Ashley E. Johnson is Of Counsel in the Dallas office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. She practices in the firm’s Appellate and Constitutional Law, Litigation, and Antitrust and Competition practice groups.
Ms. Johnson is an experienced appellate and trial litigator who has argued before the United States Courts of Appeals for the Fifth, Seventh, and Ninth Circuits. She has briefed a diverse set of cases in the United States Supreme Court, including high-profile victories in Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association (U.S. 2018), Bank Markazi v. Peterson (U.S. 2016), and Black v. United States (U.S. 2011). Most recently, she obtained a per curiam reversal in the Supreme Court of an adverse appellate decision in Sause v. Bauer (U.S. 2018). In addition to her nationwide appellate practice, Ms. Johnson represents clients in complex, high-profile litigation in federal and state trial courts, as well as before arbitral panels. Ms. Johnson is a core member of the team representing Delta Air Lines in a widely publicized dispute over Delta’s continued access to Dallas’s Love Field airport. Ms. Johnson has particular substantive expertise in defending federal and state antitrust and unfair competition claims. She has repeatedly defended brand pharmaceutical companies against antitrust claims by generic competitors and putative direct and indirect purchaser classes, including allegations of sham litigation, reverse payments, and improper citizen petitions.
Prior to joining Gibson Dunn, Ms. Johnson served as a law clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas of the Supreme Court of the United States, and to Judge J. Michael Luttig, formerly of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Ms. Johnson earned her law degree in 2004 from Vanderbilt University Law School, where she was a John W. Wade Scholar and Editor-in-Chief of the Vanderbilt Law Review. Ms. Johnson was awarded the Archie B. Martin Memorial Prize and the Robert F. Jackson Memorial Prize for placing first in her class in her first and second years of study. She was also elected to Order of the Coif. Ms. Johnson graduated from Vanderbilt University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mathematics and History while earning membership in Phi Beta Kappa.
Ms. Johnson is admitted to practice in Texas and North Carolina. She is also admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the United States, the United States Courts of Appeals for the Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, and Ninth Circuits, and the United States District Courts for the Southern and Northern Districts of Texas.
- Sureshot Golf Ventures, Inc. v. Topgolf International, Inc. (5th Cir. 2018) – After presenting argument on behalf of Topgolf, obtained unanimous decision affirming district court’s opinion dismissing antitrust suit.
- Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Ass’n (U.S. 2018) – Successfully represented New Jersey state officials before the United States Supreme Court with respect to the applicability, construction, and constitutionality of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (“PASPA”), overturning an adverse Third Circuit en banc decision.
- Sause v. Bauer (U.S. 2018) – Briefed before the Supreme Court constitutional claims dismissed by the lower courts. Obtained per curiam decision reversing the decision of the Tenth Circuit.
- United States v. Ogoke (7th Cir. 2017) – Appointed by the Seventh Circuit as lead counsel to brief and argue in support of the district court decision. Obtained unanimous decision affirming the district court.
- City of Dallas v. Delta Air Lines, Inc. (5th Cir. 2017) – Successfully defended a preliminary injunction in favor of Delta Air Lines allowing Delta to continue operating at the Dallas Love Field airport.
- United States v. Poff (9th Cir. 2017) – Appointed by the Ninth Circuit as lead counsel to brief and argue constitutional and statutory dispute over seizure of disabled veteran benefits.
- Bank Markazi v. Peterson (U.S. 2016) – Represented victims of the 1983 Beirut Marine Corps Barracks Bombing who hold judgments against the government of Iran. Persuaded the Supreme Court to reject arguments from Iran’s central bank that Congress impermissibly invaded the province of the Judicial Branch by authorizing victims of terrorism to seize certain assets.
- Hartig Drug Co. Inc. v. Allergan Inc. (3rd Cir. 2016) – Represented Allergan in putative antitrust class action alleging wrongful exclusion of generic drug competition.
- TXU Portfolio Mgmt. Co., L.P. v. FPL Energy, LLC (Tex. App. 2016) – Defended electric provider in breach of wind energy contract suit.
- United States Student Aid Funds, Inc. v. Bible (U.S. 2016), Integrity Staffing Solutions, Inc. v. Busk, No. 13-433 (U.S. 2014), and Perez v. Mortgage Bankers Ass’n (U.S. 2014) – Lead counsel on amicus briefs for state and/or local government associations. In Integrity Staffing, the Supreme Court unanimously adopted the result urged by the amici.
- Trans Energy, Inc. v. EQT Production Co., 743 F.3d 895 (4th Cir. 2014) – Prevailed in multi-million dollar title dispute over natural gas rights in the Marcellus Shale.
- Viacom Int’l, Inc. v. YouTube, Inc. (2nd Cir. 2012) – Represented Viacom International in successful appeal from district court award of summary judgment to YouTube under the DMCA safe harbor.
- Opulent Life Church v. City of Holly Springs (5th Cir. 2012) – Argued before the Fifth Circuit and secured unanimous published decision in statutory and constitutional challenge to religious discrimination.
- In re Chevron Corp. (3d Cir. 2011); Ecuadorian Plaintiffs v. Chevron Corp. v. 3TM Int’l, Inc. (5th Cir. 2010) – Secured unanimous, favorable decisions permitting discovery under 28 U.S.C. § 1782.
- Black v. United States (U.S. 2010) – Represented Conrad M. Black in securing review in the United States Supreme Court and reversal of multiple convictions for mail and wire fraud through a deprivation of “honest services.”
- Member of the trial team successfully defending telecommunications company against breach of contract claims at a seven-day arbitration (2018)
- Member of the trial team defending construction and engineering firms against claims arising out of the construction of the largest oil refinery in America. Following a month-long arbitration in Houston, the claimants were awarded nothing. (2016)
- Lead counsel for pharmaceutical company defending against fraud and contract claims in United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas. Resolved by settlement. (2016)
- Lead counsel for energy company prosecuting quiet title action in United States District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia. Resolved by settlement. (2016)
- Member of the trial team defending Delta Air Lines in its action seeking to enjoin the City of Dallas and Southwest Airlines from evicting it from flying out of Love Field in Dallas. After a three-day hearing in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, obtained a preliminary injunction prohibiting Delta’s eviction. (2015)
- Member of the trial team representing global pharmaceutical company defending against False Claims Act qui tam suit in the United States District Court for the Central District of California. Obtained a dismissal of the suit. (2014)
- Secured partial dismissal of complex patent infringement complaint in Southern District of California based on legal insufficiency of infringement theory. (2014)
Ms. Johnson is also actively involved in alumni activities at Vanderbilt University Law School, where she is a member of the Vanderbilt Law Review Alumni Board of Advisors. She has spoken through the Branstetter Litigation and Dispute Resolution Program at Vanderbilt regarding the practice of appellate law and brought Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to Vanderbilt to deliver the 2014 Cecil Sims Lecture.