David Schwarz is a member of the litigation practice group. Although he has represented clients in a broad range of complex commercial disputes and internal investigations, a primary focus of Mr. Schwarz's practice has been the defense of class actions, with emphasis on securities and shareholder claims against public corporations and parallel SEC investigations and enforcement actions. He has litigated a wide range of federal and state class actions alleging anti-discrimination claims, unfair labor practices, wage-and-hour disputes, anti-trust and unfair business claims.

Mr. Schwarz’s appellate experience in state and federal courts is extensive, and includes two matters now before the California Supreme Court, as well as numerous appeals pending in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and in the California Courts of Appeal.  His current representations include the successful defense of Gerawan Farming, Inc., the nation’s largest grower of peaches, in two precedent-setting constitutional challenges to the compulsory arbitration procedures under the California Agricultural Labor Relations Act (ALRA). He also represents the City of San Jose in appellate proceedings challenging the constitutionality of the City’s 2012 landmark pension reform referendum. 

Recognized as a leading trade secrets litigator by The Legal 500, Mr. Schwarz has litigated numerous cases involving idea submission and trade secret mis-appropriation in industries ranging from avionics and rocket propulsion systems to consumer goods and food processing techniques. Prior representations include Space Exploration Technologies Corporation ("SpaceX"), Eclipse Aviation, Pacific Scientific Aerospace, Marquez Brothers International, Williams-Sonoma, and Pottery Barn. 

Mr. Schwarz also represents clients in matters relating to IP disputes, involving patent infringement and patent licensing, trademarks and copyright. In the area of trademarks, recent representative matters include KFC National Council and Advertising Cooperative, Inc. v. KFC Corporation (Delaware Court of Chancery), in which Mr. Schwarz successfully defended KFC Corp.'s right to maintain control over brand advertising funded through a Delaware corporation jointly managed by KFC franchisees and the company.

Mr. Schwarz has written on a variety of topics relating to securities litigation, securities reform legislation, white-collar criminal defense, and the defense of attorneys, accountants, and other professionals in securities class actions. Past speaking engagements include the Practicing Law Institute, the California Society of CPAs, and the Class and Derivative Litigation Institute. He served as a member of the Advisory Board of the Duke University Global Capital Markets Center and was a featured panelist at the Directors' Education Institute at Duke University and the Smith School of Business Corporate Governance Program (University of Maryland).

Mr. Schwarz also served as the Special Assistant to the Staff Director of the United States Commission on Civil Rights. Following graduation from Duke University School of Law, Mr. Schwarz clerked for the Honorable Alex Kozinski, former Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, after which he served as Special Assistant to the Honorable Morris B. Abram, the United States Permanent Representative to the European Office of the United Nations and Other International Organizations. In that capacity, Mr. Schwarz advised U.S. delegations on a wide range of public international law issues. He also served as U.S. Delegate to a number of International and United Nations conferences, including the United Nations Human Rights Commission, the World Intellectual Property Conference, and the International Labor Conference. 

Mr. Schwarz was appointed in 2001 by President George W. Bush as U.S. Delegate to the United Nations Human Rights Commission. He is also a former Trustee of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. 

Mr. Schwarz served two terms (2007-2016) as a gubernatorial appointee and Vice-Chairman of the Milton Marks "Little Hoover" Commission on California State Government Organization and Economy, an independent, bi-partisan government oversight board.

Mr. Schwarz is former chair and currently a member of the Firm's Pro Bono Committee. Public Counsel named him its "Advocate of the Year" for his work in the area of elder law advocacy. Mr. Schwarz is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles Metropolitan Debate League, which is focused on bringing competitive debate to inner-city schools, and serves on the board of LDOS Media Lab, a non-profit whose mission is the development of science curriculum in public schools.

Select Recent Matters

  • Fowler Packing Company, Inc. v. Lanier, Case No. 16-16236 (9th Cir. Dec. 20, 2016). In a published decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held unanimously that Fowler Packing and Gerawan Farming had stated an Equal Protection Clause claim against the State of California based on allegations that newly-enacted wage-and-hour legislation (AB 1513) arbitrarily carved them out from the protections of this law. The decision was recognized as one of five Top Appellate Reversals of 2016 by the Daily Journal. For additional information, see the Ninth Circuit opinion and media coverage from The Los Angeles Times, Politico, Fresno Bee and Courthouse News.
  • Lead counsel for Gerawan Farming, the nation's largest grower of peaches, in a landmark case that struck down as unconstitutional the forced contracting procedures under the California Agricultural Labor Relations Act. Gerawan Farming, Inc. v. Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB), 236 Cal.App.4th 1024 (2015). The case is now before the California Supreme Court. For more, please see the decision and related press coverage in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, the OC Register and California Lawyer.
  • Mr. Schwarz is co-counsel in a case before the California Supreme Court which tests whether state courts may refuse to make factual findings necessary to qualify an abandoned, abused, or neglected child for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (“SIJS”) under federal immigration law.    
  • Lead counsel in precedent-setting decision holding that the jurisdiction stripping provisions of the California Labor Code violate separation of powers under the California Constitution, and establishing that farm workers may challenge in Superior Court ALRB policies and orders. Gerawan Farming, Inc. v. Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB), 247 Cal.App.4th 284 (2016). This case arises out of a First Amendment challenge to an ALRB policy excluding workers, the press, and the public from attending on-the-record hearings of the ALRB’s so-called “Mandatory Mediation and Conciliation” procedures. For more, see an article in The Los Angeles Times.
  • Representing Gerawan Farming in decertification election proceedings before the California Court of Appeal. These cases raise constitutional challenges to the ALRB's refusal to count ballots in a November 2013 decertification election at Gerawan.
  • Obtained an order under the California Public Records Act compelling the ALRB to produce ex parte communications concerning the Board's failed attempt to obtain an injunction against Gerawan in Fresno Superior Court. The Superior Court held that the ALRB's claim of an attorney-client relationship with the ALRB's General Counsel "would raise serious due process concerns in the administrative case" pending before the Board. The matter is now before the California Court of Appeal for the Third Appellate District. For more, please see press coverage in the Fresno Bee.
  • Sapien et al. v. City of San Jose et al. Together with Richard A. Epstein, the Laurence A. Tisch Professor of Law at New York University School of Law, representing the City of San Jose as appellate counsel to defend the City’s 2012 landmark pension reform referendum (Measure B). This is an appeal from a Santa Clara Superior Court ruling that permitted San Jose to reduce worker salaries to pay for higher retirement costs while prohibiting San Jose from reducing the pensions of city employees. 
  • Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) v. Chance Gordon, et al. Amicus briefs filed in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of the Cato Institute arguing that enforcement proceedings brought by the CFPB prior to the valid appointment of that agency’s director violate the Appointments Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
  • Friedrichs et al, v. California Teachers Association, et al. On behalf of the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court addressing whether compulsory public employee union "agency fees" violate the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. For more, please see the brief
  • Fry et al. v. City of Los Angeles. Filed an amicus brief on behalf of the League of California Cities concerning a fundamental question under state constitutional law – whether the Los Angeles City Council irrevocably delegated to its Fire and Police Pension Board the power to adjust retiree health care subsidies paid by the City. The California Court of Appeal unanimously held in the City of Los Angeles' favor, citing Irell's amicus brief in its decision. For more, please see the opinion.
  • California Charter Schools Association v. Los Angeles Unified School District, et al. Represented former Los Angeles Mayor Richard J. Riordan as amicus before the California Supreme Court concerning the LAUSD's use of district-wide "norming ratios" in determining the number of classrooms to offer to charter schools. 
  • El Dabe v. Calavo Growers, Inc., et al. Lead counsel in this consolidated securities class action, representing Calavo Growers and certain officers and directors in the defense of federal securities act claims relating to Calavo’s January 2015 restatement of its audited financial statements. The court twice dismissed the complaint—the first time with leave to amend, and the second time with prejudice in February 2016.
  • PDL BioPharma, Inc. v. Genentech, Inc. and F. Hoffmann-La Roche. Represented PDL BioPharma in this action filed in Nevada state court alleging breach of a 2003 settlement agreement that, among other things, barred Genentech from taking any action to challenge the validity of certain PDL patent rights. The case was stayed by agreement of the parties pending defendants’ interlocutory appeal to the Nevada Supreme Court of an order granting PDL’s motion to compel production of documents withheld on grounds of privilege. The case settled during the appeal, with Genentech entering into amended license agreements with PDL. Certain details about the settlement can be found in PDL’s public disclosures.
  • Ariosa Diagnostics, Inc. v. Sequenom, Inc. A member of the Irell team that represented Ariosa Diagnostics in patent litigation against Sequenom. Ariosa brought an early summary judgment motion, and on October 30, 2013, the court invalidated Sequenom’s patent because it attempted to cover a natural phenomenon, which is not patent-eligible. The decision gave Ariosa a complete victory, allowing the diagnostics company to continue selling its popular Harmony™ Prenatal Test – an affordable, highly accurate, non-invasive blood test to determine fetal chromosomal abnormalities. This decision was affirmed by the Federal Circuit in a precedential opinion. 

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Bar & Court Admissions

  • 1992, California
  • U.S. District Court, Central, Eastern, Northern, and Southern Districts of California
  • U.S. Supreme Court