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James M. Schurz

Senior Counsel | San Francisco

I’ve won trials by focusing on a simple, compelling, fact-based theme—not a patchwork of theories but one overarching truth.


Represent Starbucks Corporation, The J.M. Smucker Company, The Kraft Heinz Company, Nestlé USA, Inc., Keurig Dr Pepper, Inc., and 50 other coffee companies against a Proposition 65 bounty hunter. The complaint claims that these companies—and the retailers who sell their products—are required under Prop 65 to provide cancer warnings on coffee based on the chemical acrylamide, which is created when coffee beans are roasted. MoFo secured a summary judgement in August 2020, effectively ending a 10-year litigation battle involving 46 days of trial in a phased trial.

Represent California Natural Products in industry-wide action involving arsenic claims related to California mines.

Represented client in international commercial arbitrations involving semiconductor fabrication facilities in Japan.

Represented Lumber Liquidators, the nation’s largest specialty retailer of hardwood flooring, in successfully defending a Proposition 65 trial. Plaintiffs alleged that Lumber Liquidators failed to warn customers about the cancer-causing formaldehyde in its laminate wood flooring. At the conclusion of plaintiffs’ case, Lumber Liquidators moved for judgment. The case was aggressively litigated by the premier plaintiffs’ firms and was one of the first environmental enforcement cases brought by any private equity fund that had publicly disclosed its short position in the enforcement target’s stock. The matter was the catalyst for the Anderson Cooper 60 Minutes feature claiming that the company’s products were dangerous, which led to hundreds of consumer class actions and government investigations. On April 4, 2016, Alameda County Superior Court Judge George C. Hernandez, Jr. ruled in favor of Lumber Liquidators. The company recovered a portion of its fees and costs from the plaintiffs.

Represented the Lummi Nation against the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe in a dispute over fishing rights. A Ninth Circuit panel ruled that the Lummi Nation’s right to take fish under a treaty executed in the 1850s includes disputed waters near Seattle, reversing a lower court’s award of a quick win to the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe.

Represented our client in multiple class actions involving the terms “natural” and “organic” on Hain’s personal care products, such as shampoos and soaps.

Named "Other Key Lawyer" in Product Liability, Mass Torts, and Class Action for Consumer Products

Legal 500 US, 2021