The Daily Journal publication has named Brian J. Panish among the Leading Commercial Litigators in California. The inaugural list recognizes 44 attorneys who have been lead counsel on major litigation in California or on national litigation that impacted California substantially.
The Daily Journal profile featuring Mr. Panish highlights his role as Lead Trial Counsel in the Southern California Gas Leak Cases, representing thousands of plaintiffs as a result of the largest methane blowout in U.S. history. Mr. Panish led a team of lawyers in obtaining a $1.8 billion settlement from Southern California Gas Company and Sempra Energy in a litigation that took nearly six years and resulted in $5 million in discovery sanctions against defendant Sempra Energy.
In the profile, Mr. Panish also discusses a new filing, part of a collection of civil suits coordinated in Los Angeles, contending that “Facebook, TikTok, and other social media platforms exploit adolecent vulnerabilities for unjust gain with business models that maximize screen time and encourage excessive use.” The complaint alleges the platforms breached the public trust and harmed children.
“Many researchers argue that defendants’ social media products facilitate cyberbullying, contribute to obesity and eating disorders, instigate sleep deprivation to achieve around-the-clock platform engagement, encourage children to negatively compare themselves to others and develop a broad discontentment for life,” it asserts. “They have been connected to depression, anxiety, self-harm, and ultimately suicide ideation, suicide attempts, and complete suicide.”
“Social media is a new area for litigation,” Mr. Panish said. “Section 230 (of the Communications Decency Act) is a big part of this, but we believe these apps come under Product Liability Law as well.”
Mr. Panish consistently serves in a leadership role in some of the largest personal injury cases in California and the country including as Plaintiffs Co-Lead Counsel in the Woolsey Fire litigation, Plaintiffs Co-Lead Counsel in the Southern California Fire Cases litigation arising from the 2017 Thomas Fire and subsequent debris flows in Montecito, California, and serves on the Plaintiffs Executive Committee for the 2017 North Bay Fires in Northern California. He has previously served in leadership roles in the Asiana Airlines Crash Litigation, the Olympus Superbug CRE Litigation and DePuy ASR Hip Implant Litigation, among others.