Paul J. Riehle

Partner

Overview

Paul Riehle is an accomplished litigator and trial lawyer who represents clients in antitrust, Unfair Competition Law, Consumer Legal Remedies Act, False Advertising Law, privacy, RICO, trade secrets and other complex litigation matters. In more than 30 years of litigation experience, Paul has tried cases to verdict in federal court in California and Arizona, as well as in the superior court for every county in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Class Actions

Paul frequently obtains dismissal of class actions, or cases entirely, on the pleadings and by summary judgment. He successfully opposes certification of classes brought by businesses and consumers, and he settles claims when appropriate. His class action work includes cases involving claims of price fixing and bid rigging, monopolization and attempted monopolization, Unfair Competition Law, alleged violation of California’s Consumer Legal Remedies Act and False Advertising Law, and RICO violations. He handles multidistrict class action litigation and coordinated proceedings under state law.

Representative Experience

  • Dismissal with prejudice of unfair competition law and unjust enrichment claims, Consumer Legal Remedies Act restitution and injunctive relief claims. Nguyen v. Nissan No. Am., Inc., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 55501 (N.D. Cal. Apr. 11, 2017)
  • Dismissal, without leave to amend, of initial complaint in putative nationwide class action claiming RICO violations. Shaw v. Nissan No. Am., Inc., 220 F. Supp. 3d 1046 (C.D. Cal. 2016)
  • Denial of class certification motion. Torres v. Nissan No. Am., Inc., 2015 WL 5170539 (C.D.Cal. Sept. 1, 2015)
  • Final approval of class action settlement. Klee v. Nissan No. Am., Inc., 2015 WL 4538426 (C.D.Cal. July. 7, 2015)
  • Reversal of denial of injunction of restitution claims released as part of nationwide class settlement. The People of the State of California v. IntelliGender, LLC, 771 F.3d 1169 (9th Cir. Nov. 7, 2014)
  • Defense of amino acid manufacturer in a consolidated multidistrict class action litigation alleging that defendants conspired to fix the prices for methionine-based products in the United States and internationally. In re Methionine Antitrust Litigation, MDL 1311
  • Cy pres settlement of antitrust class action. Pharmaceutical Cases I, II and III, J.C.C.P. Nos. 2969, 2971 & 2972 (San Francisco Superior Court)
  • Extensive experience opposing certification of classes brought by businesses and consumers, and particular expertise in advising clients on antitrust matters related to pricing

Antitrust Litigation and Counseling

Paul is an experienced litigator on matters involving federal and state laws, including allegations of price-fixing, bid-rigging, monopolization and attempted monopolization. He also helps clients by counseling on state and federal antitrust laws and regulations, and he provides antitrust advice in connection with mergers and acquisitions, on minimum advertised pricing for internet sales, and for trade and standard-setting organizations.

Representative Experience

  • Dismissal of lawsuit alleging antitrust, RICO and state claims against the Regents of the University of California, sued as University of California, Berkeley School of Law. LLM Bar Exam, LLC v. BarBri, Inc. et al., U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, 16-cv-03770-KPF, Dkt. # 89 (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 1, 2016).
  • Dismissal of standard-setting company in nationwide class action asserting violation of federal and state antitrust laws. B & R Supermarket, Inc., et al. v. Visa, Inc., et al., 2016 W1 5725010 (N.D. Cal. Sept. 30, 2016).
  • Denial of motion for preliminary injunction claiming violation of federal and New York state antitrust laws. Park Irmat Drug Corp. v. OpumRx, Inc., 2016 WL 153094 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 12, 2016).
  • Affirming dismissal of antitrust claims brought by a surgical group and its physicians against two health management/maintenance associations. Boffa Surgical Group LLC v. Managed Healthcare Associates Ltd., Case No. 2015 IL App (1st) 142984. (Dec. 23, 2015).
  • Summary judgment regarding claims of industry-wide price-fixing under California’s Cartwright Act and Unfair Competition Law affirmed on appeal. Clayworth v. Pfizer, Inc., A131804 (August 22, 2012), petition for review denied, S205726 (November 28, 2012), cert denied, No. 12-1241 (June 3, 2013). In 2010, the California Supreme Court reversed summary judgment based on the pass-on defense, an issue of first impression under California antitrust and unfair competition law. Clayworth v. Pfizer, Inc., 49 Cal.4th 758 (2010), reversing 165 Cal.App.4th 209 (2008). After remand, the trial court again granted summary judgment, this time ruling that defendants’ evidence showed that prices were independently determined and plaintiffs failed to raise a triable issue of fact regarding the existence of the alleged conspiracy, and the Court of Appeal affirmed.
  • Summary adjudication of antitrust and other claims brought by a distributor against an office furniture manufacturer, followed by settlement of the remaining claims for a small fraction of the alleged damages.
  • Successful defense of an insurer in three cases alleging bid rigging and illegal payments to an insurance broker. A putative class action in federal court alleging antitrust and RICO violations and a state court case alleging unfair competition were each dismissed without payment. A third case brought on behalf of the California Insurance Commissioner was settled on favorable terms.
  • Affirming dismissal of RICO and all but one antitrust claim, and summary judgment on remaining antitrust claim of attempted monopolization. Tate v. Pacific Gas & Elec. Co., 94 Fed. App. 529 (9th Cir. 2004), 2004 WL 626551(C.A.9 (Cal.)), affirming 230 F. Supp. 2d 1072 (N.D. Cal. 2002) and 230 F. Supp. 2d 1086 (N.D. Cal. 2002).
  • Dismissal of dealer’s Robinson-Patman Act, contract, implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, tortious interference with contractual relations, intentional interference with business expectancy, equitable estoppel and tortious termination of contract claims. Coast Marine and Industrial Supply, Inc. v. DBC Marine Safety Systems, Inc., 2003 WL 23874049.
  • Dismissal without payment of a defendant in consolidated class actions involving claims of an international price-fixing conspiracy. In re Sorbates Antitrust Litigation.
  • Counseling with respect to antitrust issues and claims in the health care arena, as well as trade and standard-setting organizations.

Commercial Litigation

Paul represents and advises companies in financial services, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, media, solar, and other industries on commercial issues. He has won defense verdicts before juries in state and federal court, guided clients in responding to subpoenas from the U.S. Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission, and handled post-trial motions in challenging cases. When a client retained Paul during the punitive damages phase of a case after the jury returned a $7.5 million verdict, Paul obtained a jury award of just 1.3% of the total. The trial court then granted his new trial motion, which was affirmed on appeal, thereby wiping out the verdict in its entirety.

Representative Experience

  • Dismissal of drug pricing overcharge claims. Astra USA, Inc. v. Santa Clara County, Cal., 563 U.S. 110 (2011) (rejecting third-party beneficiary contract claims), reversing County of Santa Clara v. Astra USA, Inc., 588 F.3rd 1237 (9th Cir. 2009), modifying 540 F.3d 1094 (9th Cir. 2008); see also 257 F.R.D. 207 (N.D.Cal. 2009) (denying class certification); 428 F. Supp. 2d 1029 (N.D. Cal. 2006) (dismissing breach of third-party contract, unfair competition, False Claims Act and other causes of action); and 401 F. Supp. 2d 1022 (N.D. Cal. 2005) (finding federal question jurisdiction though plaintiff pled only state law claims)
  • Defense verdict in a distributor termination case tried in Silicon Valley where the plaintiff asserted tens of millions of dollars in compensatory damages and punitive damages against a Fortune 500 company
  • Successfully defended manufacturer against claims by competitor for theft of trade secrets following hiring of competitor’s former employee
  • Advises companies in a variety of industries  including financial services, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals and media  on a broad range of issues, including antitrust, unfair competition, RICO and trade secrets
  • Dismissal of Lanham Act claim with prejudice. Off Lease Only, Inc. v. Carfax, Inc., 2012 WL 1966372 (S.D.Fla. May 31, 2012)
  • Favorably resolved suit against software development company regarding claims for breach of contract for development of software for a global information services company 
  • Dismissal of RICO and fraud claims. Menjivar v. TP, LLC, 2006 WL 2884396 (N.D. Cal. 2006)
  • Brought in to try the punitive damages phase after the jury returned a $7.5 million verdict and a unanimous finding of fraud, malice and oppression. In the second phase of the trial, the jury awarded only 1.3 percent of the compensatory verdict. The trial court then granted new trial motion and the Court of Appeal affirmed, thereby wiping out the verdict in its entirety. Hyper Corporation v. TUV Rhineland of North America, Inc., 2004 WL 5494878
  • Affirming nonsuit regarding claims for market share liability and civil conspiracy to defraud through the manipulation of scientific literature. Ferris v. Gatke Corp., 107 Cal. App. 4th 1211 (2003)
  • Successful defense of a national automotive tool manufacturing company in more than 50 cases brought by dealers alleging violation of the Seller Assisted Marketing Plan Act and other claims
  • Summary judgment in favor of a distributor sued by a sales agent under the Independent Wholesale Sales Representative Contractual Relations Act; also obtained reimbursement of client’s attorneys’ fees from the plaintiff
  • Obtained and collected on a $6.5 million Arizona federal court jury award in a fraud case transferred as a tagalong action to In re Washington Public Power Supply System Securities Litigation, MDL 551
  • Successful state court jury trial representing national franchisor in claims brought by franchisee relating to territorial exclusivity
  • Advice in connection with responding to subpoenas by the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission
  • In difficult cases under adverse circumstances, brought in to handle post-trial motions (e.g., Hyper v. TUV, 2004 WL 5494878 (discussed above) and Chavers v. Gatke, 2000 WL 35545379) or the appeal (e.g., Bierlich v. BW, Inc., 2003 WL 22022030 (Cal.App. 2 Dist.))

Personal Interests

Paul is an avid surfer, has biked to work for over 25 years, and has been a Golden State Warriors season ticket holder for over 30 years.

Credentials

Bar Admissions

California

Court Admissions

U.S. Supreme Court
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
U.S. District Court for the Central District of California
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California

Education

University of California, Hastings College of the Law
J.D. cum laude; Editor in Chief, Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly (1984)

University of Notre Dame
B.A. cum laude; Student Body President (1981)

Insights & Events

Other Perspectives
  • Author, “Litigation Issues in Antitrust and Managed Care,” Managed Care Litigation, Second Edition, ABA Health Law Section (David M. Humiston, ed. 2013) and the 2014-2018 updates
  • Co-author, “Standing, Damages and Injunctive Relief Under the Cartwright Act,” California Antitrust and Unfair Competition Law, the State Bar of California (Cheryl Lee Johnson, ed., Matthew Bender & Co., 2012), and the 2013, 2014 and 2015 updates
  • Co-author, “California Antirust and Unfair Competition Law regarding the Insurance Industry,” California Antitrust and Unfair Competition Law, the State Bar of California, (Cheryl Lee Johnson, ed., Matthew Bender & Co., 2012) and the 2013-2017 updates
  • Presenter, “Hot Topics in Competition Law, Antitrust and Privacy,” California State Bar Annual Meeting (August 19, 2017)
  • Author, “Why We Should Keep a Unified Bar,” Daily Journal (June 21, 2016)
  • Co-author, “Settlement Negotiation Tactics, Considerations and Settlement Agreement Provisions in Antitrust and UCL Class Actions,” Competition, The Journal of The Antitrust and Unfair Competition Law and Privacy Section of the State Bar of California, Vol. 25, No. 1 (2016)
  • Chair, 25th Annual Golden State Antitrust and Unfair Competition Law Institute, State Bar of California, Antitrust and Unfair Competition Law Section (Oct. 29, 2015)
  • Moderator, “Antitrust and UCL Class Action Settlement Issues,” 25th Annual Golden State Antitrust and Unfair Competition Law Institute, State Bar of California, Antitrust and Unfair Competition Law Section (October 29, 2015)
  • Co-author, “FTC v. St. Luke’s Health System Ltd.: A Discussion with Trial Counsel,” Competition, The Journal of The Antitrust and Unfair Competition Law and Privacy Section of the State Bar of California, Vol. 24, No. 1 (2015)
  • Chair, 24th Annual Golden State Antitrust and Unfair Competition Law Institute, State Bar of California, Antitrust and Unfair Competition Law Section (October 16, 2014)
  • Moderator, “’Big Stakes’ Antitrust Trials, St. Alphonsus Medical Center-Nampa and FTC v. St. Luke’s Health System Ltd.,” 24th Annual Golden State Antitrust and Unfair Competition Law Institute, State Bar of California, Antitrust and Unfair Competition Law Section (Oct. 16, 2014)
  • Editor, Spring and Fall 2012, 2013 and 2014 issues of Competition, The Journal of The Antitrust and Unfair Competition Law Section of the State Bar of California
  • Presenter, “Antitrust and Unfair Competition Law 101,” State Bar of California Antitrust and Unfair Competition Law Section Webinar (December 12, 2013)
  • Co-chair, 23rd Annual Golden State Antitrust and Unfair Competition Law Institute, the State Bar of California, Antitrust and Unfair Competition Law Section (October 24, 2013)
  • Presenter, “Antitrust and UCL Pleadings and Defense,” 86th Annual Meeting of the State Bar of California, San Jose (October 12, 2013).

Leadership & Community

Pro Bono

Paul serves as a settlement judge pro tem and as a judicial arbitrator with the San Francisco Superior Court. He provides pro bono legal advice to SurfAid International, a humanitarian nonprofit organization.

Professional Associations

  • California Lawyers Association — Board of Representatives , 2018-20; Advisor to the Antitrust, Unfair Competition Law and Privacy Section, 2018-present
  • California State Bar —Antitrust, Unfair Competition Law and Privacy Section: Chair, 2015-16; Executive Committee Member, 2010-16; Advisor to Executive Committee, 2017
  • American Bar Association — Antitrust and Litigation Sections
  • Association of Business Trial Lawyers of Northern California
  • Bar Association of San Francisco

Civic Activities

  • SurfAid International — Founding member; Board of Directors
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