Skip to Main Content

Eric A. Kuwana

Partner
eric.kuwana@kattenlaw.com
Washington, DC Office
p+1.202.625.3705
f+1.202.295.1107
Overview

Eric A. Kuwana is co-head of Katten’s Securities Litigation and Enforcement practice. He is a first-chair trial lawyer sought by clients to defend their interests and try their toughest, high-exposure cases to juries and judges across the country, including bet-the-company disputes, high-profile and contentious corporate matters, and lawsuits in the riskiest venues. As a result of his winning record, he has been selected by the National Law Journal as one of the nation’s top litigators in "A Special Report: Winning," published in 2015.

Throughout the past few decades, Eric has defended cases across the country with a total exposure of more than $1 billion for his clients, and has tried to judgment and won individual cases with exposure in the hundreds of millions of dollars. In 2015, he and his trial team turned the defense of a publicly traded client into a judgment against the plaintiff valued at more than $200 million after a full federal court trial.

Eric has served as trial and lead counsel for clients in commercial, real estate, financing and financial services disputes; shareholder, securities, breach of fiduciary duty and corporate governance disputes; product liability, product recall, product investigations, product regulatory matters, consumer product litigation, foodborne outbreaks and toxic torts, and premises and catastrophic torts; trade secret and business torts; and sensitive political, constitutional and government regulatory matters. He has tried to verdict product liability and catastrophic tort cases across the country, and has defended a major big-box retailer, a food manufacturer and supply chain as defendants in class actions and hundreds of individual filed cases in one of the largest foodborne outbreaks in recent history.

Eric also regularly represents companies, their officers and directors, and board committees in complex shareholder, securities, derivative, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) enforcement matters, and internal investigations. With a degree in economics, Eric takes pride in being able to give legal advice in the context of the markets and business demands of his clients, and understands that a favorable settlement may be the best result for the client.

Eric thrives on spending time with his clients in order to understand their business, communicate frequently, delve deep into scientific and economic subjects, change the dynamics of lengthy and expensive litigation, identify settlement opportunities, and secure their trust. He brings his diverse experience to bear to solve his clients biggest problems.

Eric formerly served on the firm's Board of Directors for six years and also as the deputy chair of the firm's National Litigation department. He currently is a member of the firm's Diversity Committee. Prior to joining the firm in 2006, Eric was the deputy chair of the Litigation department and chair of the Securities Litigation practice at a large Washington, DC-based law firm.

Prior to entering private practice, Eric served in the White House, Office of Counsel to the President, under President George H. W. Bush. He has regularly advised political parties, individuals and companies in government litigation, regulatory challenges, congressional investigations, enforcement actions, government subpoenas and politically charged disputes. He also served as an attorney in the US Department of Transportation.

Eric served as deputy general counsel to the Presidential Inaugural Committee for the 2001 Inauguration of President George W. Bush and worked on constitutional and other legal issues for President Bush's 2005 Inauguration. He also served as a counsel to the Platform Committee at the Republican National Conventions in 2000 and 2004 and has represented the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee and the Bush-Cheney presidential campaign in various high-profile disputes, subpoenas, congressional investigations and other matters throughout the years.

Shown below is a selection of Eric’s engagements.

Experience
  • Lead counsel for defendant iStar Financial sued by plaintiff Lennar in a dispute over a large real estate purchase contract where Lennar alleged environmental, breach of contract and other claims against multiple defendants in highly contentious, multi-year litigation. iStar brought counterclaims against Lennar. After a multiple-week trial in 2014 on liability and damages and findings that Lennar acted in bad faith trying to avoid its contractual obligations, Chief Judge Deborah Chasanow entered judgment in favor of defendant iStar and against plaintiff Lennar in a total amount exceeding $200 million. Katten successfully obtained judgment for client. After Lennar posted a bond of $223.4 million, appeal is pending. U.S. Home Corporation v. Settlers Crossing LLC, et al. (D. Md.).
  • Lead counsel for the former chairman of a public company in breach-of-duty litigation brought by the Chapter 7 trustee with eight-figure exposure. During a multiple-week trial in 2015, the case was settled on behalf of the client. In re Roomstore, Inc. (Bankr. E.D. Va.).
  • National coordinating and lead defense and trial counsel defending four main defendants, including a major national big-box retailer and a fruit grower and processor, in hundreds of individual cases and a consolidated class action in federal and state courts with eight-figure exposure relating to a food-borne outbreak of Hepatitis A in nine Western states. Trials pending in multiple states in both federal and state courts.
  • Lead counsel for public and private companies, audit committees, special committees, nonprofits and political parties for internal, external and government investigations in many different industries and jurisdictions.
  • Lead counsel in the successful defense of a publicly traded company at trial in a wrongful death action arising from the death of a senior executive of a competitor. Katten obtained a defense verdict at the third and final trial of the matter after an eight-figure jury demand by a nationally known Florida plaintiff lawyer, yielding a judgment for our client. DeRycke v. Packaging Corporation of America (St. Petersburg, Florida).
  • Lead counsel in the representation of the chairman and CEO, interested members of the board of directors, and the lead private equity firm in shareholder litigation relating to an almost $4 billion "taking-private" transaction by management and several private equity firms with nine-figure exposure. The case was dismissed with prejudice by the trial court, but after being reversed and remanded by the Court of Appeals of Maryland, the case was successfully settled for our clients. In re Laureate Education Corporation (Baltimore County, Maryland).
  • Lead counsel in a misappropriation of trade secrets litigation where preliminary and permanent injunctive relief was obtained on behalf of the client. Case was successfully settled for client. Neustar, Inc. v. Afilias USA, Inc., et al. (Loudoun County, Virginia).
  • Lead counsel in the successful representation of a Fortune 500 biotechnology and medical device company in an international trade secret and tortious interference lawsuit relating to licenses for intellectual property and enforcement of intellectual property rights for biotechnology products. The case was successfully settled for the client. Becton, Dickinson and Company v. Fujisawa Pharmaceuticals (San Diego, California).
  • Lead counsel in the successful representation of a tire company in a product liability and catastrophic tort lawsuit involving a Ford Explorer rollover, quadriplegic injuries, a three-month trial and a nine-figure exposure. The defense team successfully kept the plaintiff from obtaining a verdict (hung jury), and an innovative settlement protected the client from a second trial. Gifford v. Daniels Tire Service (Orange County, California).
  • Lead counsel in the successful representation of a bicycle helmet manufacturer and major retailer in a product liability and catastrophic tort lawsuit involving substantial brain injuries, a multiple-week trial and an eight-figure jury demand. The trial team obtained a defense verdict for the client. Stacy v. Protective Technologies Inc. (E.D.Cal.).
  • Lead counsel in the representation of a publicly traded company in a catastrophic tort lawsuit involving a wrongful death claim and quadriplegic injuries with an eight-figure jury demand. A defense verdict resulted and the case was successfully settled for Katten's client pending a second trial. Probkevitz v. National Dairy (Miami, Florida).
  • Lead counsel in a premises liability case arising from an apartment fire involving multiple deaths, code violations and a nine-figure jury demand. Case was tried to verdict, and the judgment against the client was contained to the low single digits. Burks v. MRMG Asset Management (Dallas, Texas).
  • Trial counsel in the representation of a manufacturer of safety lanyards in litigation involving paraplegic injuries at a construction site and a request for eight-figure damages. A defense verdict was obtained at the trial court. Lead appellate counsel and successfully argued and won the appeal in the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Pritt v. Elk River Inc. (E.D.Va., Fourth Circuit).
  • Lead trial counsel in the successful representation of a company in a premises liability and catastrophic tort lawsuit involving quadriplegic injuries from a swimming pool incident and a request for eight-figure damages. After a long trial, plaintiff voluntarily dismissed with prejudice after a nominal jury verdict. Chesla v. Post Properties (Fulton County, Georgia).
  • Representation of the Republican National Committee in historic litigation over the constitutionality of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (McCain-Feingold Act). McConnell v. FEC (DDC, DC Circuit, Supreme Court).
  • Lead counsel in the representation of an investment manager and its founder in civil litigation arising from the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation lost $215 million in a hedge fund. In re MDL Capital Management, Inc. (S.D.Ohio).
  • Lead counsel in the representation of an investment manager and its founder in civil litigation brought by the SEC and the US Government for securities fraud arising from the IPO of eChapman.com, Inc. In re Nathan A. Chapman (D.Md).
  • Lead counsel for AIG in a dispute arising from a ground lease at the Highland Mall in Austin, Texas. On motion, the entire bankruptcy was dismissed. JPMCC 2002-CIBC4 Highland Retail LLC v. American General Life and Accident Insurance Company (Bankr. W.D. Tex.).
  • Lead counsel for former officers and directors of a bankrupt issuer in multibillion-dollar complex, consolidated securities fraud actions relating to the allocation of shares of stock in initial public offerings of technology companies by issuers and underwriters. Case was successfully settled for client. In re IPO Allocation Securities Litigation (S.D.N.Y.).
  • Lead counsel in defense of the Presidential Inaugural Committee of President George W. Bush in constitutional litigation brought by protester groups. Case was successfully settled for client. International Action Center v. 2001 Presidential Inaugural Committee (D.C. Cir.).
  • Lead counsel for officers and directors of a bank holding company in shareholder litigation relating to the $1 billion purchase by Washington Mutual. The case was successfully settled for the client. In re Commercial Capital Bancorp Inc. (Las Vegas, Nevada).
  • Lead counsel for the former chief executive officer of a company in a civil fraud and breach of contract case. The case was successfully settled for Katten's client. Charter Jet Travel, LLC v. NCA MaxJet, Inc. (E.D. Va.).
  • Lead counsel in the defense of a maker of food storage, home storage, disposable cookware and tableware, and trash disposal products in an industrial accident involving traumatic brain injuries. The case was successfully settled for Katten's client. Lucas v. Pactiv Corporation (W.D. Va.).

Recognition

Legal 500, 2014
National Law Journal, "A Special Report: Winning" Top Litigator, 2015
Eric A. Kuwana

Education

  • JD, The University of Kansas School of Law
  • BA, The University of Chicago

Bar Admissions

  • Missouri
  • District of Columbia
  • New York

Court Admissions

  • US Supreme Court
  • US District Court, District of Columbia
  • US District Court, District of Colorado
  • US Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit
  • US Court of Federal Claims
  • US Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit
  • US District Court, District of Maryland
  • US District Court, Southern District of New York

Recognition

Legal 500
2014
National Law Journal, "A Special Report: Winning" Top Litigator, 2015
Previous Next

Memberships

  • District of Columbia Asian Pacific American Bar Association
  • Leadership Council on Legal Diversity
  • National Asian Pacific American Bar Association