Daniel A. Saunders is a leading trial and appellate lawyer focusing on a wide variety of complex business litigation, entertainment, employment, and white collar cases. Dan represents corporate and individual clients in a broad range of high-stakes civil and criminal litigation and government, regulatory, and internal investigations. Dan has tried more than 40 jury trials and arbitrations, and has briefed and/or argued more than 50 appeals before various U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal.
Dan is recognized as a top practitioner by Benchmark Litigation, Best Lawyers and by California Super Lawyers for twelve consecutive years (2011-2022). He has also been recognized as a Leading Litigator in America by Lawdragon and as a top entertainment litigator in Variety’s “Legal Impact Report,” which spotlights leading attorneys in the entertainment industry.
Dan spent 14 years in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles, serving in a number of positions, including as Deputy Chief of the Violent & Organized Crime Section. While at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Dan prosecuted hundreds of cases covering a broad range of federal criminal offenses, including the highly publicized RICO/wiretapping prosecution of private investigator Anthony Pellicano and his associates and the RICO prosecution of Hollywood nightclub owner Eddie Nash for conspiring to commit the infamous “Wonderland murders.” Dan received the Prosecutor of the Year award from the Los Angeles County Bar Association, as well as the Department of Justice's Director's Award for Superior Performance as an Assistant U.S. Attorney.
Dan has taught trial advocacy and evidence courses at the Department of Justice’s National Advocacy Center in Columbia, South Carolina, and also served for seven years as a professor of constitutional law and criminal procedure at Glendale University College of Law. He has lectured on the American criminal justice system and prosecution of organized crime, money laundering, and public corruption cases at international conferences in Ukraine, Romania, Moldova, the Czech Republic, and the International Law Enforcement Academy in Budapest, Hungary.
He clerked for U.S. Circuit Judge Robert Boochever.
- Actor Scarlett Johansson in a multi-million dollar lawsuit alleging that The Walt Disney Company interfered with her contract to receive a box-office bonuses from the Marvel Entertainment film, Black Widow, by forcing its wholly-owned subsidiary Marvel to release Black Widow on its Disney+ streaming service simultaneously with the film’s release in theatres, in violation of Marvel’s commitment to an exclusive theatrical release.
- Actors David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel and author-producer Kathy Reichs, the stars and creator of the hit TV series “Bones,” in an arbitration against 21st Century Fox, Fox Broadcasting Company, and other Fox entities alleging self-dealing and fraud. The case resulted in a $179 million award, the largest arbitration award ever issued in a profit participation dispute.
- Producers of a hit television series in a confidential arbitration against a producing studio and network alleging breach of contract, self-dealing, and fraud; clients secured substantial damages award.
- Entertainment guild in multiple arbitrations against television studios for underpayment of member residuals in connection with their licensing of television series to affiliated streaming services.
- Genting Malaysia Berhad in a $1 billion lawsuit against 21st Century Fox and The Walt Disney Company over intellectual property licensing for a planned Fox-branded theme park in Malaysia.
- Las Vegas resort and casino in its defense against alleged trade dress and copyright infringement claims relating to a $4 billion construction project; secured stipulated dismissal of complaint.
- Canadian businessman Frank Stronach in a $40 million lawsuit brought by a former partner for share of The Stronach Group’s racing and gaming assets; secured full dismissal of complaint as against client.
- Independent film producer under investigation by the FBI and IRS for conducting an alleged Ponzi scheme; successfully persuaded the government to close its investigation with no filing of charges.
- Operator of Los Angeles charter schools in a multi-agency federal investigation for alleged misuse of educational funds; secured non-prosecution agreement.
- Aspire Music Group in a breach of contract lawsuit against Universal Music Group and Lil Wayne’s record label Young Money Entertainment over unpaid profits and royalties from recording artist Drake’s albums.
Prior to joining Kasowitz:
- Beats Electronics, Jimmy Iovine, and Dre in a lawsuit over authorship of design of music headphone models and rights to attendant royalties.
- Lead defendant in a $30 million stock manipulation indictment. Obtained a full dismissal of all charges against client and eight co-defendants prior to trial through motion to suppress wiretap evidence.
- Security director of multi-level marketing company in a federal case involving conspiracy and computer hacking and related state charges. Successfully argued for sentence of probation over government’s request for imprisonment in federal case; obtained full dismissal of state charges.
- Iranian-American businessman who pleaded guilty to unlicensed money transmitting, failure to disclose foreign bank accounts, and filing false tax returns. Successfully persuaded court to reject 57-71 month imprisonment range set by federal sentencing guidelines and instead impose sentence of three years’ probation.
- Russian entrepreneur in a federal jury trial on tax fraud and immigration charges. Obtained a full dismissal of all tax charges at close of the government’s case; secured reversal of remaining charges from Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals based on trial court’s improper denial of motion to suppress evidence.
- Businessman charged with multiple counts of tax fraud, obstructing an IRS audit and lying to IRS agents. A jury trial in federal court resulted in not-guilty verdicts on all counts after less than an hour of jury deliberations.
- Fortune 500 company in an internal investigation of potential violations of FCPA accounting provisions stemming from falsification of expense reports and use of company assets for illegal overseas activities.
- Widow who pleaded guilty to concealing $43 million from the IRS in offshore accounts. Co-authored sentencing memo that resulted in the United States District Judge imposing a sentence of five seconds of probation and chastising government for bringing the case.
- Employees of healthcare subsidiary of Fortune 500 company in a DOJ criminal investigation and private civil litigation alleging off-label marketing of medical device.
- Chief Financial Officer and General Counsel of Fortune 500 company in a SEC investigation of corporate accounting practices.
- Non-operating partners of BP in multi-district litigation resulting from Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
- Consumer electronics start-up company in connection with a royalty audit, termination of distribution agreement, and internal employee investigation.
- Life insurance company in an internal investigation of whistleblower allegations of underwriting process exceptions and anti-money laundering violations.