crone_bio  

Gerald E. Hawxhurst


Partner
Crone Hawxhurst LLP


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(310) 893-5151
(310) 293-2233
(310) 893-5195
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Profile

Jerry is a resident partner in the Firm's Los Angeles and Austin offices.  He has engaged in commercial trial practice since 1994, when he graduated with honors from The University of Texas School of Law.  Before co-founding Crone Hawxhurst, Jerry practiced at the Los Angeles office of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan and, before that, at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett’s New York and Los Angeles offices.

Jerry's trial practice includes complex commercial disputes, class actions, employment matters, antitrust, royalty, copyright, trade secret, entertainment, securities and general business disputes in state and federal courts, as well as private arbitrations.  Jerry also provides pre-dispute and compliance counseling on a variety of legal issues.

Jerry was born and raised in South Texas.  He proudly represents a number of Texas-based clients, and is often asked by Texas law firms to act as their co-counsel in California litigation and is referred matters by them.

Jerry has been recognized by Los Angeles Magazine as a Southern California “Super Lawyer” (2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014) and a national “New Star” by Law Dragon magazine (2006).  In 2011, Jerry was recognized by Law Dragon as one of the top 3,000 lawyers in the U.S., based on a survey of attorneys and clients.  

In 2013, Jerry was appointed to the Development Board for the University of Texas at Austin.  The Development Board works closely with the UT president on strategic initiatives.  In 2011, Jerry was nominated and elected to serve a four-year term on the Executive Committee of the University of Texas School of Law Alumni Association.   In April 2014, the nominating committee invited Jerry to serve another four year term.  In March 2010, Jerry received a commendation from Robert S. Mueller, III, Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, for Jerry’s assistance in capturing a serial bank robber.

Jerry is the former First Vice-Chair of the Executive Committee of the California State Bar Antitrust and Unfair Competition Section (on which he served for six years).  He is admitted to practice in California, New York and Texas state, appellate and federal courts, as well as the Second, Fifth and Ninth Circuit Courts of Appeal.  

Before beginning private practice, Jerry was a briefing intern for former Texas Supreme Court Justice and current U.S. Senator John Cornyn.

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Representative Engagements

  • Jerry and a team of Crone Hawxhurst lawyers secured a complete defense summary judgment for the Firm’s client—the leading designer and seller in the United States of “mega-coasters” and cutting-edge theme park rides.  Jerry was hired to take over the case after the prior law firm had lost several significant motions and a prior action for the client, which was the basis of some of the claims against the client.  The plaintiff, represented by one of the country’s top antitrust plaintiff’s firms, sought almost $20 million in damages.  The win is especially impressive because the same trial court (in a prior action) had issued an order finding that our client had engaged in fraud on the patent office.  The matter is on appeal.
  • Jerry defeated a proposed class action on behalf of the Firm’s client, which marketed a product that helped allay hangover symptoms.  The named plaintiff alleged that the product did not work as advertised and, she alleged, did not work at all.  Jerry developed a strategy that included close scrutiny of the named plaintiff—including evidence suggesting that she was a particularly proficient partier—and testimony from consumers showing they were perfectly satisfied with the product and believed the advertisements at issue were not misleading to a reasonable consumer.  Presented with these facts, the federal district court issued an order finding that the class could not be certified and that some of the alleged claims were moot.  The named plaintiff paid thousands of dollars in fees and dismissed her claims with prejudice, rather than going to trial against the Firm and its client.
  • Jerry resolved on extremely favorable terms a class action against a marketer of consumer health products.  Jerry was hired to replace a prior law firm after it unsuccessfully opposed a motion to certify a California class of consumers who had purchased a back wrap that used hot and cold therapy, along with magnetic technology.  Because the product at issue was already being phased out as part of that line of products due to manufacturing costs—and because the company’s records indicated that consumers were happy with that line of products—Jerry developed a strategy to seek a nation-wide settlement class on a “claims-made” basis that would resolve all claims by all consumers for the entire line of products, rather than seeking to decertify the class that had been certified.  The strategy was successful.  Ultimately, less than $500 in claims were made, whereas all potential claims by all consumers in the United States were dismissed with prejudice as part of the class-wide settlement.  And, although the settlement contained a $600,000 clear sailing fee provision, the court awarded class counsel less than $300,000 in fees and costs (a small fraction of the millions they claimed to have incurred).
  • Jerry obtained a dismissal with prejudice of a proposed nation-wide class action against one of the country’s leading beverage companies.  The district court ordered dismissal after the named plaintiff refused to continue her deposition, which her counsel stopped after Jerry elicited testimony showing that the plaintiff’s claims lacked merit and that the claims would not be amenable to class action treatment.
  • Jerry and Daryl Crone were hired by one of the nation’s largest auto parts companies to take over from prominent national law firm, after the client’s copyright claims were dismissed on summary judgment.  Jerry and Daryl handled the appeal in the Ninth Circuit.  In a case of first impression, the Ninth Circuit agreed with Jerry’s argument that the work for hire doctrine trumped a copyright owner’s rights to control derivative works.  Along the way, Jerry persuaded the Ninth Circuit that, while the theory had not been articulated as such in the trial court, the issue was not waived.  In an unpublished memorandum decision, the Ninth Circuit affirmed dismissal of antitrust claims against Jerry’s client.
  • Among other victories, Jerry obtained substantial awards in two arbitrations for related entities against the same party—the manufacturer and marketer of popular energy drink.  Jerry obtained an award in an international arbitration between two Mexican companies (where much of the testimony was in Spanish).  Jerry obtained an award of several million dollars for his client (who was the claimant).  The opposing party abandoned all of its counter-claims (which sought millions of dollars) after Jerry cross-examined over a dozen of the opposing party’s witnesses, including its president and CEO.  
  • Jerry obtained a settlement of claims by an investment banker against her former employer for breach of an oral agreement to pay a large performance bonus.  Immediately after being engaged, Jerry hired an executive compensation and tax expert so that Jerry could formulate arguments to defeat the former employer’s anticipated defense that the bonus, even if promised, could not have been paid under federal securities and tax laws.  Jerry then proposed a formal mediation, during which he presented his client’s case and the reasons why the former employer’s arguments failed.  The mediation resulted in settlement with a suit having never been filed.  While the terms of the settlement are confidential, Jerry’s client is extremely happy with the outcome.
  • Jerry defeated efforts by the late Michael Jackson (the self-styled “King of Pop”) to halt the auction of his personal property from Neverland Ranch.  After defeating Jackson’s effort to obtain immediate return of his property by court order, Jerry was able to extract a settlement that allowed his clients to satisfy all their goals, including exhibiting the Neverland Ranch collection.  Although the exact terms of the settlement are confidential, Jerry’s clients received in settlement an amount that exceeded the pre-sale estimates of all of the property combined.  The clients are extremely happy with the outcome of the litigation, and even remained on good terms with Michael Jackson until his untimely death.
  • Jerry’s other recent victories include securing for a client a $48 million cash settlement in an arbitration where the other side refused to pay anything in connection with the cancellation of distribution rights for a leading energy drink; obtaining for an individual plaintiff an arbitration award of stock valued at over $8 million, where the former employer argued it owed nothing; extracting a confidential settlement from ABC Cable Networks in a case where Jerry’s client contended that he developed the idea for the hit Disney show Hannah Montana; and a “walk-away settlement” in a trade secrets and non-compete suit brought against Jerry’s client by a national sandwich chain.

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Family and Community Service

Jerry and his wife Sue divide their time between Austin, Texas and Palos Verdes Estates, California.  They have four children and are active members of the Palos Verdes PTA and the Peninsula Education Foundation.  They are Keaton Fellows and Sheffield Fellows of The University of Texas School of Law, members of The University of Texas Littlefield Society and Chancellor’s Council.  Jerry was recently appointed to the UT Development Board.

Jerry and Sue established the Gerald E. Hawxhurst and Susan St. Denis Endowed Presidential Scholarship at The University of Texas.  Their endowment provides financial aid to university students who did not graduate high school, but through perseverance are pursuing a college education and entering students who were wards of the state and have no family to provide basic needs, such as books and dorm room basics.

Jerry, Sue and Crone Hawxhurst are major supporters of Horns Helping Horns, a charity that serves independent students who arrive at UT with little or no family support and little financial resources.  

Jerry was born and raised in South Texas.  He spent his formative years on a small farm in the Texas Hill Country, along with seven brothers and sisters.  Before attending law school, Jerry received a mayor appointment to the Higher Education Authority of San Antonio, Texas.   

Jerry has also represented a variety of clients pro bono, including the Natural Resources Defense Council (which honored Jerry for obtaining the complete dismissal of a hundred-million-dollar lawsuit against them), an undocumented immigrant-owner of a small landscape company against a general contractor who refused to pay for work and materials (the general contractor paid up), and elderly client for whom he obtained social security benefits that had been wrongfully denied her.

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Education

The University of Texas School of Law
(J.D., cum laude, 1994)

University of the Incarnate Word
(B.B.A., magna cum laude, 1991)

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Representative Clients

Jerry has represented a diverse group of clients, including Innovation Ventures, LLC, Micron Technology, Inc., Boingo Wireless, Inc., Kalologie, Intamin, LTD., Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Inc., U.S. Auto Parts, Inc., Colt Industries, Blockbuster Inc., 5-Hour Energy, Herbalife International of America, Mattel, Inc., Viacom Inc., BAT Industries PLC, Intertek PLC, Paramount Pictures, The Producers' Guild of America, off-shore liquidators, corporate executives, high net-worth individuals, a well-known boxing promoter, and the owners of NBA and MLB franchises.

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Publications, Speeches and Presentations

“Trying a Section 1 Case”
State Bar of California Antitrust and Unfair Competition Section Annual Meeting, Fall 2006

"A State-by-State Look at the Law of Indirect Purchaser Damage Actions"
Journal of Competition (2006)

"The Nuts and Bolts of California's Unfair Competition Law"
State Bar of California Antitrust and Unfair Competition Section, Spring 2006

"California Cartwright Act: A Defendant's Perspective"
State Bar of California Annual Meeting, Fall 2005

”Proposition 64: A Comparative Analysis”
Journal of Competition (2005)

“Does Proposition 64 Apply to Pending Cases?”
State Bar of California Antitrust and Unfair Competition Section
Seminar, Fall 2004

“Competitor Collaborations”
State Bar of California Antitrust and Unfair Competition Section
Golden State Institute, Fall 2004

"Preventing Corporate Criminal Liability"
Benders' Legal Publications (2002)

"Antitrust Developments in the Media and Entertainment Industries"
Antitrust Review of the Americas (2002)

”Collective Industry Liability”
Association of the Bar of the City of New York, Fall 2000
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