Steven E. Swaney

Counsel
Steven E. Swaney

Steven Swaney’s practice focuses on the defense against consumer class actions involving allegations of false advertising, product defect, fraud, breach of warranty, and other claims across many industries, including food and beverage, dietary supplements, automotive, consumer finance, electronics, and children's products. As a former assistant United States attorney in the District of Columbia and Maryland, Steven has tried more than 20 criminal cases to juries and coordinated in excess of 100 grand jury investigations.

Steven has 20 years’ experience handling all aspects of civil and criminal litigation. He is also an experienced appellate lawyer, having briefed and argued appeals in the Fourth, Sixth, Ninth, and District of Columbia Circuits, as well as several state appellate courts. His breadth of experience allows him to assist his clients in many different practice areas—including internal investigations, regulatory compliance, and criminal inquiries—and to be actively involved in defending his clients at all stages of litigation, from attacking the pleadings to factual investigation, discovery, summary judgment, trial, and appeal.

Steven has a proven track record of successfully defending his clients in high-stakes matters by seeking early dismissal of claims through aggressive motions and discovery practice. He achieves cost-effective results that reduce or eliminate exposure, protect his clients' brands and reputations, and prevent his clients from becoming frequent targets of class litigation. Steven's experience includes coordination of cases across multiple jurisdictions, often involving parallel regulatory proceedings, and working to ensure consistency in defense strategy while promoting his clients' overall business goals.

Experience

Representative Matters

Food, Beverage, and Dietary Supplements

  • Defending a seafood company against a consumer fraud class action based on an allegation that fishing practices are harmful to marine life
  • Representing a food manufacturer in a putative false advertising class action alleging that the use of antibiotics in the supply chain is misleading to consumers
  • Defending dietary supplement companies against multiple class actions involving false advertising and fraud claims

Automotive

  • Coordinated defense strategies in high-profile consumer fraud class actions filed in Canada and the United States, involving parallel regulatory and criminal investigations
  • Obtained a summary judgment dismissing a class action against a major automaker asserting fraud, breach of warranty, and unfair competition claims
  • Negotiated a class settlement of a nationwide class action against a major automaker, resulting in total payments to class representing less than 1% of potential exposure

Children’s Products

  • Successfully briefed and argued a Daubert motion in a juvenile-product defect case, resulting in the exclusion of plaintiff's primary expert and grant of summary judgment
  • Obtained dismissal of putative class action alleging fraud based on allegedly defective furniture posing tipping hazard to children
  • Represented a major product manufacturer against allegations that children’s pacifiers cause tooth and jaw misalignment
  • Defended multiple manufacturers of children’s car seats against class actions alleging misrepresentations regarding safety ratings and performance

Other Industries

  • Representing a rent-to-own consumer finance company in a putative class action alleging violation of California consumer protection statutes
  • Represented a household cleaning supply manufacturer against a putative class action allegation that products were harmful to pets and children
  • Obtained an individual settlement of a putative class action against a candle manufacturer alleging violation of consumer privacy laws
  • Defending a hardware manufacturer against a wrongful death suit alleging strict product liability based on an alleged manufacturing defect
  • Counseled a company in responding to a criminal grand jury subpoena relating to an investigation of the Paradise, California wildfire, which caused multiple fatalities
  • Represented fitness studios in a First Amendment challenge to government-imposed COVID-19 restrictions
  • Representing a consumer credit counseling agency against writ petition seeking to revoke a government grant
  • Defended a national insurance company against a class action alleging deceptive sales practices for its life and disability products, asserting breach of contract and unfair competition law claims
  • Represented a chemical manufacturer in a putative class action involving mass tort and medical monitoring claims, in which a denial of class certification was upheld on appeal
 

Insights

Credentials
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Education

  • J.D. cum laude Northwestern University School of Law 2002
    • Order of the Coif
    • Associate editor, Northwestern University Law Review
    • William Jennings Bryan Award for the Moot Court Champions of 2001
     
  • B.A. English cum laude Santa Clara University 1997

Bar Admissions

  • California

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California

Clerk Experience

  • Honorable Rosemary M. Collyer U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
  • Honorable Lourdes G. Baird U.S. District Court for the Central District of California

Professional Memberships and Activities

  • Member, Bar Association of San Francisco
  • Member, National Association of Assistant United States Attorney