Steven E. Sletten, a partner in the Los Angeles office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, joined the firm in 1983. He is a member of the firm’s Litigation Department, its Class Action Practice Group, Antitrust and Trade Regulation Practice Group, and its International Arbitration Practice Group. Mr. Sletten has extensive experience in complex commercial litigation and counseling clients on related issues, including class and mass actions, antitrust, competition issues generally, insurance and reinsurance, construction issues, and arbitration (both domestic and international). Mr. Sletten’s litigation, arbitration and counseling experience includes work for companies in many industry groups including building, telecommunications, chemical, microchip, hospitality, insurance/reinsurance, entertainment, music, transportation, banking, manufacturing, and other industries. Mr. Sletten also has lectured and written on dispute resolution, comparative legal systems, antitrust issues, and arbitration-related topics.
Prior to joining Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, Mr. Sletten served as a law clerk for the Honorable Edward Rafeedie of the United States District Court, Central District of California. He received his law degree with honors from the University of California at Los Angeles School of Law in 1982, where he was a member of the Order of the Coif and a staff member of the Journal of Environmental Law and Policy. In 1979, Mr. Sletten graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from California State University at Northridge.
Mr. Sletten is a member of the Antitrust Section of the California State Bar. Mr. Sletten has been admitted to practice before all California state and federal courts, numerous federal courts around the country, as well as the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth and Federal Circuits.
Mr. Sletten has represented, or participated in the representation of, numerous clients in a broad range of industry groups on matters arising in state and federal courts, arbitrations, and also international investigations into financial fraud and other misconduct.
A few of his representative matters include:
- Fleetwood Enterprises – Represented Fleetwood in successful defense of $100 million+ arbitration over housing development designed and constructed by Fleetwood for Saudi Arabia.
- Quantum Chemical v. Aetna – Represented Aetna for years in this multi-site environmental coverage litigation originally filed in New York but ultimately conducted in San Francisco Superior Court. Mr. Sletten chaired a joint defense effort consisting of approximately 20 law firms and he and his team from Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher participated in all phases of discovery and pretrial proceedings. .
- Representation of rail carrier in price fixing and monopolization claims arising from the carrier’s activities concerning substantial coal deposits in Northwest New Mexico. Issues included the Noerr-Pennington Doctrine, monopolization and attempted monopolization, and various state law claims
- Mission Liquidation Reinsurance Litigation – Represented domestic and foreign reinsurers of Mission Insurance Company in multi-party litigation filed, and multi-party arbitrations initiated, by the Insurance Commissioner of the State of California to collect alleged reinsurance recoverables due to Mission. This work included, among many other facets, analysis of numerous environmental and toxic mass tort liabilities that were ceded to the Mission reinsurers pursuant to the various quota share, excess of loss, and pooled reinsurance arrangements
- SR International – Analyzed and advised on multiple coverage issues relating to numerous insureds and represented SRI in court and arbitration proceedings over enforceability of a variety of excess-of-loss insurance policies for claims arising from tort liabilities.
- Representation of publisher of one of the largest city newspapers in the United States in federal court cases alleging violations of state antitrust law as well as unfair business practices.
- Swiss Re/MTBE – Represent excess carrier and reinsurer Swiss Re in evaluating exposure under various casualty liability policies issued to major oil and gas companies, including leading joint defense group in regards to claims by ExxonMobil for coverage to recover losses arising from mass action liabilities relating to MTBE contamination.
- Ticketmaster – Representation of leading ticketing service company in various matters in federal court including MDL class action involving allegations of exclusionary practices, and also in antitrust action brought by major competitor alleging violations of Section 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act as well as violations of state law.
- L.A. Cellular – Representation of wireless telecommunications provider in price fixing class action lawsuit brought by thousands of consumers of wireless telecommunications service. Claims arising under state antitrust statutes and related state law theories of liability.
- Dow Chemical – Represented Dow Chemical and subsidiary Filmtec in their defense of long-running patent and antitrust claims filed in Federal Court, S.D. California, alleging monopolization of the market for reverse osmosis membranes.
- Chevron U.S.A. – Representation of major oil and gas company in state AG investigation and federal consumer class action alleging price fixing relating to the wholesale and retail sales of gasoline in California through alleged capacity and production manipulation.
- Major Energy Company – Representation of major energy/utility company in dispute over $1 billion solar energy contract leading to successful termination of contract due to failure of solar power company to perform according to contract terms
- Counseling clients in the telecommunications, semiconductor, manufacturing, food service, hotel, ticketing, entertainment and sports equipment industries on a wide variety of antitrust related subjects including resale pricing practices, distribution arrangements, exclusive dealing issues, trade association issues, co-op arrangements, allocation of product issues, and other matters arising under state and federal antitrust and unfair competition laws.
Mr. Sletten has authored or contributed to a number of publications, and has lectured and/or given presentations on a variety of topics including the following:
- Antitrust Laws and Trade Regulation (Co-editor) published by Matthew Bender (2004)
- “International Arbitration Overview,” Los Angeles County Bar Association ADR Section Newsletter, November 1995
- “Law Favours Confirmation of Arbitration Awards,” International Insurance Law Review, June 1995
Representative Lectures/Speaking Engagements
- University of Southern California School of Law: Adjunct Professor of Law for ADR Seminar (1993)
- Pepperdine University School of Law: Adjunct Professor of Law for ADR Survey Course (1994)
- County Bar Association: “International Litigation: Case Studies Home and Abroad” (1995)
- Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB): MCLE program “Techniques For Effectively Compelling and Resisting Mandatory Arbitration” (1999)
- Association of Business Trial Lawyers: Electronic Discovery MCLE Program (2003)
- American Corporate Counsel Association: Antitrust Seminar for In-House Counsel (2003)
- Association of Business Trial Lawyers Program Panel (Moderator): “Civility and Ethical Behavior” (July 2007)
Mr. Sletten served for 13 years as Chair of the firm-wide Hiring Committee at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. He serves on the firm’s Diversity Committee. Mr. Sletten was appointed to be the firm’s representative to the Advisory Board for the Institute for Transnational Arbitration. He also is past President of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Association of Business Trial Lawyers. Mr. Sletten currently serves as Chair of the Advisory Board of The Salvation Army, Los Angeles Metropolitan Area Division. He was recently selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© 2021 in the fields of Commercial Litigation and Litigation – Construction.