Paul Werner is a Practice Group Leader of the firm’s Business Trial Practice Group and resident in the Washington, D.C. office. He is currently a member of the firm's Compensation Committee as well.
Areas of Practice
Paul is a seasoned first-chair litigator, whose prodigious representations over the past decade have been before diverse decision-making authorities, including all levels of courts and administrative tribunals, federal and state and arbitral tribunals, and spanned a wide range of complex litigation matters. These matters have run the gamut from “bet-the-company” commercial disputes to controversies involving statutory, constitutional, communications, energy, environmental, insurance, intellectual property, false advertising, trade secrets, privacy and administrative law issues.
Paul regularly represents cable operators, telecommunications and other broadband providers in matters involving communications law issues, including local franchising, PEG programming, rights-of-way, pole attachments and infrastructure deployment and a host of other related issues. He represents providers on these issues in state and federal courts and participated in rulemakings and adjudications before the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
Paul also often defends a diverse array of companies against putative class actions, particularly suits involving claims of unfair competition, state consumer protection statutes and products liability. He has represented major automobile manufacturers against putative class actions alleging design defects and other consumer protection claims. He is currently representing a named defendant in a series of putative class actions that have been consolidated in an MDL seeking billions in damages in connection with the promotion, sale and distribution of opioid medications. See In re: National Prescription Opiate Litigation (1:17-md-02804). In addition, recently, Paul successfully represented an association of communications providers in defeating certification of a putative class of landowners seeking damages for alleged unauthorized “telecommunications” use of easements they had granted to an electric utility, and he is currently defending the trial court’s decision on appeal.
Paul also represents diverse clients in domestic and international arbitration matters. Paul recently represented a Korean satellite telecommunications provider in complex and high-stakes international arbitration proceedings, including lengthy evidentiary hearings, stemming from a dispute that The Wall Street Journal called an “outer-space turf war.”
Paul is additionally experienced in representing companies in governmental and internal investigations. He represents clients in criminal and civil investigations, including investigations arising under the False Claim Act, the Anti-Kickback Act and the FCC E-Rate program.
Paul's practice includes significant trial and appellate experience. In recent years, he has tried multiple disputes to judgment. He also recently assisted with a lengthy trial in federal court involving false advertising claims that resulted in a favorable jury verdict. Paul also regularly represents clients in state and federal appellate courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court.
Paul’s matters are regularly reported in the media, including Law360. He is also a recognized expert and frequent commenter on communications and technology law issues. He is a professor of law at Vanderbilt University Law School and teaches in the area of technology and communications law and policy.
Paul is dedicated to pro bono representations and public interest litigation. On behalf of a community organization, Paul successfully obtained an appellate decision overturning a trial court decision that had upheld a planning board's approval of a commercial water bottling operation in an environmentally-protected area with trailheads into the Catskill mountains. He is currently representing an environmental organization in federal court litigation arising under the Environmental Species Act, as well as a separate not-for-profit organization in environmental litigation arising under the Clean Water Act concerning the Bristol Bay region of Southwest Alaska.
Obtained a landmark appellate victory for not-for-profit organization at Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for not-for-profit organization on issue of first impression under the Clean Water Act and Administrative Procedure Act. Trout Unlimited et al. v. Pirzadeh et. al., No. 20-35504, 2021 WL 2460989 (9th Cir. June 17, 2021).
- Successfully represented national cable operator at Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals and Southern District of Indiana in case affirming that Section 621 of the federal Cable Act authorizes cable operators’ compatible use of easements dedicated to utility purposes. See West v. Louisville Gas & Elec. Co. et al, No. 4:16-cv-00145RLYTAB, 2018 WL 321686 (S.D. Ind. Jan. 8, 2018), appeal dismissed, 920 F.3d 499 (7th Cir. 2019), and aff'd sub nom. No. 19-2442, 2020 WL 995774 (7th Cir. Mar. 2, 2020).
- Obtained unanimous victory on issue of first impression with broad implication for cable industry in case briefed and argued before Texas Supreme Court. Time Warner Cable Texas LLC v. CPS Energy, No. 17-0840, --- S.W.3d ---, 2019 WL 2147257 (Tex. May 17, 2019).
- Won a preliminary injunction in favor of nearly a dozen communications providers that led to favorable resolution of federal court litigation against the City of Baltimore involving Section 253 of the federal Communications Act.
- Successfully represented the California Cable and Telecommunications Association in defeating certification of a class of statewide landowners seeking injunctive relief and damages for alleged wrongful "telecommunications” use of easements they granted to an electric utility.
- Won summary judgment in favor of a cable operator in long-running federal court litigation brought by a local franchising authority claiming millions of dollars in damages for an alleged breach of the franchise agreement. (Mecklenburg County v. Time Warner Entertainment-Advance/Newhouse P’ship, 2010 WL 391279 (W.D.N.C. 2010)).
- Won summary judgment in favor of a cable operator in federal court litigation brought by local franchising authorities alleging violation of Public, Educational and Governmental obligations.
- Defended cable operator through a weeks-long trial of a state court action brought by an investor-owned electric utility claiming the operator owed millions of dollars in back pole attachment fees for allegedly providing "telecommunications services."
- Defended an international automobile manufacturer in coordinated putative class actions involving products liability and state consumer protection statutes based on allegations of defective alignment systems and consequent tire wear. (In Re LR3 Litigation (MDL 2008)).
"Highly Recommended" for Telecoms and Broadcast: Regulatory, Legal 500 US, 2012-2022
‘From a litigation perspective, Paul Werner has the ability to filter through issues and determine the approach most likely to lead to a positive outcome which he has achieved many times. He has a measured, thoughtful approach and comes exceptionally well-prepared for trial.’ (Legal 500 US)
Leading U.S. Litigator, Lawdragon, 2022
Washington D.C. Super Lawyer, Super Lawyers, 2014-2016
- San Diego Defense Lawyers, Fall 2019
Class Action Defense Strategy Blog
- "Supreme Court Punts On Whether FCC’s Interpretation of the TCPA Binds Federal Courts," September 3, 2019
- "Second Circuit Affirms “Snap” Removal Practice," March 29, 2019
- "Supreme Court Poised To Alter TCPA Landscape With Review Of Key Term 'Advertisement',” November 15, 2018
- "5 TCPA Class Action Trends to Watch in 2018 – Legislation, Administrative Law & Litigation," February 28, 2018
- "Spokeo—Round 3: The Ninth Circuit Finds Alleged Statutory Violation Sufficiently “Concrete” To Satisfy Article III Standing," August 29, 2017
- "You Can’t Always Get What You Want—Second Circuit Affirms Parties Can Bargain Away TCPA Right To Revoke Consent To Automated Calls," July 12, 2017
Eye on Privacy Blog Posts
FCC Law Blog Posts
- "Sunshine State Becomes 24th to Certify Regulation of Pole Attachments," June 14, 2022
- "Sixth Circuit Affirms FCC Rule That Most In Kind Contributions Are Franchise Fees," June 2, 2021
- "Ninth Circuit Rejects Challenges to FCC’s One-Touch Make-Ready, Small Cell Deployment, and Local Moratoria Orders," August 18, 2020
- "Virgil Quick Come See: FCC Drives Down Local Government Regulation of Cable Operators," August 2, 2019
- "D.C. Circuit Hears Challenge To Federal Communications Commission’s 2018 Restoring Internet Freedom Order," February 4, 2019
- "Supreme Court Poised To Alter TCPA Landscape With Review Of Key Term 'Advertisement'," November 17, 2018
- "As The “Net Neutrality” World Turns . . . ." November 7, 2018
- "Lucia Is Likely To Have Little Impact On Waning FCC Adjudications," July 17, 2018
- "FCC Seeks “Large Step” Toward Advancing Broadband Infrastructure Goals With Draft One-Touch Make-Ready Order," July 16, 2018
- "Back To The Future: FCC Returns To Light Touch Regulation Of The Internet," June 13, 2018
- "Once Bitten, Twice Shy: FCC Revisits Its Telemarketing Regulations In Light Of The DC Circuit’s Decision Striking Down Core Requirements," June 1, 2018
- "Ninth Circuit Removes FTC From The Beat: Agency Lacks Authority To Police Common Carriers Engaged In Non-Common Carrier Activities," September 8, 2016
- "Sixth Circuit Rejects FCC’s Effort To Preempt State Regulation Of Municipal Broadband Providers," August 11, 2016
- "Patient Zero – Public Knowledge Seeks FCC Review of A New “Zero Rated” Service," March 14, 2016
- "FCC Warns Broadband Internet Service Providers Of Coming Expanded Title II Privacy Regulation," May 29, 2015
- "Cyberspace Oddity: The FCC Regulates Internet Services as Common Carrier Telecommunications Services, 'Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet,'" February 27, 2015
- "The Eleventh Circuit Reaffirms FCC’s Authority To Coordinate National TCPA Policy And Ensure Uniformity Of Enforcement in Mais v. Gulf Coast Collection Bureau," October 16, 2014
- "Ninth Circuit Thinks Inside the Bun, Applies Traditional Agency Principles To Dismiss Putative TCPA Class Action Claims Against Taco Bell Corp." July 17 2014
- "Call Me Maybe?: The New TCPA Position Announced by The Federal Communications Commission in Nigro v. Mercantile Adjustment Bureau," July 7, 2014
- "Supreme Court Sides with Broadcasters in Aereo Decision," June 30, 2014
- "North Carolina Court Issues First Decision Controlling Coop Pole Attachment Rates," May 29, 2014
- "Once More Unto the Breach: the FCC Calls for Comments on Revamping Net Neutrality Regulations," May 16, 2014
- "Twice Bitten But Not Shy, The FCC Is Handed The DC Circuit’s Prescription for Internet Regulation," January 20, 2014
Healthcare Law Blog Posts
- "D.C. Circuit Gives New Life to CMS Overpayment Rule," August 17, 2021
- Bloomberg Law, 11.01.2021
- Law360, 09.29.2021
- Law360, 09.09.2021
- Bloomberg Law: Environment & Energy, 06.17.2021
- Reuters, 06.17.2021
- Law360, 06.17.2021
- Communications Daily, 10.29.2020
- Law360, 04.10.2020
- Law360, 04.07.2020
- 7th Circ. Lets Charter Run Fiber Over Litigant’s LandLaw360, 03.03.2020
- Law360, 02.03.2020
- Law360, 01.22.2020
- Law360, 12.20.2019
- Law360, 12.11.2019
- Grand View Outdoors, 10.14.2019
- Law.com, 10.10.2019
- Law360, 10.09.2019
- Bloomberg Environment, 10.09.2019
- Law360, 05.17.2019
- Law360, 04.05.2019
- Law360, 01.24.2019
- S&P Global Marken Intelligence, 10.04.2018
- The New York Times, 08.02.2018
- S&P Global Market Intelligence, 07.26.2018
- Broadcasting & Cable.com, 07.20.2018
- S&P Global Market Intelligence, 06.27.2018
- Developments to Watch After the Net Neutrality VoteLaw360, 12.15.2017
- Top 4 Groups Lobbying The FCCLaw360, 12.05.2017
- What We Know About The Upcoming Net Neutrality VoteLaw360, 11.21.2017
- Defamation Lawsuit Involving Rival Tungsten Product Manufacturers Brought to Pennsylvania Federal CourtPennsylvania Record, 11.14.2017
- Net Neutrality Comments Marked By Duplicates, Study SaysLaw360, 08.30.2017
- UGV Vendors Take National Security Dispute to CourtRobotics Business Review, 07.28.2017
- Top 5 Groups Lobbying The FCCLaw360, 06.07.2017
- FCC’s Net Neutrality Plan Sets Up Repeal Without ReplaceLaw360, 04.28.2017
- FCC’s Infrastructure Votes Pave Way For Bold 5G PushLaw360, 04.21.2017
- DC Circ.'s Delay On Net Neutrality Points To Wider HoldupLaw360, 03.15.2017
- Telco Transformation, 03.06.2017
- Law360, 02.09.2017
- Telecom Cases To Watch In 2017Law360, 01.02.2017
- Set-Top Box Plan Likely To Headline Active FCC MeetingLaw360, 09.28.2016
- Law360, 08.17.2016
- Law360, 07.13.2016
- Law360, 07.08.2016
- Variety, 06.17.2016
- Cnet, 06.15.2016
- Law360, 06.15.2016
- Law360, 06.14.2016
- Bloomberg BNA, 06.14.2016
- Sheppard Mullin Chases the Cool Quotient in D.C.The National Law Journal, 09.08.2014
- "CMS’ Medicare Advantage Overpayment Rule Takes a Permanent Vacation: What’s Next for Payors and Providers Alike," Sheppard Mullin Healthcare Webinar, October 16, 2018
- Webinar, 04.23.2020
- CMS’ Medicare Advantage Overpayment Rule Takes a Permanent Vacation: What’s Next for Payors and Providers AlikeSheppard Mullin Healthcare Webinar, 10.16.2018
Member, Federal Communications Bar Association
Member, The Historical Society of the District of Columbia Circuit
J.D., Vanderbilt University Law School, Editor in Chief, Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment Law & Practice, 2002, Order of the Coif
B.A., University of California, Los Angeles, 1999, summa cum laude
- Law Clerk to The Honorable Karen LeCraft Henderson of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
- District of Columbia
- U.S. Supreme Court
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
- U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
- U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
- U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
- U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado
- U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas