Stuart Gasner
Partner

sgasner@kvn.com
Tel. (415) 676-2209

Education

University of Michigan Law School, J.D., 1981

Dartmouth, B.A., summa cum laude, 1976

Prior Experience

Assistant United States Attorney, District of Hawaii

Williams & Connolly, Washington, DC

Clerkships

Hon. Roger Robb
U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, 1981-1982

Bar Admissions

California

Hawaii

District of Columbia

Stuart Gasner

Stuart Gasner centers his practice in the areas of white collar criminal and securities defense, intellectual property litigation and complex corporate disputes. A federal prosecutor before joining Keker & Van Nest, Mr. Gasner has tried more than 25 cases to verdict before juries across the United States.

In the field of white collar crime and fraud, Mr. Gasner has 30 years of experience handling criminal trials and investigations, as well as related civil litigation. His cases have spanned a wide range of subject areas, including securities fraud, banking-related crimes, economic espionage, tax shelters, mortgage-backed securities, accounting and revenue recognition fraud, insider trading, antitrust (including international cartels), industrial accidents, fire marshal investigations, computer crimes such as hacking, bribery, credit card fraud, mail and wire fraud, environmental crimes, conspiracy, and Food and Drug Administration crimes.

In the intellectual property arena, Mr. Gasner has represented many well-known corporations in patent and trade secret litigation, including Intel, TSMC, Hyperion Therapeutics, Corus Pharma, ASM, Harris Corporation, Network Appliance, the Industrial Technical Research Institute of Taiwan, Sportvision, and Tahoe Networks. These cases have involved electronics technologies ranging from integrated circuit design and architecture, to semiconductor fabrication equipment, telecommunications, networking, and video graphics, as well as biotechnology topics such as small molecule drug discovery tools, cystic fibrosis, diabetes and regenerative medicine.

With respect to complex corporate litigation and disputes, Mr. Gasner's practice has encompassed a myriad of subject matters. Many have involved the representation of law firms, investment partnerships, venture capital firms and their portfolio companies, advertising agencies, and biotechnology companies.

Cases of Note

Revance Therapeutics, Inc. v. Medicis Pharmaceutical Corporation: We represented Revance, a biotechnology company which develops next-generation dermatology products and therapeutic medicines, in a Delaware Chancery Court bench trial. The trial determined Revance’s worldwide rights to its injectable botulinum toxin product, as well as its ground-breaking topical botox product. Days after the trial, we finalized a settlement which returned all global rights to develop and commercialize both products across all indications to Revance, and resolved all outstanding litigation between the companies.

Company Founders v. Majority Shareholder: We represented the founders of a biofuel start-up in an action brought by its majority shareholder and certain board members as a derivative action for alleged breaches of fiduciary duty. We won a dismissal of the derivative action on demurrer, and achieved a substantial settlement for our clients of their affirmative claims.

Venture-Backed Biotechnology Company v. Pharmaceutical Company: We represented a biotechnology company developing a drug for a rare genetic disease in arbitration proceedings over its rights to develop its sole product under a collaboration agreement with a large pharmaceutical company. With our assistance, on the first day of the arbitration the parties reached a favorable settlement, which provided for our client’s acquisition of the life-saving drug it is developing. The FDA has now approved the drug and our client successfully conducted an IPO.

United States v. Michael Shanahan Jr.: In a criminal options backdating case, we secured a dismissal before trial for Michael Shanahan Jr., who served on Engineered Support Systems Inc.'s board of directors and was a member of the company's compensation committee. We also represented him in a parallel options backdating action brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission. After eight days of trial testimony, a federal judge in Missouri granted our motion for judgment as a matter of law.

Multinational Biotechnology Company v. Biopharmaceutical Company: We won partial summary judgment for a Seattle biopharmaceutical company and its founder in a trade secret and contract action over a cystic fibrosis drug. Aided by that ruling, and the favorable progress of the trial relating to the remaining claims, another biotechnology company acquired our client for $365 million mid-trial.

Securities and Exchange Commission v. Former Chief Financial Officer: We represented the former chief financial officer of a software company against Securities and Exchange Commission allegations of securities fraud in the company’s revenue recognition practices. We secured a dismissal on the eve of trial.

Awards and Honors

  • Listed in The Best Lawyers in America for Commercial, Intellectual Property, Patent and White Collar Criminal Defense, 2010-2014
  • Listed in Who’s Who in American Law, 2012
  • Recommended Attorney, Litigation - White-collar criminal defense, The Legal 500 U.S., 2011
  • Litigator of the Week, The American Lawyer, 2010
  • Northern California Super Lawyer, White Collar Criminal Defense, 2004-present
  • Editor-in-chief, University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

Professional Affiliations

  • Mediator and Early Neutral Evaluator, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California

Publications and Speaking Engagements

United States v. Dep George: While an Assistant United States Attorney, prosecuted an individual indicted for arms dealing with Vietnam under the Trading with the Enemy Act. The defendant was convicted after a jury trial.

United States v. Abdul Rasheed: While an Assistant United States Attorney, handled the prosecution of an international conspiracy involving 75 tons of hashish transported by the inaptly-named “Lucky Star” freighter. All thirteen defendants pleaded guilty after elaborate motions practice.

In re Amtrak-Conrail Train Wreck Litigation: Secured a favorable settlement on behalf of numerous wrongful death actions, which stemmed from a train wreck caused by intoxicated train personnel.

United States v. Former Chief Executive Officer: We represented the former CEO of a public company in a criminal investigation, a Securities and Exchange Commission suit, a derivative shareholder suit, a breach of contract suit by our client against his former company, and that company's counterclaim for hundreds of millions. All of these matters were related to the company's historical stock option granting practices. We resolved all of the matters against our client with net payments of more than $10 million to our client.

Securities and Exchange Commission v. Software Company Founder and Former Chairman: We represented a multi-billion dollar software company's founder and former chairman of the board in an options backdating investigation. The case was resolved on favorable terms, with no charges filed.

Securities and Exchange Commission v. Former Executive: We represented the former controller of a failed online bank in a securities fraud action brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The case was settled on favorable terms.

United States Department of Justice v. LCD Panel Company: We represented a Taiwanese manufacturer of liquid crystal display screens in a massive price-fixing investigation conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division.

United States v. Michael Shanahan Jr.: In a criminal options backdating case, we secured a dismissal before trial for Michael Shanahan Jr., who served on Engineered Support Systems Inc.'s board of directors and was a member of the company's compensation committee. We also represented him in a parallel options backdating action brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission. After eight days of trial testimony, a federal judge in Missouri granted our motion for judgment as a matter of law.

People v. Construction Services Company: We obtained complete dismissal of a felony charge related to an on-the-job worker death. We were retained after a criminal complaint was filed and an arraignment date was set. We immediately engaged prosecutors and successfully postponed arraignment. Following months of discussions with the prosecutors and investigation into the incident, we convinced the government to voluntarily dismiss the case for insufficient evidence without ever proceeding to arraignment and without levying any fines or penalties whatsoever against the company.

State of Washington v. Financial Services Firm: We are representing a global financial services firm in a criminal investigation relating to a bank’s collapse. After the bank's demise, our client acquired its assets.

Revance Therapeutics, Inc. v. Medicis Pharmaceutical Corporation: We represented Revance, a biotechnology company which develops next-generation dermatology products and therapeutic medicines, in a Delaware Chancery Court bench trial. The trial determined Revance’s worldwide rights to its injectable botulinum toxin product, as well as its ground-breaking topical botox product. Days after the trial, we finalized a settlement which returned all global rights to develop and commercialize both products across all indications to Revance, and resolved all outstanding litigation between the companies.

Company Founders v. Majority Shareholder: We represented the founders of a biofuel start-up in an action brought by its majority shareholder and certain board members as a derivative action for alleged breaches of fiduciary duty. We won a dismissal of the derivative action on demurrer, and achieved a substantial settlement for our clients of their affirmative claims.

Plaintiffs v. Institutional Investor: Hawaii's former governor and other shareholders claimed a start-up company had unfairly washed them out. They brought a breach of fiduciary duty lawsuit against numerous investment banks and institutional investors, including our client. We won dismissal of the case at the trial court, and settled the case on favorable terms.

Plaintiff v. Software Company: We defended a leading enterprise and mobile software company against breach of contract and related claims. The foreign plaintiff alleged he had entered into a joint venture with a company subsequently acquired by our client. We quickly mastered the facts and documents in the case, pushed for early depositions of the key witnesses and an expedited resolution through arbitration, and thus were able to secure a favorable settlement.

Venture Capital Firm v. Founder and Former Chief Executive Officer: We represented a leading biotech venture capital and investment banking firm against its founder and former CEO’s allegations of breaches of fiduciary duty. The case was settled before trial on favorable terms.

Venture-Backed Biotechnology Company v. Pharmaceutical Company: We represented a biotechnology company developing a drug for a rare genetic disease in arbitration proceedings over its rights to develop its sole product under a collaboration agreement with a large pharmaceutical company. With our assistance, on the first day of the arbitration the parties reached a favorable settlement, which provided for our client’s acquisition of the life-saving drug it is developing. The FDA has now approved the drug and our client successfully conducted an IPO.

Drug Discovery Company v. Hedge Fund: We represented a drug discovery start-up in a payments dispute with hedge fund Sowood Capital Management. The case was favorably resolved for our client when Sowood provided the promised funding.

Financial Advisory Company v. Investment Banker: We represented a partner in a San Francisco investment banking firm in a dispute over compensation relating to real estate development in Cabo San Lucas.

San Mateo School Districts v. San Mateo County: We represented San Mateo County and its former treasurer against a $20 million suit brought by a group of San Mateo County school districts. Following the 2008 Lehman Brothers bankruptcy - in the midst of the nationwide financial crisis - plaintiffs filed suit against the County, alleging officials violated their fiduciary duties by investing too heavily in Lehman holdings. However we convinced a San Francisco Superior Court judge to dismiss the case on the grounds that the complaint failed to comply with state and county laws governing lawsuits against public entities.

Phenomix v. Pharmaceutical Company: We represented a start-up drug discovery company in a collaboration agreement dispute regarding the development of a diabetes drug. We obtained a favorable settlement before arbitration was filed.

Investment Bank v. Financial Services Firm: We won the dismissal of a $70 million claim brought against our client and other issuers of auction rate securities. We avoided Financial Industry Regulatory Authority arbitration when our brief resulted in the severing and stay of claims against our client, and eventual dismissal of claims against our client.

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