Jesse-Justin Cuevas represents both plaintiffs and defendants in high stakes, complex commercial litigation across the country. Named a Rising Star of the Plaintiffs Bar by National Law Journal’s Elite Trial Lawyers (2021, ALM) and Trailblazers Plaintiffs’ Lawyers (2022, ALM), Cuevas has tried multiple cases and secured landmark wins and settlements for her diverse portfolio of clients, who range from Fortune 100 companies to small businesses and individuals.
Cuevas’s skillset is versatile as well – she has successfully litigated cases related to insurance, products liability, False Claims Act, cryptocurrency, consumer protection, solar construction, pharmaceutical contracts, and intellectual property law. The common thread among each of Cuevas’s cases is the confidence she instills in her clients and her instinctive and nimble talent for understanding complex subject matters and intelligibly translating them into facts and arguments to judges, juries, and arbitration panels.
High Profile Litigation
Cuevas served as counsel to the largest political subdivisions in the largest state in the nation—including the University of California system, the California State University system, and the County of Los Angeles—in a landmark suit against the “Big 4” wireless carriers for over-billing the government. In 2020, a deal worth $175 million was struck to settle the matter (award net of fees and expenses to be determined) – this is California’s second largest False Claims Act settlement in state history outside of the healthcare industry. Read more about the case on Law Street Media and Law360* (*subscription required).
Cuevas currently serves as counsel to plaintiffs in a putative consumer fraud class action against Nestle Waters North America, Inc. (now known as BlueTriton Brands) in connection with the company’s unlawful mislabeling of Poland Spring 100% Natural Spring Water. During fact discovery, Cuevas authored and argued several successful motions to compel that ultimately required the defendant to produce critical data and documents in the case. She regularly squared off against multiple, more senior defense attorneys at oral argument. Cuevas also primarily briefed Plaintiffs’ opposition to Nestle’s motion for partial summary judgment, which the Court overwhelmingly denied in 2022, permitting the proposed class to pursue claims and damages dating back to 2003.
Cuevas has gone to trial multiple times, each time directing and cross-examining critical witnesses and eliciting key admissions on behalf of her clients. Most recently, Cuevas represented claimants in a confidential arbitration alleging, among other claims, fraud and breach of contract in connection with a multi-hundred-million-dollar dispute in the renewable energy space. During the 10-day hearing on the merits, Cuevas directed her client’s Chief Operating Officer and cross-examined multiple high-ranking executives for the respondents. The case remains ongoing. In 2022, Cuevas successfully represented claimant in a multi-million-dollar confidential arbitration brought against a main player in the pharmaceutical space for breach of contract. Cuevas and her team prevailed, securing a complete liability ruling, damages, and costs of suit.
Cuevas is a member of the Steering Committee for Just the Beginning (JTB) Foundation’s Los Angeles Summer Legal Institute. JTB’s mission is to encourage students of color and those from other historically underrepresented groups to pursue career and leadership opportunities in the law. The Summer Legal Institute is JTB’s cornerstone youth program, a one-week legal immersion program for high school students across the country, which was recently awarded with California LAW’s 2021 Education Pipeline Award. Cuevas serves as the Committee’s fundraising and mentoring co-chair and also helps plan the curriculum for the annual summer program.
Cuevas is the Ninth Circuit Board Representative for the Federal Bar Association’s Younger Lawyers Division, serving on the Education Committee. She is also Susman Godfrey’s representative in the Association of Business Trial Lawyers’ Young Lawyers Division.
At Susman Godfrey, Cuevas is the founder and co-chair of the firm’s Mentoring Committee, which she established in 2021 when she developed and implemented a successful firm-wide associate mentoring program. Cuevas also helped develop the Susman Godfrey Prize and plays an integral role coordinating the selection, review, and awards process for SG Prize recipients each year. For her work on the Mentoring Committee, Cuevas was named a Finalist as California Legal Awards’ Mentor of the Year in 2022 and a Finalist for Los Angeles Business Journal’s Mentor of the Year in 2021. Click here* to see her feature in California legal publication, The Recorder, in connection with the 2022 awards and here to read about Cuevas’s selection as a finalist in 2021 (*subscription required).
In her spare time, Cuevas serves as a Board Member of Northwestern Law’s Alumni Club of Los Angeles.
Prior to joining Susman Godfrey, Cuevas served as a federal Law Clerk to Judge Albert Diaz of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and Judge Dolly M. Gee of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
Cuevas received her law degree, magna cum laude, from Northwestern University School of Law, where she served as an Executive Editor of the Northwestern University Law Review and was inducted into the Order of the Coif.
A Los Angeles native, Cuevas grew up in Nashville, Tennessee. She currently lives in Culver City with her husband and dog.
- State of California ex rel. OnTheGo Wireless, LLC et al. v. Cellco P’ship DBA Verizon Wireless et al. (California Superior Court, Sacramento County). Represented the whistleblower and over 30 local government entities in the state of California, (including the CSU system, UC system, and Los Angeles, Riverside, Orange, and San Bernardino Counties) against the nation’s largest cellphone providers (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile) for overcharging. Cuevas led the defensive side of the case, working closely with clients and preparing them for and defending them in many important depositions. On the offensive side, Cuevas elicited critical admissions that led to a major plaintiffs’ ruling. The case settlement for a combined deal valued at $175 million, which is California’s second largest CFCA settlement in state history outside of the healthcare industry. Read more about the case on Law Street Media and Law360*.
- Mark J. Patane, et al. v. Nestle Waters North America, Inc. (D. Conn.). Represents plaintiffs in a putative consumer fraud class action against Nestle Waters North America in connection with its unlawful mislabeling of Poland Spring 100% Natural Spring Water. Cuevas runs the case on a day-to-day basis, helps manage expert work, and frequently appears before the Magistrate Judge overseeing discovery. She primarily briefed Plaintiffs’ opposition to Nestle’s motion for partial summary judgment, which the Court overwhelmingly denied in 2022, permitting the proposed class to pursue claims and damages dating back to 2003. The case remains ongoing.
- Skillern et. al. v. Peloton Interactive (S.D.N.Y) Represents residents of Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, and Virginia in a putative class action against Peloton over allegations that the company overcharged monthly membership subscriptions under the guise of an unlawful “sales tax” in states where such digital goods are nontaxable. Cuevas has helped develop the case from inception, including identifying potential claims and theories of liability, and drafting the complaint.
- Shellie Lynne West Hodges et al. v. Walmart, Inc. et al. (D.S.C.). Cuevas helped defend Walmart in a product liability action alleging that a plastic gasoline container manufactured by now-bankrupt Blitz USA was defective and caused plaintiffs’ injuries. Cuevas handled several key depositions, including one of the plaintiffs who brought suit.
- Grubbs v. Walmart Stores, Inc. (D.S.C.). Cuevas helped defend Walmart in a product liability action alleging that a plastic gasoline container manufactured by now-bankrupt Blitz USA was defective and caused plaintiff’s injuries.
- Intellectual Pixels Limited v. Sony Interactive Entertainment, LLC (C.D. Cal.). Representing the inventor of five foundational patents in the cloud-gaming and streaming graphics applications space in two lawsuits against Sony for patent infringement in Sony’s PlayStation Now, Remote Play, and SharePlay products. The cases are currently stayed for inter-partes review.
- PMS Systems Corp. v. Honeywell International Inc. et al. (C.D. Cal.). Defended KBRwyle Technology Solutions, LLC in a complex trade secrets action. Cuevas briefed the team’s motion to dismiss and argued the motion before Judge Kronstadt in federal court. The case was resolved on confidential terms before the motion was decided.
- Protégé Restaurant Partners LLC v. Sentinel Insurance Co, Ltd. (N.D. Cal.). Leading efforts in representing Protégé Restaurant Partners LLC in a breach of insurance contract class-action suit against Sentinel Insurance Company on behalf of a proposed class of businesses led by Protégé Restaurant Partners, a Michelin-starred restaurant located in Palo Alto, California. The proposed class seeks damages and injunctive relief arising from Sentinel’s refusal to pay COVID-19-related business interruption claims as required by the insurance policies it sold to the plaintiff and other policyholders. The case is currently on appeal to the 9th Circuit.
- Troy Stacy Enterprises Inc., et al v. The Cincinnati Insurance Company, et al. (S.D. Ohio). Representing Troy Stacy Enterprises in an insurance dispute against The Cincinnati Insurance Company over allegations of unlawful denial of coverage to business interruption insurance policyholders nationwide who filed insurance claims in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic. Cuevas and her team won a motion to consolidate several cases pending against the insurer in the Southern District of Ohio and were appointed Interim Co-Lead Class Counsel. As Interim Co-Lead, Cuevas penned an amicus brief in opposition to certification of a state question of law to the Ohio Supreme Court in connection with a related case pending against the insurer in the Northern District of Ohio. Click here to learn more.
- Confidential Cryptocurrency Case. Litigated breach of contract-based case against a lead player in the cryptocurrency space. Secured confidential settlement.
Honors & Distinctions
Honors and Awards
- Finalist, Mentor of the Year, The Recorder (2022, ALM)
- Plaintiffs Lawyers Trailblazer, National Law Journal (2022, ALM)
- Rising Star of the Plaintiffs Bar, National Law Journal’s Elite Trial Lawyers (2021, ALM)
- Finalist, Mentor of the Year (2021, Los Angeles Business Journal)
- Executive Editor, Northwestern University Law Review
- Order of the Coif
- Northwestern University School of Law, Class of 2015 Leadership Award
- Honorable Dolly M. Gee, United States District Court for the Central District of California
- Honorable Albert Diaz, United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
- Northwestern University School of Law (J.D.)
- New York University (B.A.)
- Gallatin School of Individualized Study
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
- U.S. District Court for Central District of California
- U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California
- U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
- U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California
- Jesse-Justin Cuevas, Challenges and Opportunities of Litigating During COVID and Where We Go From Here: A Judicial Perspective, Federal Bar Association – LA Chapter News Letter, Summer 2021
- Jesse-Justin Cuevas & Tonja Jacobi, The Hidden Psychology of Constitutional Criminal Procedure, 37 Cardozo L. Rev. 2161 (2016).
Leadership & Professional Memberships
- Association of Business Trial Lawyers
- Federal Bar Association
- Director – 9th Circuit Representative, Federal Bar Association Young Lawyers Division
- American Bar Association
- Fellow, American Bar Foundation
- Steering Committee, Just the Beginning Foundation―which works on expanding the diversity pipeline for career and leadership opportunities in the law
- Law Clerks for Diversity―a program geared at increasing the diversity of federal law clerks by pairing diverse practitioners with diverse law students
- Board Member, Northwestern Law’s Alumni Club of Los Angeles
- Volunteer, Los Angeles Animal Services
Cuevas is a member of the Steering Committee for Just the Beginning Foundation’s Los Angeles Summer Legal Institute. Just the Beginning’s (JTB) mission is to encourage students of color and from other historically underrepresented groups to pursue career and leadership opportunities in the law. The Summer Legal Institute is JTB’s cornerstone youth program, a one-week legal immersion program for high school students across the country, which was recently awarded with California LAW’s 2021 Education Pipeline Award. Cuevas is the Committee’s fundraising and mentoring co-chair.
Cuevas is also Susman Godfrey’s representative in the Association of Business Trial Lawyers’ Young Lawyers Division and the founder and co-chair of the firm’s Mentoring Committee. She is also an active member of the Federal Bar Association.
In her spare time, Cuevas volunteers with Los Angeles Animal Services and serves as a Board Member of Northwestern Law’s Alumni Club of Los Angeles.