Gilbert S. Keteltas

Partner

Washington, D.C.
T +1.202.861.1530
F +1.202.861.1783

Overview

The chair of BakerHostetler’s Commercial Litigation practice team, Gil Keteltas is a trial lawyer with more than 25 years of experience litigating complex commercial, tort and government enforcement disputes on behalf of national and international corporations. Recognized by the National Law Journal as a 2016 Litigation Trailblazer for innovative trial advocacy, Gil’s experience spans practice areas and industries. He has advocated in courtrooms across the country on behalf of manufacturers, engineers, agricultural cooperatives and farmers, and has served as trial counsel in jury and bench trials. 

Gil’s national trial practice benefits from his experience in electronic discovery. He brings a practical approach to e-discovery that recognizes the importance of focused advocacy in addressing the burdens, costs and opportunities of discovery in modern complex litigation. Gil is the author of numerous publications concerning litigation and e-discovery; is active in The Sedona Conference; serves on the Advisory Board, Planning Committee and faculty of Georgetown Law’s Advanced E-Discovery Institute; and regularly teaches seminars on electronic discovery and electronic evidence.
 

Select Experience

  • Served as co-lead trial counsel to a global engineering company in an indemnity case arising out of the 2009 explosion of a food manufacturing plant in Garner, North Carolina. After a four-week jury trial, the jury returned a verdict of $108.9 million in favor of the client, two times the amount of the largest verdict in Nebraska at that time. This verdict was recognized by the National Law Journal as a “Top 50 Verdict” of 2016 in its Elite Trial Lawyers report.*
  • Served as lead counsel to the growers and processors of more than half of the nation’s domestically grown sugar in multiple lawsuits, defending his client’s ability to plant, harvest and process biotech sugarbeets. Directly sued opposing food advocacy groups through use of the Declaratory Judgment Act. Developed and implemented a trial strategy that challenged the credibility of opposing claims and exposed the absence of injury to plaintiffs, ultimately voiding injunctive remedies. Center for Food Safety, et al. v. Vilsack, et al.
  • Led client and joint defense in six consolidated multiplaintiff tort actions brought by New York City transit workers alleging injuries from diesel exhaust exposure in enclosed transit terminals. Won dismissal of all claims on federal pre-emption grounds. In re Jackson, et al. v. General Motors Corp., et al.

* Does not guarantee similar results in comparable matters.

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Experience

  • Served as co-lead trial counsel to a global engineering company in an indemnity case arising out of the 2009 explosion of a food manufacturing plant in Garner, North Carolina. After a four-week jury trial, the jury returned a verdict of $108.9 million in favor of the client, two times the amount of the largest verdict in Nebraska at that time. This verdict was recognized by the National Law Journal as a “Top 50 Verdict” of 2016 in its Elite Trial Lawyers report.*
  • Served as lead counsel to the growers and processors of more than half of the nation’s domestically grown sugar in multiple lawsuits, defending his client’s ability to plant, harvest and process biotech sugarbeets. Directly sued opposing food advocacy groups through use of the Declaratory Judgment Act. Developed and implemented a trial strategy that challenged the credibility of opposing claims and exposed the absence of injury to plaintiffs, ultimately voiding injunctive remedies. Center for Food Safety, et al. v. Vilsack, et al.
  • Led client and joint defense in six consolidated multiplaintiff tort actions brought by New York City transit workers alleging injuries from diesel exhaust exposure in enclosed transit terminals. Won dismissal of all claims on federal pre-emption grounds. In re Jackson, et al. v. General Motors Corp., et al.
  • Won an unprecedented trial verdict as lead trial counsel in a case of first impression defended by the California Attorney General. The court invalidated a California regulation, finding it unconstitutionally impaired contracts with the world’s leading diesel engine manufacturers and amounted to an illegal recall. Caterpillar Inc., et al. v. California Air Resources Board
  • Assisted a client in defense and resolution of an industrywide investigation and government enforcement dispute concerning the regulation of engines, which remains one of the largest government enforcement efforts in history. Led client and industry joint defense of multiple follow-on lawsuits alleging claims of unfair business practices, breach of contract and warranty, and violations of the RICO statute. United States v. Caterpillar Inc., et al.
  • Served on the defense, trial and appellate teams of the second-largest environmental enforcement action ever tried before a jury, involving allegations of unpermitted operations under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act. A settlement was eventually approved between the parties. U.S. v. Marine Shale Processors
  • As counsel to a multinational food and beverage company in an antitrust class action, negotiated and obtained significant limits to the scope, burden and expense of electronic discovery. In re: Chocolate Confectionary Antitrust Litigation
  • Exposed a competitor’s role in secretly funding a citizen suit against a client. The suit ended on the eve of the preliminary injunction trial after citizens unsuccessfully sought to withdraw their own preliminary injunction motion. Pennsylvania Environmental Enforcement Project, Inc. v. Keystone Cement Co.
  • Co-leader of a nationwide team that managed a national litigation docket involving more than 100 active cases. Developed and utilized cutting-edge case management and litigation budgeting tools. Unocal National Litigation Docket (See American Lawyer, “The Fix Is In,” Nov. 1, 2005).

* Does not guarantee similar results in comparable matters.

Recognitions and Memberships

Recognitions

  • Chambers USA: Recognized Practitioner: Nationwide Litigation: E-Discovery (2014 to 2017)
  • National Law Journal "Litigation Trailblazer" (2016)
  • 2016 “Top 50 Verdict,” National Law Journal’s Elite Trial Lawyer’ report.
  • Bondareff Award Winner: recognition of extended and dedicated service to the Cornell Club of Washington (2002)
  • Washington, D.C. "Super Lawyer" (2013 to 2017)

Memberships

  • Georgetown Law Advanced E-Discovery Institute
    • Board of Advisors (2008 to 2016)
    • Planning Committee Co-Chair (2016)
    • Faculty
  • Georgetown Law Corporate Counsel Institute: Advisory Board Member (2005 to 2016)
  • Sedona Working Group 1: Electronic Document Retention & Production
  • Practicing Law Institute: Faculty (2014 to 2016)

Community

  • Cornell University Speech & Debate Society: Advisory Board (2015 to 2016)
  • Cornell Club of Washington, D.C.
    • Office of the President (1994 to 1995; 1995 to 1996)
    • Office of the Vice-President (1992 to 1993; 1993 to 1994)
    • Office of Scholarship Vice-President (1991 to 1992)
    • Investment and Audit Committee (1996)
  • Cornell University Council (2005 to 2007)

Pro Bono

  • Represented a client in an issue related to denial of Social Security and disability benefits. Examined a vocational expert at appeal before an administrative law judge and won appeal of denial of benefits. Worked with a neighborhood association to fight an open-air drug market using a nuisance law. Resulted in closure of a “problem” business property following a contested DCRA hearing and license revocation.

Admissions

  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, District of Columbia
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit
  • District of Columbia

Education

  • J.D., Georgetown University Law Center, 1989, Business Editor, Georgetown International Environmental Law Review (1988-89)
  • B.S., Cornell University, 1986