Kahn Scolnick is an appellate and litigation partner in the Los Angeles office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. He serves as Co-Partner in Charge of the Los Angeles and Century City offices, Co-Chair of the firm’s Class Actions Practice Group, and is also an active member of the Appellate and Constitutional Law and Securities Litigation Practice Groups, among others. He specializes in class actions, complex commercial cases, and litigating a variety of constitutional issues—both in the trial courts and on appeal.
Representative trial court experience:
- Won a complete defense verdict following a lengthy bench trial before the California Superior Court in two consolidated nationwide class actions against a commercial mortgage lender.
- Persuaded a California trial court to vacate a $173 million penalty that the California Insurance Commissioner issued under the Unfair Insurance Practices Act.
- Defeated class certification in a novel “no poach” class action against a major sandwich restaurant chain.
- Defended an automotive manufacturer, a number of its subsidiaries, and certain of its officers and directors in a highly publicized shareholder class action.
- He was part of the trial team that successfully represented Chevron Corporation in a RICO case against those seeking to extort billions of dollars from the company based on a fraudulently procured multi-billion-dollar judgment in Ecuador.
- Defended a city in a lengthy bench trial alleging a violation of the California Voting Rights Act and Equal Protection Clause.
- Defeated certification of a putative nationwide consumer class action in the Central District of California concerning nutritional labeling.
- Obtained a complete defense verdict following an eight-week jury trial in the California Superior Court (the case was a mass action brought by hundreds of homeowners alleging a private nuisance).
- Persuaded a Nevada trial court to grant summary adjudication of plaintiffs’ prayer for punitive damages in a mass action one week before the start of a scheduled 12-week jury trial (the case then settled on the second day of trial).
- Achieved dismissal with prejudice of a wage-and-hour class action in the Northern District of California on behalf of a leading retailer.
- Won judgment on the pleadings of the defendants’ sole affirmative defense (unclean hands) in a contentious corporate dispute in the Delaware Chancery Court.
- Successfully briefed and argued an opposition to a preliminary injunction motion in Nevada, which sought to enjoin a $2.8 billion merger of two gaming companies. As a result of the ruling, the plaintiffs agreed to dismiss the entire case voluntarily, with each side paying their own fees and costs.
Representative appellate experience:
- Obtained a published decision from the California Court of Appeal striking down a $100 million rate increase and refund order by the California Insurance Commissioner.
- Persuaded the California Court of Appeal to reverse a trial court judgment finding a city liable for a violation of the California Voting Rights Act and a violation of the Equal Protection Clause, based on the City’s at-large method of electing its council (the case is now pending before the California Supreme Court).
- Won a major victory in the California Court of Appeal in a CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) case that will transform the way cargo moves through the Port of LA.
- Advised the inaugural California Citizens Redistricting Commission on a variety of legal issues including the Voting Rights Act and equal protection, and then successfully defended the Commission’s maps against an assortment of constitutional and statutory claims before the California Supreme Court.
- He was a key member the appellate team (in both the Second Circuit and U.S. Supreme Court) in Chevron’s successful RICO suit involving a fraudulent multi-billion-dollar judgment, described above.
- Secured the reversals on appeal of judgments totaling $295 million in three certified class actions in New Mexico and California involving installment payment plans for auto insurance policies.
- Persuaded the California Court of Appeal to affirm the dismissal with prejudice of a high-profile wrongful death action against a major university.
- Prevailed on summary judgment in a high-profile “taxpayer” action challenging the constitutionality of a California statute – and then persuaded the California Court of Appeal to affirm in a published decision, of which the California Supreme Court denied review.
- Obtained a published decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit reversing a substantial award of attorney’s fees.
Mr. Scolnick graduated magna cum laude in 2003 from the University of San Diego, School of Law. He was a Lead Articles Editor for the San Diego Law Review and was awarded the Outstanding Student in Constitutional Law. Mr. Scolnick received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Policy Studies, with honors, from Michigan State University in 2000.
Before joining the firm in 2006, Mr. Scolnick served as a law clerk to Judge Ferdinand F. Fernandez of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (2005–06), and as a law clerk to Judge Dana M. Sabraw of the United States District Court for the Southern District of California (2003–05). While in law school, Mr. Scolnick served as a judicial extern to Judge M. Margaret McKeown of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and also to Magistrate Judge Louisa S. Porter of the United States District Court for the Southern District of California.
Mr. Scolnick has published and spoken on a variety of topics, including class actions, trial practice, civil procedure, punitive damages, voting rights, and constitutional issues. He was named eight times as one of Southern California’s “Rising Stars” by Los Angeles Magazine and Southern California Super Lawyers. Mr. Scolnick serves on the board and executive committee of the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles (LAFLA) and on the board of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Association of Business Trial Lawyers (ABTL).
Mr. Scolnick is a member of the California Bar. He is admitted to practice before the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and the United States District Courts for the Northern, Southern, and Central Districts of California.