Some of the most well-known names in the technology, health care, legal, and venture capital sectors turn to Steven Ragland to solve their toughest legal problems. His extensive experience in both civil and criminal matters offers a unique perspective and novel approach to his cases, and he is particularly recognized for expertise in trade secret misappropriation, legal malpractice, and criminal IP matters. Whatever the dispute may involve, Mr. Ragland is singularly focused on getting the best outcome for the client as soon possible.
Mr. Ragland has litigated cases in state and federal courts throughout California and the nation. His significant trial experience includes helping secure a complete defense victory for Google in Oracle v. Google—a case in which Oracle claimed billions of dollars in damages for use of parts of the Java programming language in Google’s Android smartphone platform; prevailing on all legal and factual grounds in a nearly $100 million damages claim from a former executive of one of the nation’s largest wine producers; and representing a high-ranking company official in one of the nation’s first criminal stock options backdating cases to go to trial.
He has successfully litigated appeals in the California Courts of Appeal, the Supreme Court of California, numerous Federal Circuit Courts of Appeal, and the United States Supreme Court. Mr. Ragland has also successfully represented individuals and companies before investigative agencies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission, Office of Inspector General, State Attorney General, United States Attorney’s Offices, and District Attorney enforcement units. He maintains an active pro bono practice focused on disability rights and habeas corpus matters.
Clients praise Mr. Ragland’s “extremely thoughtful” approach to litigation, his “effective, concise, and persuasive” communication, willingness to “take hard positions,” and ability to “swim against strong currents on behalf of clients.” As one client summed up, “If I’m ever in a foxhole during wartime, I want him there with me.”
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.
Plaintiffs v. Founders of Digital Currency Startup
In classic David vs. Goliath litigation, we defended the founders of a digital currency startup against allegations of intellectual property theft brought by a large, international company. The litigation spanned multiple jurisdictions and involved conflicts between U.S. and foreign law. After we won an early strategic motion bringing a full stop to the plaintiffs’ California litigation, and after we filed counterclaims on behalf of our clients against the original plaintiffs in a new action in Delaware Chancery Court, the multi-jurisdiction litigation reached a confidential settlement. The company our clients founded has now raised more than $40 million in venture capital funding.
Oracle America, Inc. v. Google Inc.
We represented Google in what Oracle claimed to be a multi-billion dollar patent and copyright war concerning the use of the Java programming language in Google’s Android platform. When Oracle bought Sun Microsystems in January 2010, it acquired Sun’s rights to Java. In August of that year, Oracle sued Google, claiming its Android mobile technology infringed Oracle patents and copyrights. We defended Google against all the patent and copyright claims, and also argued that the damage estimates were wildly inflated. Following repeated rounds of motions and briefing, the judge dismissed the bulk of Oracle’s copyright claims, and at trial the jury rendered a unanimous verdict rejecting all claims of patent infringement. Although the jury decided that Google infringed an Oracle copyright on nine out of millions of lines of source code, the case was a sweeping victory for Google, with zero damages. After an appeal by Oracle, the case returned to district court for a trial on fair use. After a two-week trial, the federal jury unanimously found that Google’s use of Oracle’s Java programming language in the Android operating system was a fair use, thereby rejecting Oracle’s claims of infringement in their entirety.
SanDisk Corp. v. SK Hynix Inc.
We represented SanDisk in a massive trade secret misappropriation and corporate espionage case. SanDisk, a global leader in flash memory storage solutions, sued competitor SK Hynix for misappropriating approximately ten gigabytes of highly confidential trade secret information and using that information over the course of six years to revamp Hynix’s technology and unfairly compete with SanDisk. We obtained a sweeping preliminary injunction that barred Hynix from any further use or disclosure of stolen SanDisk information, and fought back efforts to dismiss the case, to send it to arbitration, to transfer it overseas, and to remove it from the court that granted the preliminary injunction. Following a series of courtroom victories for our client, the parties reached a confidential settlement and entered into a product supply agreement.
People v. Construction Services Company
We obtained complete dismissal of a felony charge related to an on-the-job worker death. We were retained after a criminal complaint was filed and an arraignment date was set. We immediately engaged prosecutors and successfully postponed arraignment. Following months of discussions with the prosecutors and investigation into the incident, we convinced the government to voluntarily dismiss the case for insufficient evidence without ever proceeding to arraignment and without levying any fines or penalties whatsoever against the company.
Entrepreneurs v. Law Firm
We secured the dismissal of legal malpractice claims brought against our client, a prominent international law firm. Two Silicon Valley entrepreneurs hired our client to assist with the negotiation and sale of their technology company in exchange for cash and stock in the acquiring company. After the deal was finalized, the acquiring company's stock dropped sharply. The entrepreneurs sued our client and two of its partners. We mounted an aggressive defense that convinced opposing counsel to dismiss the case with prejudice with no payment or other concession by our clients.
Heller Ehrman LLP v. Davis, Wright Tremaine and Foley & Lardner
We won summary judgment for Davis, Wright Tremaine and Foley & Lardner, which were targeted by the Heller Ehrman bankruptcy estate. Law-firm bankruptcy trustees had argued unfinished hourly legal work is an asset that belongs to the failed firm, citing a 1984 California that involved the breakup of the Jewel, Boxer & Elkind firm. However, a federal judge rejected the 'Jewel' doctrine, and ruled Heller Ehrman cannot claim profits earned from hourly rate matters that its former partners brought with them to new law firms. On appeal, the Ninth Circuit certified the issue to the California Supreme Court, which issued a landmark decision holding that dissolved firms do not have a property interest in future fees for unfinished work, delivering a complete victory for our clients.
State of California v. Gas Pipeline Operator
We defended, and then favorably resolved a lengthy homicide investigation of a nationwide gas pipeline operator. The case stemmed from a horrifying explosion and firestorm in Northern California, and involved alleged negligence after a backhoe tore open our client's gas pipeline and laborers working nearby with blow torches caused the explosion.
John J. Tennison v. City and County of San Francisco
We pursued John Tennison’s civil rights claim against the City and County of San Francisco and the police and prosecutor responsible for Mr. Tennison’s wrongful conviction. We had previously represented Mr. Tennison in his habeas corpus case, where we unearthed exculpatory evidence hidden by the police which proved Mr. Tennison’s innocence - including the taped confession of another man. As a result, we won an order reversing Mr. Tennison’s conviction, after which he was set free. After several years of hard-fought litigation, we settled the civil rights case for $4.6 million. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, it was the largest amount the city has ever paid to a wrongly convicted person.
United States v. Executive
We defended a high-ranking company official in one of the nation’s first criminal stock options backdating cases to go to trial. We obtained the dismissal of the majority of the charges. Our client was sentenced to 60 days imprisonment on the remaining charges.
Discover v. Visa USA, Inc.
We defended Visa USA, Inc. in one of the largest private civil antitrust matters in U.S. history. Discover sued MasterCard and Visa for alleged antitrust violations, claiming that credit card network rules affected member banks’ ability to issue American Express and Discover cards. The case settled on the eve of trial for billions less than Discover claimed. We also defended Visa in a similar action brought by American Express.
March 06, 2018
The California Supreme Court ruled this week that failed law firms are not entitled to fees earned on legal matters that are in progress – but not completed – at the time the firm closes its doors. Read more
March 05, 2018
Representing Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, Keker Van Nest & Peters secured a win before the California Supreme Court in a case that tested the reach of law firm dissolution agreements Read more
December 04, 2017
Shasta County Jail inmates with mobility disabilities have settled a class action lawsuit filed against Shasta County and the Shasta County Sheriff’s Department that alleges systemic ADA discrimination. Read more
September 29, 2017
In the Air: Keker, Van Nest & Peters litigator Stephen Ragland has been juggling since high school. Read more
Eleven lawyers from two Keker, Van Nest & Peters trial teams representing Google and Arista received California Lawyer of the Year awards from the Daily Journal for intellectual property trial wins. Read more
February 17, 2017
Bob Van Nest led two Keker, Van Nest & Peters trial teams on behalf of clients Google and Arista, respectively, that were recognized as top defense verdicts in California. Read more
February 17, 2017
The jury accepted Google’s “fair use” defense in the copyright case, zeroing out Oracle’s billion dollar claim. Read more
January 25, 2017
Trial wins for Google and Arista in high stakes patent and copyright cases led to Keker & Van Nest being named IP Group of the Year by Law360. Read more
Google's lead attorney Robert Van Nest and his team won an epic victory in a courtroom battle between two Silicon Valley giants. Read more
We are fighting to protect disabled prisoners who have suffered horrific and illegal treatment. Read more
"Part of the reason I went to law school is to acquire the tools to make people do the right thing when they refuse to do so and injure someone or discriminate against a group of people. I want to use my skills to help ensure dignity and justice for everyone." Read more
Steven Ragland will discuss how best to litigate in state court. Read more
Steven Ragland will present Safeguarding Confidence: Ethical Strategies for Preventing and Addressing Privilege Problems Read more
Steven Ragland will serve as a faculty member for Pincus Professional Education's 9th Annual Litigation Boot Camp. Read more
Steve Hirsch and Steven Ragland win another victory on behalf of Davis Wright Tremaine and Foley & Lardner. Read more
Sandisk lead counsel Jeff Chanin and his team won a preliminary injunction requiring South Korea-based SK Hynix Inc. to hand over the alleged secrets. Read more
A federal judge ruled the Heller Ehrman bankruptcy estate has no claim to profits earned from client business former partners brought with them to new law firms. Read more
Steven Ragland will present "When There Are No Other Options: Dispositions Without Trials" at the annual conference Read more
Steven Ragland will present the do's and don'ts of federal courts. Read more
Despite the fact that Mr. Davies created a medical marijuana business in compliance with California state laws, the federal government has indicted Mr. Davies, and is seeking a minimum sentence of five years in prison. Read more
Elliot Peters and Steven Ragland's case highlights the growing clash between the federal government and those states that have legalized marijuana for medical or recreational use. Read more
Judges, staff attorneys and expert litigators such as Keker & Van Nest Partner Steven Ragland will teach attorneys about motion and trial practice in the California Superior Court. Read more
For the third time in a row, Mr. Ragland has protected an AmLaw 100 law firm from malpractice litigation. Read more
Seasoned trial litigators will provide practical tools for effectively litigating in federal court. Read more
Representing a prominent international law firm, Keker & Van Nest partner Steven Ragland convinced opposing counsel to drop the case. Read more
Steven Ragland and Stuart Gasner obtain rare voluntary dismissal of already-filed felony charge against company related to worker death.
Elliot Peters, Steven Ragland, Susan Harriman and John Trinidad use knowledge of the developing law involving malpractice claims against patent lawyers to win summary judgment. Read more
The Recorder highlights Steven Ragland's colorful pre-law past. Read more
Steven Ragland writes about his experience defending "those people." Read more
Keker & Van Nest reversed the murder conviction of a man who had been sent to prison as a teenager more than 13 years ago. Read more
- Organizer and moderator, “Managing the Intersection Between Technology, Privacy & Law,” First Annual Corporate Counsel Conclave, 2017
- Panelist and moderator, “Winning a White Collar Case in the Digital Age,” NACDL’s West Coast White Collar Conference, 2017
- Panelist and moderator, “Safeguarding Confidence: Ethical Strategies for Preventing and Addressing Privilege Problems,” NACDL’s West Coast White Collar Conference, 2015
- Faculty, “Superior Court: From the Complaint to Motions and Everything In-Between,” Pincus Professional Education’s Annual Litigation Boot Camp, 2009-2011, 2014, 2015, 2017
- Panelist, “When There Are No Other Options: Dispositions Without Trials,” NACDL White Collar Conference, 2013
- Panelist, “Federal Court Boot Camp Conference: How to Practice in Federal Court,” 2011, 2013
- “Representing ‘Those People’: Notes on Criminal Defense,” Daily Journal, 2007
- “Obstruction Seduction: The increasingly long reach of the obstruction of justice statutes,” Second Annual White Collar Crime Seminar, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, 2006
- Panelist and organizer, “Police Misconduct and Institutional Reform Litigation in California,” 2005
- Panelist and conference organizer, “Patriotism in a Time of War – Defending the Bill of Rights and the Individual Accused in Terrorism Cases,” 2003
- “Using the Master’s Tools: Fighting Persistent Police Misconduct with Civil RICO,” American University Law Review, 2001