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Advocacy at a Higher Level

Horvitz & Levy is a solutions-based firm focused on appellate success. We are distinguished by our commitment to responsive service and on-going innovation in the areas of civil appellate litigation, amicus curiae support, and trial strategy consultation.

Our firm history, honors and awards, and locations speak to our collaborative approach and commitment to serving clients as well as the outstanding legal resources we bring to bear.

Curt  Cutting

Curt Cutting

Partner - Los Angeles Office

How Curt Helps Clients

Curt Cutting helps businesses defend against high-stakes litigation, especially in cases where plaintiffs are seeking punitive damages. His work in punitive damages cases, both at the trial court level and on appeal, has resulted in the reduction or outright reversal of a number of multi-million dollar punitive damages awards.

At the trial court level, Curt assists clients with strategic consulting, preparation of critical motions, and preserving dispositive issues for appeal. On appeal, Curt serves as lead counsel in cases involving a wide range of subject areas, including products liability, mass torts, business disputes, and insurance law. He has presented dozens of oral arguments, including appearances before the California Supreme Court and the Supreme Court of Guam. 

Curt, along with other attorneys at Horvitz & Levy, serves as West Coast appellate counsel for a Fortune 100 company in asbestos litigation, assisting at the trial court level and representing the company as lead counsel on appeal.

He is the primary contributor to the firm’s blog on punitive damages. He has provided commentary on punitive damages litigation and appellate practice for various media outlets, including Bloomberg Law, The National Law JournalThe Seattle TimesThe Associated PressThe San Diego Union TribuneThe Daily JournalThe RecorderBNA’s Class Action Litigation Reporter, and Business Insurance.

Curt is an adjunct professor at the Pepperdine Caruso School of Law, where he teaches the Ninth Circuit Appellate Advocacy Clinic along with fellow H&L partner Mark A. Kressel. The Clinic handles cases in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, representing individuals in matters that the court identifies as warranting appointment of pro bono counsel.

Representative Matters

Washington 111, LTD v. Kelsey (2023)
Trial court granted motion for new trial in breach of lease case, finding insufficient evidence to support the verdict that invalidated the lease based on mutual mistake of fact

Blasco v. FCA USA, LLC
California Court of Appeal affirmed nonsuit on punitive damages in lemon law case

Swanson v. The Marley-Wylain Company
California Court of Appeal reversed $5.5 million judgment in mesothelioma case due to instructional error

Sernas v. Cantrell (2021)
Ninth Circuit reversed district court’s dismissal of prisoner’s civil rights claim

Riley v. Kernan (2020)
Ninth Circuit reinstated prisoner’s civil rights lawsuit on religious liberty grounds

Alaniz v. Sun Pacific Shippers, L.P.
California Court of Appeal reversed judgment against landowner due to error in jury instructions

Barton v. The Argen Corporation (2019)
California Court of Appeal affirmed judgment of dismissal in products liability action against supplier of dental alloys

Stennett v. Miller
California Court of Appeal upheld wrongful death statute against equal protection challenge

Menera v. Mega R.V. Corp. (2018)
California Court of Appeal affirms defense verdict in products liability case, rejecting claims of attorney and juror misconduct

Rudolph v. Rudolph and Sletten, Inc(2018)
Court of Appeal rejected plaintiffs' attempt to circumvent workers' compensation exclusive-remedy rule in take-home asbestos case

Saller v. Crown Cork & Seal (2017)
California Court of Appeal reversed $3.6 million in punitive damages in products liability case

In re Marriage of McCourt (2015)
California Court of Appeal ruled in favor of former Dodgers owner Frank McCourt in marital dissolution case

Mobasser v. Yermian (2014)
California Court of Appeal vacated jury’s award of emotional distress damages and punitive damages in family business dispute

O’Neil v. Crane Co. (2012)
California Supreme Court held that equipment manufacturers cannot be liable for injuries caused by asbestos-containing parts made by other manufacturers

American States Ins. Co. v. Ramirez (2012)
California Court of Appeal reversed $6 million judgment in insurance coverage dispute

Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority v. Alameda Product Market LLC (2011)
California Supreme Court overturned Court of Appeal’s waiver finding in eminent domain action

Behnke v. State Farm General Ins. Co. (2011)
California Court of Appeal affirmed dismissal of policyholder’s claims for breach of contract, misrepresentation, and bad faith

Griffin Dewatering Corp. v. Northern Ins. Co. of New York (2009)
California Court of Appeal reversed an $11 million judgment, including $10 million in punitive damages

National Union Fire Ins. Co. v. Cambridge Integrated Services (2009)
California Court of Appeal reinstated excess insurer’s lawsuit against a third-party claims administrator

Itella Intern v. Pacific American Fish Co. (2009)
California Court of Appeal reversed $1.3 million judgment, including $1.15 in punitive damages

Smith v. Exxon Mobil (2007)
California Court of Appeal reversed wrongful death judgment in lawsuit based on asbestos exposure at oil refinery 

Border Business Park v. City of San Diego (2006)
California Court of Appeal reversed $91.7 million inverse condemnation award against the City of San Diego and ordered a new trial on a $30.8 million breach of contract award

Stonegate Homeowners Assn. v. Staben (2006)
California Court of Appeal held that subcontractor owes a duty to general contractor to perform work in accordance with industry standards

Andrews v. USF (2006)
California Court of Appeal held that general liability insurer had no duty to defend architect and general contractor in lawsuit for professional malpractice

Park v. Mobil Oil Guam, Inc. (2004)
Guam Supreme Court affirmed reduction of punitive damages from $2.8 million to $150,000

Johnson v. Hooters of America, Inc. (2004)
California Court of Appeal held that juror misconduct was not prejudicial to plaintiff

Rawlings v. Ascha (2002)
California Court of Appeal held that plaintiff was not entitled to jury instruction on res ipsa loquitur in case where patient died following routine surgery  

Dekofsky v. Brea Range, Inc. (2001)
California Court of Appeal held that seller of shooting range could not be liable for failing to inform purchaser of prior suicides 

Lockheed Litigation Cases (2000)
California Court of Appeal reversed $380 million punitive damages award


  • Seattle University School of Law
    J.D., magna cum laude, 1995
  • Ohio University
    B.S. (Physics) & A.B. (History), Honors Tutorial College, cum laude, 1992


  • Hon. Ruggero J. Aldisert, U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit (1996-1997)
  • Hon. Eugene A. Wright, U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit (1995) (extern)

Bar Admissions

  • California
  • Washington
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Central District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Washington

Professional Associations


  • Best Lawyers (2010-2023)  
  • Super Lawyers (2012-2023)
  • Super Lawyers “Rising Star” (2006-2010)
  • Listed in Lawdragon, Inc. as one of the 3000 leading lawyers in America
  • Los Angeles & San Francisco Daily Journal’s 20 Under 40 (2008)
  • CLAY award (California Lawyer Attorney of the Year) (2007)