Ethan Miller is a trial lawyer and a partner with Baker McKenzie's San Francisco and Palo Alto offices. He tries cases in federal and state courts with significant experience in disputes involving joint ventures (manufacturing, distribution and project development), employment, insurance, intellectual property, real estate, mergers and acquisitions, and environmental contamination and remediation projects.
Ethan regularly briefs and argues appeals in US state and federal courts in both appeals from his own underlying cases and as a specially retained appellate counsel. He is well known for speaking on trial management issues and his strategy on trial graphics, selection, management and presentation of expert witnesses and on the attorney-client privilege. Prior to joining the Firm, Ethan was a partner at several other international law firms.
Ethan is adept at working with forensic accountants to analyze complex inter-company financial records to identify fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, and similar transgressions involving shell companies and off-shore transfers, tax avoidance and money laundering schemes. He advises on corporate divestitures of assets and liabilities, cross-border trade secrets, formation and dissolution of business entities, joint ventures, unfair competition, the factoring of contingent liabilities for non-US investors, workouts, and SEC and environmental regulatory investigations. He has particular expertise in environmental compliance, real estate lease negotiations, and real estate transfer projects with a particular emphasis on brownfields, BRAC and other contaminated properties. He also provides advice on cross border data privacy and protection of intellectual properties.
Ethan’s employment practice involves cases of discrimination and wrongful termination, trade secret issues arising from mergers and acquisitions and general corporate risk management issues. He has advised on a wide range of insurance matters such as bad faith claims, complex insurance coverage, professional, advertising injury, and directors and officers liability insurance, high-limit finite risk insurance policies and other unique risk management products.
Representative Legal Matters
Prior to joining the Firm, Ethan handled the following matters, among many others:
- Reversed a USD 12 million punitive damages verdict, arising from a food contamination (listeria) recall, before the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
- Served as lead defense counsel in a three-month jury trial arising from a failed international distributor arrangement (including fraud, trade secrets and RICO allegations) resulting in a defense recovery on cross claims.
- Coordinated the development of a multinational financial services company's greenhouse gas credit trading program.
- Used forensic accounting to obtain a USD 3 million punitive damages verdict in a jury trial involving a "shell game" of corporate manipulation of subsidiary entities.
- Used a three-month bench trial to reverse an interim order requiring multimillion US dollar defense and indemnity payments for environmental remediation under contracts entered into in the 1930s.
- Litigated trade secret and patent rights allegations in the medical device field.
- Coordinated a non-US corporation's defense of a multidistrict product liability action and litigation in more than 20 states.
- Successfully tried to defense judgment a complex case involving responsibility for damages associated with a series of 10,000-plus-acre wildfires in Northern California.
- Successfully arbitrated before the American Arbitration Association the responsibility for cleanup of historic contamination at an oil refinery in Montana.
- Acted as lead defense counsel in Washington state federal court litigation over a failed joint venture to leverage patent portfolio rights.
- Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America
- Recognized lawyer in Northern California Super Lawyers, 2005-2006 and 2010-2012
Professional Associations and Memberships
- Defense Research Institute - Member
- Los Angeles Bar Association, Litigation and Environmental Law Section - Member
- American Bar Association, Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section - Member
- Bar Association of San Francisco - Member
- U.S. Supreme Court~United States (2002)
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit~United States (2000)
- U.S. District Court, Central District of California~United States (1991)
- U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California~United States (1991)
- U.S. District Court, Northern District of California~United States (1991)
- U.S. District Court, Southern District of California~United States (1991)
- California~United States
- University of California, Davis (JD) (1991)
- University of California, Riverside (BA) (1987)
Articles Editor, UC Davis Law Review, 1990-1991