Ian Stewart handles complex litigation in both state and federal courts, where he frequently defends catastrophic multi-party litigation. Ian focuses his practice on product liability, professional liability and general liability matters, as well as intellectual property and commercial disputes.
Ian is committed to client communication and cost-effective litigation management. He is a proponent of efficient claim resolution, including alternative dispute resolution (ADR). He has served as a pro bono mediator and previously served as national chair of the Claims and Litigation Management Alliance's ADR Committee. He has developed courses on negotiation strategy and ADR bargaining tactics.
Areas of Focus
Ian has successfully defended a variety of product liability matters involving products manufactured in the United States and abroad. These include recreational vehicles, industrial machinery, drugs and medical devices, nutritional supplements, amusement park rides, sporting goods and consumer products. He currently serves as national chair of the Claims and Litigation Management Alliance's Product Liability Committee.
In the professional liability area, Ian focuses on the defense of architects/engineers and miscellaneous specialty risks, including data privacy and cyber liability matters. He also performs contract reviews for design professionals and has been designated as the point of contact by two insurance companies for their contract review programs.
Ian has defended numerous security and premises liability matters for hotels, commercial property owners, condominium associations and retailers. He has represented fleet owners, including motor carriers, armored trucks and taxi/limousine companies. He also handles general liability matters involving sports and school-related risks.
A growing area of Ian's practice is intellectual property litigation involving trademark and trade dress infringement claims, trade libel, unfair competition claims and internet domain disputes.
Real Estate & Development/Commercial Contracts and Agreements
Ian litigates commercial claims involving breach of contract, sales and UCC matters, partnership disputes and the defense of consumer class actions. With regard to real estate matters, Ian has handled zoning disputes for commercial, residential and mixed-use properties, as well as cases involving disputes over property lines, easements, nuisance and other claims between property owners. In addition Ian has handled many cases both for and against homeowners associations.
California Appellate Court Limits Liability under California's Medical Confidentiality Act for Disclosure of Medical Information
Limit on Liability in Disclosure of Medical Information
Septmber 22, 2014
The California Third Appellate District recently overturned a lower court's denial of a motion to dismiss a class action lawsuit seeking $4 billion in damages under California's Medical Confidentiality Act due to the alleged disclosure of medical records. The Appellate Court specifically held that the mere theft of medical records without any allegations that an unauthorized person viewed these records is insufficient to state a claim.
California Supreme Court Holds Design Professionals Owe a Duty of Care to Future Homeowners
Design Professionals' Duty of Care to Future Homeowners
July 11, 2014
On July 3, 2014, the California Supreme Court held that, based on common law principles, an architect owes a duty of care to future homeowners in the design of a residential building. To what extent the design professional must assume a role of principal architect or become involved in the construction phase before a duty will run to the ultimate purchaser of the condominium remains an open question.
California Protects Minors from the Internet by Imposing Restrictions on Online Marketing or Advertising of Products Minors Cannot Legally Purchase
California Restricts Internet Advertising to Minors
December 6, 2013
Court Confirms the Limited Duty of an Insurance Broker to Procure Only Coverage Requested by the Insured
CA Court Confirms Insurance Broker's Limited Duty under Policy
November 8, 2013
A recent California Court of Appeal case confirms the limited duty of an insurance broker only to use reasonable care, diligence and judgment in procuring the insurance requested by an insured. The court rejected arguments that the duty of an insurance broker to its client should be expanded for policy reasons.
California Appellate Court Expands Rights to Homeowners in Construction Defect Cases beyond Remedies Provided in the California Right to Repair Act
CA Expands Rights to Homeowners in Construction Defect Cases
September 19, 2013
The California Court of Appeals (Fourth District) has held that the Right to Repair Act does not provide the exclusive remedy to homeowners in cases where actual damage has occurred because of construction defects, thereby upholding a homeowner's common law rights and remedies to seek actual damages despite noncompliance with the terms and conditions required for relief under the Act.
California Appellate Court Confirms Cap on Past Medical Expenses Applies to Medicare Payments and Should Be Imposed before Further Reductions for Contributory Negligence
Cap on Past Medical Expenses Applies to Medicare Payments
April 25, 2013
This decision limits recovery of past medical expenses to the amount paid for services, refuting the argument that a cap should not apply where payments have been made by Medicare or Medi-Cal. In short, a plaintiff may recover only what he has lost - and no more.
California Supreme Court Grants Review of Appellate Ruling in Beacon v. Skidmore
UPDATE: CA Supreme Court to Review Design Professionals Case
March 11, 2013
The California Court of Appeal held that design professionals owe a duty of care to condo homeowners for professional negligence. The California Supreme Court recently granted a petition to review, which renders the Court of Appeal opinion void and under California rules it may not be cited as authority.
Los Angeles Superior Court Faces Dire Budget Cuts
Budget Cuts to Significantly Impact Los Angeles Courts
March 4, 2013
Estimated at between $56 million and $85 million, budget cuts will impact the amount of time it takes to bring matters before the courts. . With as many as ten courthouses in Los Angeles County closing, congestion will slow the court's entire caseload.
No Recovery for Emotional Distress If Claimant Had No Contemporaneous Awareness That Defective Product Was Cause of Injury
CA Limits Recovery for Emotional Distress in Bystander Cases
January 25, 2013
The California Court of Appeal affirmed a lower court decision that bystander liability is allowed only in cases where the plaintiff was able to observe the event and perceive that the defective product was the cause of pain or injury to their relative. While noting that the lines restricting bystander recovery are arbitrary, the Court of Appeal stated that, nevertheless, those lines are binding.
Truth, Lies and Consequences: Responding to Questions During Negotiation
Get in Their Head: Psychological Influence Tactics in Negotiation
CA Court of Appeal Holds Design Professionals Owe a Duty of Care to Condo Homeowners for Professional Negligence
Design Professionals' Duty of Care
December 20, 2012
California's First District Court of Appeal finds common law and statutory duties extend from design professionals to ultimate purchasers of residential construction. Despite the extensive analysis by the court, there remain open questions regarding the extent of the duty of care of design professionals to ultimate purchasers.
California Appellate Court Extends Completed and Accepted Doctrine to Architects' Field Operations
CA: Completed & Accepted Doctrine Covers Architects' Field Ops
November 8, 2012
While a California Appellate Court extended the completed and accepted doctrine to architects' field operations, it limits application of the doctrine to patent defects and activities in the field - the doctrine does not apply to claims of error in the development of plans and specifications.
California Legislature Limits Depositions in Civil Cases to Seven Hours
Depositions in Civil Cases
September 20, 2012
California's governor has signed Assembly Bill 1875, which limits the length of depositions in civil cases. The new law will go into effect on January 1, 2013.
California Supreme Court Affirms Strong Policy in Favor of Arbitration, Affirming Mandatory Arbitration Clause in CC&Rs for Construction Defect Litigation
Mandatory Arbitration Clause
August 20, 2012
In Pinnacle Museum Tower Association v. Pinnacle Market Development, the California Supreme Court's opinion demonstrates a strong public policy in favor of the mandatory arbitration of disputes. This case has clear implications regarding the enforceability of mandatory arbitration provisions in many other areas as well.
California Supreme Court Reaffirms Qualified Work Product Protection of Witness Statements
July 11, 2012
A recent California Supreme Court decision reaffirmed the need for clients to communicate with counsel early concerning the investigation conducted after an accident. The attorney can then direct the necessary investigation and analyze the manner in which witness information should be obtained to provide the necessary work product protection should the matter result in litigation.
California Court Holds Broker Has No Duty to Advise Additional OCIP Insured of Carrier's Insolvency
March 5, 2012
In Pacific Rim Mechanical Contractors, Inc. v. Aon Risk Insurance Services West, Inc., a case of first impression, the court held that an insurance broker, after procuring a policy of insurance for a developer on a construction project, does not owe a duty to apprise a subcontractor that was later added as an insured under that policy of the insurance company's subsequent insolvency, absent the assumption of a contractual duty to do so.
Chartis's Legal Insights Publishes Two Articles by Wilson Elser Attorneys in the Winter 2012 Issue
January 10, 2012
Legal Insights has published two articles by California-based Wilson Elser attorneys in its winter 2012 issue.
Subcontractors' Revolt Takes Hold in California: New Law Bans Indemnity for Active Negligence in Construction Contracts
SB 474, recently signed into law by Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. bans so-called Type I indemnity agreements that require subcontractors to assume liability for general contractors' negligence.
Rewriting the Rules: Additive Manufacturing Creates New Rules for Products Liability
Non-Traditional Attorney Advertising on the Internet
DRI: For the Defense
Limits on California design professionals' indemnity obligation in public contracts
In the recent cases of Crawford v. Weather Shield Manufacturing, (2008) 44 Cal. 4th 541, and UDC-Universal Development Company LP v. CH2M Hill, (2010) 181 Cal.App.4th 10, California appellate courts have upheld a design professional's contractual defense obligation, even in the absence of any finding of negligence by the design professional.
California's Mandatory Green Building Standards
DRI: For the Defense
First-in-the-nation statewide mandatory green building standards code; expected to generate future construction and design claims
On January 12, 2010, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced that the California Building Standards Commission unanimously adopted the first-in-the-nation mandatory Green Building Standards Code (CALGREEN). These mandatory building regulations will apply to all new construction in California including, but not limited to, all residential and commercial buildings. The CALGREEN Code will take effect on January 1, 2011, and will become the baseline for regulating green construction statewide.
The Impact of Green Building Initiatives on Construction Defect and Design Claims
California Litigation: The Journal of the Litigation Section, State Bar of California
Volume 21, Number 2, 2008
Mediating with Integrity, DRI's For the Defense (January 2010)
Conflict Awareness: Considerations Presented by Litigation Management Guidelines, DRI's For the Defense (June 2009)
Are We Ready for Nanoethics? DRI Professionalism Perspectives, Vol. 1 No. 7 (Fall 2007)
CLAIMS MANAGEMENT - It Still Ain't Fun and Games!! Update on Emerging Sports & Recreation Risks
April 10, 2014
Claims and Litigation Management Alliance (CLM) Annual Conference
Conjuring Success - The Psychology of Negotiation
Wednesday, March 19
Claims & Litigation Management Alliance - Los Angeles Chapter
Mock Trial and Presentation on Surplus Line Broker Ethics
March 12-13, 2013
Surplus Line Association of California
Reducing Billing Write Downs: Drafting Informative Invoices
CLM Annual Conference
Protecting Privacy in the Corporate Environment: The View from 10,000 Feet
CLM Annual Conference
Advanced Strategies for Success at Mediation, CLM Regional Training, Brea, CA (2011) California's Green Building Standards Code, London, England (2010)
Construction Claims Legal Seminar, Construction Management Association of America, Long Beach, CA (2009)
Contracting for Green Design & Construction, Construction Management Association of America, Long Beach, CA (2009)
Defense of Construction Claims, Construction Safety Council Annual Conference, Chicago, IL (2007)
Panel Moderator, Product Safety and Liability Prevention Seminar, New Orleans, LA (2005)
Legal Insights Publishes Two Articles by Wilson Elser Partners
April 25, 2013
Los Angeles Team Wins Summary Judgment in Catastrophic Injury Case
November 29, 2011
Ian Stewart and Terri Smith to Speak at Council on Litigation Management Conference
February 14, 2011
Ian A. Stewart and Terri Smith will be participating in a roundtable discussion entitled Reducing Billing Write Downs: Drafting Informative Invoices.
Los Angeles team obtains defense verdict after five-day jury trial
August 13, 2010
Marc V. Allaria (Of Counsel-Los Angeles), Ian A. Stewart (Partner-Los Angeles) and Daniel H. Lee (Associate-Los Angeles) recently prevailed in a fraud and violation of labor code matter decided in Los Angeles Superior Court.
The Importance of Trust and Reputation: Mediating with Integrity
DRI: For the Defense
Considerations Presented by Litigation Management Guidelines
DRI: For the Defense