Nanette G. Reed Partner

     

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Nanette Reed has a diverse litigation background focusing on commercial and entertainment litigation, catastrophic personal injury cases, cyber security, product liability, copyright and trademark disputes, anti-trust cases and general liability. An accomplished litigator with an excellent trial record, Nanette joined Wilson Elser after 12 years at a highly respected civil defense firm. 

Using her diverse business background to develop an understanding of her client’s business, Nanette relies on her keen instincts in expert testimony and analysis to build a strong foundation to support the client’s position. Although she understands that early resolution and settlement most often benefit the client’s business objectives, Nanette approaches every case from the beginning as if it were being prepared for trial. She provides the best options and risk assessment, and then works with the client to create a workable strategy. This approach has led to multiple trial victories in California courts and the Court of Appeals. 

Nanette began her work life as a paramedic with a nonprofit in Central America, and moved on to the advertising world where she eventually became a media director developing campaigns to launch Virgin Atlantic Airways, New York Cash Exchange and Sports Illustrated special programming. She later became a dramatic and comedic actress and stage director, and led a fledging travel marketing concept into a multimillion-dollar enterprise with offices in the United States and Europe. Moving on, she co-managed an entertainment company as director of business affairs. Always attracted to the law in her business endeavors, Nanette obtained her law degree and used her business acumen and creative flair to succeed as a trial lawyer.

Areas of Focus

Personal Injury/General Liability
Nanette has successfully defended numerous business entities and business owners facing negligence, premises liability, and negligent supervision and hiring claims. Her entertainment background has allowed a specialization in defending production companies from on-set injury claims. Many of the cases involved catastrophic injuries, including brain damage, loss of limbs, paralysis, extensive organ damage and scarring. Such cases rely heavily on the directed opinions of experts to evaluate future treatment requirements, vocational rehabilitation and life care plans. Expert preparation, from accident reconstructionists to biomechanical engineers, is a crucial prong of her defense strategy. Nanette has represented construction companies, property managers, a Japanese automaker, a Japanese shipping company, high-end hotels, security firms, night clubs and restaurants, grocery chains, large retail stores and small businesses. Additionally, Nanette has handled several cases related to the vicarious liability of the employer for actions attributed to an employee, including scope of employment auto accidents, physical altercations and false imprisonment.

Commercial/Entertainment Litigation
Handling commercial disputes can be precarious when ongoing business relationships must be maintained. Nanette has recovered compensation for her clients while containing risk and disruption to ongoing business requirements and relationships. Many of these cases involve eleventh-hour settlements prior to trial as the potential monetary losses to ongoing business and reputation are crucial to both sides. Cases include breach of contract claims, shareholder disputes, company dissolution or buy-out disputes and claims related to distribution of profits. Additionally, Nanette has defended several federal court cases involving alleged violations of the Lanham Act and Clayton Act related to antitrust claims and false designation of “Made in America” claims.

Copyright/Trademark
Nanette has represented numerous business entities and producers in federal court against copyright infringement and trademark disputes. Clients have included production companies accused of infringing copyrighted scripts, a nightclub accused of infringing copyrighted songs in its karaoke bar, a Hawaiian dog bone manufacturer accused of copying the design and packaging of a competing national brand, and a multinational concert promoter accused of infringing copyrighted artwork for promotional purposes.

Privacy/Cyber Security
As a certified privacy professional (CIPP-US), Nanette is ready to take on the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). She has handled security breach cases for internet companies and helped her clients develop security risk assessment and breach preparedness plans. On the privacy front, she has handled the defense of defamation and breach of privacy claims for businesses and individuals. The widespread use of cell phones, computers, the internet and social media has resulted in an explosion of security breach and privacy claims, and Nanette is well-versed in this constantly developing and changing area of law.

Product Liability
Nanette was a senior member of the litigation group handling product liability litigation for a national electronics corporation. The cases involved surge protection devices, computer processing units and fuel storage tank electrical components. Other product liability cases have included the defense of a bicycle manufacturer, water cooler distributor, international computer game designer and manufacturer, and a construction scaffolding company. 

Representative Matters

Personal Injury/General Liability
Defense verdict in a jury trial representing a pre-school where a young child was badly injured during an earthquake drill. The jury believed the school and staff acted reasonably under the circumstances. 

Defense verdict in jury trial representing prestigious West Hollywood condominium association where famous actress and her daughter filed suit for negligence-based claims. Although the actress dismissed her claim during voir dire, her daughter, who sustained the physical injury, proceeded through trial. The jury found that the security person who came to her aid and escorted her back to her apartment after she became light-headed after a gym workout, acted reasonably and was not responsible for the severe facial injury plaintiff suffered when she fainted outside her apartment. 

Achieved extremely beneficial settlement in traumatic brain injury, multiple bone fractures case where defense experts provided convincing testimony to dispute plaintiff’s account of her fall from a three-story balcony. The $17.5 million demand ultimately settled for less than $2 million. 

Obtained dismissal on Motion for Summary Judgment for president/owner of sheet metal manufacturing company where employee was injured on the job. 

Case dismissed for a waiver of costs. This personal injury claim against a market came with a demand exceeding $11 million. Plaintiff fell backwards on a handicap access ramp leading to the store entrance when she was surprised by a promotional flag waiving in the wind. She was in a coma for several months with extensive rehabilitation required. She had lost her ability to live independently. Using aggressive discovery, the defense prepared a key eyewitness, who happened to be a geriatric physician who extensively studied balance in the aging population, and elicited testimony that disputed any liability for the store or the waving flag as a causal factor in her fall. Facing expert costs that would exceed $150,000 and potential CCP 998 Offer to Compromise, the plaintiff’s counsel forced his client to dismiss the case. 

Achieved reasonable settlement on what appeared to be an admitted liability case for an auto accident where the mediator was convinced the defense could make a case for comparative fault at trial, based on our expert testimony. Although plaintiff made a policy limit demand, the defense settled for far less. 

Defending a Japanese freight company, deposition tactics resulted in obtaining contradictory testimony from plaintiff’s key witnesses to force settlement at start of trial for a nominal amount on a low seven-figure demand case. 

Obtained dismissal for Beverly Hills hotel on claims brought by two brothers, nephews of a high-profile entertainment industry executive, via a Motion for Undertaking as they were Florida residents. The brothers alleged multiple causes of action related to their forced removal from the lounge during an altercation with security. The brothers refused to post the required bond and the case went to the California Court of Appeals where the dismissal was upheld. 

Trial win for high-end Beverly Hills retail establishment where store manager and security were accused of false imprisonment and negligence for improperly removing the plaintiff after he refused to leave the store when requested, as he was bothering stars Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck during a shopping trip. Although the plaintiff received a $30,000 judgment against our client, his demand prior to trial was in excess of $500,000. 

Favorable settlement during trial for defendant, a nonprofit resident treatment center, based on premises liability claim. The plaintiff had medical specials of more than $1 million, but diligent investigative work and key interviews with various prison guards and officials allowed us to enter trial with a witness list that would evidence the majority of plaintiff’s injuries as preexisting. The case settled before opening arguments for low six-figure amount. 

Commercial/Entertainment
Defense verdict defending production company in a breach of contract/ property damage claim based on the interpretation of standard real estate contract language. The film production company had rented a Pacific Palisades estate for their director. While he was on vacation in Australia, a toilet pipe broke and flooded the house causing extensive property damage. Plaintiff argued that the rental contract required someone to be on the premises continually or to advise the landlord that the lessee was going out of town so the plaintiff/lessor could monitor the property. Both sides presented several expert witnesses, and ultimately the jury found the contract did not require the lessee to notify the landlord every time he left the house and the vacation was a foreseeable absence under the contract.

Trial verdict in defending construction company against claims of negligence and trespass. Our client was the general contractor for an estate under construction in La Habra and he was accused of dumping tons of dirt on the adjacent empty lot and purposefully rescaling the land configuration to benefit the estate owner. Through the use of architectural and construction experts, the defense convinced the jury that plaintiff’s theory of the topography changes were not viable based on the evidence. Although our client had a judgment of $15,000 for the initial dirt dumping (which he admitted was an error and immediately removed), plaintiff’s request for damages at trial was approximately$1 million. 

Pre-trial favorable settlement for producer/co-owner of a production company involving ownership rights in production material and profit splitting. The settlement reached included both monetary and business components, which allowed both parties to continue independent producing activities. 

Obtained very reasonable settlement for sprinkler distribution company on antitrust and false designation claims where the matter went through an expensive mediation process. The mediation sessions led to the disclosure of three key witnesses/customers to dispute plaintiff’s evidence of Lanham and Clayton Act violations, which led to a much reduced case value. The defense was able to pressure plaintiff to settle based on the industry reputation the company wanted to protect. 

Copyright/Trademark
Court granted final 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss to our client, a national concert promotion company accused of both direct and indirect copyright infringement related to its use of artwork for promotional purposes by a subsidiary company. 

Early settlement of copyright infringement case, involving more than 30 different defendant clubs in Los Angeles area for infringing use of songs in respective karaoke machines. Our client admitted the presence of the copyrighted songs in the karaoke computer system but denied every playing any of the works at the club. The very low nominal settlement included full licensing rights for future use. Many of the other nightclubs refused to settle and the court has granted relief on Motions Summary Judgment in part to various defendants and the plaintiff. The matter is pending in the Court of Appeals. This is a case where the litigation costs far exceed the value of the case and recognizing the opportunity for early settlement provided our client with an inexpensive exit. 

Multifaceted settlement reached between national competing brands of dog bone products defending claims of copyright and trademark infringement. With plaintiff as the dominant market leader, the strategy was to craft an agreement that allowed defendant to continue business operations while agreeing to modify the design and packaging of their product. After discussing several prototypes for a new design, maintaining the benefits of our client’s original design, the defense obtained a favorable agreement to modify its product and avoid any monetary compensation payment. 

Privacy/Cyber Security
Won pre-trial agreement for dismissal of plaintiff’s defamation claims against our client’s company and named president with a waiver of costs through informal settlement discussions stressing the impact of trial and potential deposition testimony on plaintiff’s business reputation.

Successfully steered Los Angeles−based jewelry company, with national internet-based sales, through their first customer information security breach. Involvement included the customer notification plan and strategy and preparation of future risk assessment and breach plan. To date, no litigation has been filed from the theft of customer information and their system is structured to detect future breaches much sooner.