Ethan Dettmer is a partner in Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher’s San Francisco office, and is a member of the firm's Litigation Department.
Mr. Dettmer’s practice includes transnational litigation, securities, corporate governance, and professional malpractice litigation, as well as internal corporate investigations. He has represented clients in contract, real estate, intellectual property, consumer class actions, and other business disputes, as well as constitutional litigation over equal protection and due process, First Amendment, and preemption questions.
- He is a member of the team representing Chevron Corporation in multiple venues against a conspiracy seeking to extort billions of dollars from Chevron based on fraudulent environmental claims and a sham Ecuadorian lawsuit, and was a member of the trial team in Chevron’s RICO suit against the co-conspirators. Chevron Corp. v. Donziger, ___ F.Supp.2d ___; 2014 WL 815553 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 4, 2014).
- He was a member of the trial team that successfully challenged California’s Proposition 8 in federal court under the United States Constitution, vindicating marriage equality in California. Perry v. Schwarzenegger, 704 F.Supp.2d 921 (N.D. Cal. 2010), aff'd sub nom. Perry v. Brown, 671 F.3d 1052 (9th Cir. 2012), vacated and remanded, 133 S.Ct. 2652 (2013). He represented 65 current and former California legislators as amici curiae in the California Supreme Court in the earlier challenge to Proposition 8 under the California Constitution. Strauss v. Horton, 46 Cal.4th 364 (2009).
- He successfully defended the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) in a case challenging FINRA’s member disciplinary system. Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. v. FINRA, 861 F.Supp.2d 1063 (N.D. Cal. 2012).
- He convinced the Ninth Circuit to affirm the immunity of two arbitrators who had been sued for disqualifying a party’s representative from representing the party in an ongoing arbitration proceeding. Sacks v. Dietrich, 663 F.3d 1065 (9th Cir. 2011).
- He was a member of the team that won summary judgment on behalf of The Williams Companies, Inc. and its former CEO in securities litigation seeking nearly $3 billion in damages in connection with the bankruptcy of Williams’ former telecommunications subsidiary. He was also one of the Gibson Dunn lawyers who subsequently defended that summary judgment victory on appeal. In re Williams Companies Securities Litigation, 558 F.3d 1130 (10th Cir. 2009); see 558 F.3d 1144 (10th Cir. 2009) (upholding, in the same case, what plaintiffs labeled “the highest costs award in the history of American jurisprudence” in favor of Williams and the other defendants).
- He was a member of the Gibson Dunn team that won summary judgment on behalf of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in a significant case brought under the California False Claims Act, and successfully defended that victory in the California Supreme Court. Harris v. PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, 39 Cal.4th 1220 (2006).
Mr. Dettmer is the hiring partner for Gibson Dunn’s San Francisco office and is a member of the firm-wide Hiring, Professional Development, and Pro Bono Committees, and co-chair of the Bay Area Offices’ Pro Bono Committee. He has argued appeals and lead successful trial teams on behalf of pro bono clients in state and federal court. He is a member of the Steering Committee of the firm’s Securities Litigation Practice Group.
Mr. Dettmer is a member of the State Bars of California and Michigan, and is admitted to practice in various federal courts. He was a law clerk to the late Justice James H. Brickley of the Michigan Supreme Court before joining Gibson Dunn, and is an honors graduate of Harvard College and the University of Michigan Law School. Mr. Dettmer was an admissions and financial aid officer at Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges before attending law school.