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Dee Cohen Katz

Partner

E dkatz@wfbm.com
T (714) 634-2522
| F (714) 634-0686

Overview

Dee Cohen Katz has practiced law in California for over twenty years, handling matters throughout both Southern and Northern California and advises certain clients on a national basis. Her practice emphasizes the defense of claims involving toxic torts (such as benzene, silica, diacetyl and other chemicals/substances), general liability, products liability and business litigation matters. She regularly represents manufacturers, distributors, retailers and premises/business owners. The cases she oversees run the spectrum from single plaintiff/defendant to multiple-party complex matters.

Dee is actively involved in the development and implementation of defense strategies for her cases in these areas, including through the efficient and effective use of discovery, experts, and pre-trial dispositive motions. She is proactive in her analysis of potential liability in each matter at the earliest opportunity in order to promptly determine and advise on the various risks, and to create a streamlined litigation plan that meets the needs of each client. Dee maintains longstanding working relationships with plaintiffs’ counsel and has amassed an impressive record of successfully negotiating favorable resolutions of her claims. In addition to being asked to participate in national industry conferences, Dee is also regularly invited to give lectures and presentations for various clients on current trends in the law.

Representative Successes
  • Robinson v. Large Corporation – Successfully defended and favorably resolved a catastrophic personal injury matter with debilitating injuries. The case involved a vehicle collision where we defended an employee driver who was under the influence of alcohol, and had admitted liability. The case resolved for less than 25 percent of the initial demand following expert depositions and pre-trial motions.
  • Green v. Property Owner – Represented the property owner of a large commercial and retail center in Los Angeles in a case where a disabled woman in a wheelchair fell and broke her neck on the premises. Compliance with building codes and a prior accident at the same location were at issue. Successfully secured a settlement for a fraction of the 7-figure demand.
  • Carter v. GP Resources – Secured a defense verdict for a petroleum supplier after a 10-day jury trial in an action arising out of the plaintiff’s exposure to the client’s product. Plaintiff claimed permanent injuries that prevented work.
  • Graves v. Meredith – Summary judgment granted in favor of a building owner based on the statute of limitations for injuries allegedly related to its “sick building.” The court of appeal upheld the judgment and awarded costs.
  • Johnson v. American Standard, Inc. – The California Supreme Court affirmed summary judgment granted for defendants, establishing the sophisticated user defense which exempts manufacturers/suppliers from warning “sophisticated users” in negligence and strict product liability actions. Plaintiff was an HVAC technician who serviced commercial A/C systems at a number of financial institutional branches in Southern California.
  • Lewis v. 21st Century Fox Film Corporation – Summary judgment granted in favor of a supplier of crystalline silica dust product based on lack of causation. The plaintiff claimed lung injury as a result of inhalation of the product used to create dust effects in a Planet of the Apes battle scene while working on the movie set.
  • Lee v. ITW Food Equipment Group LLC – Summary judgment granted in favor of a refrigeration equipment maintenance company based on no duty of care. Multiple plaintiffs claimed personal injuries as a result of prolonged exposure to carbon monoxide in the workplace.
  • Maxton v. Western Metals, et al. – A unanimous Court of Appeal panel affirmed summary judgment in favor of suppliers of raw materials to a metal fabrication company under the component parts doctrine. The plaintiff claimed injuries resulting from occupational exposure to metal fumes and dust.
  • Cervantes v. Bortz Products, Inc., et al. – Summary judgment granted based on the statute of limitations in favor of a chemical manufacturer and distributor in a personal injury case involving exposure to products containing benzene or benzene derivatives.
  • Tewksbury v. Rectorseal Company, et al. – Successfully secured two dismissals with prejudice granted to two client distributors of air conditioning products in a personal injury case venued in Kern County Superior Court arising from plaintiff’s alleged exposure to toxic chemicals.
Industry Involvement

 Professional Affiliations:

  • Claims & Litigation Management Alliance (CLM)
  • CLM Diversity and Inclusion Committee
  • National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL)
  • National Association of Minority and Woman Owned Law Firms (NAMWOLF) – member of Retail, Restaurant and Hospitality Practice Area Group

Speaking Engagements:

  • “Let’s Dance: Moving Beyond Diversity and Toward Inclusion in the Legal Industry”
  • “Trial Team Diversity: The Power of Making Room at Counsel Table”
  • “What the Tweet?!  Emerging Issues in the Use and Collection of Social Media Evidence”
  • “At What Cost? Current Issues Shaping Alternative Fee Arrangements In Litigation”, CLM Annual Conference
  • “HarrisMartin’s Toxic Tort Litigation Conference: Emerging Toxic Tort Litigation,” Co-Chair
  • “Getting the Most Out of Your Negotiations”
  • “Selected Issues in Environmental Litigation – An Update: Asbestos, Benzene, Pollution, Trucking/Diesel Fuel”
  • “What the Tweet?! Collecting and Using Social Media Evidence to Investigate Claims”
  • “We Can Work It Out: Balancing the Interests of Multiple Carriers in Time on Risk Cases”
  • “HarrisMartin’s Benzene Litigation Conference: Recent Developments in the Law and Science, Panel Discussion: Expert Challenges in Hot Jurisdictions – Legal and Procedural Issues”, Panel Member
  • “A Pain in the Assets: A Practical Guide to Successor Liability”
  • “Walk the Line: Ethics for Insurance Carrier-Selected Defense Counsel”
  • “The Art of the Tender and Indemnity”
  • “HarrisMartin’s Benzene Litigation Conference: Trial of a Benzene-Leukemia Case from Jury Selection to Verdict,” Co-Chair
  • “HarrisMartin’s Benzene Conference: Trial of a Gasoline and Solvent MDS/AML Case from Jury Selection to Verdict,” Co-Chair
  • “Lawyers as Leaders Conference”, William & Mary Law School, Panel Member
  • “California’s Sophisticated User Defense: The Duty to Warn”
  • “Toxic Tort Litigation”
  • “Mold: Fear vs. Fact”, Client Presentation
  • “Nanotechnology: Regulation Now, Litigation Later?”
Beyond the Office

When outside the office, Dee enjoys yoga, wine tasting, interior design, and spending time with her family and friends.

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