Sidney Kanazawa


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  • University of Southern California Gould School of Law, JD, 1978
  • University of Hawaii, BA, Education, 1974
  • Hawaii
  • California

Member, American Law Institute

Board Member, Product Liability Advisory Council, Inc.

Member, Maritime Law Association

Board Member, Japanese American Bar Association

Past Chair, Trial Tactics Committee, DRI

Member, Inns of Court, Los Angeles County Bar Association

General Counsel, National Asian Pacific Bar Association

Past Chair, Committee on the Administration of Justice, State Bar of California

Instructor, National Institute for Trial Advocacy

Sid uses his extensive trial, crisis and negotiating experience to bring people together – rather than divide them. Whether it is connecting with clients, co-counsel, witnesses, opponents, judges or juries, Sid understands that persuasion begins with listening and developing trust. Sid serves as General Counsel of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), and is a frequent lecturer on mediation and litigation issues.

In the News

Sidney Kanazawa
T: +1 310 315 8238F: +1 310 315 82101800 Century Park East
8th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90067-1501

After a three week jury trial, obtained a unanimous defense verdict for a pharmaceutical client within one hour of the jury retiring to deliberate a wrongful death case in which plaintiffs' counsel chose the initial trial case and touted a prior 4-0 plaintiff jury verdict record against other manufacturers of the same pharmaceutical product.

Negotiated and amicably resolved, in about 6 months, without formal litigation or mediator assistance, a highly contentious and complex high-end resort condominium real estate dispute involving nearly 100 parties.

Upon stepping in to try a highly contentious wage/hour mass action, initiated settlement discussions and a class settlement after lunch with opposing counsel.

On the eve of trial, obtained a multimillion-dollar settlement for a brand holder client in a brand damage dispute against an overseas consumer product manufacturer.

In preparing for a wage/hour class action trial, developed creative graphics and storyboards to simplify the facts and crystalize themes that had the unexpected consequence of causing a settlement on the eve of trial (a day after the graphics were exchanged).

Settled a class action lawsuit with a non-class settlement, approved by the court, that resolved a high profile food supplement case involving professional athletes without any significant publicity.

On the eve of trial, obtained a $49 million settlement as lead class counsel for the largest class of lawyers and law students in a complex and highly contentious antitrust lawsuit.

Helped create the political will to compel FEMA, the State of Louisiana, and one of the most devastated Parishes in Louisiana to pay $24 million (100 percent of invoices) to several contractors who provided hazardous waste cleanup services in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita when legal remedies were inadequate.

Obtained a unanimous and complete defense verdict in a sexual harassment jury trial on behalf of a major Hollywood studio and thereby avoided a judgment, attorney's fees, and embarrassing publicity for the client.

Resolved a series of highly complex multimillion-dollar partnership, building management, and practice management lawsuits on behalf of a world-renown medical group against two major publicly traded companies, without formal discovery.

Reduced a multibillion-dollar California Business and Professions Code Section 17200 claim that was prosecuted by the district attorneys of nine counties against a cement manufacturer, to a low six-figure administrative fine and reimbursement. This result was achieved over three years through a series of meetings and correspondence that extensively explored constitutional limitations on government fines and penalties, case law interpretations of Section 17200, the admissibility of extrapolation evidence, and the likely impact of expected trial presentations. The complaint and stipulated final consent judgment were filed the same day and received no press coverage.

Removed a product manufacturer client from a 30-party construction defect case with severe personal injury allegations, by actively engaging with co-defendants to minimize disputes among defendants, reducing costs through the use of a joint electronic system, and multiple meals and meetings with plaintiffs' counsel.

Used a variety of legal and interpersonal strategies to prevent an attempted takeover of a company, including the filing of a TRO.

Recovered a seven-figure settlement in a major homeowners' association's action, without taking any depositions, and with virtually no other discovery by any party.

Dissuaded a client from immediately filing a lawsuit and instead resolved a multimillion-dollar dispute through informal meetings in a matter of months. These negotiations saved a valuable business relationship that our client thought was unsalvageable.

After a month-long trial virtually no one thought he could win, Sid defended a grocery chain against a highly contentious contempt action by the California attorney general and several private environmental groups over an alleged breach of a Proposition 65 consent judgment. Sid subdued plaintiffs’ populist cause and turned the spotlight on plaintiffs’ less-than-honest conduct in attempting to enforce the consent judgment.

In actions brought in California and Nevada, Sid recovered 100 percent of his clients’ original investment plus attorneys’ fees and assisted a Receiver in recovering more than $40 million for a medical device company when improper cash transfers of private placement funds reduced the company’s available cash from more than $30 million to less than $100,000 by the time his clients initiated a shareholders’ derivative lawsuit that eventually led to the appointment of the Receiver and this recovery.

Helped a homeowners association recover $2 million from its insurer in an earthquake damage dispute.

In defense of a client manufacturer in a breach of contract lawsuit by an exclusive distributor, Sid resolved the matter by recovering for the manufacturer more from the distributor than the distributor originally claimed in damages.

Recovered $8 million for a homeowners association in a construction defect case involving more than 50 parties, even though the defendants' cost-of-repair estimates were less than $3 million.

Helped a client reinstate its state-issued administrative letter of authorization when it was revoked by the state agency on questionable grounds. Sid negotiated in direct meetings and actions with the agency to reestablish his client's credibility with the agency. The letter was reinstated and relations with the agency vastly improved.

Obtained a unanimous product liability design defect defense verdict for a manufacturer despite previous and subsequent punitive damage plaintiff verdicts against the same manufacturer for the same product.

For a foreign shipowner, took charge of the largest oil spill in the Port of Los Angeles and became the focal point of all cleanup, government and media relations, and claims. Open the Port’s commercial shipping channels after five days of around-the-clock clean up activities and orchestrated an incentive system that cleaned thousands of contaminated pilings and seven miles of shoreline in three months. Organized a claims office that resolved all 2,000+ claims in three months (600 within two weeks) of the spill. In subsequent litigation, reduced felony charges against client to administrative fines; developed scientific evidence undercutting the U.S. Coast Guard's formerly definitive chemical "fingerprinting" evidence; and proved in a civil trial against another vessel, that 93 percent of the oil came from that other vessel. Ultimately, recovered more than 100 percent of client's clean up and claims expenses, forced adverse experts to admit they could not reduce client's cost-effective clean up and claims expenses, and made the management of this spill the model training template for the U.S. Coast Guard.

Organized crisis team for a client the morning after a death in a silo, and proceeded to take care of the affected employees and families, address OSHA and criminal investigations, deal with union-related issues, and resolved all disputes without unnecessary litigation or adverse publicity.

Despite extreme hostility and complete distrust among the parties, Sid persisted and finally negotiated a very complicated multi-party real estate deal that effectively resolved multiple disputes among the parties.

On the eve of trial, at the request of a major studio client, Sid revised the client's defense storyline and thereby caused a favorable settlement of the case.

Just over a month before the initial trial date, in a very acrimonious case, Sid entered to try the case, refocused the case storyline, created new graphics, and precipitated a favorable settlement.

In a case involving difficult facts, Sid helped key witnesses put the facts in a larger context that effectively undermined the liability and damage exposure of the case.

Named "Most Influential Minority Attorneys," Los Angeles Business Journal, 2018

Recipient, McGuireWoods, Diversity & Inclusion Excellence Award, 2017

Recipient, President's Award, National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), 2014

Named to "Southern California Super Lawyers," Class Action, Super Lawyers, Thomson Reuters, 2004-2016

Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America, 2012

Recipient, G. Duffield Smith Outstanding Publication Award, Defense Research Institute, 2007

Author, "Erase the lines . . . we’re all in this together," IILP Review 2017: The State of Diversity and Inclusion in the Legal Profession, 2017
Co-Author (with Dr. John McCabe), "Reversing Stampedes: How Minorities Change Majorities," For The Defense, DRI, February 2015
Author, "Apologies and Lunch," NAPABA Newsletter, Fall 2014
Co-Author (with Patricia Victory), "Don’t Blame the System: The Myth of ‘One Truth," For The Defense, DRI, September 2012
Co-Author (with Sabina Helton), "Simply Positive: Preparing Witnesses for Deposition," For The Defense, DRI, July 2006
Author, "A Common Sense Approach to Liability Avoidance," The Practical Lawyer, DRI, December 2000
Co-Author (with Dr. Dan Gallipeau), "Minimizing Product Liability Exposure: Practical Solutions for Manufacturers," California Western Law Review, DRI, Spring 1998
Author, "Strategies and Procedures for Videotaped Depositions," Litigation Section Newsletter, Los Angeles County Bar Association, Fall 1993
Speaker, "Erase the lines . . . we’re all in this together," Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession (IILP), Procter & Gamble, Cincinnati, OH (June 2017), Starbucks, Seattle, WA (October 2017), AT&T, Dallas, TX (October 2017), Cincinnati, OH
Faculty/Coordinator, "Negotiation: Learn-by-doing," Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA) Global TEC Forum, San Francisco, CA, June 2017
Speaker, "Why We Need You Now More Than Ever," Counsel on Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO), University of Southern California Law School, Los Angeles, CA, June 2017
Keynote speaker, "Lawyering in an Age of Divisiveness: Erase the lines . . . we’re all in this together," Missouri Organization of Defense Lawyers (MODL), Branson, MO, June 2017
Faculty/Coordinator, "Negotiation: Learn-by-doing," Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA) General Counsel Summit, Miami, FL, May 2017
Introduction of Keynote Speaker, Governor of State of Hawaii, David Ige, Japanese American Bar Association (JABA) Annual Gala, Los Angeles, CA, April 2016
Faculty/Coordinator, "The Art of Negotiation: Learn-by-doing," DRI Trial Tactics Seminar, Phoenix, AZ, March 2016
Speaker, "Amazing Grace: The lessons for lawyers from Charleston, Obergefell, and the internment camps of WWII," DRI Civil Rights and Government Tort Liability Seminar, San Antonio, TX, January 2016
Panel Moderator, "What Hawaii Can Teach America," ABA/NAPABA Western Regional Conference, Honolulu, HI, April 2015
Speaker, "Are Warriors the Ideal Litigators: How Stories Infect Our Behavior and View of the World," Product Liability Advisory Council (PLAC) Spring Conference, San Diego, CA, April 2015
Panel Moderator, "Are Warriors the Ideal Litigators: How Stories Infect Our Behavior and View of the World," ABA Webinar, February 2015
Instructor, "Building Trial Skills: Los Angeles," National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA), Los Angeles, CA, January 2015
Program Chair, "Art of Negotiation: A Learn-By-Doing Opportunity," NAPABA Convention, Phoenix, AZ, November 2014
Speaker, "Reversing Stampedes: How Little Voices Turn Big Majorities," DRI Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA, October 2014
Panel Moderator, "Challenges of Managing Cross-Border Litigation," DRI Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA, October 2014
Speaker, "How Minorities (and Trial Lawyers) Flip Majorities," Trial Law Institute, Legal Counsel of America, Napa, CA, September 2014
Instructor, "Building Trial Skills: Los Angeles," National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA), Los Angeles, CA, January 2014
Panelist, "Picking a Jury... to Pick You: Sincerity and Respect to Sow Trust," ACI Drug & Medical Device Litigation Conference, New York, NY, December 2013
Program Chair, "The Art of Negotiation: A Learn-by-Doing Opportunity," National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) 25th Annual Convention, Kansas City, MO, November 2013
Panelist, "Project Management for Lawyers," Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA), CLE Expo, San Diego, CA, March 2013
Mock Trial Judge, "Building Trial Skills: Los Angeles," National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA), Los Angeles, CA, January 2013
Keynote Speaker, "The Illusions of Truth, Memory, Confidence, and Causation: How Stories Frame What We Believe and See," South Dakota Association of Defense Counsel, Annual Meeting, Sioux City, SD, November 2012
Speaker, "The Illusions of Truth, Memory, Confidence, and Causation: How Stories Frame What We Believe and See," Litigation Counsel of America (LCA), Boca Raton, FL, October 2012
Speaker, "The Illusions of Truth, Memory, Confidence, and Causation: How Stories Frame What We Believe and See," DRI Hawaii Presentation, Honolulu, HI, July 2012
Speaker, "Minimizing Product Liability Exposure With Selfless Respect for Others," Medmarc Insurance Webinar, June 2012
Speaker, "Trust at Lightspeed," Product Liability Advisory Council (PLAC), Asheville, NC, April 2012
Speaker, "Preparing Corporate Witnesses," DRI Webinar, April 2012
Speaker, "Making Connections: Dealing with Difficult Plaintiffs' Attorneys, Co-Defense Counsel and Sometimes Our Own Clients," DRI Damages Seminar, Las Vegas, NV, March 2012
Speaker, "Product Liability: It is Not About Facts, It is Not About Truth, It is About...," Medical Design & Manufacturing West Conference, Anaheim, CA, February 2012
Mock Trial Judge, "Building Trial Skills," National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA), Los Angeles, CA, January 2012
Speaker, "Creating and Undermining Witness Credibility," Sirote Law Firm Community Seminar, Birmingham, AL, December 2011
Speaker, "Believing is Seeing: How to Convince the Believing Brain that the Plaintiff Should Not Recover," Idaho Association of Defense Counsel Annual Meeting, McCall, ID, September 2011
Speaker, "The Difficult Lay Witness," DRI Damages Seminar, Las Vegas, NV, March 2011
Instructor, "Building Trial Skills," National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA), Los Angeles, CA, January 2011
Instructor, Trial Advocacy Training Program, National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA), Nagoya, Japan, October 2010
Speaker, "Product Liability in the U.S.," Japan BioPharma Conference, Nagoya, Japan, October 2010
Speaker, "Pre-Litigation Acts to Minimize Future Exposure," DRI Damages Seminar, Las Vegas, NV, March 2010
Panel Moderator, "Duke Lacrosse Rape Case," DRI Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL, October 2009
Keynote Speaker, "Sympathy in the Courtroom: Why It Matters and How It Can Work for the Defense," Washington Defense Trial Lawyers, Annual Meeting, Sun Lakes Resort, WA, July 2009
Panelist, "State Attorney General Investigations," Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA), CLE Expo, Chicago, IL, March 2009