February 17, 2023

Willkie was recognized for two litigation victories in the Daily Journal’s “Top Verdicts of 2022,” an annual series highlighting the most significant verdicts and court decisions in California over the past year.

Partner Eric Bakewell and associates Hannah McMeans and Benita Yu were honored for successfully defending Skidata and Sentry Control Systems in a privacy class action lawsuit alleging the companies illegally captured license plate information. In December, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California granted summary judgment to Skidata and Sentry, which provide parking control access systems at prominent Southern California malls, dismissing all claims brought against them and clarifying a novel area of law.

The decision is notable as a first-of-its-kind interpretation and application of the California Automated License Plate Recognition statute and other California statutes and common law tort doctrines to alleged collection and use of license plate technology.

Partner Matthew Gurvitz was also recognized for securing a complete defense verdict on behalf of California Stem Cell Treatment Center in the government’s lawsuit to bring the clinic’s stem cell treatment under FDA regulation. In August, after a seven-day trial, Judge Jesus G. Bernal of the Central District of California ruled that that the defendants’ innovative surgical procedure does not fall under the FDA's regulatory jurisdiction, barring the agency from prohibiting physicians from performing the stem cell treatment on their patients. Matthew led the Willkie litigation team and served as defense counsel alongside lawyers from Jones Day.

“This was truly a landmark decision with significant implications, especially for people seeking to utilize their own stem cells as part of medical treatment,” Matthew told the Daily Journal. “The ruling also allows physicians the autonomy to determine whether stem cell treatment is in the best interest of their patients without the FDA claiming they are manufacturing illegal drugs.”

Read more about the summary judgment decision in Navarro v. Skidata Inc. et al. here  and the verdict in U.S. v. California Stem Cell Treatment Center et al. here.

View the Daily Journal’s “Top Verdicts of 2022” special report here. (Subscription required)

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