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Chiate, Kenneth R.

Kenneth R. Chiate

Senior Counsel
Direct Tel: +1 213-443-3614
Los Angeles
Tel: +1 213 443 3000 Fax: +1 213 443 3100

Mr. Chiate has recovered over $3.5 billion in plaintiffs' verdicts and settlements, while at the same time defending corporations, partnerships and individuals in high stakes litigation.  He was named one of Southern California's Top 100 Super Lawyers in 2004 and a Super Lawyer since 2004. He has 50 years’ experience (more than 95 jury trials) in complex civil tort, personal injury and business litigation, including antitrust, insurance sales practices and coverage, securities fraud, real estate, professional malpractice, products liability, bank fraud, lender liability, employment, and commercial bad faith litigation.  Mr. Chiate also has extensive involvement in jury research, witness preparation, risk analysis, and alternative dispute resolution in thousands of personal injury and property damages in mass tort cases and business disputes. 

Following a jury trial in 2018 in U.S. District Court, the Judge described Mr. Chiate (in an email to John Quinn): “Mr. Chiate’ performance was one of the finest I’ve ever seen in my courtroom.  He is truly an outstanding trial lawyer. There are some lawyers who don’t improve with experience.  Not so, with Mr. Chiate. This man is at the top of his game! He is literally as good as they get.”

Mr. Chiate was a partner of Pillsbury Winthrop, LLP before joining Quinn Emanuel in 2002 and was a member of the Management Board of Pillsbury Madison & Sutro, and was Chairman of the Litigation Department of Pillsbury's Los Angeles office. He clerked for U.S. District Judge Walter E. Craig, (D.C. Arizona) and was a Municipal Court Judge Pro-Tem 1976-84; Los Angeles Superior Court Arbitrator, 1977-1994; Los Angeles Small Claims Court Judge Pro-Tem, 1977-1984; Joint Association Settlement Officer Program, Dispute Resolution Officer, Los Angeles County Bar Association 1989-1999; Member, 1990-2002 Los Angeles County Superior Court Jury Instruction Committee (BAJI); Los Angeles Superior Court Temporary Judge, 2003-2006. 

  • San Diego Gas & Electric Company
  • Pacific Gas & Electric Company
  • Sempra Energy
  • American International Group
  • American West Homes
  • Fry's Electronics
  • Shell Oil Company
  • Toyota Motors Corporation
  • Caruso Affiliated Holdings
  • East West Bank
  • Bank of America
  • Represented mass tort lawyers in law firm disputes involving over 10,000 mass tort cases.
  • Represented national law firm defending claims of fraud, malpractice, and ethical violations.
  • Represented title insurance company in bad faith coverage dispute.
  • Represented PG&E in defense of over $1.2 billion of claims, a class action and claims by over 3,000 property owners involving the 2015 Butte Fires.
  • Represented class action plaintiffs in CDS antitrust litigation against major investment banks resulting in one of the largest antitrust recoveries in U.S. history, over $1.5 billion. 
  • Represented San Diego Gas & Electric and Sempra Energy in defense of over $2 billion in property damage claims and two class actions and over $1 billion in subrogation claims by 120 property insurers involving the 2007 San Diego wildfires and recovered over $824 million from the cross defendants.
  • Represented plaintiff Caruso Affiliated Holdings in antitrust and tortious interference jury trial, recovering verdict of $74 million in compensatory damages, and $15 million in punitive damages.
  • Represented AIG as plaintiff and, during trial against reinsurers, settled claim and recovered in excess of $200 million.
  • Represented national home builder in defense of, and resolved, claims by Deutsche Bank to enforce completion guarantees exceeding $650 million.
  • Represented several clients in high stakes family law disputes, recovering for one client over $150 million, and in another, upholding validity of a post marital agreement where community property was valued at over $500 million, and in another, settled dispute over $1 billion trust fund, and in another represented Marvin claim plaintiff is seeking over $50 million.  
  • Defended Shell Oil Company in claims by over 50 franchise dealers alleging fraud, B&P Code § 17200 and price discrimination.
  • Represented major national bank vs. Franchise Tax Board for $80 million tax refunds. 
  • Defended major trust company in $25 million breach of indenture and wrongful interference case. 
  • Represented plaintiff American West Homes and obtained a judgment in its favor for $20 million in a case involving claims of fraud, breach of contract, and breach of guaranty related to the formation of a home development company.
  • Defended/represented Shell Oil in an antitrust and unfair competition case challenging Shell’s retail and wholesale gasoline pricing practices throughout California.  Obtained judgment as a matter of law dismissing all remaining claims after close of evidence following a five-week jury trial.
  • Represented Toyota Motor Corporation in national class action in federal court alleging various false advertising, product liability and UCL claims involving Lexus vehicles, and obtained, by early dispositive motions, outright dismissal in that case.  Also, settled two other similar national product liability class actions against Toyota in L.A. Superior Court. 
  • Represented Equilon (Shell) in a jury trial, after remand by Court of Appeals, against claims of fraud and punitive damages.  Jury denied punitive damages and awarded only compensatory damages in the exact amount conceded was due plaintiff.
  • Represented the plaintiffs in several different class actions against major life insurance companies for Bus. & Prof. Code § 17200 violations and obtained favorable settlements valued at over $100 million.
  • Represented Equilon Enterprises, winning summary judgment on claims of fraud brought by independent franchisees.
  • Represented plaintiff clients in an action involving a breach of joint venture agreement.  Settled in mediation, after a jury verdict, and recovered in excess of $200 million. 
  • Represented plaintiff clients in legal malpractice actions--one involving tax advice concerning an option straddle and others for poor defense of liability actions--recovering in excess of $1,750,000.  
  • Represented three different California banks in separate class action lawsuits each one involving aiding and abetting "Ponzi Scheme" that looted the bankrupt corporation.  Obtained dismissal in all cases for  marginal mediated amounts. 
  • Successfully represented Bank One in a national securities class action against allegations of bank aiding and abetting a promoter in a $50 million Ponzi Scheme.
  • Obtained jury verdict of $15 million for eminent domain action for client vs. San Diego Redevelopment Agency. 
  • Successfully defended Bank of America in a fraud, breach of contract and lender liability case where claims exceeded $180 million.  The jury returned a defense verdict after an eight-month jury trial.  The jury also returned a verdict in favor of the Bank on its cross-complaint for $3.5 million. 

Representative Pending Cases

  • Representing law firm defending major national law firm in malpractice case involving business litigation.
  • Representing Plaintiffs’ tort law firm as “settlement counsel” to resolve thousands of mass tort cases.
  • Currently representing, along with pro bono law firms, several pro bono clients against discriminatory housing rental practices. 
  • Representing plaintiff in legal malpractice cases against national law firm involving business transactions.
  • Class Action Litigation
  • Construction Litigation
  • Energy Sector Disputes
  • Environmental Litigation
  • Intellectual Property Litigation
  • Lender Liability & Other Banking Financial Institution Litigation
  • Patent Litigation
  • Real Estate Litigation
  • Securities Litigation
  • University of Southern California Law School
    • Program for Advanced Professional Studies
  • Columbia Law School
    (J.D., cum laude, 1966)
  • Claremont Men's College
    (B.A., Dean's List, 1963)
  • The State Bar of California:
    • Local Administrative Committee #24
    • Committee on Unauthorized Practice of Law 
  • United States District Courts:
    • Central District of California
    • Northern District of California
    •  Eastern District of California
    •  Southern District of California
    • Central District of Arizona
  • Named one of California Lawyer Magazine's "Lawyers of the Year" and annually named a "Southern California Superlawyer" by the publishers of Los Angeles Magazine.
  • Recognized by The Best Lawyers in America for Litigation: Real Estate, 2021, 2022, and 2024.
  • Chairman, Product Liability Litigation Seminar, Practicing Law Institute, 1986
  • Panelist, Rutter Group, 1986, Cross-Examination of Experts
  • Panelist, Rutter Group, 1987 Personal Injury Update
  • Panelist, Rutter Group, 1988 California Law Update
  • Lecturer, 1989 Banking Law Institute, Controlling Legal Costs in Major Litigation
  • Lecturer, Medical-Legal Techniques, Trial Practice Class, University of Southern California 1990  Lecturer, Travelers Insurance Claims Seminar, Reducing Costs of Litigation, 1990
  • Panelist, Rutter Group, 1990 Personal Injury Update
  • Lecturer, American Bar Association, Litigation Section, Techniques For Effective Litigation Management
  • Panelist, Rutter Group, 1991 Personal Injury Update
  • Panelist, Rutter Group, 1992 Personal Injury Update
  • Panelist, Complex Litigation Techniques
  • California Bankers Association Lawyers Conference
  • American Bankers Association, Georgetown University Lawyers Conference
  • 1996 Los Angeles County Bar Association "Masters" Series of Trial Techniques
  • Panelist, Creative Fee Arrangements, 1998 Institute of Corporate Counsel
  • 2001, "Masters of the Courtroom" Panelist, Litigation Section, State Bar of California
  • 2002 CEB Panelist, "Complex Litigation Strategies" Los Angeles Complex Litigation Inn of Court, 
  • 2003, "Benefits of Mock Jury Research" "How Jurors Think; Courtroom Psychology and Trial Advocacy," ALM Publishing, (2003), p. 63
  • "Avoid Costly Mistakes Defending Class Actions," BNA Class Action Litigation Report, June 28, 2002, Vol. 3, No. 12
  • "Containing Costs From Outside Counsel's Point of View," 1995 California Bankers Association, Lawyers Conference
  • “The Attorney Client Privilege and Work Product Doctrine: Some Practical Observations From Bank Counsels' Perspective," 1995 California Bankers Association, Lawyers Conference
  • "Internal Investigations and the Attorney-Client Privilege," 1996 Georgetown University Law Center
  • "Conducting and Protecting Work Place Investigations,"1997 California Bankers Association, Lawyers Conference
  • "Billing Based on Output Rather Than Input (A/K/A Value Billing) and Other  Alternative Fee Ideas," Institute for Corporate Counsel, 1998
  •  "Risk-sharing, Results-based Fee Agreement Constrains Costs and Improves Results in Business Litigation," Corporate Counselor, 1998.  
  • Smart Ways to Resolve Complex Litigation, February 2000
  • Los Angeles County Bar Association, 1966-
  • Maricopa County and Arizona State Bar Association 
  • California Conference of Lawyers, Insurance Companies and Adjusters 
  • Columbia University Law Alumni Association 
  • Claremont Men's College Alumni Association 
  • Association of Business Trial Lawyers and Los Angeles Complex Litigation Inn of Court