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Dee Cohen Katz

Partner

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

Overview

Dee Cohen Katz is the Managing Partner of Walsworth, a certified women-owned law firm with more than 50 attorneys. As Managing Partner, Dee oversees the firm’s operations in Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Francisco. With more than twenty-seven years of experience, Dee also maintains an active litigation practice, handling matters throughout both Southern and Northern California and advises clients on a national basis. Her practice emphasizes the defense of claims involving general liability, business litigation, toxic torts and products liability. 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.

With 74% ownership by women, Dee is extremely proud to lead a firm that has the largest California attorney presence of any women-owned law firm. Since joining Walsworth in 1995, Dee has played a key role in shaping the firm into what it is today – a firm that has thrived with the changing times. In 2019, Dee was appointed as managing partner and has since seized every opportunity to promote diversity in her community, and in the firm. Less than a year later, Walsworth received the Advancement of Women Award from the Orange County Women Lawyers Association, which honors a legal organization, whose words, actions, and deeds support the advancement of women within the firm and in the greater legal community. Dee is also honored to be involved with Junior Achievement of Orange County, an organization dedicated to mentoring and inspiring high school girls. In early 2020, Dee was asked to be a featured presenter at JAOC’s Leading Ladies Young Women’s Empowerment event where she shared her path towards becoming a successful business leader.

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
  • Leadership Council on Legal Diversity

Speaking Engagements:

  • “Pandemic Litigation Bootcamp: The Ins and Outs of Living Room Litigation”
  • “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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