Celeste M. Brecht

Partner
Brecht Celeste

Celeste Brecht, co-chair of the firm's West Coast Litigation Group, is an experienced litigator focused on complex civil disputes for clients in the pharmaceutical, healthcare, consumer products, media and entertainment, and transportation industries. Celeste is a first-chair trial lawyer who has been a member of multiple trial teams in state and federal courts, has successfully argued before the California Courts of Appeal, and has obtained favorable jury verdicts and results in a variety of administrative forums. She has won numerous dispositive motions in advance of trial, and has managed cases from inception through appeal in commercial business disputes, employment matters, and products and premises liability cases for clients ranging in size from regional business entities to Fortune 50 companies.

Experience

Representative Matters

  • As lead counsel, won a motion to dismiss on behalf of a digital advertising company in a putative class action lawsuit alleging violations of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and state privacy laws
  • As lead counsel, won a motion to dismiss with prejudice on behalf of a national pet food company in a putative class action alleging that that it failed to disclose toxic lead and other disease-causing heavy metals in its dog food
  • As lead counsel, defeated class certification on behalf of a local pet business in a California consumer protection and unfair competition case
  • As lead counsel, won a motion to dismiss, affirmed on appeal, on behalf of a production company that was producing promotional content for a major motion picture, in a highly publicized wrongful death action
  • As lead counsel, won a Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) appellate hearing, knocking down a “serious” citation on behalf of a national construction company
  • As lead counsel, obtained a dismissal with prejudice on behalf of defense contractors regarding allegations of California employment violations for work performed outside of the United States
  • As lead counsel, resolved numerous disputes arising from California’s Prop 65 environmental regulation on behalf of manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and premises
  • As second chair, obtained a defense verdict, affirmed on appeal, on behalf of a leading pharmaceutical company in the first California bellwether trial in a judicially coordinated complex proceeding
  • As second chair, obtained a favorable verdict on behalf of a leading media company in a defamation trial
  • As second chair, won an anti-SLAPP motion, affirmed on appeal, on behalf of a high-profile actor, producer, and comedian, defeating allegations of harassment, discrimination, and defamation
  • As part of the trial team, obtained a favorable verdict for a leading manufacturer of fiberglass-reinforced plastics in a case where the jury unanimously held that the client was not liable for $28 million in compensatory damages sought by plaintiff
  • As part of the trial team, obtained a defense verdict, affirmed on appeal, for a premises owner in a case involving a large publicly traded international oil and gas company; the case was selected by a widely read publication as one of the top defense verdicts in 2012
  • As part of the trial team, obtained a seven-figure jury verdict for the former general counsel of a national mortgage lender in a breach of employment contract action
  • On behalf of a pharmaceutical company, obtained dismissal in a high-profile personal injury case involving a college athlete.
  • On behalf of a national media and entertainment company, defeated a former executive’s wrongful termination and related tort claims, through a series of dispositive and exclusionary motions
  • On behalf of a chemical company, obtained summary judgment in a products liability case by showing that plaintiff’s theory of exposure was “speculative”
  • On behalf of a gasket manufacturer, obtained summary judgment in a products liability case by demonstrating plaintiff could not show specific causation

Insights

Credentials
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Education

  • J.D. cum laude Southwestern University School of Law 2005
    • First Place Team Award, J. Braxton Craven, Jr. Moot Court Competition, February 2005
    • Extern, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Administrative Law Judge Diane Arkow-Gross
  • B.A.

    with honors

    University of Michigan at Ann Arbor 2002

Bar Admissions

  • California

Court Admissions

  • U.S. District Court for the Central District of California
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California

Professional Memberships and Activities

  • Board member, Association of Business Trial Lawyers (ABTL), Los Angeles Chapter
  • Member, American Bar Association, Products Liability Section
  • Member, Defense Research Institute
  • Member, Federal Bar Association
  • Member, Los Angeles County Bar Association
  • Co-founding member, RISE — an organization of women lawyers committed to supporting each other’s professional growth and advancement to equity partner, general counsel, or high-ranking public official. RISE is dedicated to developing the tools necessary to shatter the glass ceiling in public service and corporate America
  • Graduate of the International Association of Defense Counsel (IADC) Trial Academy, an intensive, week-long program designed to develop defense trial advocacy skills.
     

Recognition
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  • Law360, Rising Star, Product Liability, 2020
  • Daily Journal, Top 40 Under 40, 2020
  • Los Angeles Business Journal
    • Women’s Leadership Awards Rising Star of the Year Nominee, 2020
    • Top Women Attorneys, 2018 – 2020
  • The Best Lawyers in America, Product Liability Litigation – Defendants, 2019 – 2021
  • The Best Lawyers Business Edition, Women in the Law, Product Liability Litigation, 2019
  • Super Lawyers
    • Southern California, 2018 – 2020
    • Up-and-Coming 50: Women Rising Stars, Southern California, 2015 – 2017
    • Up-and-Coming 100: Rising Stars, Business Litigation, Personal Injury – Products, Southern California, 2009 – 2017

Community
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Pro Bono

  • Assists survivors of domestic violence in obtaining temporary restraining orders as part of the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Domestic Violence Project
  • Provides legal services for the Inner City Law Center, a nonprofit law firm fighting for justice for low-income tenants, working poor families, immigrants, people who are living with HIV/AIDS or are disabled, and veterans

Volunteerism

  • Actively involved with Los Angeles Women’s Circle, an organization dedicated to researching and funding programs that benefit the development and well-being of young women in the Los Angeles area

Personal Activities

  • Yoga and co-ed softball