William R. Sampson has tried more than 80 jury cases in federal, state and military courts and tribunals and has been active nationally and internationally in the defense of civil litigation. In addition, Bill has taught more than 100 programs on trial practice, litigation strategy, and legal writing for law students, clients and professional associations throughout the country.
Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business noted he is “excellent in the courtroom, with a great demeanor, and always well prepared,” and has identified him as a “Leading Individual.”
Who’s Who Legal recognized him for his “key role in the industry-wide keyless ignition class action,” and for “winning a motion to dismiss with prejudice for Nissan North America in related proceedings.”
- Nationwide Class Action Dismissed: Bill led a Shook team that won dismissal of a purported nationwide class action filed by 18 named plaintiffs from nearly as many states. The lawsuit claimed Nissan North America concealed that floorboards in certain vehicles were more prone to rust than normal. In an important jurisdiction decision, Judge John Robert Blakey, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, ruled the Court did not have jurisdiction over the out-of-state plaintiffs. He then dismissed all of the allegations of the Illinois plaintiff for failing to state a claim for relief. DeMaria v. Nissan North America Inc.
- Industry-wide, Keyless-Ignition Class Action Dismissed: Bill led the Shook team that obtained dismissal of a class action against Nissan North America that claimed it had a duty to disclose that its keyless-ignition systems lacked an “auto-off” feature. The plaintiffs claimed deaths from carbon monoxide poisoning and other injuries resulted from its absence; yet none of the plaintiffs had experienced injury themselves, or pleaded a design defect theory that would support their consumer fraud claims. For those reasons, a federal court in California held they had no standing to sue and granted Nissan’s motion to dismiss with prejudice. Lassen v. Nissan North America, Inc. Plaintiffs in the related Canadian action, Knafo v. Nissan Canada Inc., et al., discontinued their action in the wake of the Lassen order, and it was dismissed as well.
- Nationwide Consumer Class Action Dismissed: Bill led Shook’s team defending a national retailer in a Madison County, Illinois class action involving more than 60 defendants. While the case was still in pleadings phase, Shook relied upon state court procedure and moved to dismiss for dilatory service of process. The motion was denied after a lengthy hearing. Using evidence surprisingly adduced by plaintiffs during that hearing, Bill immediately moved for reconsideration, arguing the motion on behalf of all affected defendants, and succeeded in getting the action dismissed.
- Aggressive Third-Party Discovery Brings Early Settlement to International Dispute: Bill defended a foreign corporation and others in a federal action brought by a finance affiliate of Textron. Defendants’ third-party action shifted the focus of the lawsuit from nonpayment of a commercial lease to a product defect claim against the manufacturer, another Textron company. A week later, defendants obtained an innovative discovery ruling that permitted immediate, broad-ranging document discovery from the manufacturer, stayed other discovery, and ordered all parties to early mediation. Only three months later, the action settled.
- Judicial Panel for Multidistrict Litigation: Bill successfully opposed centralization of nationwide domestic drywall cases before the JPML and argued the case to the panel.
- Federal Court Jury Verdict for Actual Damages, Punitive Damages and Attorney’s Fees: As lead counsel for The Paradigm Alliance, a Wichita, Kansas-based pipeline public awareness company, Bill filed and prosecuted a multicount action for violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, misappropriation of trade secrets, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, and breach of contract. Following a two-week trial in Wichita, the court granted Paradigm’s motion for judgment as a matter of law on the defendants’ counterclaim. The next week, the jury awarded Paradigm the prayer of the complaint, found defendants’ conduct intentional and malicious on the trade secrets count, and awarded punitive damages. The jury’s findings enabled Paradigm to apply for its fees and litigation expenses, which the court awarded.
- Fraud and FLSA Action Dismissed with Prejudice: Bill led a team that won dismissal with prejudice of a lawsuit alleging fraud and Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) claims against Auto Club Services, Inc. The plaintiff claimed Auto Club failed to disclose customer credit score requirements that affected her ability to sell policies and meet sales projections; she also claimed Auto Club failed to pay her overtime. The U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota ruled in our client’s favor on all issues, holding plaintiff failed to plead any of the fraud claims with particularity and that, because she was an independent contractor, the FLSA claims also failed as a matter of law. Smith v. Auto Club Services, Inc.
- J.D., University of Kansas School of Law, 1971
- Order of the Coif
- Ranked fifth in class
- Kansas Law Review, Vol. 19, Topics Editor
- Finalist, James Barclay Smith Moot Court Competition
- Student Bar Association, Bar Review Course Committee
- Student Bar Association, Faculty Recruitment Committee
- Charles B. Randall Scholarship
- B.A., with honors, University of Kansas, 1968 (History)
- Outstanding Senior
- Senior Honors, History
- Honorary Fraternities:
- Omicron Delta Kappa, Senior Men
- Phi Alpha Theta, History
- Delta Sigma Rho, Speech
- First Place Award in Two Debate Tournaments
- U.S. District Court, District of Kansas
- U.S. District Court, Western District of Missouri
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit
- The Sedona Conference Working Group on Data Security and Privacy Liability (WG11)
- Defense Research Institute: National President (2003-2004; Corporate Counsel Roundtable—Chair (2014)
- National Foundation for Judicial Excellence, President (2008-2009); Board of Directors (2005-Present)
- American Board of Trial Advocates, Masters in Trial Programs (1991, 1993-1994, 2009); National Board of Directors (1990-1991); Kansas City Chapter, President (1990)
- International Association of Defense Counsel, Trial Academy, Faculty (1994); National Jury Trial Innovation Project, Team Leader (1999)
- Association of Defense Trial Attorneys
- American Bar Foundation, Fellow
- Kansas Association of Defense Counsel, President (1989-1990)
- Kansas Bar Association, Football Institutes (1985); Kansas College of Advocacy, Director (1987); CLE Program Coordinator; Nominating Committee (2014-2017)
- Wichita Bar Association, Board of Directors (1985-1986)
- Judge Hugh Means American Inn of Court, Master of the Bench
- University of Kansas Law Society, Board of Governors (1993-1996)
- Trinity Episcopal Church, Stewardship Committee, Co-Chair (2003)
- Lied Center of Kansas, Board of Directors (1994-1997)
- Friends University Retirement Corp., Board of Directors (1985-1987)
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