Guy Stilson has been a civil litigator since 1989. He has acted as lead trial counsel in a variety of matters in state and federal courts, including toxic and mass tort cases, landlord/property owner liability, security officer and security company liability, products liability, construction defect and personal injury litigation, as well as business, contract, copyright, entertainment and intellectual property disputes. He has also been very active representing clients before the state and federal courts of appeal and is the Chair of Low, Ball & Lynch's Appellate Department. These are some of his appellate matters:
- Plancarte v. Guardsmark, LLC, et al., 118 Cal.App.4th 640. A security officer pleaded guilty to committing a sexual assault while on duty for a security company. Stilson represented the security company. The Court of Appeal found the security officer was not acting in the course and scope of his duty when the assault occurred and was not negligent in hiring, training and overseeing the security officer.
- Hroscikoski v. City of Glendale, et al., 146 Fed.Appx. 94. Plaintiff filed civil rights action alleging wrongful citizen's arrest by hotel personnel. The Ninth Circuit ruled in favor of hotel owner, after Stilson showed evidence of good cause for arrest and lacked evidence of conspiracy with police.
- Hall v. North American Van Lines, et al., 476 F.3d 683. Stilson represented interstate carrier sued by plaintiff who claimed defendant refused to release her property and effectively held it for ransom. The action was removed to federal court and dismissed on the ground that federal law pre-empted plaintiff's claims. The Ninth Circuit affirmed, holding that the Carmack Amendment joins those few statutes which completely pre-empt well-pleaded state claims, resulting in jurisdiction over such claims existing only under federal law.
- Schultz v. Bay Area Rapid Transit District, 240 Fed. Appx. 766. Plaintiff sued BART after falling when a BART train accelerated from a stop. The Ninth Circuit found that Design Immunity theory precluded any possibility of liability.
- Amberger-Warren v. City of Piedmont, 143 Cal.App.4th 1074. A plaintiff who fell in a public dog park claimed the paved walkway through the park constituted a dangerous condition. Stilson, representing the City of Piedmont, convinced the Court of Appeal that trail immunity for public entities (Gov't Code §831.4(b)) precluded liability, as "trail" and "sidewalk" are not mutually exclusive terms, that trails can exist in urban locations, and that trail immunity includes immunity regarding the design and location of trails as well as maintenance of trails.
- Sacramento Suncreek Apartments, LLC, et. al. v. Cambridge Advantaged Properties II, L.P., et al., 187 Cal.App.4th 1. Plaintiffs/purchasers of an apartment complex alleged loss due to nondisclosure and sued the Delaware limited partners of the now-dissolved limited partnership which sold them the property. Plaintiffs argued that California's ability to tax the Delaware defendants on their income from the California investment demonstrated California's jurisdiction over these defendants. Stilson argued that there was no jurisdiction under either the traditional minimum contacts test or under plaintiffs' novel "taxable jurisdiction" theory. The Court of Appeal held for defendants, stating that the purchase of limited partnership interests and the expectation of receiving income form a business operating solely in California was, under the circumstances, an insufficient contact to support jurisdiction.
Guy also does transactional work, sets up for-profit and nonprofit corporations and limited liability companies and assists in ongoing operational and business issues (including risk assessment and avoidance) for small and medium-sized businesses. Guy was instrumental in negotiating licenses for the use of famed rock guitarist Jerry Garcia's artwork in fine art prints and clothing accessories, resulting in eight figure royalty income. Guy has also been involved in negotiating record and artist contracts, film financing, production and distribution agreements and book deals. Email Guy at
He has also written articles for California Lawyer, Claims People and Multimedia & Entertainment Law Online News and has spoken on legal topics at Hastings College of Law, U.C. Davis School of Law and the California Arts Council, as well as at seminars sponsored by Low, Ball & Lynch.
Public service is very important to Guy. He was on the board of directors of Intersection for the Arts for over five years (serving briefly as president of the board), and currently sits on the boards of Asian American Theater Workshop Company; SF Bay 10K Bridge to Bridge Swim; and Jimmy's Annual Old Car Picnic (of which Guy is currently president of the board of directors). In addition, Guy volunteers with Smiley Dog Rescue, which is dedicated to placing needy dogs with families who will love them. Guy's dedication to public service has been recognized by the State Bar of California, which awarded him the Wiley W. Manuel Award, and also by the Bar Association of San Francisco, which awarded him the Outstanding Volunteer in Public Service Award. Guy has also received multiple Certificates of Service from the Santa Clara and San Francisco Superior Courts for his volunteer work with the courts.
Guy also enjoys restoring, modifying and racing cars, playing with his dogs (Dell, a boxer/pointer mix, and Lola, a Great Dane), traveling, photography, and visiting friends.