Stephanie Sheridan has fine-tuned her legal expertise and practice concentrating on business and commercial litigation, with a distinct emphasis on defending consumer class actions, product liability, and matters involving California Business & Professions Code Section 17200 and the Consumer Legal Remedies Act. She counsels clients on California’s Proposition 65 and compliance with the mandates of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
In addition to being the managing partner for Sedgwick’s San Francisco office, Stephanie also founded and serves as the chair of the Retail and Fashion Industry Practice Group, representing retailers across the country in all aspects of litigation, and counsels clients regarding accordance with state and local laws, regulations and agency mandates.
Stephanie has been on the forefront of privacy statutes and is a recognized expert in the defense against FACTA (Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act) claims and California’s Song Beverly Credit Card Act class actions. Since 2014, Ms. Sheridan has defended retailers across the country in cases involving allegations of deceptive pricing schemes for both full price and outlet retailers. She advises clients regularly on California’s “Made in the USA” statute and is a frequent author and speaker for retail law organizations and in-house counsel regarding trends affecting retailers. In fact, she recently co-authored a chapter in Aspatore Books’ 2016 edition of Navigating Fashion Law.
Based on her in-depth knowledge across different business sectors, coupled with her extensive trial experience, Stephanie is known for her ability to identify strategic resolutions that protect and balance her clients’ financial interests, business objectives and customer relationships.
Jury Trial Experience
Stephanie has tried many civil jury actions to verdict, which have all resulted in defense verdicts or, in one case, a verdict that required no monetary payout from her client. Her defense verdict in an alleged brain injury case was chosen by the California Daily Journal as one of the “Top 10 Defense Verdicts” of the year. The publication ran a feature story on Stephanie and her successful defense strategy. She has also successfully defended at trial the food and hospitality industry, an automotive component manufacturer and a large utility company.
Stephanie’s class action defense expertise and established track record of successful motion practice and defeating class certification includes the defense of a Fortune 10 company in a national class actions involving allegations of consumer fraud, deceptive trade practices, warranty and statutory claims; the defeat of consumer class action on behalf of an automobile manufacturer on a motion to dismiss and defeating class certification on behalf of an international office services company in consumer class actions involving claims of statutory violations. She obtained a dismissal of a class action against a medical device company on an initial Motion to Dismiss; secured multiple dismissals of deceptive pricing class actions against retailers and defeated a class action on behalf of universities in consumer class actions alleging deceptive representations. She led the defense of retailers in multi-state class action matters alleging data security and privacy violations and advises clients on state and federal laws governing automatic-renewal and continuous service programs. Additional examples of Stephanie’s representative matters include the following:
- Dismissals of multiple class actions on behalf of retailers alleged to have engaged in deceptive pricing practices.
- Successfully defended several universities in consumer class actions alleging fraudulent representations about post-graduation employment opportunities, by defeating class certification.
- Lead National Counsel for retailers and manufacturers in “no injury” consumer class actions.
- Successful resolution and negotiated dismissals of dozens of FACTA (Fair & Accurate Credit Transactions Act) and Song-Beverly Credit Card Act (ZIP code collection) class actions in California, as well as in other jurisdictions with similar consumer protection and privacy laws.
- Class action counsel for Fortune 10 company in consumer class actions in multistate matters.
- Handled class action matters throughout several states on behalf of nationwide retailers and fashion accessory companies with respect to alleged data security/privacy statute violations.
- Acted as National Counsel for the largest domestic manufacturer of airbags for over a decade.
- Active Proposition 65 practice representing retailers, fashion industry interests, and the food and nutritional supplement industry.
Presentations and Publications
Stephanie writes and speaks on products liability and complex litigation issues. Her published work and presentations include:
- Co-author, “Long-Awaited Overstock Decision Far From “Appealing” for Retailers,” Sedgwick’s Retail Pricing Litigation Alert (June 7, 2017).
- Co-author, “Significant New Decision in Pricing Case Puts Spotlight on Difficulty With Damages Claims,” Sedgwick’s Retail Pricing Litigation Alert (May 15, 2017).
- Co-author, “Ninth Circuit Decision Opens the Doors (if Not the Floodgates) for Plaintiffs to Cash in on Pricing Litigation, and Updates of Other Appellate Decisions on the Horizon,” Sedgwick’s Retail Pricing Litigation Alert (April 19, 2017).
- Co-author, “Harbor Freight Tools Settles Nationwide Pricing Claims for up to $33M,” Sedgwick’s Retail Pricing Litigation Alert (April 10, 2017).
- Co-author, “Art.com Settles Pricing Case for $20M...Kind of,” Sedgwick’s Retail Pricing Litigation Alert (March 6, 2017).
- Co-author, “Developments in Website Access Litigation and New Focus for Plaintiff's Bar — Is Your In-Store Price Check Kiosk Accessible?” Sedgwick's Retail Practice Alert (February 28, 2017).
- Co-author, “More Pricing Litigation on the Docket in 2017,” Law360 (February 24, 2017).
- Co-author, “Ohio: A New Hotspot for Pricing Litigation,” Law360 (February 7, 2017).
- Co-author, “You’ve Gotta Be Shipping Me: New Lawsuits Target ‘Shipping/Handling’ Fees,” Sedgwick’s Retail Pricing Litigation Alert (January 27, 2017).
- Co-author, “Ohio: Where Multimillion-Dollar Pricing Settlements Go Unnoticed,” Sedgwick's Retail Pricing Litigation Alert (January 13, 2017).
- Co-author, “Putting The “Risk” in Asterisk: Court of Appeals Overturns Summary Judgment in Pricing Case,” Sedgwick's Retail Pricing Litigation Alert (January 10, 2017).
- Quoted, “NY & Co. Skirts Sham-Discount Suit Judge Says Lacks Detail,” Law360 (January 4, 2017).
- Mentioned, “Retail Cases To Watch In 2017,” Law360 (January 2, 2017).
- Mentioned, “Retail Legislation And Regulation To Watch In 2017,” mentioned, Law360 (January 2, 2017).
- Co-author, “Pricing Litigation for 2017: Where We Are and Where We’re Going,” Sedgwick’s Retail Practice Alert (December 16, 2016).
- Co-author, “New Pricing Complaint Alleges That Website’s “BOGO” Sales Are A No-Go,” Sedgwick’s Retail Practice Alert (November 28, 2016).
- Co-author, “Justices Eye Credit Card Surcharge Laws and Free Speech,” Law360 (November 3, 2016).
- Co-author, “Plaintiffs Cash In On Expanding Gift Card Laws,” Law360 (October 28, 2016).
- Speaker, “Shop Around: Pricing Class Action Trends,” RILA Retail Law Conference 2016 (October 26, 2016).
- Co-author, “California’s ‘Made In The USA’ Law: 1 Year Later,” Law360 (August 31, 2016).
- Co-author, “Bad Pricing Decision for Retailers — Did Judge Wright Get It Wrong?” Sedgwick’s Retail Practice Alert (August 19, 2016).
- Co-author, “Finally, a Court has Granted an MTD in a Perpetual Sales Case,” Sedgwick’s Retail Pricing Litigation Alert (June 14, 2016).
- Co-author, “Burlington Coat Factory Settles Pricing Case for Nearly $30 Million,” Sedgwick’s Retail Pricing Litigation Alert (May 11, 2016).
- Co-author, “Changing Law and Technology Places New Security Obligations on Retailers,” Bloomberg BNA Electronic Commerce & Law Report (April 13, 2016).
- Co-author, “Retail Law Issues Are Moving Online in 2016,”Bloomberg BNA Electronic Commerce & Law Report (April 6, 2016).
- Co-author, “Retailers Nationwide at Risk of Claims Under New Jersey’s TCCWNA,” Sedgwick’s Retail Practice Alert (March 28, 2016).
- Co-author, “No Storefront? No Problem: Deceptive Pricing Moves Online,” Law360 (March 24, 2016).
- Presenter, “Class Action Claims Against Retailers: Deceptive Pricing, False Advertising, Privacy and Gift Card Compliance,” webinar (March 1, 2016).
- Quoted, “Why 40% Off Doesn’t Mean What You Think It Does,” BuzzFeed News (February 5, 2016).
- Co-author, “Leading Lawyers on Developing Client Brands in a Changing Market and Monitoring Key Legal Developments,” Chapter titled “The High Price of Social Media Endorsements: Potential Risks That Retailers Should Consider Before Soliciting Positive Reviews,” Navigating Fashion Law, 2016 Edition.
- Co-author, “Deceptive Pricing Lawsuit Settlements Continue,” Sedgwick’s Retail Practice Alert (November 11, 2015).
- Co-author, “Sponsored Social Media Posts Are Riskier Than Ever,” Law360 (November 6, 2015).
- Co-author, “Online Retailers Run Risks Under ADA’s Title III,” Law360 (August 11, 2015).
- Co-author, “2nd Wave of Auto-Renewal Lawsuits Attack Business Model,” Law360 (August 6, 2015).
- Co-author, “Calif. Sings a Song of Song-Beverly Developments,” Law360 (May 21, 2015); originally published as “Significant Song-Beverly Developments Continue—Court of Appeal Signals it May Be Ready to Articulate a Bright Line Test of When a Transaction Ends,” in Sedgwick’s Retail Practice Alert (May 15, 2015).
- Co-author, “A Wave of Retroactive Retail Class Actions in Calif.?” Law360 (May 11, 2015); originally published as “Important Breaking Development: California’s Song-Beverly ‘Consumer Perception Test’ in Jeopardy — Will Retailers in California Be Barred from Requesting Any Personal Information from Consumers at the Point-of-Sale?” in Sedgwick’s Retail Practice Alert (May 6, 2015) and on Sedgwick’s Digital Media Law blog (May 8, 2015).
- Quoted, “Retailers Early Victors in California Outlet Store Litigation,” Law360 (April 21, 2015).
- Co-author, “Calif. Retailers Better Check Their Supply Chains,” Law360 (April 16, 2015).
- Co-author, “Let the Buyer and Retailer Beware of Pricing Practices,” Law360 (April 15, 2015).
- Co-author, “California DOJ Surprises More Than 100 Retailers and Manufacturers with Supply Chains Act Notification,” Sedgwick’s Employment Law Alert (April 10, 2015).
- Co-author, “Retail and Fashion Law Trends: What’s ‘In’ for 2015,” Bloomberg BNA Corporate Governance Report (March 2, 2015).
- Mentioned, “FCRA Claims Nixed in $116M Suit Over Stolen Alere Laptop,” Law360 (February 24, 2015).
- Quoted, “Wal-Mart ZIP Code Class Ruling Ups Stakes for Retailers,” Law360 (January 9, 2015).
- Quoted, “Calif. ‘Made in USA’ Law Leaves Retailers in Bind,” Law360 (November 17, 2014).
- “A Critical Look at the UCL’s Role in Food and Beverage Class Actions,” Bloomberg BNA Class Action Litigation Report (November 14, 2014).
- Mentioned, “Alere Ducks $116M Medical Data Theft Class Action,” Law360 (October 8, 2014).
- Speaker, “Women in Leadership and Developing Your Management Style,” speaker on panel of women retail executives for Women in Footwear Industry (WIFI), Santa Monica (October 1, 2014).
- Quoted, “Plaintiffs Hitting Roadblocks in Class Claims Against Law Schools,” Daily Journal (August 15, 2014).
- Co-author, “Prepare for the Wave of FCRA Class Actions,” Law360 (August 15, 2014).
- Quoted, “Attorneys Duel Before Court Over Law School Job Placement Data Litigation,” Daily Journal (August 6, 2014).
- Quoted, “Calif., Mass. ZIP Code Suits Show No Signs of Expiring,” Law360 (July 28, 2014).
- Co-author, “‘Made in the USA’? Check Again,” Law360 (June 2014).
- Co-author, “Now Open: Floodgates to Price Advertisement Cases,” Law360 (June 2013).
- Co-author, “Credit Card Privacy Case Is Bad News for Mass. Retailers,” Law360 (March 2013).
- Co-author, “Online and Off Song-Beverly: Some Relief for Retailers,” Law360 (February 2013).
- Co-author, “Think You’re Complying With the Song-Beverly? If You’re Collecting Customer Information Using Point-of-Sale Software, Think Again,” Sedgwick’s Retail Industry Alert (October 2012).
- Co-author, “Employee Training Key to Dodging Business Risks and Protecting Consumer Rights When Utilizing New Technology,” Employee Relations Law Journal (Spring 2011).
- Co-author, “Two New California Supreme Court Decisions Will Impact Landscape of Class Action Litigation Against Retailers,” Sedgwick’s Retail Industry News Flash (February 2011).
- Co-author, “Legal Risk of New Retail Applications,” retailcustomerexperience.com (November 19, 2010).
- Author, “Identity Theft Litigation,” Privacy & Data Security Law Journal (November 2008).
- Presenter, “Trial Techniques: How to Present a Case to Jurors in the Digital Sound Bite Age,” DRI Product Liability Conference (February 2005).
- Author, “Testing the Tests. Medical Device Liability: What’s the Standard?” The Recorder (July 12, 2004).
- Co-presenter, “Proposition 65: Year in Review,” co-presenter with Edward Weil of the California Attorney General’s Office, Santa Clara County Bar Association Symposium (2003).
- Featured, Proposition 65 News: Best Defense Ruling of 2002.
- 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
- 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
- U.S. District Court (C.D. Cal.)
- U.S. District Court (E.D. Cal.)
- U.S. District Court (N.D. Cal.)
- U.S. District Court (S.D. Cal.)
- J.D. (1988) University of San Francisco School of Law
- B.A. (1985) San Diego State University (Telecommunications), magna cum laude
- 2017 “Most Influential Women in Bay Area Business” San Francisco Business Times
- 2016 Retail “MVP of the Year” by Law360
- 2016 “Top 100 Lawyers” list, San Francisco and Los Angeles Daily Journals
- AV certified by the Martindale-Hubbell peer review rating system
- Top 10 Defense Verdicts of the year, California Daily Journal
Memberships and Affiliations
- Sedgwick Women’s Forum — chair and founding member
- Legal Momentum — the Women’s Legal Defense and Fund, an organization focused on ensuring economic and personal security for all women and girls by advancing equity in education, the workplace and the courtroom — Board of Directors
- University of San Francisco School of Law — active alumnus serving on the Board of Governors and recently profiled in the “Rising and Shining: How six alumni found opportunity right outside their door” section of USF Lawyer about her years of experience at Sedgwick, where she has spent her career since graduating from the university