• email
  • share

Ian L. Johnson

Ian L. JohnsonSenior Of Counsel510.808.2000Bio PDF


Ian Johnson has an extensive litigation background that includes complex commercial litigation, mass torts, product liability, and international arbitration. He has handled construction and design litigation matters, securities and white-collar matters, real estate litigation, internal investigations pursuant to regulatory inquiries, and employment litigation.

Ian also performs significant pro bono work, having defended clients in approximately three dozen cases. Three of those cases went to trial, with two ending in settlement and one in a verdict for the client.

Representative Matters

Construction and Design Litigation:

  • Independent Construction Company v. California Department of Water Resources. Represented the Department of Water Resources on cross-petition to confirm/vacate a multi-million dollar arbitration award in favor of contractor. After protracted proceedings, which involved an unsuccessful effort to obtain interlocutory appellate review, the Superior Court vacated the award on finding that the contractor had violated the Contractors’ State License Law (“CSLL”) and that its violations could not be excused under the CSLL’s “substantial compliance” exception. Currently representing the Department in the appeal taken by the contractor.
  • City of Santa Barbara v. CDM Smith. Represented the City of Santa Barbara in a five-week jury trial relating to the defective design of a recycled water treatment facility. The jury returned a multi-million dollar award in favor of the City.
  • Stronghold Engineering v. City of Monterey. Representing the City in a suit relating to delays on a project to renovate the Monterey Convention Center. The City has filed a cross-complaint against the contractor alleging defective construction and violations of the Subcontractor Listing Law (Pub. Cont. Code §§ 4100 et seq.), the California False Claims Act (Gov. Code §§ 12650 et seq.) and the CSLL. The City’s Appeals Hearing Board recently assessed a penalty of over $300,000 against the contractor for listing violations. Assisting in representing the City in the anticipated judicial mandamus proceedings.
  • Santa Clara Valley Water District v. CH2M Hill, Inc. et al. Representing the District in a suit involving the defective design of the residuals management system at the District’s Rinconada Water Treatment Plant. The case, initially filed in Santa Clara Superior Court, was removed to federal court by CH2M Hill. Successfully represented the District in securing remand to state court.  Santa Clara Valley Water District v. CH2M Hill, Inc. (N.D. Cal., July 24, 2020, No. 19-CV-08295-LHK) 2020 WL 4252677.
  • Skanska-Shimmick-Herzog v. Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority. Defending the Authority in a suit relating to delays on an almost $1 billion design-build project to extend BART into Silicon Valley. The Authority has cross-complained against the design-build contractor, alleging that the delays were caused by defects in the design and construction work performed by the design-build contractor and its subcontractors.
  • Flatiron Construction v. City of Oakland. Defending the City of Oakland in a dispute relating to the construction of a bridge over the Embarcadero Channel. The City has cross-complained against the contractor and the design engineers for project delay, design and construction defects, and violations of the Professional Engineers Act.

Commercial Litigation

  • Defend four officers and directors in a state-court derivative and breach of contract action.
  • Assist the receiver of an insolvent manufacturing company in international arbitrations relating to the carve-out and sale of its photo-imaging business.
  • Assist the claimant in an international arbitration involving the wrongful termination of auto dealership agreements.
  • Representing the claimant in a domestic arbitration relating to the wrongful termination of restaurant franchise agreements.
  • Represent a European media conglomerate in an investment-treaty arbitration related to the client’s purchase of a mobile phone provider.
  • Defend a major ship-owning and ship-management company in an international arbitration relating to a contract for the transshipment of coal.

Product Liability/Mass Tort Litigation

  • Represent foreign companies in federal multi-district litigation relating to the manufacture and sale of allegedly defective drywall.
  • Represent a major chemical manufacturer in state-court asbestos litigation.
  • Assist a major manufacturer of lawn and pet care products in a nationwide product-liability class action.
  • Defend a pharmaceuticals manufacturer in two series of product-liability cases in several state jurisdictions.


Unsolicited e-mails do not create an attorney-client relationship and confidential or secret information included in such e-mails cannot be protected from disclosure. Please do not include any confidential, secret or otherwise sensitive information concerning any potential or actual legal matter in your e-mail message. Thank you.