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Linnet Davis-Stermitz is an associate at Gupta Wessler LLP, where she focuses on cutting-edge public interest and plaintiffs’-side appellate litigation. She first joined Gupta Wessler as a Fellow in Appellate and Constitutional Litigation following her clerkships with Judge Michelle Friedland of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and Judge Alison Nathan of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
While at the firm, Linnet has represented clients before the U.S. Supreme Court and numerous federal and state appellate courts on a wide range of legal issues including consumer class actions, forced arbitration, fair housing, administrative law, environmental law, personal jurisdiction, preemption, Section 230 immunity, employee-benefits law, and standing.
Linnet recently argued and won a forced-arbitration appeal before the California Court of Appeal, persuading the court that a credit union could not form an arbitration agreement with its customers simply by posting a clause on its online banking portal. The credit union then unsuccessfully sought U.S. Supreme Court review.
In the U.S. Supreme Court, Linnet has been the primary drafter of both petition- and merits-stage briefing, including a successful brief in opposition on a personal jurisdiction question and merits-stage amicus briefs on questions involving forced arbitration and securities class actions.
Linnet has also drafted briefs on an array of difficult and novel legal questions in the federal circuits. She was the primary drafter of the firm’s briefing in a pending appeal in the Ninth Circuit on a nationwide issue of first impression concerning the interpretation of a consumer-protection statute. She was also a primary drafter of the firm’s briefs in a Ninth Circuit preemption appeal and a Fourth Circuit appeal concerning the enforceability of “infinite” arbitration clauses. And she helped draft the response brief in a Sixth Circuit appeal in which DuPont has asserted a novel civil-procedure objection to attempt to avoid liability for its decades-long pollution of drinking water in Ohio and West Virginia.
In addition, Linnet has represented plaintiffs and public-interest organizations in novel ground-up litigation, including a successful, first-of-its-kind administrative-law challenge to a midnight regulation promulgated by the outgoing EPA administrator to restrict the EPA’s use of science in its rulemaking. And Linnet has worked on the firm’s digital discrimination cases, including the firm’s representation of a fair-housing plaintiff in district-court litigation and in the first federal appeal to consider whether digital discrimination can inflict an Article III injury-in-fact.
Linnet regularly speaks at conferences on topics related to her practice, including mass arbitration and recent developments in the U.S. Supreme Court.
Linnet has a longstanding interest in housing, economic justice, and civil rights issues. After graduating with Highest Honors from Swarthmore College, she spent two years as a paralegal at Relman & Colfax PLLC, where she helped litigate fair housing, fair lending, and disability rights cases, including conducting interviews for what would become the first federal jury verdict holding a bank accountable for reverse-redlining practices. Linnet pursued these interests to the University of Chicago Law School, where she was a Rubenstein Scholar, a Comments Editor for the University of Chicago Law Review, and the head of a student group devoted to Chicago land-use issues. She also worked at a variety of public interest organizations, including Legal Aid Chicago’s Housing Practice Group and the Federal Criminal Justice Clinic, where she managed a first-of-its-kind six-judge evidentiary hearing in the clinic’s pathbreaking selective enforcement litigation and presented sentencing oral argument on behalf of a clinic client.
Before law school, Linnet spent a year traveling, during which she spent a month living in Tokyo, hiked from hut to hut in New Zealand and Italy, rode overnight trains in Vietnam and South Africa, and visited as many art museums as she could.