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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.

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Horvitz & Levy was appellate counsel in the Ninth Circuit for TASER International, Inc., a global provider of electronic control devices that prevent conflict and protect life.

Police officers in Salinas, California, used their TASER devices on Robert Heston, who was high on methamphetamine and threatening the officers. Mr. Heston’s relatives filed suit after he died. At trial, the jury awarded plaintiffs $5.2 million in punitive damages and $1,021,000 in compensatory damages. The jury apportioned 85 percent responsibility to Mr. Heston for his own death, and 15 percent responsibility to TASER. The district court later awarded plaintiffs $1,423,127 in attorneys’ fees under California’s private attorney general statute. The Heston verdict initially received international attention as the only adverse verdict against TASER related to the use of its products.

After trial, Horvitz & Levy assisted trial counsel in identifying arguments that eliminated all punitive damages against TASER. On appeal, we persuaded the Ninth Circuit to affirm the order vacating punitive damages, to vacate the award of attorney’s fees, and to reduce the award of compensatory damages. Following the Ninth Circuit’s decision, TASER remained liable for just $150,000 of the $7,644,127 in damages and fees originally awarded.