Daniel J. Woods
A partner in the Firm's Los Angeles office, Daniel J. Woods is one of the most accomplished and decorated litigators in Los Angeles, indeed, the entire country. The American Bar Association, California Bar Association, Inner City Law Center, Chambers USA and Los Angeles Daily Journal are just some of the publications and peer organizations which have honored Mr. Woods for his work.
In 2023, for example, Mr. Woods briefed, argued, and won an appeal in the California Court of Appeal for client Wells Fargo Bank, in Garland Connect v. Wells Fargo Bank, et al., and won a hotly-contested four-day court trial for a California insurance company in a coverage/bad faith action.
Two other recent cases highlight Mr. Woods’ ability to obtain significant results on behalf of clients in a variety of cases.
In Certain Collapsible and Portable Furniture, ITC Inv. No. 337-TA-1178, Mr. Woods defeated patent infringement claims against client MacSports, Inc. before the International Trade Commission.
After lengthy pre-hearing proceedings, in December 2020, an ITC Administrative Law Judge in Washington D.C. conducted a three-day, remote, evidentiary hearing involving lawyers and witnesses from around the country. In February 2021, the Administrative Law Judge issued a 300-page decision in which he found that the MacSports chairs did not infringe its competitor's patents. Mr. Woods’ devastating cross-examination of GCI’s expert witness was critical to this finding.
On May 6, 2021, the full ITC issued its decision affirming the finding that MacSports’ chairs did not infringe the patent and terminated the investigation.
In 2021, he also defeated not one, but two motions for class certification for a municipality client sued for violations of the ADA and related claims.
He defeated a $300 million antitrust claim brought by a prominent litigation firm and obtained a judgment for over $2 million in defense fees and costs. The case involved an Indian yarn spinner filing a $300 million Sherman Act Section 1 antitrust lawsuit against Mr. Woods' client, cotton-grower J.G. Boswell Company. In May 2018, Mr. Woods won the arbitration with the three-judge panel ruling in J.G Boswell’s favor on every point and also awarded it over $2 million in fees and costs.
In Dexter Street Limited Partnership v. Wells Fargo Bank, Mr. Woods represented Wells Fargo in a commercial lease dispute. Dexter sought approximately $8 million in this long-running case. Mr. Woods secured a unanimous jury verdict for Wells Fargo on three of Dexter’s four specific claims and while it found in favor of Dexter on the fourth claim, awarded it only $1 in nominal damages, based on the suggestion to do so in Mr. Woods’ closing argument.
His greatest and most well-known case came when he represented the Log Cabin Republicans in the well-publicized “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” trial which ended the United States Military’s discriminatory policy towards the LGBTQ community. The trial took place in the Central District of California in July 2010 and Mr. Woods, on behalf of his client, won a judgment declaring the US military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) policy to be unconstitutional and an injunction against further enforcement of the policy on due process and First Amendment grounds. Mr. Woods litigated the case over the course of seven years on a pro bono basis, and it was his truly tenacious efforts that even got the case to trial in the first place. Mr. Woods was in attendance when the President signed the official repeal of the policy. For this work, he won high praise from peers, military leaders, members of the LGBTQ community and a score of others.
Mr. Woods has been interviewed by and quoted in several publications, including the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Law360, the Los Angeles Daily Journal, the San Jose Mercury News, Benchmark Litigation, the BBC, several national radio stations and more. Over the course of Mr. Woods’ career, he’s been recognized by The American Lawyer, National Law Journal, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, The Recorder, The Guardian, the Washington Post, NPR, CNN, USA Today and several other publications for his work.
Mr. Woods’ other victories include:
- In City of Los Angeles v. Charter Holdings, The City of Los Angeles sued Charter Holdings, an affiliate of Wells Fargo Bank, for breach of a lease, in Los Angeles Superior Court.The dispute involved the City’s claimed right to terminate its lease as to several floors in an office building several years early.The dispute had an estimated value of $7.5 million.Following the completion of discovery and on the eve of trial in March 2016, after Mr. Woods filed a very persuasive trial brief, the City decided to abandon its claims.The City not only dismissed the case, it paid Wells Fargo Bank $98,000 in attorneys’ fees.
- Representing HdL Software, two other entities, and two individuals in a trade secret case brought by Portfolio Recovery Associates and MuniServices LLC. After winning several motions and even obtaining sanctions against opposing counsel, the plaintiffs agreed to dismiss the remainder of the case as the trial date approached.
- Winning an arbitration involving the purchase and sale of a $30 million home in Beverly Hills, against Nile Niami, who is reportedly building a $500 million spec home, with a 20,000-square foot master bedroom. In October of 2015, Mr. Woods won a judgment of $4million plus attorney’s fees and costs in an arbitration in Los Angeles.
In his spare time, Mr. Woods has authored many articles and, for 20 years, authored the annual update to the California Continuing Education of the Bar’s three-volume treatise, California Civil Procedure During Trial. Mr. Woods' publications include:
- Author, Annual Updates to California Trial Practice: Civil Procedure During Trial, California Continuing Education of the Bar, 1998 - 2016.
- Co-author, "Understanding the Repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell, "Aspatore Special Report, 2011.
- "Easy Cases Can Make Bad Law – Belaire-West Landscape and Discovery in California Wage and Hour Class Actions," California Litigation Report, July 2008.
- "Employers Prevail in Class Actions Challenging Overtime Pay Exemption Status," California Litigation Report, February 2007.
- “Enforceability of Covenants Not To Complete in California,” December 2004.
- He has also been a community leader; a past President of the boards of directors of the Inner City Law Center, Uncommon Good, and the Los Angeles County Bar Foundation. He also volunteered as a judge pro tem in California state courts for 15 years.
Admissions & Associations
State Bar of California
United States District Court for the Northern, Eastern, Central and Southern Districts of California
United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
United States Supreme Court
Litigation Counsel of America, Senior Fellow (2021)
American Bar Foundation, Patron Fellow
Inner City Law Center, Board Member (1999-present) and Board President (2006-2012)
Uncommon Good (2000 to present), Board Member
Association of Business Trial Lawyers, Member
University of Southern California School of Law, J.D.
University of Southern California, B.A.