Kara Thorvaldsen Partner




Kara Thorvaldsen is a seasoned commercial litigator, representing clients from pre-suit investigation through the exhaustion of appeals. Her primary areas of focus are professional liability, intellectual property, class action defense, insurance coverage and all types of appeals. Kara has a strong record of success in defending professionals, including attorneys, real estate agents and brokers, and insurance agents and brokers, and company directors, officers and trustees, and in many cases has obtained summary judgments or voluntary dismissals for her clients. In addition, Kara has defended trademark, copyright and unfair competition claims in the federal courts of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. A polished and passionate oral advocate, Kara has broad experience arguing appeals, including in the Rhode Island Supreme Court and First Circuit Court of Appeals.

Pro Bono & Community Involvement
Committed to giving back, Kara is a long-time member of Wilson Elser’s Pro Bono Committee and has been the coordinator for the firm’s Boston office pro bono efforts since 2007. She regularly provides direct pro bono representation to immigrant children through KIND (Kids in Need of Defense), and has volunteered with the Massachusetts Women’s Bar Foundation Family Law Clinic, which provides representation to low-income survivors of domestic violence in family court matters. In addition, Kara is a member of the board of directors of DOVE (Domestic Violence Ended), which conducts community outreach and education through presentations, workshops and trainings for health and social service providers, businesses, faith-based groups, community and civic groups, and others. DOVE also operates a prevention initiative presently working with a number of high schools.

Areas of Focus

Class Actions & Complex Litigation
With experience defending class actions in the state and federal courts of Massachusetts, Kara takes a proactive approach to defending complex and potentially high-profile cases. From targeted motions to dismiss, strategic early settlements, carefully staged discovery and zealous advocacy against class certification to overseeing the administration of complex class-wide settlements, she is able to provide valuable insight and guidance as to strategic options for the defense of class actions, and successfully implement those strategies to further the client’s legal and business objectives. 

Kara has significant experience defending federal statutory claims brought either as individual or class claims, including claims under the False Claims Act, Lanham Act, Copyright Act, Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, Fair Credit Reporting Act, Truth in Lending Act, Telephone Consumer Protection Act and RICO. Kara specializes in balancing an aggressive defense of these claims with the objective of achieving efficient and cost-effective resolutions. She also has experience defending constitutional and civil rights claims, including police misconduct and due process and equal protection claims in state and federal court. She handles cases arising under state and federal fair employment practices statutes and has appeared before the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination and in state and federal court in defense of these claims.

Kara has successfully handled appeals in the Massachusetts Court of Appeals and Supreme Judicial Court, and in the United States Courts of Appeal for the First and Second circuits. Kara has exceptional research, analytical and writing skills and is a highly effective oral advocate. Her ability to review a record to identify appealable issues and her familiarity with the specialized area of appellate practice and procedure make her an invaluable resource to parties considering the availability and advisability of pursuing an appeal.

Kara regularly provides coverage opinions and represents first- and third-party insurers in coverage and bad faith actions. She also has experience defending insurance carriers against claims brought under ERISA as well as state laws relating to the denial of long-term disability and life insurance claims. Kara has successfully represented insurers on appeal in the United States Courts of Appeal for the First and Second circuits. In addition, she served as a senior editor on the CGL Reporter editorial board. Written by members of the Insurance Coverage Litigation Committee of the American Bar Association’s Tort and Insurance Practice Section, the CGL Reporter is a monthly publication that provides annotations of the most critical insurance cases involving general liability and other business-related policies.

Intellectual Property, Media & Internet Law
Kara has significant experience defending cases involving allegations of trademark and copyright infringement, false advertising, unfair competition, theft of trade secrets and related claims. In addition, she has handled claims involving website accessibility, “astro-turfing” and other claims unique to internet exposures. Kara regularly represents clients at the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board in opposition and cancellation proceedings. In addition to advising clients regarding litigation, she is able to provide counsel regarding trademark and copyright registrations, licensing agreements and intellectual property audits. She serves as the Vice Chair of Publications in the DRI Intellectual Property Litigation Committee and sits on its steering committee. Kara also is a member of the International Trademark Association (INTA).

Professional Liability
Kara has extensive experience defending professionals, including attorneys, real estate agents and brokers, and insurance agents and brokers. Working closely with her clients to understand their professional and personal objectives, Kara assists them in resolving disputes while protecting their reputations and businesses with a minimum of disruption.

Admiralty & Maritime
Having earned a certificate in Admiralty and Maritime Law from Tulane Law School, Kara has a solid background in the complex procedural and substantive issues that arise in this highly specialized area of law. She has defended marine insurers in coverage disputes and litigated maritime personal injury claims, including actions brought under the federal Limitation of Liability Act.

Representative Matters

Class Actions
Defended law firm accused of civil conspiracy, RICO and copyright fraud in putative class action in District of Massachusetts, accusing client of “copyright trolling”; defeated class certification and resolved for nominal amount. 

Obtained dismissal of putative class action in Massachusetts Superior Court, alleging unfair consumer practices relating to allegedly illegal late fees by court reporting service. 

Obtained dismissal of putative class action in District of Massachusetts alleging violations of state and federal debt collection laws by law firm accused of engaging in illegal debt collection; successfully argued that consumer obligations at issue did not constitute debt as a matter of law. 

Defended medical professional in certified class action in Massachusetts Superior Court alleging invasion of privacy relating to online posting of videos of patient counseling sessions; negotiated settlement and oversaw administration of settlement for defendants, including resolution of health care and state department of revenue liens. 

Defended medical device company in three parallel putative class action alleging breach of warranties, negligent design and inadequate warnings. 

Obtained dismissal of putative consumer class action against computer security software developer.  

Defended national consumer debt buyer accused of collecting consumer debts without a Massachusetts debt collector license in multiple class actions in state and federal court. 

Averted potential class action against credit union alleging illegal overdraft charges via pre-suit investigation and negotiation with plaintiff’s counsel to demonstrate lack of factual basis for plaintiff’s claims.

Obtained voluntary dismissal of law firm from consumer protection class action alleging illegal foreclosure practices. 

Intellectual Property
Achieved successful resolution of international trademark and copyright dispute, securing agreement as to ownership of client’s intellectual property and favorable financial settlement on client’s counterclaims. 

Represented well-known consumer product manufacturer in obtaining ex parte temporary restraining order and seizure order in gray market goods case, resulting in seizure of illicit goods in multiple locations and injunctive relief. 

Defended copyright infringement claims against online retailer accused of displaying copyrighted product images and removing copyright information from images. 

Defended garment wholesaler accused of selling counterfeit garments. 

Defended small online retailer against claims of trademark infringement by Fortune 500 company. 

Insurance Coverage
Secured dismissal of bad faith claim against marine insurer in Rhode Island federal court, enabling favorable resolution of underlying coverage claim. 

Obtained summary judgment for excess insurer on grounds that insured did not provide timely notice of claim and breached voluntary payments provision; and successfully defended appeal. 

Obtained summary judgment in favor of umbrella insurer, on grounds that primary coverage under multiple policies was triggered by allegations in underlying claim; and successfully defended insured’s appeal. 

Obtained summary judgment in favor of commercial auto insurer on a claim for uninsured motorist coverage under Rhode Island law.  

Other Complex and Commercial Litigation
Defended officers and directors of medical device start-up against shareholder suit asserting breach of fiduciary duty in connection with equity compensation plan. 

Defended trustees of condo association in action for breach of contract and misrepresentation arising from dispute with contractors hired to operate onsite amenities. 

Obtained summary judgment on behalf of a private investigator sued for invasion of privacy and civil conspiracy in connection with conducting workers’ compensation surveillance of public employee; appeal summarily dismissed. 

Successfully defended demolition contractor in wrongful demolition case against federal due process claims following historic tornado; dismissal affirmed on appeal. 

Obtained a favorable resolution for an international client where a number of plaintiff companies alleged that the client’s consumer review website was operated in a biased manner that favored certain businesses over theirs, resulting in reputational and financial harm to their businesses. 

Achieved dismissal of federal case against national debt purchaser alleging violations of FDCPA, FCRA and state law privacy statutes where plaintiff claimed that client had obtained his consumer credit report for improper purpose. 

Successfully appealed multimillion-dollar personal injury verdict based on vicarious liability of defendant, citing that the party found actively negligent by the jury had been voluntarily dismissed at outset of case. 

Successfully defended summary judgment entered in favor of insurer on appeal in Second Circuit on basis of voluntary payments provision in policy. 

Successfully defended appeal from allowance of Massachusetts Anti-SLAPP motion in case where attorney was sued for bringing a criminal charge against a former client. 

Successfully defended appeal from judgment against a debtor where debtor claimed judgment was void ab initio due to lack of standing. 

Obtained summary disposition of appeal in the First Circuit of grant of summary judgment in favor of client on invasion of privacy claim. 

Represented national banking association on appeal to Second Circuit in multimillion-dollar commercial lending dispute. 

Represented national debt buyer on appeal to Rhode Island Supreme Court in case challenging the sufficiency of evidence needed to dispute credit card debts.