Stuart Gasner centers his practice on biotech disputes, trade secret and intellectual property litigation, white collar criminal and securities defense, and other complex corporate disputes. A federal prosecutor before joining Keker, Van Nest & Peters, Mr. Gasner has tried more than 25 cases to verdict before juries across the United States, as well as numerous bench trials and arbitrations.
Mr. Gasner’s biotech practice has focused on representing the shareholders of venture‐backed drug and medical device development companies against acquiring companies that fail to live up to the milestone compensation and other the terms of the merger agreements. Most recently, he represented the former shareholders of Ferrokin against Shire Pharmaceuticals in a bench trial in the Delaware Court of Chancery; the clients were awarded the $45 million milestone they were owed, as well as 5 years of interest. Victories were accomplished in similar biotech cases for many other clients, including Hyperion Therapeutics, Corus Pharma, and Revance Therapeutics.
In the field of white collar crime and fraud, Mr. Gasner has 30 years of experience handling criminal trials and investigations, as well as related civil litigation. His cases have spanned a wide range of subject areas, including securities fraud, banking‐related crimes, economic espionage, tax shelters, mortgage-backed securities, accounting and revenue recognition fraud, insider trading, antitrust (including international cartels), industrial accidents, fire marshal investigations, computer crimes such as hacking, bribery, credit card fraud, mail and wire fraud, environmental crimes, conspiracy, and Food and Drug Administration crimes.
In the intellectual property arena, Mr. Gasner has represented many well‐known corporations in patent and trade secret litigation, including Coherus Bioscience, Intel, TSMC, ASM, Harris Corporation, Network Appliance, the Industrial Technical Research Institute of Taiwan, Sportvision, and Tahoe Networks. These cases have involved electronics technologies ranging from integrated circuit design and architecture, to semiconductor fabrication equipment, telecommunications, networking, and video graphics, as well as biotechnology topics such as small molecule drug discovery tools, cystic fibrosis, diabetes and regenerative medicine.
With respect to complex corporate litigation and disputes, Mr. Gasner's practice has encompassed a myriad of subject matters. Many have involved the representation of law firms, investment partnerships, venture capital firms and their portfolio companies, advertising agencies, and biotechnology companies.
Shareholder Representative Services v. Shire Pharmaceuticals
We represented Shareholder Representative Services (SRS) in its role as representative of the former shareholders of FerroKin Biosciences in a post-merger dispute with Shire Pharmaceuticals, which had refused to make a $45 million milestone payment related to the development of an experimental iron chelation drug. After a four-day bench trial, the Delaware Chancery Court entered judgment in favor of SRS, ruling in a 77-page opinion that the former FerroKin shareholders were entitled to the overdue $45 million milestone, as well as five years of interest on the payment and their attorneys’ fees and costs, which totaled more than $80 million. The judgment of the Court of Chancery was unanimously affirmed by the Delaware Supreme Court.
Revance Therapeutics, Inc. v. Medicis Pharmaceutical Corporation
We represented Revance, a biotechnology company which develops next-generation dermatology products and therapeutic medicines, in a Delaware Chancery Court bench trial. The trial determined Revance’s worldwide rights to its injectable botulinum toxin product, as well as its ground-breaking topical botox product. Days after the trial, we finalized a settlement which returned all global rights to develop and commercialize both products across all indications to Revance, and resolved all outstanding litigation between the companies.
Company Founders v. Majority Shareholder
We represented the founders of a biofuel start-up in an action brought by its majority shareholder and certain board members as a derivative action for alleged breaches of fiduciary duty. We won a dismissal of the derivative action on demurrer, and achieved a substantial settlement for our clients of their affirmative claims.
Securities and Exchange Commission v. Former Chief Financial Officer
We represented the former chief financial officer of a software company against Securities and Exchange Commission allegations of securities fraud in the company’s revenue recognition practices. We secured a dismissal on the eve of trial.
United States v. Michael Shanahan Jr.
In a criminal options backdating case, we secured a dismissal before trial for Michael Shanahan Jr., who served on Engineered Support Systems Inc.'s board of directors and was a member of the company's compensation committee. We also represented him in a parallel options backdating action brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission. After eight days of trial testimony, a federal judge in Missouri granted our motion for judgment as a matter of law.
Multinational Biotechnology Company v. Biopharmaceutical Company
We won partial summary judgment for a Seattle biopharmaceutical company and its founder in a trade secret and contract action over a cystic fibrosis drug. Aided by that ruling, and the favorable progress of the trial relating to the remaining claims, another biotechnology company acquired our client for $365 million mid-trial.
Venture-Backed Biotechnology Company v. Pharmaceutical Company
We represented a biotechnology company developing a drug for a rare genetic disease in arbitration proceedings over its rights to develop its sole product under a collaboration agreement with a large pharmaceutical company. With our assistance, on the first day of the arbitration the parties reached a favorable settlement, which provided for our client’s acquisition of the life-saving drug it is developing. The FDA has now approved the drug and our client successfully conducted an IPO.
June 21, 2017
Stuart Gasner will address policy and case developments, enforcement and other critical topics. Read more
Stuart Gasner and his fellow panelists will address this critical topic at the CACJ's White Collar Seminar. Read more
Stuart Gasner and Simona Agnolucci will serve as moderator and speaker respectively for PLI's "Cross-Examination; Trial Objections" panel. Read more
Former federal prosecutor Stuart Gasner dug into the transcripts, exhibits and other source materials to examine how this podcast may interest the venture community. Read more
White-collar criminal defense and civil trial lawyer Stuart Gasner discusses how the justice system is skewed against the accused. Read more
Stuart Gasner discusses how under the Economic Espionage Act, even the most run-of-the-mill trade secret case can be prosecuted as a criminal matter. Read more
Stuart Gasner will discuss the increasing prosecution of corporations culminating in the recent guilty plea of Credit Suisse Bank, one of the largest financial institutions in the world, on tax evasion charges. Read more
Stuart Gasner speaks about when the relationship between venture capital funds and the companies in which they invest unravels. Read more
Stuart Gasner discusses a recent California Court of Appeals case which underscores the dangers that await venture capital firms which fund companies in the midst of internal disputes. Read more
Mr. Gasner will present "New Government Tools: NSA Issues, Warrantless Searches, and Evidence Gathering." Read more
While litigating a high-profile criminal economic espionage case, Stuart Gasner and his team were able to exclude an expert witness who submitted a report with major sections identical to Wikipedia entries. Read more
Stuart Gasner leads the defense in this high-profile economic espionage case. Read more
Stuart Gasner's article for Corporate Counsel shows when you take a close look at how disputes are resolved, it's not a pretty picture. Read more
Toyota paid more than $1 billion to settle the economic damages MDL on sudden acceleration. So why do some observers say the company won? Read more
Stuart Gasner will discuss the best way to prepare and present a case to a jury. Read more
In a victory for Keker & Van Nest, a magistrate judge ordered federal prosecutors to identify which documents - out of a huge trove of discovery produced - they plan to use at an upcoming criminal trial. Read more
Stuart Gasner, Simona Agnolucci and Katherine Lovett convinced a California federal judge to grant their motion for pretrial release. Read more
A state appeals court says San Mateo County isn't responsible for $20 million in losses suffered by a dozen school districts in a county-run investment fund that had holdings in Lehman Bros. when it collapsed in 2008. Read more
The man accused of selling U.S. trade secrets to Chinese companies could soon be released on bond, thanks to a push from Stuart Gasner and Simona Agnolucci at Keker & Van Nest. Read more
Stuart Gasner and Laurie Mims represented Revance, a biotechnology company which develops next-generation dermatology products and therapeutic medicines, in a Delaware Chancery Court bench trial. Read more
The firm receives top rankings for bet-the-company, intellectual property, criminal defense, securities, commercial, legal malpractice, and appellate litigation. Read more
After convincing the judge to dismiss the plaintiffs' initial complaint, Keker & Van Nest has won a second dismissal, thereby protecting San Mateo County and its former treasurer from a $20 million civil suit. Read more
Stuart Gasner sheds light on why digital communications are increasingly getting executives in legal hot water, and provides practical advice on how to avoid this growing trend. Read more
Stuart Gasner draws upon tales from fiction ("Bonfire of the Vanities") and real life (the Raj Rajaratnam insider trading case), to offer tips on writing and preserving e-mails, handling disgruntled employees, and dealing with prosecutors. Read more
Stuart Gasner to speak before the Bar Association of San Francisco. Read more
Keker & Van Nest partners were recognized in more than ten categories, including bet-the-company litigation, criminal defense, and intellectual property litigation. Read more
“The decision marks a fitting end to this chapter of SEC enforcement — an enforcement program that went too far in my opinion,” Stuart Gasner told Law360.
Stuart Gasner, Michael Celio and Ajay Krishnan win the dismissal of a suit connected to the 2008 Lehman Brothers bankruptcy. Read more
Steven Ragland and Stuart Gasner obtain rare voluntary dismissal of already-filed felony charge against company related to worker death.
Prosecutors open their case against Galleon Group founder Raj Rajaratnam, whose arrest 16 months ago shook the hedge fund world. Read more
Reuters asked Mr. Gasner to comment on the trial of Galleon Group hedge fund founder Raj Rajaratnam. Read more
Judge expressed skepticism over whether federal regulators could hold Mr. Gasner's client liable for failing to tell investors that his company issued backdated stock options to executives. Read more
Mr. Gasner, Mr. Celio and Mr. Krishnan defend San Mateo county and its treasurer from claims made by twelve school districts and the county office of education over Lehman losses. Read more
The American Lawyer highlighted Mr. Gasner’s win against the SEC in a criminal options backdating case. Read more
Though plaintiff lawyers continue to achieve great success for investors who claim they were defrauded by the practice, many judges around the nation look skeptically at government efforts to treat stock options backdating as a civil or criminal offense. Read more
Federal regulators back down after a five-year legal battle. Read more
- "Criminal-like Charges and Evidence Abound in Impeachment Proceedings" National Law Journal, 2020, co-authored with Nicholas Green.
- "Trial by Jury: What if Impeachments Were Tried Like Federal Crimes?" National Law Journal, 2020, co-authored with Nicholas Green.
- "Walking the Line between Aggressive and Illegal Business Practices," California Attorneys for Criminal Justice's White Collar Seminar, 2015
- "Cross-Examination: Trial Objections," PLI California Trial Advocacy, 2015
- "Legal Reflections for the Venture Community on the “Serial” Podcast," VC Experts, 2015
- "Justice System for White-Collar Defendants is Flawed Top to Bottom," The National Law Journal, 2014
- "Credit Suisse: Too Big to Jail?" BASF, 2014
- "How is the Venture Community Affected by the Criminalization of Trade Secret Law Under the Economic Espionage Act?" VC Experts, 2014
- "Venture Capital Firm Liable For "Aiding And Abetting" Breach Of Fiduciary Duty," VC Experts, 2014
- "New Government Tools: NSA Issues, Warrantless Searches, and Evidence Gathering," NACDL's 4th Annual West Coast White Collar Seminar, 2014
- "The Litigation Settlement Machine," American Lawyer and Corporate Counsel, 2013
- "Should Venture Capitalists Choose Court Or Arbitration?" VC Experts, 2013
- "How Venture Capitalists Keep Attorneys' Fees Down," VC Experts, 2013
- "The Delaware Supreme Court Raises Questions on "Default" Fiduciary Duties," VC Experts, 2013
- "Off to Delaware: Trying a case in the Court of Chancery presents stark contrast to many state courts and has its advantages," The Recorder, 2012
- "What to Do When Law Enforcement Knocks on the Door of Your Portfolio Company With a Search Warrant," VC Experts, August 2012
- "When Do Venture Capitalists Owe Fiduciary Duties To Their Portfolio Companies?" VC Experts, May 2012
- "Angel Investors: Secondary Liability for DCI Copyright Infringement," VC Experts, April 2012
- "Lessons from the Options Backdating Scandal: The Archeology of Compensation Litigation," Executive Counsel, January 2012
- "White Collar Crime Trends," Thomson Reuters, October 2011
- "How Not to Become a White Collar Criminal," American Lawyer Media, September 2011
- "The Dynamics of Litigating Against the SEC and Other Government Agencies: Stock-options back-dating to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA)," Bar Association of San Francisco, September 2011
- "The Irrepressible Urge to Find Scapegoats," Daily Journal, December 2010
- National Institute for Trial Advocacy USF Law School on white collar crime, and for CEB on "Advising Directors and Officers in the Post-Enron Era," and "Business Crimes and their Collateral Consequences to Employers and Employees."