Over the past three decades, Joan M. Haratani has honed crisis management and courtroom skills in high-exposure cases. A co-lead counsel on some of the largest mass tort litigations in the United States, Joan defends her clients in class actions, product liability litigation, complex licensing agreements, and trade secret indemnity issues. While her litigation experience spans industries, including retail and finance, she focuses much of her practice on the pharmaceutical and medical device industries.
Joan’s practice spans state and federal law, including the Alien Tort Statute, California’s Unfair Competition Law (UCL), pharmaceutical and medical device liability doctrines, and national mortgage foreclosure issues.
Her crisis work includes serving as one of the lead national counsel in litigations involving the possible contamination of a blood product with hepatitis C. That case resulted in a worldwide recall. Joan also represented a major food manufacturer in a high-exposure product liability case alleging the product resulted in apoplexia to an infant, with a demand for more than $50 million in compensatory damages alone. As first chair trial lawyer, she reached a favorable settlement just as the trial was about to begin. She frequently represents medical device makers in product liability cases, including litigation involving surgical equipment and implantable intraocular lenses.
As co-lead counsel on behalf of a Fortune 50 retail company, Joan secured a dismissal at the federal court level in a worldwide class action concerning breach of contract allegations. That decision was later affirmed by the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Currently, she serves as one of the firm’s national counsel for a financial institution.
Known for her work as a California litigator, Joan has been recognized as one of the "Top 100 Lawyers in California" and as a "Top 75 Women Litigator" by the Daily Journal. She was selected by the corporate members of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association as a "Female Litigator on the Rise" in Diversity & the Bar. She was also named one of the 500 most influential Asian Americans in America by Avenue Asia Magazine.
Joan plays an active role in the legal community, and has served as a member of the American Bar Association’s House of Delegates. She also served as president for the Bar Association of San Francisco, the first woman of color to hold that position. She is also a past president of the Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area, as well as past regional governor of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association. She is a past board member of several philanthropic organizations, including The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) of Northern California. Notably, she was the first runner-up in the 2017 LLS Bay Area Woman of the Year campaign and is also an Elite Athlete with its Team in Training program.
Represented a Fortune 50 company in alleged worldwide class action concerning breach of contract allegations in the Southern District of California. Motion to dismissed affirmed by the Ninth Circuit.
Represented the world's largest eye care company in trade secrets litigation as first chair trial lawyer in California State Court. Favorable settlement reached after a multiday mediation.
Represented a Fortune 50 company in case alleging breach of supply contract in the United States and Canada filed in the Superior Court, City, and County of San Francisco. Favorable settlement reached after mediation.
Represented a Fortune 50 food manufacturer in trial involving $50M in compensatory damages as first chair trial lawyer in California State Court. Favorable settlement reached on eve of trial.
Represented a Fortune 50 food manufacturer in breach of insurance contract allegations for the successful recovery of attorneys' fees and settlement costs in underlying action filed in the Superior Court, San Mateo County.
Represented a financial institution in a breach of contract action for the recovery of hundreds of millions of dollars in damages before the Federal Court in Maryland. Settlement reached on eve of trial.
Represented a medical device manufacturer in a California state court regarding a dispute over royalty payments including trade secret allegations. Mediation result was favorable to client.
Represented a cosmetic manufacturer over trade secrets and royalty payment dispute in a California State Court resulting in multi-day mediation that was favorable to client.
Represented a major pharmaceutical company in national litigation as a first and second chair trial lawyer in allegations that one of its pharmaceuticals failed to warn against known risks. Favorable settlements reached.
Represented a medical device manufacturer as a trial lawyer against allegations in cases pending nationwide that its product caused connective tissue diseases. Defense verdict after a three-month trial in Superior Court, San Diego.
Represented a pharmaceutical company in national litigation that its blood product was allegedly contaminated with a virus. Favorable settlements reached.
Represented a medical device manufacturer in California State Court regarding multiple actions alleging that its products caused anaphylaxis.
Represented a major ophthalmic company with allegations before the California State Court that its surgical probes were defectively designed. Favorable settlements reached.
Retained by a semiconductor company to review international distribution agreements with particular emphasis on warranty provisions.
Saint John's College, Santa Fe, 1979, B.A. (double major)
University of California, Davis School of Law, 1984, J.D.
Awards and Affiliations
Honored by Mayor of San Francisco Edwin Lee, August 2nd proclaimed as “Joan Haratani Day” in The City and County of San Francisco
Recognized, The Most Influential Women in Bay Area Business, San Francisco Business Times (2018)
1st Runner-up, Bay Area Woman of the Year, The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (2017)
Past Board Member and Elite Team-in-Training Athlete, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society