victory was recognized among the Daily Journal’s “Top Defense Verdicts” of 2016.
  • Transocean, owner of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, in obtaining a defense verdict in litigation arising from the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. By finding that Transocean’s conduct did not void the company’s indemnity agreements, Transocean avoided tens of billions of dollars of liability. The American Lawyer named the matter among the “most fascinating big business cases of 2014” and recognized our lead trial counsel on the case as a “Litigator of the Week.” The verdict also earned the trial team a 2015 California Lawyer Attorney of the Year (CLAY) Award.
  • Phillip Morris USA in winning a trial victory in a massive class action spanning more than 16 years involving the marketing of Marlboro Lights cigarettes. The case was named by the Daily Journal as a “Top Defense Verdict.”

Case Study

$31 Million in Damages for Inappropriate Sharing of Tragic Crash Photos

Client: Estate of Kobe Bryant/Vanessa Bryant

Munger, Tolles & Olson represents the Kobe Bryant Estate in the invasion of privacy and federal civil rights suit against Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department involving the illegal taking and sharing of photos of the victims of the tragic helicopter crash that killed nine people, including Kobe Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna. MTO’s representation began in February 2020 immediately after the Los Angeles Times reported on the improper photos.

This case has captured both national and global interest. Our firm’s role in the invasion of privacy lawsuit that arose from deputies sharing photos of the crash resulted in an important decision affirming the public’s right to information when police officers are accused of misconduct.

In August 2022, the jury returned a verdict in favor of our client Ms. Bryant, as well as Chris Chester, who lost his wife and daughter in the crash, and awarded them a combined $31 million in damages.

Munger, Tolles & Olson also co-led the wrongful death suit against Island Express, the helicopter company that transported the passengers who perished in the crash.

Press Coverage:

MTO Wins $16m Jury Verdict for Vanessa Bryant in Trial Over Crash Site Photos

News

Hailyn Chen Named a 2024 Leader of Influence by the Los Angeles Business Journal

Munger, Tolles & Olson Co-Managing Partner Hailyn Chen was named to the Los Angeles Business Journal’s 2024 Leaders of Influence: Litigators and Trial Attor...
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Munger, Tolles & Olson Partner Jonathan Kravis Discusses the Bribery Trial of Senator Menendez in CBS News Article

Munger, Tolles & Olson partner Jonathan Kravis spoke to CBS News about the defense strategy used by U.S. Senator Robert Menendez in his ongoing bribery trial ...
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Munger, Tolles & Olson Partner Jonathan Kravis Quoted in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Other Publications Discussing the Corruption Trial of Senator Robert Menendez

Munger, Tolles & Olson partner Jonathan Kravis spoke to The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and other media outlets about the various legal issues at ...
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