For over 20 years, Pat's emphasis has been on complex litigation at both the trial and appellate levels, including work on product liability cases (involving a variety of products, including prescription drugs, automobiles and tobacco), corporate and employer punitive liability, complicated contractual disputes, business tort claims, environmental litigation and antitrust matters. Pat’s innovative legal analysis, writing and advocacy have frequently led to the dismissal or settlement of difficult, high-stakes cases long before they reach trial. Pat has also contributed to the successful defense of these cases at trial by creating compelling case-specific motions in limine, developing creative case strategy and themes, arguing for appropriate jury instructions, and advocating for directed verdict and additional limits on the scope of plaintiff’s evidence, claims, damages, and arguments to the jury. Pat advises clients on legal developments nationwide with a special emphasis on California law, and he has contributed to several jury research exercises and legal strategy projects performed on behalf of firm clients. In addition, Pat has advised clients on eDiscovery and domestic and foreign data protection issues.
Pat is an active member of Shook's Professional Development Committee and has often presented at firm seminars on a variety of topics, including punitive damages, deposition strategy, legal writing, state and federal motion practice, and summary judgment oral advocacy. Pat helps organize and often presents at an annual joint CLE for the firm’s San Francisco and Orange County offices and has helped devise California-specific in-house CLEs for those firm offices. Pat is an active participant in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals' pro bono program and has twice won the firm's William Zimmerman award for his work on pro bono matters. Pat also frequently assists the firm's Public Policy Group with amicus curiae briefing before the California appellate courts.
Pat helped lead the appellate team on a pro bono appeal in State Dept. of State Hospitals v. Superior Court (Elaine Novoa, Real Party in Interest), 163 Cal. Rptr. 3d 770 (2013), in which the court of appeal found that Ms. Novoa had standing to seek a writ of mandamus compelling state agency compliance with Jessica’s Law. Upon Ms. Novoa’s petition for review filed by Shook, the California Supreme Court has agreed to hear Ms. Novoa’s claims with regard to the scope of the duties imposed by that law and an opinion is expected in 2015.
Pat led the briefing efforts in obtaining summary judgment in September 2012 on negligent and strict liability design defect claims in Nichols v. Philip Morris USA Inc., Case No. GIC 858954, Superior Court of California, County of San Diego.
Pat was part of the team that obtained a unanimous defense verdict after a month-long individual smoking and health trial held in Bethel, Alaska, in the fall of 2011. Hunter v. Philip Morris USA Inc., Case No. 4BE-06-00407CI (Superior Court for State of Alaska, Fourth Judicial District) (reported at http://www.law360.com/articles/286670/philip-morris-prevails-in-1st-solo-smoking-suit-in-alaska).
Pat helped draft amicus pro bono briefs and presented the oral argument in a successful Ninth Circuit appeal on behalf of an immigrant seeking asylum and other relief. See Ortega-Gamboa v. Holder, 2010 WL 2812758 (9th Cir. 2010).
In a cigarette product liability wrongful death action pending in Los Angeles Superior Court, Pat successfully argued that one of the plaintiffs should be dismissed because of the res judicata impact of her prior loss of consortium action. That dismissal was affirmed in May 2010 by the California Supreme Court. See Boeken v. Philip Morris USA Inc., 48 Cal. 4th 788 (2010).
Pat also helped developed statute of limitations and scope of remand arguments that led to the quick dismissal of Maria Cannata v. Philip Morris USA soon after it was remanded to the trial court as one of the two companion cases in Grisham v. Philip Morris USA Inc., 54 Cal. Rptr. 3d 755 (2007). In the other companion case (the Grisham case itself), Pat was part of the team that obtained a dismissal with prejudice in April 2010.
Pat assisted the firm’s Public Policy Group with amicus briefing in McCann v. Foster Wheeler, 105 Cal. Rptr. 3d 378 (2010).
Pat was part of the Shook appellate team that obtained a favorable outcome for the defense in Beville v. Ford Motor Co., 319 Fed.Appx. 525 (9th Cir. 2009).
In 2005, Pat was a member of the trial team that obtained a defense verdict in Coolidge v. Philip Morris USA Inc., a case tried in Riverside County Superior Court. At trial, Pat successfully argued a directed verdict motion that eliminated the design defect claims and restricted the remaining fraudulent concealment claim. Pat also wrote briefs before trial that led to the dismissal of the fraudulent misrepresentation claims and of a co-defendant retailer. Pat was also the architect of a strategy that led to the first time that a California smoking and health case was bifurcated on the statute of limitations defense.
Pat was the principal drafter of a motion for summary adjudication that in 2004 eliminated the survival claims and punitive damages in Major v. Lorillard Tobacco Co., et al., a case in the Civil Central West division of the Los Angeles Superior Court. Pat also prepared the successful opposition to plaintiff’s challenge to that decision via a petition for writ of mandate filed in the California Court of Appeal.
Pat successfully argued for a statute of limitations based dismissal in Lee v. Philip Morris Inc. (Lee II), 2003 WL 23341206 (N.D. Cal. 2003). The Lee II dismissal was partly based an order in Lee I, which in turn had resulted from a summary judgment motion that Pat drafted and argued.
The court in Lee II also relied on Soliman v. Philip Morris, Inc., 311 F.3d 966 (9th Cir. 2002), a case in which several tobacco defendants prevailed on a statute of limitations defense. Pat conceived the novel “first injury” accrual argument and was the principal drafter of both the trial and appellate briefing in Soliman. The Ninth Circuit’s Soliman precedent later dictated the dismissal of numerous smoking and health cases in federal courts in California.
Pat made significant contributions to the Rule 50 motion that was granted at trial in Conley v. RJR Reynolds Tobacco Co., 286 F.Supp.2d 1097 (N.D. Cal. 2002). Pat also drafted the motion for summary judgment that eliminated the fraud claims in Conley and helped devise the pre-trial in limine strategy that further restricted plaintiff’s evidence and damages.
In 2002, Pat was one of the architects of a federal court removal strategy that resulted in defendants, in a group of smoking and health cases filed in Northern California, successfully overcoming the fraudulent joinder of in-state defendant retailers.
In 1998, before he joined Shook, and at the conclusion of a three-week trial in Kansas state court, Pat successfully argued for a directed verdict based on the argument that plaintiffs, who were seeking tens of millions of dollars as a result of alleged breaches of a railcar lease, suffered no damages. The next year, in a case in federal district court in Missouri based on the same lease, Pat was the principal drafter of a summary judgment motion based on claim preclusion. In the order granting summary judgment, the district court took the additional step of noting what he believed to be unprofessional conduct by plaintiffs’ counsel, and the court remarked that Pat and his co-counsel “did everything possible to preserve the court system as a neutral forum to resolve disputes” and that they “maintained as much dignity as possible” in the face of repeated meritless accusations from plaintiffs’ counsel.
Pat successfully briefed and argued an appeal to the Eighth Circuit in a prisoner civil rights action. Reece v. Groose, 60 F.3d 487 (8th Cir. 1995).
Patrick J. Gregory & Jeffrey Cohen, Preserving Error For Appellate Review, ABA TIPS Emerging Issues in Motor Vehicle Product Liability Litigation Conference (Phoenix, April 2015).
Patrick J. Gregory, Professionalism: Another Line of Defense Against Default, DRI's Professionalism Perspectives (Winter 2009); article also posted in iCounsel Newsletter, a Bar Association of San Francisco Quarterly Publication for In-House counsel (Winter 2009-10).
Patrick J. Gregory & Gabrielle H. Marks, Punitive Damages: Getting The Jury to Explain Its Verdict, ABTL Northern California Report, Vol. 18, No. 2 (Spring 2009); article also published in ABA Products, General Liability and Consumer Law Committee Newsletter (November 2009) at 5.
California Lawyer, July 2009 (participant in product liability roundtable).
Appellate win discussed in And The Defense Wins, DRI's The Voice, Vol. 8, Issue 17 (April 29, 2009).
Patrick J. Gregory & Marygrace Schaeffer, "The Science Behind the Sentiment: Understanding Punitive Damages in An Era of Anti-Corporate Bias," ABA TIPS Emerging Issues in Motor Vehicle Product Liability Litigation Conference (Phoenix, April 2013).
Panelist and Presenter, Legal Editing, Improve Your Work and That of Those Who Work For You, PINCUS Professional Education (San Francisco, January 2013).
California’s Transparency in Supply Chains Act, Shook, Hardy & Bacon Update of the Law (Kansas City, June 2012).
Civil Discovery and the Criminal Prosecutor: Discovery Issues in a Quasi-Civil Environment, California District Attorneys SVP Seminar (Sacramento, February 2011).
Pat also was the principal drafter of the trial and appellate briefing in a successful challenge to the validity of a city’s gas transportation tax imposed on numerous businesses. Armco Steel v. City of Kansas City, 883 S.W.2d 3 (Mo. 1994).