Audrey Hadlock helps resolve high-stakes commercial litigation, ranging from complex business disputes to intellectual property matters and consumer class actions. Her clients include individuals and cutting-edge companies in diverse industries including software and technology, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, and finance and venture capital.
Ms. Hadlock has tried and won cases in federal and state courts, and in arbitration, including several jury trials as lead counsel. She has also won numerous cases for her clients at early stages of litigation, through compelling dispositive motions and creative analysis of critical legal issues. Ms. Hadlock has also successfully represented individuals pro bono in immigration, employment, and other matters.
Cases of Note
Cisco Systems, Inc. v. Arista Networks, Inc.: We defended Arista Networks in this groundbreaking case which raised the important question of whether and to what extent functional computer commands merit copyright protection. Cisco accused Arista, run by a former Cisco vice president, of copyright infringement for the use of more than 500 commands used to configure network switches. Cisco also accused Arista of infringing two patents, one of which it dismissed before trial. After a two-week trial, the jury returned a verdict in our client’s favor on both the copyright and patent claims.
San Diego County Water Authority v. Metropolitan Water District of Southern California: In 2015, we won the largest plaintiff's award of the year in California for the San Diego County Water Authority in its long-running fight with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD). MWD is the regional water wholesaler for most of Southern California. San Diego sued MWD for charging San Diego inflated and illegal water transportation rates, and breaching a contract between the parties. After a three-week bench trial that played out in two phases over the course of fifteen months, the court found that MWD’s rates violated numerous California statutory and constitutional provisions, and awarded our client $188 million in contract damages, plus $43 million in prejudgment interest, and other declaratory relief, including a forward-looking writ of mandate directing MWD to set future rates in compliance with the court’s order.
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.
Technology Company v. Internet Search Engine: We defended a leading Internet search engine in a high-stakes binding arbitration. The founders of a company acquired by our client alleged our client breached the merger agreement, and sought hundreds of millions in earn-out compensation. A three-judge panel found in favor of our client on all counts.
Plaintiffs v. Real Estate Investors: We defended certain real estate investors against alter ego claims, in both state and federal court. These alter ego claims were brought in an effort to hold our clients personally liable for a $7.5 million judgment against their company and to pierce the corporate veil protecting our client's real estate investment firm. Following a multi-week bench trial, the court entered judgment for our clients and awarded them attorneys' fees.
Patent Holding Company v. Law Firm: A patent-holding company alleged our client, a prominent national law firm, misappropriated trade secrets. The company claimed our client violated various court protective orders and interfered with settlement obligations. In less than three months, we obtained a dismissal of all claims.
Pande v. Chevron: We won a $5.5 million jury verdict against Chevron for wrongfully terminating and retaliating against a female petroleum engineer. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the award.
Toy Company v. Product Designer: We represented the designer of a very popular line of dolls in a federal trial to determine which toy company owns the doll's copyright. We settled the case on favorable terms before the commencement of trial.
Awards and Honors
- Top Plaintiff's Verdict by Dollar, The Daily Journal, 2016. On behalf of the San Diego County Water Authority, we won more than $230 million in damages and prejudgment interest against Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. The ruling will save San Diego water customers as much as $2 billion over the next several years.
- Order of the Coif, UC Berkeley School of Law
- American Jurisprudence Awards in Intellectual Property, Land Use Planning and Torts
- Prosser Awards in Property, Constitutional Law II and State and Local Government
- Phi Beta Kappa, Swarthmore College
- Member, California Law Review, UC Berkeley School of Law
- Associate editor, Ecology Law Quarterly, UC Berkeley School of Law
- Board of Governors, California Women Lawyers
- Member, Edward J. McFetridge American Inn of Court
- Co-author, “Best Practices For Successful Collaboration,” Life Science Leader, 2012
- “Second Circuit Limits State power to Regulate Sulfur Dioxide Emissions: Clean Air Markets Group v. Pataki,” Ecology Law Quarterly, 2004