Simona Agnolucci specializes in high-stakes complex litigation, including intellectual property matters, class actions, white collar criminal defense and commercial disputes. Her clients include medical device manufacturers, brokerage companies, investment advisors, smartphone manufacturers, “sharing economy” technology companies and leading law firms. Ms. Agnolucci has been an active member of trial teams in state, federal and administrative court.
Ms. Agnolucci represents clients in complex investigations brought by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission. She also conducts internal investigations for corporate clients and Special Committees. She has defended corporate and individual clients from allegations of economic espionage, trade-secret theft, tax evasion, accounting and revenue recognition fraud, insider trading, witness tampering, obstruction of justice, and violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
Ms. Agnolucci has an active pro bono practice, in which she primarily represents women fleeing gender-based persecution. Her groundbreaking pro bono work has been recognized by national media, including the New York Times.
Ms. Agnolucci speaks Italian, French and Spanish.
Cotter, et al. v. Lyft, Inc.: We represent technology company Lyft, which connects individuals in need of a ride to drivers willing to transport them. This putative class action addresses an issue critical to the new economy: whether Lyft drivers have been misclassified as independent contractors rather than employees. In summer 2016, the parties entered into a proposed settlement that does not require the re-classification of Lyft drivers as employees. The court preliminarily approved the settlement in June 2016. The Fairness Hearing is scheduled for December.
Independent Contractors v. Caviar: We represent Caviar, a technology company that connects food-delivery professionals with consumers and restaurants that might not otherwise offer a delivery option. In 2015, we defeated a putative class action filed against Caviar, in which independent contractors offering courier services alleged that they should instead be classified as employees. The court dismissed the class-action claims and compelled individual arbitration on November 16, 2015. We are currently representing the company in an individual arbitration addressing identical claims.
Downey v. Public Storage and Perez v. Public Storage: We are defending the United States’ largest self-storage operator, Public Storage, in two class actions filed in California alleging violations of Business & Professions Code Section 17200 and the Consumer Legal Remedies Act. Both matters are pending in Los Angeles Superior Court.
WHITE COLLAR CRIMINAL AND INVESTIGATIONS
United States v. Walter Liew: In a two-month federal jury trial, we defended Silicon Valley engineer Walter Liew, who was indicted for attempted economic espionage and conspiracy to sell DuPont’s manufacturing trade secrets to the company’s Chinese competitors. The case was part of the government's effort to combat what it deemed as China's "persistent" industrial spying.
Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission v. Executive: We represent a high-ranking employee of a publicly-traded company in a complex Foreign Corrupt Practices Act investigation spanning several countries.
Securities and Exchange Commission v. Public Company: We represent a Special Committee of the Board of Directors of a publicly-traded technology company in the investigation of alleged insider trading.
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY AND COMMERCIAL LITIGATION
Edwards Lifesciences v. Corevalve Inc. et al.: We defended Medtronic, Inc. and its subsidiary, CoreValve, in a multi-patent case brought by Edwards Lifesciences in the District of Delaware. The patents at stake concerned CoreValve’s lifesaving transcatheter artificial heart valve. Although an injunction was initially ordered, we convinced the court to stay that injunction, and then later resolved all of the pending patent litigation with a successful settlement.
Apple, Inc. v. HTC Corp.: We defended smartphone manufacturer HTC Corp. from Apple’s assertion of six patents relating to user interface features. HTC originally was added to an action between Apple and Motorola that had been pending in the Southern District of Florida for almost two years. We successfully moved to sever Apple’s claims against HTC and HTC’s counterclaims from the litigation between Motorola and Apple, and to transfer the case to Delaware. HTC thereafter obtained a settlement to become the first Android handset maker licensed by Apple.
Awards and Honors
- Top 40 Under 40, The Daily Journal, 2016
- Northern California Rising Star, Super Lawyers, 2010 - 2016
- Lawyer on the Fast Track, The Recorder, 2013
- UC Hastings Rising Alumna of the Year, 2013
- Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Father Cuchulain Moriarty Award, 2011. The award honors lawyers who have made an extraordinary pro bono contribution to the Lawyers' Committee's Asylum Project.
Hastings College of the Law
- Articles editor, Hastings Law Journal
- Thurston Honors Society
- Order of the Coif
- International Legal Fellowship
- 8 Witkin Awards
Presentations and Publications
- Faculty, Bridgeport Class Action Litigation Conference, 2017
- "Practical Trial Tips from the Frontlines," ABA Annual National Institute on White Collar Crime, 2015
- "Cross-Examination: Trial Objections," PLI California Trial Advocacy, 2015
- "The Criminalization of Trade Secret Theft Under the Economic Espionage Act, 18 U.S.C. 1831 and 1832," Bar Association of San Francisco's Hot Topics in Trade Secret Law, 2014
- "Cross-Examination; Trial Objections," PLI's California Trial Advocacy, 2014
- "Getting Into Court: How Junior Attorneys Can Obtain Valuable Courtroom Experience," Association of Business Trial Lawyers, 2015
- “Hope Without Borders,” Daily Journal, 2009
- “Expedited Removal: Suggestions for Reform in Light of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom Report,” Hastings Law Journal, 2006
- “Deportation of Human Rights Abusers: Towards Achieving Accountability, Not Fostering Impunity,” Hastings International and Comparative Law Journal, 2007
- Member, Northern District of California Civil Rules & Practice Committee
- Board of Directors, the University of California, Hastings College of the Law
- Advisory Board, Center for Gender and Refugee Studies
- Board of Directors, Legal Services for Children
- Amicus Briefs Committee, Queen's Bench Women's Bar Association