Jason Russell is the leader of the Los Angeles Litigation Group and co-head of the West Coast litigation practice, representing a wide variety of clients in commercial litigation disputes in federal and state courts throughout the country as well as in international forums.

Bio

Mr. Russell has earned a reputation as an adept litigator with particular experience litigating some of the most high-profile cases in the sports and entertainment field, as well as complex class actions.

Mr. Russell has extensive experience in and takes an innovative approach to all aspects of complex litigation matters, ranging from jury trials and appellate arguments to mediation and arbitration. He has garnered widespread recognition, including being named by the Daily Journal as one of the Top 20 Under 40 lawyers in the state of California and receiving the prestigious California Lawyer Attorneys of the Year (CLAY) award bestowed by the California Lawyer for “extraordinary achievements” in litigation. He was included among Who’s Who Legal’s Top Sports and Entertainment Lawyers 2016 and was named a Rising Star by Lawdragon.

Mr. Russell’s representations include a diverse number of high-profile disputes, including, among others:

  • Credit Acceptance Corporation in obtaining summary judgment in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California on antitrust claims by Westlake Services, LLC seeking approximately $1 billion in damages arising from the allegedly fraudulent acquisition of a patent that Westlake claimed precluded it from competing in the indirect auto lending market. The Daily Journal named the decision one of the Top Verdicts of 2017.
  • Christie’s, Inc., as lead counsel, in obtaining the dismissal of a putative nationwide class action in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, by convincing the court to hold that the California Resale Royalties Act (CRRA) was unconstitutional. The CRRA previously had withstood several legal challenges until it was struck down in this case. The dismissal was affirmed by an en banc panel of the Ninth Circuit.
  • Priceline.com in obtaining the 2017 reversal in the Fifth Circuit of an $84 million judgment for occupancy taxes allegedly owed for facilitating the renting of hotel rooms in 175 Texas municipalities. The court reversed and vacated the judgment, adopting all of Priceline’s arguments that an online travel company could not be liable for hotel occupancy taxes.
  • the National Basketball Association in connection with its imposition of discipline against former owner Donald Sterling and in defending the NBA against claims brought by Mr. Sterling.
  • MGA Entertainment, Inc., as a member of the trial and appellate team, in its highly publicized multibillion-dollar “battle of the dolls” trial against Mattel, Inc. over the rights to the “Bratz” doll franchise. The Daily Journal called the case one of California’s “hardest-fought and highest-stakes intellectual property trials in recent memory.” The Ninth Circuit’s decision to vacate a jury verdict in Mattel’s favor was named one of the Top Five Appellate Reversals of 2010 in California by the Daily Journal. On retrial, the jury rejected all of Mattel’s claims and awarded MGA $85 million in damages for theft of its own trade secrets, to which the judge added $85 million in punitive damages. The District Court also granted MGA one of the largest attorneys’ fees awards ever awarded under the Copyright Act.
  • Red Bull North America and its corporate parent in the defense of multiple putative class actions across the country and in responding to congressional investigations into the energy drink industry.
  • Estée Lauder, as lead counsel, in obtaining the dismissal of a series of national and California class actions relating to the marketing and packaging statements on cosmetics products that alleged violations of California consumer protection and unfair practices laws.
  • Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc. as lead counsel in defense of $360 million in claims by the litigation trustee for Core Media, Inc.
  • Head USA, Inc. in its successful defense of claims by Bode Miller and Bomber, LLC seeking to invalidate Head’s sponsorship agreements with high-profile athletes. The court granted Head’s motion to dismiss all of plaintiffs’ claims.
  • MGA Entertainment, Inc., as lead trial and appellate counsel replacing MGA’s initial counsel, in defense of a copyright claim in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York relating to the Bratz doll franchise, in which an artist claimed damages in excess of $100 million. He obtained summary judgment for the client, which was affirmed by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • The underwriters of more than $15 billion of WorldCom, Inc. debt securities in more than 100 individual and class shareholder actions throughout the United States, in what was then the largest securities case ever filed. A precedent-setting victory was obtained in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on behalf of the underwriting syndicate on an issue of first impression at the intersection of bankruptcy and securities laws.
  • The National Football League in its defense of a $1 billion civil action brought by the Oakland Raiders, which resulted in a defense verdict for the NFL on all claims.
  • Home Box Office in successful defense of a bet-the-company challenge to on-location filming of HBO’s flagship original series “Entourage.” Skadden defeated motions for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction before obtaining the dismissal of the claims on the merits.
  • True Religion Apparel, as lead counsel, in defense of a putative nationwide class action challenging the labeling and advertising of the client’s apparel. Mr. Russell negotiated a very favorable resolution of the action.
  • BPL Films in successfully prosecuting claims under the Copyright Act to prevent the illegal sale and distribution of the movie titled “The Debtors,” in an action that Premiere magazine called “one of the wildest legal battles in Hollywood history.”
  • The Stanley Works, as lead trial counsel, in its successful defense at trial of claims brought by a commercial supplier in a multimillion-dollar action.

Mr. Russell is actively involved in Skadden’s pro bono efforts, supervising junior associates and personally representing a number of individuals in criminal defense matters. He also serves as co-chair of the Los Angeles office’s Hiring Committee.

Credentials

Education

  • J.D., Columbia University School of Law, 1993 (Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, Columbia Business Law Review)
  • A.B., Occidental College, 1990 (magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa)

Admissions

  • California
  • New York
  • District of Columbia

Associations

  • Advisory Board Member, Facing History and Ourselves (2007–Present)
  • Los Angeles County Bar Association, Antitrust and Trade Regulation Section
  • Association of Business Trial Lawyers, Los Angeles
  • American Bar Association
  • Board Member, Planned Parenthood Los Angeles (2012–Present)

Experience

  • Clerk to the Hon. Frank X. Altimari, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (1993-1994)

Jason D. Russell

Partner, Complex Litigation and Trials; Antitrust/Competition; Sports
jason.russell@skadden.com