TWG in the News

The Recorder

James Wagstaffe Defeated BioRad With Storytelling

David Ruiz, The Recorder
February 14, 2017

SAN FRANCISCO — For James Wagstaffe, owner and partner at San Francisco litigation boutique Kerr & Wagstaffe, winning over a jury is a matter of storytelling.

"The need to tell and hear stories is primal," Wagstaffe told The Recorder in an interview. "Trial lawyering is part of that primal need. The jury wants to hear a story."

Last week, Wagstaffe presented a story about his client, former general counsel Sanford "Sandy" Wadler that persuaded a San Francisco jury to award his client millions of dollars.

According to Wagstaffe, Wadler was wrongfully terminated by his employer, BioRad Laboratories Inc.of Hercules, for trying to expose corruption in foreign offices. The story involved scheming BioRad executives, fraudulent documentation and possibly, even, perjury.

But Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan partner John Potter, counsel to BioRad, had his own narrative: Wadler was unqualified and sometimes hostile, and to save himself from being fired, he made up allegations about potential bribery, dressing himself up as a whistleblower.

The jury chose Wagstaffe's story, awarding Wadler $10.8 million in damages, with $5 million in punitive damages against BioRad.

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