Daniel A. Saunders is a leading trial and appellate lawyer focusing on a variety of complex business litigation, intellectual property, entertainment, and white collar cases. Dan represents corporate and individual clients in a broad range of civil and criminal litigation and government, regulatory, and internal investigations, including for potential violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, Securities Exchange Act and False Claims Act. Dan has tried more than 40 jury trials, and has briefed and/or argued more than 50 appeals before various U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal. Dan has been recognized as a top practitioner by Benchmark Litigation, Best Lawyers and by Super Lawyers for ten consecutive years (2011-2020). He has also been recognized 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. 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. In addition, he has lectured on the American criminal justice system and prosecution of organized crime, money laundering, and public corruption cases at numerous international conferences.
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 star in the Marvel Entertainment film, Black Widow. The complaint alleges that Disney forced 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. The complaint further alleges that this conduct by Disney devalued Ms. Johansson’s agreement, which was largely based on the film’s total box office receipts.
- Producers and stars of two hit television series in separate arbitrations against producing studios and networks alleging self-dealing and fraud; clients secured substantial damages awards in both matters.
- 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.
- Operator of Los Angeles charter schools in multi-agency federal investigation for alleged misuse of educational funds; secured non-prosecution agreement.
Prior to joining Kasowitz:
- Beats Electronics, Jimmy Iovine, and Dr. Dre in 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 royalty audit, termination of distribution agreement, and internal employee investigation.
- Life insurance company in internal investigation of whistleblower allegations of underwriting process exceptions and anti-money laundering violations.
- Lead counsel in the six-year investigation and RICO/wiretapping prosecution of private investigator Anthony Pellicano and 13 of his criminal associates, including lawyer Terry Christensen, LAPD Sergeant Mark Arneson and film director John McTiernan. The case featured five jury trials, including 11-week and 6-week trials, as well as extensive grand jury proceedings and more than 150 motions briefed/opposed. All defendants were convicted.
- Lead counsel in the 10-week trial of seven defendants in the largest Eastern European human trafficking case ever filed in the United States. All defendants were convicted.
- Obtained conviction of former Hollywood nightclub owner Eddie Nash on racketeering charges related to 1981 “Wonderland” murders.
- Obtained healthcare fraud convictions and 22 1/2-year sentence for serial M.D. impersonator Gerald Barnbaum (aka Gerald Barnes).