David R. Carpenter
DAVID R. CARPENTER is a litigation partner and member of Sidley’s Supreme Court and Appellate practice group. A critical briefing specialist for complex cases, David’s expansive practice cuts across substantive areas of law and has included significant work in the life sciences, financial services, consumer products, and entertainment industries. David has participated in merits, petition, and amicus briefing before the Supreme Court and has significant experience on appeal and at the trial court level in:
- The defense of class actions alleging consumer fraud and unfair competition claims, and wage-and-hour claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act and state law;
- Constitutional issues arising in commercial cases, such as federal preemption, the First Amendment protection of Commercial Speech, and Fifth Amendment takings issues, as well as federal removal, jurisdiction, and standing issues;
- Advising clients on post-trial motions, the shaping of litigation strategy to preserve issues for appeal, and the enforcement of arbitration agreements and other alternative dispute resolution procedures.
The following are illustrative of David’s breadth of practice on appeal, in resolving cases on motions to dismiss or summary judgment, and in opposing class certification or obtaining decertification:
Recent Supreme Court Matters
- Representing respondent (pro bono) in the pending U.S. Supreme Court case, Kerry v. Din, raising the issues of (1) whether a U.S. citizen’s constitutional rights are implicated by the denial of a visa to her spouse to allow them to live together in the U.S.; and (2) if the U.S. citizen has standing to sue, what is the scope of review and level of information required to sustain the denial.
- Represented The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights in an amicus brief in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, No. 12-682 (U.S.S.C. brief filed Aug. 30, 2013), involving an equal protection challenge to a Michigan ballot initiative (known as “Proposal 2”), which amended the state constitution to prohibit affirmative action in education. Thirty-one advocacy organizations joined as signatories to Sidley’s brief.
Class Action Experience
- Representing defendants on appeal and after obtaining summary judgment in an ERISA class action seeking alleged excess pension plan trust returns. Pender v. Bank of America Corp., et al., No. 05-cv-00238, 2013 WL 4495153 (W.D.N.C. Aug. 19, 2013), on appeal, No. 14-1011 (4th Cir.).
- Represented a pharmaceutical manufacturer in the trial court and on appeal in a series of nationwide and statewide class actions challenging the marketing of a prescription drug. Two cases were dismissed on the pleadings and affirmed on appeal. Depriest v. AstraZeneca Pharms. L.P., (Ark. 2009), and Prohias v. AstraZeneca Pharm., L.P., (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2007). In another case, summary judgment was granted and class certification was denied. Weiss v. AstraZeneca Pharm. (Cal. Ct. App. 2010). The Drug and Device Law blog identified the Depriest decision as #2 of the Top 10 Best Prescription Drug/Medical Device Decisions of 2009.
- Defeated class certification in a case brought by insurance adjusters and examiners alleging state law claims for failure to pay overtime (misclassification), off-the-clock work, and missed meal-and-rest break. Braun v. Safeco Insurance Company (C.D. Cal. 2014). Currently representing employers in other putative class actions involving alleged misclassification of insurance claims adjusters and a case involving alleged misclassification of technology employees.
- Obtained summary judgment, affirmed on appeal, in favor of a major gas-station franchisor in a case alleging violations of California’s Unfair Competition Law, among other claims. R.N.R. Oils, Inc. v. BP West Coast Products LLC (Cal. Ct. App. 2011).
- Obtained dismissal on the pleadings of action brought against a dietary supplement manufacturer by a public advocacy organization alleging that health-benefit claims were unsubstantiated.
- Obtained dismissal of class action allegations in a case challenging the running of an organ-transplant facility by a health-services company.
- In the insurance area, represented a life insurance company in an emergency appeal to the Ninth Circuit from a district court order issuing a preliminary injunction and granting class certification. In a matter for a different company, successfully obtained class decertification in a case alleging breach of contract and violations of California’s UCL, where representation was assumed after class certification and partial summary judgment had been granted against client. Gregurek v. United of Omaha Life Ins. Co. (C.D. Cal. 2009).
Complex Commercial Litigation
- Advising the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) on statutory and constitutional issues regarding proposals for local governments to use eminent domain to seize underwater mortgage loans held in private label securitization trusts.
- Representing investment funds in complex commercial disputes arising from film-finance transactions. Cases have included loan/guaranty enforcement, as well as defense of claims, such as one case in which we obtained dismissal of claims for fraud, lender liability, usury, and RICO violations. Tutor v. D.B. Zwirn Special Opportunities Fund, LLC (C.D. Cal. 2010).
Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Carpenter clerked for the Honorable Chester J. Straub of the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and for the Honorable John G. Koeltl of the Southern District of New York.
David is a member of the Sidley Los Angeles recruiting committee and associate training committee, for which he has developed programs on effective legal writing and research techniques.
In February 2015, David will be appearing as a panelist at Nelson Symposium at the University of Florida, College of law, where he will be speaking on the proposed use of eminent domain to seize underwater mortgage loans. David has also presented on the topic for the California Association of Realtors and moderated a panel for the ACC 2013 Annual Meeting (“We’re Not Just Legal, We Mean Business”), for which he presented on preserving the attorney-client privilege when in-house counsel is performing both legal and business functions.