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Mortimer H. Hartwell

Mortimer H. Hartwell Partner, Commercial & Business Litigation

Mort’s practice focuses on a wide variety of matters, including the management of litigation and trials of complex products liability, toxic tort, catastrophic incident, environmental, and class action cases. Mort represents a variety of clients, including manufacturers, importers, private equity groups, technology companies, and individuals (typically shareholders and officers of corporations). He has also represented a variety of Asian clients in breach of contract cases, American and European antitrust investigations, and shareholder disputes.

Mort has extensive experience with litigation involving the California Corporations Code and its provisions for removal of officers and directors. He has served as national counsel for a variety of products liability clients, including those in asbestos, medical devices, automotive parts, food products, and wearable technology. He also frequently counsels clients on product recall and warning issues.



Experience Highlights

  • First chair trial attorney in complex breach of fiduciary duty and breach of contract case involving a Chinese textile manufacturer and former business partner, resulting in a verdict of $40 million (net) on behalf of the client; this was one of the largest in the state of California in 2013, and ranked in the top ten plaintiffs verdicts by impact for 2013 by The San Francisco Daily Journal 
  • Management and litigation of catastrophic injury and contamination cases involving toxic exposures, workplace accidents, and occupational exposures to chemicals 
  • (Wash.) — Extensive development of punitive damages defenses and defense themes for clients in mass tort and repeat injury cases, including led the defense group in restricting a defendant’s duty to warn of the hazards of component parts of their products in a case in the Supreme Court of Washington
  • Representation of technology companies in products claims, including those involved in wearable technology product liability and class action claims; routinely counsels consumer products technology companies on risk avoidance issues 
  • Counsel for a defendant in a CERCLA cost recovery action involving alleged contamination to drinking water by perchlorate; summary adjudication granted on major causes of action, including dismissal of punitive damages leading to nominal settlement of case 

Products Liability

  • Served as lead trial lawyer with significant jury trial experience in product liability asbestos litigation for manufacturing clients; handled trials of several large groups of plaintiffs with punitive damages exposure; assisted in the development of punitive damages defense and coordination of thousands of cases in the western United States 
  • (W.D. Was.) — National counsel for a beverage manufacturer in mass food contamination cases, based on exposure to the E. coli bacteria; developed all percipient and expert witnesses for defense of cases, and coordinated the litigation of hundreds of cases brought primarily in the western United States; handled product recall and investigation by U.S. FDA and defeated class certification in U.S. District Court, Western District of Washington; assisted in successfully crafting a punitive damages defense, which led to the ultimate resolution of all liabilities
  • National counsel for a manufacturer of medical devices in many high-profile wrongful death/personal injury actions; developed defense strategy, drafted key dispositive motions, and coordinated all discovery; majority of cases dismissed summarily 
  • National counsel for motorcycle parts manufacturer in various jurisdictions throughout the United States; handled two product recalls and coordinated litigation of all products liability cases for the company; successfully resolved major cases through mediation 

Environmental Litigation

  • (N.D. Cal.) — Represented a defendant in a CERCLA cost recovery action in the Northern District of California; punitive damages and various claims dismissed on summary judgment leading to nominal settlement
  • Represented a produce company in the first CERCLA proceeding involving private land in the state of Hawaii 
  • Represented a major semiconductor manufacturer in property damage and groundwater contamination litigation 
  • Extensive advice counseling and litigation relating to California’s Proposition 65, which mandates warnings of the dangers of toxic exposure by manufacturers of consumer products and landowners 

Class Action & Other Business Litigation

  • Represented a former CEO of California’s largest agricultural cooperative in a shareholder breach of fiduciary duty and fraud class action; shareholder class was decertified, resulting in minimal settlement of claims
  • Defeated a class action against a beverage manufacturer for alleged false advertising relating to juice products nutritional value 
  • Represented an officer and directors of a medical device technology startup company in proceedings related to attempts to remove them from the company’s board; monetary damages claims dismissed on demurrer without leave to amend leading to settlement
  • Represented a tomato sauce manufacturer in litigation and arbitration relating to a grower’s failure to deliver commodities as contracted 
  • (N.D. Cal.) – Motion to dismiss granted in its entirety to a nationwide class action complaint against a producer of wearable fitness trackers; the complaint alleged that the technology did not maintain a battery charge or perform health monitoring tasks as promoted in its advertising and packaging 

Toxic Tort Litigation

  • Represented a beverage manufacturer in one of the largest E. coli outbreaks in United States 
  • Represented a landfill in class action relating to alleged exposures from vapors and dusts from landfill; class certification denied 
  • Represented a major manufacturer in silica-related exposure cases nationally 
  • Represented transportation companies in toxic exposure cases resulting from derailment of tank cars 


  • 於一涉及在中國的紡織品公司和其事業合夥人間背信與違約案件中擔任首席庭審律師,為客戶贏得超過四千萬美元的裁決;此為加州二○一三年最大訴訟案件之一,並經《舊金山日報》(San Francisco Daily Journal)評選為二○一三年十大原告勝訴案件
  • 涉及毒物外洩、工安意外、與因公致化學物品污染等相關訴訟案件之管理與進行
  • (華盛頓州) ─ 就多方侵權與連續傷害案件之懲罰性損害賠償抗辯有深入探討,包括於華盛頓州最高法院帶領辯護律師團在被告應就其產品零配件所可能造成的危害之警告責任做了限制
  • 代表科技公司處理產品責任訴訟案件,包含涉及穿戴科技產品之產品責任與損害賠償之集體訴訟;長期為消費性產品科技公司提供關於風險規避之法律諮詢
  • 在一依CERCLA法案提起關於飲用水遭高氯酸鹽汙染之案件中代表被告獲得懲罰性損害賠償不成立之有利判決,並進而達成象徵性賠償之和解


  • 於協助石棉廠商處理產品責任訴訟案件中積累豐富之陪審團審判經驗,並於案件審理過程擔任主要庭審律師;為多個集體原告處理涉及懲罰性損害賠償的案件;協助研擬懲罰性賠償之抗辯並擔任客戶於美國西部數以千計之相關案件的協調工作
  • (美國華盛頓州西區聯邦地區法院) — 代表一飲料製造商處理大規模大腸桿菌食品汙染案件,選任並邀請專家證人為客戶提供證詞,協調客戶在美國西部數以百計之相關案件之進行;配合處理美國食品藥物管理局之調查與產品召回,於美國華盛頓州西區聯邦地區法院贏得集體訴訟不成立的裁定;成功地運用懲罰性損害賠償之抗辯使被告最終得以免除所有責任
  • 代理醫療設備製造商處理在全美多起高知名度之不當致死/傷害訴訟案件;研擬辯護策略、草擬關鍵聲請,並協調所有取證程序;大多數案件最終均由法院依簡易程序予以駁回
  • 代表摩托車零件製造商於全美處理兩件產品召回案件並協調客戶所有產品責任之訴訟案件;成功地使多起主要案件最終得依調停解決爭議


  • (美國加州北區聯邦地區法院) — 在一於加州北區聯邦地區法院依CERCLA法案提起之訴訟案件中代表被告獲得懲罰性損害賠償及多項損害賠償請求不成立之有利判決,並進而達成象徵性賠償之和解
  • 代表一農產品公司處理在夏威夷州的第一件依CERCLA法案所提起涉及私人土地之案件
  • 代表某大型半導體製造商處理毀損與地下水汙染訴訟案件
  • 就加州65號提案強制消費性產品製造商與土地所有人應就毒物暴露危險為警告之相關規定提供諮詢


  • 在一由加州最大農業合作社股東所提起的違反誠信義務與詐欺集體訴訟中,代理卸任執行長獲得集體訴訟不成立的裁定,並得以最低的賠償達成和解
  • 在一控訴果汁產品營養價值廣告不實的集體訴訟案中,為飲料製造商贏得訴訟
  • 代表某醫療設備科技新創公司之一主要職員與多位董事於董事除名程序中成功地使法院裁定原告之損害賠償請求駁回並不得再為修改重提,最終案件以和解收場
  • 代表某番茄醬製造商處理因栽種商無法依約交付商品所提起之訴訟與仲裁案件
  • (美國加州北區聯邦地區法院) – 代表一穿戴式健身追蹤器製造商在一全國性集體訴訟案件中聲請法院駁回訴訟獲准;該製造商遭控其技術無法維持電池電量、或如廣告與包裝所稱具備健康監控功能


  • 代理一飲料製造商處理美國之一重大大腸桿菌爆發疫情之案件
  • 就一控訴暴露於來自垃圾掩埋場的空氣與粉塵之集體訴訟案件中,代表垃圾掩埋場獲得集體訴訟不成立的裁定
  • 代理某大型製造商處理其於全美多起關於矽膠洩露之案件
  • 代理一運輸公司處理因油罐車脫軌所導致毒物洩露案件

Contact Details

San Francisco

T +1.415.979.6930
F +1.415.704.3358
555 Mission Street
Suite 2000
San Francisco, CA 94105
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Mort's Practices

  • University of California, Davis School of Law, J.D., 1991
  • University of Southern California, B.S.,1987
  • Admitted to practice: California
  • BTI’s Litigation Outlook 2014, named a Class Actions and Mass Torts “Powerhouse,” 2014
  • Member: Bar Association of San Francisco