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Lauren J. Elliot is a litigation partner in the New York office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and a member of Gibson Dunn’s Life Sciences, Class Actions, Commercial Litigation and Labor & Employment Practice Groups.
Ms. Elliot represents clients in a wide range of industries and has extensive experience litigating complex, multi-party and multi-jurisdictional, high profile mass torts, employment and commercial cases in trial and appellate courts around the country. She has defended pharmaceutical and biotech companies in cases involving a broad spectrum of well-known products such as antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, contraceptives, lead pigment, medical devices, NSAIDs, pesticides, and vaccines. She also often assesses product liability risks in connection with planned corporate acquisitions on behalf of acquiring companies. Legal Media Group has named Ms. Elliot to its Expert Guides Guide to the World’s Leading Women in Business Law for Product Liability three times. In addition, Ms. Elliot has spent close to a decade defending labor and employment claims in class actions and individual lawsuits alleging violations of state labor laws and the Fair Labor Standards Act. Ms. Elliot also has been advising clients on COVID-19 liability risks and workplace vaccination policies.
Ms. Elliot graduated from Brown University in 1989 with honors (International Relations) and received her Juris Doctor from the University of Chicago Law School in 1993. She is a member of the Committee on Drugs and Medical Devices for the Defense Research Institute, and served two terms as a member of the Product Liability Committee for the Association of the Bar of the City of New York.
Ms. Elliot is admitted to practice in New York.
Mass Torts and Product Liability Litigation
Ms. Elliot served as national trial and appellate counsel to Wyeth (now Pfizer) in its defense of close to 400 product liability actions concerning neurological injuries (such as autism spectrum disorders) allegedly associated with the use of the preservative thimerosal in childhood vaccines. Ms. Elliot ran the day-to-day operation of the litigation, argued motions in courts around the country for Wyeth and presented and cross-examined expert witnesses in a two-week Frye hearing in which Wyeth successfully attacked plaintiffs’ causation theories and the qualifications of plaintiffs’ proffered expert witnesses. The court’s Frye ruling led to the dismissal of the claims of the approximately 300 plaintiffs in cases then-pending against vaccine manufacturers in Maryland. Outside the courtroom, Ms. Elliot was responsible for responding to the relentless and well-coordinated attacks by advocacy groups through the Internet and in the media.*
Litigation for Professional Services Firms
Software Implementation Litigation:
Ms. Elliot defended PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (“PwC”) and multiple PwC partners against highly publicized fraud and breach of contract claims seeking hundreds of millions of dollars brought by the City of Los Angeles in connection with the implementation of a customer information system for the City’s Department of Water and Power (LADWP). Ms. Elliot’s team uncovered evidence that the City’s counsel perpetrated a massive fraud on the Court and the public in a related case to deflect blame from the City to PwC for problems with LADWP’s billing system. PwC secured the summary judgment dismissal of all but one of the individual defendants and prevailed on every one of its discovery motions related to the City’s fraud. Faced with adverse rulings (including a finding of crime-fraud), the City dismissed with prejudice all claims against PwC and the remaining individual defendant. PwC moved for sanctions against the City, and in October 2020, the Court awarded $2.5 million to PwC.
Ms. Elliot served as lead counsel for an information technology services company in a software implementation action pending in the Eastern District of New York, involving allegations of breach of contract, fraudulent inducement to enter into a contract, negligent misrepresentation, breach of warranty, and violations of New York General Business Law, Section 349.
Wage and Hour Class Action Litigation:
Ms. Elliot directed all discovery and pretrial efforts for PwC in multiple, separate wage-and-hour class action lawsuits in California and New York. Adamov. v. PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, No. 2:13-cv-01222-TLN-AC (E.D. Ca. 2013) (secured summary judgment dismissal of case involving putative class of unlicensed first-year accountants in PwC’s Assurance line of service asserting misclassification claims under California law); Commisso v. PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, Index No. 650273/2013 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 2013) (secured voluntary dismissal of case involving putative class of 3,800 unlicensed accountants in PwC’s Assurance line of service asserting misclassification claim under New York labor law). Campbell v. PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, No. 2:06-cv-02376-TLN-AC (E.D. Ca. 2006) (secured very favorable resolution of case shortly before commencement of trial involving class of close to 2,000 unlicensed accountants in PwC’s Assurance line of service in California asserting misclassification claim under California labor law); Kress v. PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, No. 2:08-cv-00965-TLN-AC (E.D. Cal. 2008) (secured very favorable resolution of misclassification claims under Fair Labor Standards Act of nationwide classes of Associates in PwC’s Assurance, Tax and Advisory lines of service).
Negligent and Intentional Misrepresentation Litigation:
Ms. Elliot is currently defending a Big Four accounting firm against claims brought by a Trust for negligent and intentional misrepresentation in a $1.8 billion case in the Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles.
Intellectual Property, Licensing and Joint Venture Disputes
Ms. Elliot was lead trial counsel in a three-week Bankruptcy Court trial in which she successfully defended her client against fraudulent conveyance and preference payment claims. She secured for her client his prior recovery (from a NY Surrogate’s Court proceeding litigated by Ms. Elliot) of a multi-million dollar advance he made in connection with a prospective joint venture. No appeal was taken from the judgment of the Bankruptcy Court, which found in favor of Ms. Elliot’s client on all issues.*
Ms. Elliot has substantial experience representing and advising pharmaceutical companies in connection with disputes arising out of co-development, manufacturing and marketing agreements.
She has litigated patent infringement suits in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries, including the trial of multiple patent inventorship cases, and has advised on trade secret issues.
Publications, Speech Engagements & Programs
* Representations occurred prior to attorney’s association with Gibson Dunn
University of Chicago - 1993 Juris Doctor
Brown University - 1989 Bachelor of Arts
New York Bar