Cali Cope-Kasten is a Partner at Wilkinson Stekloff. Since joining the firm at its founding in 2016, she has served as a key member of more than half of the firm’s trial teams, including most recently acting as trial counsel for Monsanto in Clark v. Monsanto, helping to secure a groundbreaking full defense verdict for Monsanto in the Roundup litigation.
Cali has helped to develop and execute successful trial strategies for corporate clients across a diverse set of industries, from pharmaceuticals to sports to social media. Her experience includes six jury trials, three of which were federal multi-district litigation bellwether cases, and two bench trials. She has argued numerous motions in state and federal courts at the trial and appellate level.
In recognition of her trial success, Cali has been identified as a Rising Star of the Courtroom by Business Insider, recognized as a “Future Star” by Benchmark Litigation, and honored as a Rising Star by the National Law Journal. She has also been featured in Law.com’s “How I Made Partner” series.
In addition to representing clients in high-stakes trials, Cali has also helped obtain successful results for clients prior to trial. Her work has included representing former State Department officials in a nationally publicized series of cases brought under the Freedom of Information Act, and she has briefed every stage of litigation, including securing a full grant of summary judgment for Georgia-Pacific LLC in a multibillion-dollar consumer class action.
Before joining Wilkinson Stekloff, Cali clerked for Chief Judge John R. Tunheim, United States District Court for the District of Minnesota. She earned a B.A., summa cum laude, from Macalester College and a J.D., magna cum laude, from the University of Michigan.
- Undergraduate: Macalester College, B.A., summa cum laude.
- Law: University of Michigan, J.D., magna cum laude; Order of the Coif; Managing Board, University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform.
- Judge John R. Tunheim, United States District Court for the District of Minnesota.
- Served as trial counsel in Clark v. Monsanto, a trial involving claims that the herbicide Roundup causes Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. Cali handled several witnesses including the direct examination of Monsanto’s weed science expert and cross-examination of the plaintiffs’ sole expert on human studies. Clark was the fourth case in this mass tort to go to trial, with the three previous trials resulting in verdicts against Monsanto ranging from $81 million to over $2 billion. After a single day of deliberation, a jury delivered the first-ever verdict for Monsanto in the Roundup mass tort litigation.
- Member of trial team for Monsanto in Hardeman v. Monsanto, the first federal-court trial over allegations that Roundup causes Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. The jury returned a verdict for the plaintiff. Cali has assisted with post-trial briefing as well as the ongoing expert witness preparation and strategy in the larger MDL.
- Helped brief summary judgment for Georgia-Pacific in Kleen Products LLC et al. v. Packaging Corporation of America et al., a multi-billion-dollar class action in Chicago federal court alleging Sherman Act violations by the largest manufacturers in the containerboard and corrugated products industries. The court granted summary judgment for Georgia-Pacific one day after it preliminarily approved a settlement in which the company’s codefendants agreed to pay over $350 million.
- Member of trial team for the NCAA in lawsuits brought by current and former student- athletes challenging, under the Sherman Act, NCAA rules limiting the level of athletics-based financial aid and benefits that student-athletes may receive. The Court’s opinion reaffirmed the procompetitive value of the NCAA’s rules limiting pay for student-athletes while enjoining certain limitations on benefits that student-athletes may receive.
- Member of trial teams for Bayer in the first two federal multi-district litigation bellwether trials in Louisiana involving the blood-thinner Xarelto, and in the second state-court bellwether trial in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. Obtained complete defense verdicts in all three trials.
- Member of trial team on behalf of Facebook, Oculus VR, and individual defendants in ZeniMax Media et al. v. Oculus VR et al., a federal jury trial in the Northern District of Texas. Plaintiffs sought $6 billion in damages based on allegations that the defendants improperly used its trade secrets and other intellectual property in designing the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset. Obtained a defense verdict for Facebook and a partial defense verdict for the remaining defendants, including the jury’s rejection of plaintiffs’ lead claim of trade secret misappropriation. Wilkinson Stekloff’s post-trial briefing persuaded the court to sanction plaintiffs withholding evidence and prevented them from recovering $40 million in attorneys’ fees.
- It’s Time to Start Showing a Little Restraint: In Search of a Compromise on Federal Seclusion and Restraint Legislation, 47 U. MICH. J.L. REFORM 217 (2013).
- Bidding (Fair)well to Due Process: The Need for a Fairer Final Stage in Special Education Dispute Resolution, 42 J.L. & EDUC. 501 (2013).
- Cali Cope-Kasten & Patrick Schmidt, Book Review, 17 L. & POL. BOOK REV. 158 (2009) (reviewing DAVID KAIRYS, PHILADELPHIA FREEDOM: MEMOIR OF A CIVIL RIGHTS LAWYER (2008)).