Eric R. Olson
Eric Olson has practiced with the firm since 2003. Mr. Olson focuses his practice on complex litigation strategy and high-stakes jury trials for both plaintiffs and defendants across the country, with particular experience in state court jurisdictions. Recently, Mr. Olson tried seven jury cases or arbitrations to conclusion as first or second chair.
Mr. Olson both prepares complex litigation for trial and actually tries the case. He tried one of the only consumer class actions to go to verdict to a complete defense victory for Whirlpool. He played a significant role in the In re Genetically Modified Rice Litigation MDL, defeating class certification, focusing on expert selection and preparation, and trying three of the first cases. In the In re Microsoft Corp. Antitrust Litigation MDL, Mr. Olson's focus on key discovery, expert strategy, and international proceedings on behalf of plaintiff RealNetworks helped lead to a $761 million settlement.
Mr. Olson’s experience preparing and trying complex cases ensures that pretrial discovery, expert work, and motion practice focus on what matters—working toward the best possible result at trial. Mr. Olson recognizes that success comes from a diverse team working well together and he is experienced at leading teams of co-counsel and specialists from differing backgrounds.
Mr. Olson's proficiency in managing complex litigation and connecting with fact finders stems from his real-world upbringing. Mr. Olson grew up in Eastern Kentucky. Before he was a lawyer, Mr. Olson ran a farm in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas and worked as a carpenter in Ohio and Kentucky.
Chambers USA recognizes Mr. Olson as a "strong attorney who has significant experience in multidistrict litigation" who "excels in cases with a scientific background." BTI recognized Mr. Olson as a "Client Service All-Star." Law 360 called the less than 100 litigators in the country who made BTI's list the "cream of the crop."
Mr. Olson serves on the Board of Trustees of the Legal Aid Foundation of Colorado and Board of Advisors for the Heyburn Initiative for Excellence in the Federal Judiciary. The Legal Aid Foundation promotes equal access to justice by raising funds to provide civil legal services for low-income people in the state of Colorado. The Heyburn Initiative is a national, non-partisan organization focused on improving the federal judiciary.
Cases tried or otherwise taken to judgment
Slawson Exploration Co. v. Department of Interior (U.S. District Court, D. North Dakota)
Lead trial counsel for Slawson challenging Department of Interior ALJ stay that barred drilling at major oil and gas well in North Dakota. Court granted Slawson’s Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order allowing drilling to proceed pending full agency review. Law360 coverage here; opinion here.
EEOC v. Texas Roadhouse (U.S. District Court, D. Massachusetts)
Co-lead trial counsel, with Rebecca Bacon, for landmark pattern or practice age discrimination claim brought by EEOC against national restaurant chain. After three-week jury trial in January 2017, case ended in a mistrial because jury was deadlocked after deliberating for one week. Law360 coverage here. Case settled very favorably before retrial.
Confidential AAA Arbitration
Co-lead trial counsel, with Sean Grimsley, for small independent exploration and production company in commercial and state securities law dispute. Claimant sought more than $25 million. After two-week hearing in June 2016, panel ordered claimant recover nothing and pay our client’s attorney’s fees.
In re: Genetically Modified Rice Litigation – Common Benefit Fund Appeal (U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit)
Lead attorney for Bayer in appeal about $9.2 million payment in common benefit fund fees to plaintiffs’ counsel related to a state court settlement. Case argued in April 2016, audio of argument here. Panel affirmed District Court but did not resolve question of who should pay common benefit fees.
In re: Whirlpool Corp. Front-Loading Washer Products Liability Litigation (U.S. District Court, N.D. Ohio)
Trial counsel, along with Phil Beck and Rebecca Bacon, in bellwether consumer class action trial of plaintiffs’ claims of design defect and breach of implied warranty. After three and a half week jury trial, jury deliberated less than two hours before returning complete defense verdict.
Click here to read Bloomberg BusinessWeek article.
Click here to read the American Lawyer article.
Click here to read the Law360 article.
Sims, et al v. Bayer CropScience LP, et al (Arkansas District Court, Desha County)
Lead trial counsel in case brought by six Desha County rice farmers. Jury awarded $946,000, only 7% of plaintiffs' $14,000,000 in requested damages and just $70,000 more than Defendants' expert testimony regarding damages. Jury unanimously rejected punitive damages. Case settled on appeal as part of global settlement with U.S. farmers.
Kyle v. Bayer CropScience LP, et al (Arkansas District Court, Woodruff County)
Trial counsel for first state court trial in rice litigation. Case brought by Woodruff County rice farmer. Trial lost, but jury awarded less than requested. Case settled on appeal as part of global settlement with U.S. farmers.
In re: Genetically Modified Rice Litigation - MDL Bellwether Trial (U.S. District Court, E.D. Missouri)
Trial counsel for first MDL bellwether trial in St. Louis. Jury awarded less than requested and rejected plaintiff's demand for punitive damages. Case settled on appeal as part of global settlement with U.S. farmers.
Keely v. Janus (Denver District Court)
Trial counsel for former Janus portfolio manager seeking contractually owed severance package of more than $4 million. Jury verdict in client's favor on all counts, including fraud. Judgment, after interest, statutory enhancements, and attorneys fees, of $7 million.
BAYPO v. Lyondell Chemical Company (Delaware Chancery Court, AAA Arbitration)
Represented Bayer Corp. affiliates in suit filed in Delaware Chancery Court and arbitration related to $2.5 billion joint venture. Case resolved after arbitration.
State v. Peters (Douglas County Court)
Trial counsel for defendant in Douglas County Court in Colorado. Defendant charged with seven criminal counts. Successfully extracted favorable plea deal and sentencing recommendation during trial.
Citadel Equity Fund, Ltd. v. Aquila Inc. (U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit)
Lead attorney for Citadel in appeal to Second Circuit relating to failure of borrower to pay prepayment penalty on $430 million loan.
PPC v. Arris International (U.S. District Court, W.D. Wisconsin)
Represented Arris in patent litigation regarding coaxial cable connectors. Jury trial in Madison, Wisconsin. Cases settled following jury verdict for PPC on some issues and grant of new trial to Arris on others.
Other representative cases
Foreign Trade Corp., d/b/a Technocel v. Otter Products, LLC, et al; Otter Products, LLC v. H.L. Dalis, Inc.; Otter Products, LLC v. Wireless Xcessories Group, Inc., (U.S. District Court, D. Colorado)
Co-lead trial counsel, with Karma Giulianelli, for OtterBox in antitrust cases brought by former distributors alleging violations of Section 1 in connection with distribution agreements and an alleged group boycott. Motion to dismiss granted in February 2017 dismissing all antitrust claims against OtterBox.
EPA Clean Air Act Negotiations (U.S. District Court, D. North Dakota)
Co-lead trial counsel, with Sean Grimsley, for small independent exploration and production company in negotiations with EPA regarding claimed Clean Air Act violations relating to oil and gas production in the Williston Basin in North Dakota. Favorable consent decree entered by District of North Dakota in February 2017.
Sinclair Oil Corporation
Represented Sinclair in dispute about long term gas purchase contract for North Dakota oil & gas production. Successfully resolved dispute without litigation.
Champion v. Sears (U.S. District Court, N.D. Illinois)
Lead trial counsel for Whirlpool in consumer class action about printed circuit board material used in Whirlpool-made washing machines sold by Sears. Case settled favorably shortly before trial.
In re: Morreale Hotels Bankruptcy (U.S. Bankruptcy Court, D. Colorado)
Lead trial counsel to convert Chapter 11 proceeding into Chapter 7 proceeding. Retained by former opposing trial counsel. Case settled favorably after debtor deposition.
USA ex rel. Jimenez v. Otter Products LLC (U.S. District Court, D. Colorado)
Lead trial counsel in False Claims Act case related to customs duties. Case settled.
Tessera Semiconductor Patent Litigation (U.S. District Court, E.D. Texas and N.D. California)
Trial counsel for Tessera enforcing groundbreaking patents related to semiconductor operation. Cases filed in Marshall, Texas and San Jose, California against numerous defendants. Settled claims against Spansion for $25 million and with STATS Chippac, Siliconware, AMD, ChipMOS, Freescale, ASE, and STMicroelectronics for confidential amounts.
National coordinating counsel for DuPont in product liability litigation, including putative class actions, alleging damage caused by DuPont's Imprelis® herbicide. MDL pending in Pennsylvania.
Texana Rice Mill v. Bayer CropScience LP (U.S. District Court, E.D. Missouri)
Lead trial counsel in $15 million case brought by now-defunct Texas rice mill. Case settled immediately prior to trial.
Spain v. Bayer CropScience LP (Arkansas District Court, St. Francis County)
Lead trial counsel in case brought by large Cross County rice farmer. Case settled immediately prior to trial.
InSyst Ltd. v. Applied Materials (California Superior Court, Santa Clara County)
After reversal on appeal, hired as lead trial counsel for plaintiff, an Israeli startup, in trade secret misappropriation claim regarding semiconductor manufacturing technology. Court of appeals, on second appeal, held case was time barred when filed.
Briggs v. Bayer CropScience LP (Arkansas District Court, Jefferson County)
Lead trial counsel in case brought by large Jefferson County rice farmer. Plaintiffs’ counsel engaged in improper publicity on eve of jury selection and Mr. Olson obtained continuance three days before trial.
In re: Genetically Modified Rice Litigation (U.S. District Court, E.D. Missouri)
National trial counsel for Bayer CropScience LP in multi-district litigation and related state court litigation concerning alleged presence of genetically engineered rice in commercial rice shipments. Defeated class certification of rice farmer class action. Cases settled under global settlements with U.S. farmers.
RealNetworks, Inc. v. Microsoft (U.S. District Court, N.D. California)
Represented RealNetworks in an antitrust suit against Microsoft that resulted in RealNetwork's winning a $761 million settlement after two years of litigation.
Citadel Equity Fund, Ltd. v. Kidan (U.S. District Court, S.D. Florida)
Citadel Equity Fund, Ltd. v. Wells Fargo Foothill (U.S. District Court, S.D. New York)
Represented Citadel in breach of contract and fraud claims against borrowers and agent arising from fraudulent purchase of SunCruz Casinos in Florida using $60 million loan. Cases settled.
A&E Products Group LP v. Spotless Enterprises Inc. (U.S. District Court, E.D. New York)
Represented A&E in prosecuting patent infringement action regarding garment hangers. Case settled.
Sabre Inc. v. Northwest Airlines, Inc. (U.S. District Court, N.D. Texas)
Represented Sabre in prosecuting breach of contract claim involving its computerized reservation system used by travel agents, and in defending against antitrust claims by Northwest.
DK Acquisition Partners v. JPMorganChase and Citigroup (U.S. District Court, S.D. Texas)
Represented commercial debt holders of Enron debt in prosecuting claims against agents of $3 billion in loans. Case settled.
Bradburn Parent Teacher Store v. 3M Company (U.S. District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania)
Represented 3M in antitrust litigation brought by class of retailers regarding price of transparent tape. Case settled.