Alexander P. Swanson is a litigation associate in the Los Angeles office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, where he is a member of the Firm’s practice groups for Environmental Litigation and Mass Torts and Life Sciences. With a focus on life sciences and covering a variety of fields and industries, Mr. Swanson’s practice includes environmental mass tort litigation, environmental regulatory compliance, Proposition 65 defense, pharmaceutical patent litigation, and health insurance litigation.
Representative matters include:
- Defending Intel Corporation in toxic tort litigation in which the plaintiff alleged respiratory injuries from chemical exposure. Mr. Swanson had primary responsibility for litigating the issue of medical causation. He drafted multiple Daubert motions that resulted in exclusion of the plaintiff’s experts’ medical causation opinions, leading to a motion for summary judgment that significantly narrowed the issues for trial. At the bench trial, Mr. Swanson conducted the direct examination of Intel’s toxicology expert, cross examined the plaintiff’s treating physician, and delivered closing arguments on medical causation.
- Representing a secondary lead smelter in litigation under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) brought by California EPA’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) for recovery of environmental response costs. Mr. Swanson occupies a leadership role in all phases of the litigation, (filed in December 2020), including developing affirmative defenses, counterclaims, and cross claims and seeking discovery from regulatory agencies under California’s Public Records Act.
- Defending businesses in numerous private enforcement actions under California’s Proposition 65, which permits any person to seek civil penalties and attorneys’ fees based on allegations that products sold in California expose consumers to chemicals listed as carcinogens or reproductive toxicants. For example:
- Mr. Swanson is a key member of the Gibson Dunn team defending on appeal the summary judgment decision ending a decade-long enforcement action against the California coffee industry, including Starbucks, Peet’s, Nestlé USA, Kraft Foods, and dozens of other coffee companies, that sought to require cancer warning labels on all coffee sold in California.
- In another recent case for Kimberly-Clark Corporation, Mr. Swanson developed a successful defense strategy based on a regulation providing a complete defense where analytical testing demonstrates that the accused product does not contain detectable levels of the chemical at issue. Mr. Swanson designed a product sampling program, coordinated the laboratory testing, and drafted a motion for summary judgment based on the results. The plaintiff voluntarily dismissed the case with prejudice shortly after the summary judgment motion was filed.
- Defending the Santa Catalina Island Company in CERCLA cost recovery litigation brought by the Long Beach Unified School District regarding a site contaminated with lead, arsenic, PAHs, and dioxins and subject to an imminent and substantial endangerment order from DTSC. Mr. Swanson supervised expert environmental consultants in negotiating a response to DTSC’s order, spearheaded discovery from other responsible parties and from DTSC regarding their conduct of the remediation, and drafted a motion for summary judgment (currently pending) arguing that CERCLA’s statute of limitations bars the plaintiff’s cost-recovery claims.
- Defending International Paper Company against claims by Harris County, Texas for violation of water pollution statutes in connection with alleged releases of paper mill waste containing dioxins. Mr. Swanson was instrumental in preparing successful motions to exclude three of the County’s epidemiology and toxicology experts who had sought to testify about the alleged health effects of dioxin exposure based on unreliable scientific evidence. After exclusion of these experts, a jury trial resulted in a complete defense verdict for International Paper. Mr. Swanson continues to represent International Paper in a related lawsuit by hundreds of Houston residents for personal injuries arising from alleged exposures to dioxins and PCBs.
- Defending a manufacturing client against claims by former workers at an overseas industrial facility for personal injuries allegedly caused by exposure to chlorinated solvents. Mr. Swanson prepared experts to testify regarding U.S. standards for proving causation in toxic tort cases, specific causation of cancers claimed by individual plaintiffs, and fate and transport of chlorinated solvents in the environment.
- Representing a major pharmaceutical company in Hatch-Waxman litigation involving recombinant human insulin. As an instrumental member of the Gibson Dunn team, Mr. Swanson deposed key witnesses and worked with technical experts to defend against challenges to laboratory testing on the eve of trial.
- Representing Aetna Life Insurance Company against multiple ambulatory surgery centers engaged in a complex scheme of fraud and overbilling. Mr. Swanson drafted motions for summary judgment and directed verdict that eliminated the defendant surgery centers’ cross claims. He served as a key member of the trial team that achieved a jury award of nearly $40 million for Aetna.
Mr. Swanson graduated from the University of Chicago Law School in 2011. While at Chicago, he worked in the Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship, providing pro bono legal services to entrepreneurs in inner-city Chicago. In 2009, he served as a legal extern for the Honorable Rebecca R. Pallmeyer of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. In 2008, Mr. Swanson received his Master of Science degree in Insect Science from the University of Arizona, where he published peer-reviewed research on insect systematics and molecular evolution. He graduated cum laude with Distinction in Research from Cornell University in 2005, where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in Entomology and was a Presidential Research Scholar.
Mr. Swanson is admitted to practice law in the State of California and before the United States District Court for the Central District of California.