Kahn A. Scolnick is an appellate and general litigation partner in the Los Angeles office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. He is Co-Chair of the firm’s Class Actions practice group, and also, a member of the Appellate and Constitutional Law, Securities Litigation, and Transnational Litigation practice groups.
Mr. Scolnick has handled a wide range of litigation matters in state and federal courts, from the pre-filing stage through the appeal. He has represented clients in a variety of breach-of-contract, real estate, consumer and securities class actions, and other business disputes, as well as constitutional litigation involving challenges based on due process, equal protection, the Commerce Clause, and the First Amendment. Recent matters in which Mr. Scolnick played a significant role include:
- He is a member of the team representing Chevron Corporation in multiple venues against a conspiracy seeking to extort billions of dollars from the company based on a fraudulently procured multi-billion dollar judgment in Ecuador. Mr. Scolnick was a member of both the trial team and the appellate team in Chevron’s successful RICO suit against the co-conspirators. Chevron Corp. v. Donziger, 974 F. Supp. 2d 362 (S.D.N.Y. 2014), aff’d, 833 F.3d 74 (2d Cir. 2016).
- Successfully briefed and argued an opposition to a preliminary injunction motion in Nevada state court, 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.
- 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. Vandermost v. Bowen; Radanovich v. Bowen.
- 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.
- 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. Nellis v. Farmers Ins. Co. of Ariz., 2011 N.M. App. LEXIS 114 (N.M. Ct. App. Sept. 20, 2011); Nellis v. Mid-Century Ins. Co., 2011 N.M. App. Unpub. LEXIS 344 (N.M. Ct. App. Sept. 20, 2011); Troyk v. Farmers Group, Inc., 171 Cal. App. 4th 1305 (2009).
- Persuaded the California Court of Appeal to affirm the dismissal with prejudice of a high-profile wrongful death action against a major university.
- Defended an automotive manufacturer, a number of its subsidiaries, and certain of its officers and directors in a highly publicized shareholder class action.
- Obtained a 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).
- 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. Sturgeon v. County of Los Angeles, 191 Cal. App. 4th 344 (2010).
- 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.
- Defeated certification of a putative nationwide consumer class action in the Central District of California concerning nutritional labeling. Hodes v. Van’s International Foods.
- Obtained a published decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit reversing a substantial award of attorney’s fees. Chin v. Chrysler LLC, 538 F.3d 272 (3d Cir. 2008).
- Prevailed on summary judgment on behalf of a leading retailer in a tort suit brought by a former officer and director.
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 the recipient of the Hickman Award for 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, and constitutional issues. He has been named eight times as one of Southern California’s “Rising Stars” by Los Angeles Magazine and Southern California Super Lawyers – Rising Stars Edition (2009-2016). Mr. Scolnick serves on the boards of the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles (LAFLA) and 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.