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Howard Holderness

Howard Holderness focuses his practice on complex commercial litigation matters on behalf of both plaintiffs and defendants. His experience includes matters involving fraud, breach of contract, product liability, false advertising and unfair business practices as well as insurance coverage, antitrust, and class action claims. He represents technology companies, international clients (particularly in Asia), and individuals and smaller companies in state and federal court litigation matters related to trade secrets, breach of fiduciary duties, partner relationships, breach of contract, employee mobility and whistleblower threats. Howard defends against class actions involving claims of fraud, unjust enrichment, and false advertisements. He is experienced in pre-litigation counseling and civil litigation before trial, including complex electronic discovery issues, as well as trying complex cases before both judges and juries.

Concentrations

  • Commercial litigation
  • Internet and eCommerce trade secrets
  • Trans-Pacific litigation
  • Consumer class actions
  • Product liability and mass torts
  • Government and private antitrust litigation and investigations

Capabilities

Experience

  • Acted as lead counsel in the representation of a global IP telephony company in a case brought by a supplier alleging breach of contract, fraud and other business torts. Made aggressive use of counterclaims and pre-trial motion practice to eliminate claims and incentivize negotiation, resulting in a settlement favorable to the client after three years of litigation.°
  • Acted as lead counsel in a matter involving a client’s hiring of competitor’s chief technology officer. Avoided protracted litigation by building trust with opposing counsel and relying on minimally invasive verification exercises.°
  • Acted as lead counsel for a global technology company accused of converting computer equipment for a worldwide networking solutions company. Obtained summary judgment in federal court in Arizona.°
  • Represented a Chinese manufacturer and investor with regard to claims of fraud and breach of fiduciary duties relating to a U.S.-based partner. After two years of discovery in the United States, China, and Hong Kong, a 40-day bench trial resulted in a decision requiring payment of more than $40 million by the opposing party. Recognized as a top-10 verdict by The Daily Journal
  • Defended American CEO in litigation alleging fraud due to Chinese investor’s refusal to provide promised investment. Motions to dismiss obtained in districts courts in Idaho and North Carolina and in the bankruptcy court in Idaho.°
  • Acted as lead counsel in a matter in which our client was defrauded by the purchaser of its subsidiary. Obtained a multimillion-dollar default judgment against an Indian defendant who had to effectively negotiate on unfavorable terms for the defendant or risk never doing business in the United States.°
  • Acted as lead counsel for a global leader in wireless and Ethernet networking technology in a consumer class action in California state court alleging false advertisement, misrepresentation, and related business torts. Negotiated settlement by relying on a novel remedy mechanism.°
  • Acted as co-lead counsel for a nationwide retailer in a class action alleging false advertisement and related business torts. Negotiated a timely and favorable settlement for the client by exploiting divisions among class counsel.°
  • Acted as co-lead counsel in a product liability and employer negligence claim that stemmed from a catastrophic and permanent injury. Litigation plan sought to minimize the client’s responsibility while maximizing the co-defendant’s responsibility.°
  • Represented a European manufacturer in a settlement favorable to the client in the Eastern District of California with regard to claims of breach of contract and warranty.°
  • Represented a national ticket company accused of spidering, trespass, and improper use of publicly available information. Obtained summary judgment that dismissed the claims against the client.°
  • Represented a company that was denied coverage for hundreds of underlying toxic tort claims. Obtained a settlement favorable to the client in litigation in the Central District of California.°
  • Represented technology company in Qui Tam litigation involving claim of misuse of federal program designed to bring technology products to poor and rural school districts. Following investigation obtained declination from the Department of Justice.°
  • Represented pharmaceutical company in Qui Tam litigation. Client was charged with selling drugs off-label under federal procurement statutes. Following investigation obtained declination from the Department of Justice.°
  • Obtained a no-cost dismissal in the District of Utah in an antitrust action involving a top Internet solutions company.°

°The above representations were handled by Mr. Holderness prior to his joining Greenberg Traurig, LLP.

  • Staff Assistant, Senator Terry Sanford, December 1989-August 1990

Recognition & Leadership

  • Team Member, The American Lawyer’s “Products Liability Litigation Department of the Year,” 2018
  • Listed, "Powerhouse - Class Actions and Torts Litigation," BTI Consulting Group, 2014
  • Member, American Bar Association
  • Member, San Francisco Bar Association
  • Member, State Bar of California

Credentials

Education
  • J.D., University of Virginia School of Law, 1993
    • Articles Editor, Virginia Environmental Law Journal
  • B.A., University of Virginia, 1988
Admissions
  • California
  • 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