The White House July 24 announced that J. Nicholas Ranjan has been nominated to be the U.S. District Judge for the Western District of Pennsylvania. Nicholas Ranjan is an equity partner in the Pittsburgh office of K&L Gates LLP. On July 13, 2018, Republican President Donald Trump nominated Ranjan to a seat on the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania
The nomination, made in response to Kim R. Gibson retiring, was officially sent to the Senate, a White House news release said. His practice focuses on a variety of complex litigation and arbitration including class action defense and energy litigation, appeals, compliance counseling and internal investigations.
The Indian American attorney practices anjan’s practice focuses on a variety of complex litigation and arbitration (including class action defense and energy litigation), appeals, compliance counseling, and internal investigations. His practice is across a number of different industries, such as the energy, commercial real estate, financial services, higher education, innovation, internet marketing, insurance, consumer, pharmaceutical, and transportation industries.
He has been selected by Chambers USA as one of the top commercial litigators in Pennsylvania multiple times, with clients commending his “creative approach and responsiveness.” He has been selected as a fellow with The Litigation Counsel of America, which is an invitation-only trial lawyer honorary, representing less than one-half of one percent of American lawyers. He serves as a 2017 fellow with the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity. He also serves as a member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Litigation Center (state litigation advisory committee), advising the Chamber of Commerce on appellate amicus involvement throughout the country.
Mr. Ranjan is the pro bono coordinator for the firm’s Pittsburgh office. During his time in this position, the Allegheny County Bar Association awarded the firm the pro bono law firm of the year award. He also is the chairman of the Pittsburgh office’s diversity committee and is a member of the K&L Gates global diversity committee. He is active in leading diversity initiatives within the firm and in the community. For these efforts, he was a recipient of the Leadership Excellence Award, awarded by the Pittsburgh Leadership Conference.
Ranjan’s complex litigation experience is varied, across a number of different industries and before a number of state and federal courts. One area of his focus is on class action defense, where he has had experience litigating a variety of consumer, health-care, statutory, government-enforcement “tag along,” oil and gas, product liability, and employment-related class actions. He has handled class certification proceedings and has negotiated complex classwide settlements.
He has counseled clients on cybersecurity and telecommunications class action liabilities and risks, including those associated with cyber data breaches and those associated with text messaging and junk faxes under the TCPA. He has represented private equity clients in conducting due diligence associated with class action liabilities. He has also advised clients and published articles on the use of arbitration/class waiver agreements as a means to reduce class-action liability.
In addition to his class-action experience, Ranjan has served as lead counsel in complex commercial disputes, ranging from commercial real estate (including retail lease, construction, and injunction matters), financial services (including FCRA, FDCPA, and investment management), false advertising, intellectual property, catastrophic injury, trade secret, pharmaceutical, corporate raiding, transportation/3PL, insurance coverage, ERISA, internet-marketing, and Title IX-related litigation.
Ranjan is also qualified to act as an arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association, and is qualified to serve individually and on panels concerning commercial disputes, oil and gas disputes, and consumer disputes, among other matters. Additionally, Ranjan has an active domestic arbitration practice. Within the last five years, Mr. Ranjan has been lead counsel for claimants and respondents in over fifteen AAA, common law, and free form arbitrations. In many of these cases, Mr. Ranjan initially compelled the matter from court to arbitration. Six of these cases were taken to a full award.
Ranjan also has an active pro bono practice, representing prisoners, criminal defendants, and religious entities in free speech, religious liberties, civil rights, criminal, and habeas cases, both at the trial level and on appeal. Several of these cases have garnered local and national media attention.
Within the energy sector, Mr. Ranjan’s experience includes representing natural-gas operators, pipeline companies, non-operating interest owners, and drilling and completions companies in royalty calculation and class action matters, lease disputes, joint-venture disputes, surface-use disputes, seismic-testing disputes, pooling/unitization disputes, wastewater disputes, tax disputes, injunction proceedings, nuisance matters, insurance coverage matters, and other land-use litigation.
Ranjan has also represented energy and industrial clients in multiple crisis management events, having advised clients on on-site response and investigatory efforts, insurance and cost recovery, and litigation management.
Ranjan has represented clients in appeals before five different federal appellate courts, and has briefed, argued, or consulted on numerous appeals in federal and state appellate courts, including in the Pennsylvania, Ohio, California, and West Virginia supreme courts. He has been commended by the Third Circuit on several occasions in written opinions for his appellate advocacy, and in one case, the Third Circuit appointed him to serve individually as an amicus curiae to assist the court. He also previously served by appointment to the Second Circuit’s pro bono panel.
Ranjan is a member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Litigation Center (state litigation advisory committee), advising the Chamber of Commerce on appellate amicus involvement throughout the country, and has served as counsel of record for the Chamber in the California and Ohio Supreme Courts, as well.
Ranjan has also given presentations with a number of other appellate practitioners and judges, providing advice on effective appellate advocacy and oral argument strategy. And, since 2010, he has been one of the authors of the Pennsylvania Bar Institute’s Third Circuit treatise. Ranjan also frequently provides advice to K&L Gates’ trial teams across the country in formulating post-trial motion and appellate strategy.