In 2020, the Los Angeles Business Journal recognized Mr. Lanstra as a Top Litigator and Trial Lawyer in Los Angeles.
Mr. Lanstra has obtained successful results in a wide range of matters, including commercial and business disputes, class actions, shareholder derivative actions, securities fraud, unfair competition and false advertising (including Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code §§ 17200, 17500 matters), computer fraud and abuse, corporate governance and investigations, business torts, constitutional law and political law.
Some of his many notable representations and achievements include:
- defending directors of Sempra Energy in federal securities litigation and federal and state court derivative actions following the SoCalGas leak at its Aliso Canyon facility;
- defending First Energy in class action litigation filed in Ohio state courts concerning tax forms provided to shareholders;
- defending Bank of America in class action litigation in federal court in California concerning tax forms provided to mortgage customers;
- representing Société Générale Private Banking (Suisse) SA in litigation in federal district court in Texas arising out of the Stanford Ponzi scheme;
- representing CytRx Corporation and/or its directors and officers in multiple state and federal securities class actions and derivative actions and an SEC investigation;
- defending CashCall, Inc. in a trial in the U.S. District Court (C.D. Cal.) commenced by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. This matter was recognized by the Daily Journal as a Top Defense Verdict of 2018;
- representing the Miami Marlins baseball club in a player salary arbitration;
- defending Toyota Motor Corporation and Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. as part of the lead counsel team in its “unintended acceleration” cases concerning alleged defects in Toyota’s electronic throttle control system and comprising the defense of hundreds of consumer class actions alleging economic loss in U.S. District Court (C.D. Cal.) and Los Angeles County Superior Court (Complex Civil Litigation Program);
- representing MGA Entertainment, Inc. in its highly publicized and high-stakes “Barbie v. Bratz” copyright and trade secrets litigation against Mattel, Inc. over the intellectual property rights to the Bratz doll franchise in U.S. District Court (C.D. Cal.);
defending E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company (DuPont) in two tracks of shareholder derivative litigation following Monsanto Inc.’s prior $1 billion patent infringement verdict against DuPont, and successfully defending cases in the U.S. District Court (D. Del.), the Delaware Court of Chancery, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and the Delaware Supreme Court;
- second-chairing oral argument before the U.S. Supreme Court in conjunction with appointed counsel in Bond v. United States (2011);
- reaching a favorable settlement on behalf of HCP, Inc. in the punitive damages phase of Ventas v. HCP in U.S. District Court (W.D. Ky.);
- obtaining an arbitration award that found an LLC manager and member of a $300 million real estate project in Los Angeles’ Koreatown engaged in acts of deceit and willful misconduct;
- defending the founder, chairman and CEO of VeriSign, Inc., in an employment-related lawsuit filed by a former CAO that led to voluntary dismissal of the claims and ultimately a settlement whereby the plaintiff provided a written apology to VeriSign for the litigation;
- defending the former CEO of Qualstar Corporation in litigation alleging breaches of fiduciary duty and reaching a favorable settlement for the client based on counterclaims;
- representing the founders of Skype in trade secrets litigation;
- representing a prominent developer in the Inland Empire in multiple high-profile matters;
- performing diligence inquiries and analysis for numerous mergers and acquisitions; and
- representing a prominent developer in an arbitration dispute between LLC members involving water rights that resulted in a favorable settlement, permitting a substantial land development project in Southern California to move forward.
Before joining Skadden, Mr. Lanstra clerked for Justice Robert P. Young, Jr. of the Michigan Supreme Court; served as an Honors Program attorney in the Civil Division of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., where he helped defend the United States in Federal Tort Claims Act litigation in Boston concerning FBI informants James “Whitey” Bulger and Stephen Flemmi; and entered private practice as a commercial and appellate attorney for a prestigious Midwest-based firm where he participated in a wide range of litigation matters.
Commitment to Pro Bono
Mr. Lanstra’s pro bono representations have produced significant victories for his clients, including a published decision protecting disability rights in the California Court of Appeal. His contributions earned him the State Bar of California’s Wiley W. Manuel Award for Pro Bono Legal Services.
Mr. Lanstra also regularly supervises and counsels the pro bono representations of Skadden attorneys. These collaborations have resulted in significant victories, including successful appeals regarding immigration and civil claims against the government before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, obtaining important protections for the hearing impaired through impact litigation commenced in the U.S. District Court (C.D. Cal.), and influential amici curiae briefs submitted in federal and state courts. Mr. Lanstra was part of a Skadden team representing over 50 tenants in a habitability case, for which we were honored with the Inner City Law Center’s Katharine Krause Award, which recognizes notable community contributions.
Team and Thought Leadership
Mr. Lanstra leads training and development for litigators in Skadden’s Los Angeles and Houston offices. In that role, he is responsible for leading the training and mentoring of the litigation department’s associates, with a focus on the development of litigation and trial skills, efficient management, and the continuous improvement of the delivery of client services. He also is active in hiring.
In addition to writing and speaking, Mr. Lanstra has taught law since his second year out of law school. At Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, he taught courses on state constitutional law and California initiatives and referenda. He taught state constitutional law, litigation with the federal government, and state civil procedure at the Michigan State University College of Law.
Loyola Law School, 2010-2013
Michigan State University College of Law, 2003-2007