Paul J. Killion


  • Paul J. Killion
  • Phone: +1 415 957 3141

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  • Duane Morris LLP
    Spear Tower
    One Market Plaza, Suite 2200
    San Francisco, CA 94105-1127

Paul J. Killion is a Certified Appellate Specialist and practices in the area of complex civil litigation. Mr. Killion has an extensive appellate practice, and has briefed over one hundred appellate matters, including before the United States Supreme Court, the United States Courts of Appeals, the California Supreme Court and the California Courts of Appeal, as well as state appellate courts in Washington and Oregon. Many of the matters have resulted in published decisions. He has handled a variety of litigation and appeals, including significant national experience in asbestos, pollution, toxic tort insurance coverage litigation and large personal injury claims. He has a broad range of appellate experience, in both state and federal court, with a particular focus on appeals from complex jury trials.

Mr. Killion is a member of the California Academy of Appellate Lawyers. He served as the Chair of the California State Bar's Standing Committee on the Appellate Courts from 2015-16, and is currently a member of the Litigation Section, Committee on Appellate Courts. He has spoken and published on numerous appellate and insurance issues, and was selected as a 2014 Distinguished Legal Writing Award Winner by the Burton Awards. He currently serves on the Executive Committee of the Litigation Section of the California Lawyers Association and is Vice-Chair of the Jury Instruction Committee, providing comments on proposed California Approved Civil Instructions. He is a member of the Appellate Committees of the Bar Association of San Francisco and the Defense Research Institute. He is also a member of the American Bar Association.

Mr. Killion is a 1986 graduate of the University of San Francisco School of Law and a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He is AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell.

Representative Matters

    Significant Litigation

  • Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s, London, et al. v. ConAgra Grocery Products Co., et al. (represented liability insurer in San Francisco Superior Court insurance coverage dispute regarding lead paint)
  • Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s of London v. Rockwell Automation Corp., et al. (Los Angeles asbestos coverage litigation).
  • North Kern Water Storage District v. City of Bakersfield (Ventura Superior Court water contract rights dispute)
  • Merced Irrig. Dist. v. Mariposa (Tulare Superior Court water contract rights dispute)
  • On behalf of a Long Beach trucking company, set aside a $2.3 million default judgment in Los Angeles Superior Court and then defeated a renewed effort by the plaintiff to establish alter ego liability.

  • Deere and Co. v. Certain Underwriters, et al. (San Francisco asbestos coverage litigation)
  • Thorpe Asbestos Coverage Cases (Los Angeles Coordinated Proceeding involving asbestos non-products coverage issues)
  • St.Paul Fire and Marine Ins. Co. v. A.P.I. Inc. (Minn. state court asbestos coverage litigation involving non-products issues and 524(g) federal bankruptcy proceedings)(2002-05)
  • Kaiser Aluminum and Chemical Corp. v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's, London, et al. (San Francisco asbestos coverage litigation involving products issues and 524(g) federal bankruptcy proceedings)(2000-05)
  • Four Star Oil & Gas Company, et al. v. Allianz Insurance Co., et al. (Los Angeles coverage litigation involving all Texaco's environmental sites in United States and Canada)(1992-95)
  • Shell Oil Company v. Aetna Casualty and Surety Co., et al. (San Francisco and Illinois coverage litigation involving polybutylene pipe property damage claims)(1993-96)
  • Shell Oil Company v. Accident and Casualty, et al. and related actions (San Mateo and San Francisco CA environmental coverage litigation involving Rocky mountain Arsenal and other Shell pollution sites)(1986-96)
  • Counsel for insurers in connection with the application of the standard nuclear exclusion in liability insurance policies to pollution sites.

  • Represented London market insurance companies in a pollution coverage litigation, worth approximately $10 million, against a major oil company that involved a yellow-cake uranium processing plant in Wyoming.

  • Represented a pro bono client in performing a constitutional analysis in the City of Monterey Park, California showing the unconstitutionality of a proposed ordinance which sought to require that business signs have modern Latin Alphabet (e.g. English) on their signs.

  • FMC Corporation v. Plaisted and Companies, et al. (Santa Clara County, CA multi-phase environmental coverage litigation involving 60 sites, seven separate jury trials and seven separate appeals)(1987-98)
  • Significant Appeals

  • Defended Allergan Inc. and individual board members from start to finish in an ERISA “stock drop” case, successfully securing dismissal of all claims and affirmance on appeal by the 3rd Circuit court of appeals; the court rejected plaintiffs’ allegations that the company and board members had inside knowledge of a price-fixing conspiracy leading to inflation of its stock price, which they claimed affected workers and retirees in the employee stock ownership plan.

  • Willhide-Michiulis v. Mammoth Mountain Ski Area (2018) 25 Cal.App.5th 344 (Third District) (successfully defended summary judgment in favor of Mammoth Mountain involving injury caused when snowboarder collided with snowcat’s snow grooming tiller)
  • Rosilho v. Young (2017 WL 4676232) Cal. Court of Appeal, Second District, (on behalf of Brazilian investor, successfully obtained affirmance of $2.4M judgment after jury trial arising from real estate fraud and notary misconduct claims)
  • Fox Factory, Inc. v. Superior Court (Isherwood) (2017) 11 Cal.App.5th 197 (successfully obtained reversal, on petition for writ of mandate, of adverse forum non conveniens ruling arising from mountain bike accident in Canada involving Canadian plaintiff and bike sold in Canada)
  • Los Angeles Unified School District v. Safety National Casualty Corporation (2017) 13 Cal.App.5th 471 (appeal by liability insurer from denial of motion to compel arbitration)
  • M.B.L., Inc. v. Federal Ins. Co., et al. (Ninth Circuit No. 14-56107) 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 695 (successfully obtained affirmance of summary judgment for insurance client in dry-cleaning pollution case)
  • Razmco and Associates, Inc., et al. v. BB&T Insurance Services (2016 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 1039) (successfully obtained reversal of adverse jury verdict regarding intentional interference with prospective economic advantage, with directions to enter new judgment for client)
  • Lamorak Insurance Company v. Superior Court (Rockwell Automation Corporation and Invensys LLC) (Cal. Court of Appeal, Second District, Div. 7, B266629) (successfully petitioned for writ of mandate challenging summary adjudication of breach; alternative writ issued).
  • DeBons, et al. v. Globus Medical, Inc. (Ninth Circuit No. 14-56455) (successfully obtained affirmance of 12(b)(6) dismissal of 17200 class action based on NuBone medical product).
  • Field v. American Mortgage Express Corp., et al. 584 Fed.Appx. 414 (9th Cir. 9/11/2014 No. 12-16311) (successfully obtained affirmance of summary judgment and dismissal for payroll processor client in back wages class action)
  • David Larrieu, et al. v. ING Bank, et al. (First District, Div. Five, No. A137527) (successfully obtained dismissal of appeal from demurrer ruling in favor of bank client in foreclosure action)
  • Federal Ins. Co., et al. v. MBL, Inc. (2013) 219 Cal.App.4th 29 (successfully obtained affirmance of judgment denying right to Cumis counsel on behalf of insurance client, and affirmance of money judgment against policyholder for reimbursement of Cumis fees not owed.)
  • Pedeferri, et al. v. White, et al. (2013) 216 Cal.App.4th 359 (successfully obtained reversal of $49 million total judgment against client in personal injury and wrongful death action arising out of a distracted driver running off the road and killing a motorist and crippling a CHP officer.)
  • In Re Plant Insulation Co. (9th Cir. 2013) 734 F.3d 900 (9th Cir. No. 12-17466) (partial reversal of bankruptcy court confirmation order against insurer client regarding 524(g) asbestos bankruptcy proceeding, based on failure to grant the asbestos trust a majority ownership share in the reorganized debtor, as required under 524(g))
  • Employers Ins. Co. of Wausau v. California Capital Ins. Co. (Court of Appeal, Second District, Div. 6, No. B226545) (unpublished) (successfully obtained affirmance of $1 million judgment entered in favor of an excess insurer in a subrogation and indemnity action arising from auto accident)
  • Reid v. Google, Inc., (2013) 50 Cal.4th 512 (In an age discrimination suit brought against Google on behalf of a former director of operations and engineering, obtained a decision from the California Supreme Court that affirmed a lower court's decision rejecting most of Google's objections to the suit. Decision established rules regarding evidentiary objections in summary judgment motions).
  • Nalwa v. Cedar Fair, LP, (2012) 55 Cal.4th 1148 (prepared amicus brief on behalf of California Ski Industry Association in assumption of risk case involving amusement park injury; Supreme Court reversed Court of Appeal and upheld application of assumption of risk)
  • Gregorie v. Alpine Meadows Ski Corporation 405 Fed.Appx. 187 (9th Cir. 2010) (successfully obtained affirmance of summary judgment for ski resort client based on assumption of risk in snowboarding wrongful death action)
  • Aerojet-General Corporation v. Commercial Universal Insurance Company, 155 Cal.App.4th 132 (2007) (environmental insurance coverage)
  • Catholic Mutual Relief Society et al. v. Superior Court, 42 Cal.4th 358 (2007) (reinsurance discovery; amicus brief) (one of Mealey's 10 most significant insurance coverage cases for 2007)
  • Schnitzer Investment Corp. v. Certain Underwriters, et al., 341 Ore. 128 (2006 Oregon SC) (environmental coverage)
  • Holloway v. Republic Indemnity Co., 341 Ore. 642 (2006 Oregon SC) (sexual harassment coverage)
  • Buell-Wilson v. Ford Motor Co., 141 Cal.App.4th 525 (2006) (Explorer rollover)
  • Souza v. Squaw Valley Ski Corp., 138 Cal.App.4th 262 (2006) (ski injury)
  • Boghos v. Certain Underwriters, et al., 36 Cal.4th 495 (2005) (arbitration dispute; amicus brief)
  • Kahn v. East Side Union HS Dist., et al., 31 Cal.4th 990 (2003) (diving accident; amicus brief)
  • London Market Insurers v. Safety National unpublished (First Dist. 2004) (arbitration dispute)
  • Vine v. Bear Valley 118 Cal.App.4th 577 (2004) (snowboarding injury)
  • Lambert v. General Motors unpublished (Fourth Dist. 2003) (Blazer rollover)
  • Henkel Corp. v. Hartford Acc. And Indem., 29 Cal.4th 934 (2003) (assignment issue; amicus brief) (one of Mealey's 10 most significant insurance coverage cases for 2003)
  • Squaw Valley v. Superior Court unpublished (2nd Dist. 2002) (venue writ)
  • Dart Industries v. Commercial Union Insurance Co. 28 Cal. 4th 1059 (2002) (missing insurance contract; amicus brief) (one of Mealey's 10 most significant insurance coverage cases in 2002)
  • Raimondi v. Ford Motor Co. unpublished (First Dist. 2001) (Bronco II rollover)
  • Sparks v. Calif. Restaurant Assoc. unpublished (Third Dist. 2001) (employment discrimination)
  • Golden Eagle Ins. Co. v. Southwire Co. (Fifth Dist. 2001) (construction defect)
  • Palmer v. Truck Ins. Exch., 21 Cal.4th 1109 (1999) (advertising liability; amicus brief)
  • Syntex v. Lowsley-Williams and Cos. (1998) 67 Cal.App.4th 871 (environmental insurance coverage)
  • FMC v. Plaisted and Companies (1998) 61 Cal.App.4th 1132 (environmental insurance coverage)
  • Armstrong World Industries v. Aetna Cas. & Ins. Co. (1996) 45 Cal. App. 4th 1 (asbestos coverage)
  • Shell Oil Company v. Winterthur Swiss Ins. Co. (1993) 12 Cal.App.4th 715 (environmental insurance coverage).

Professional Activities

  • California Academy of Appellate Lawyers
  • Certified Appellate Specialist by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization
  • California State Bar Committee on the Appellate Courts
    - Chair, 2015-2016; Vice Chair 2014-15
  • American Bar Association
  • Bar Association of San Francisco
    - Appellate Practice Committee
  • Defense Research Institute
    - Appellate Practice Committee
  • Bar Associations of Los Angeles, Sacramento, Santa Clara and Marin Counties
  • Member of the California Supreme Court Historical Society


  • California
  • Supreme Court of the United States
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third 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 Tenth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
  • U.S. District Court for the Central District of California
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California


  • University of San Francisco School of Law, J.D., 1986
  • University of California, Berkeley, B.A., 1980
    Phi Beta Kappa


  • Duane Morris LLP
    - Partner, 2006-present
  • Hancock Rothert & Bunshoft LLP
    - Partner, 1993-2005
    - Associate, 1986-1993
  • Contra Costa County, California
    - Deputy District Attorney, 1989

Civic and Charitable Activities

  • Legal Aid of Marin/Former Board Member

Honors and Awards

  • Listed in The Best Lawyers in America for Appellate Practice, 2020-2024

  • Referenced in Legal 500 U.S.- Leading Lawyers for Insurance: Advice to Insurers 2015
  • Selected as 2014 Distinguished Legal Writing Award Winner by the Burton Awards
  • AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®

Selected Publications

  • Contributor, Duane Morris Insurance Law Blog
  • Contributor, Duane Morris Appellate Review Blog
  • Co-author, "California Supreme Court Recognizes an Employer's Good Faith Defense to Labor Code Wage Statement Penalties," Duane Morris Alert, May 7, 2024
  • Co-author, "Finally, Good News for California Employers: Extension of Good Faith Dispute Defense for Wage-and-Hour Penalties," Duane Morris Alert, March 2, 2023
  • Co-Author, California Litigation Review, Appeals and Writs Section, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 Editions

  • Co-Author, "Sign Languages," Los Angeles Lawyer, January 2015
  • Author, "California Appeals: Ten Things to Know," DRI In-House Defense Quarterly, Winter 2013
  • Author, "Warning: The Internet May Contain Traces of Nuts (Or, When and How to Cite to Internet Sources)," California Litigation, Vol. 26, No. 1, 2013 (2014 Distinguished Legal Writing Award Winner by Burton Awards)
  • Co-Author, "Do You Need to Read the Warranty First?" Los Angeles Daily Journal, July 22, 2010
  • Co-Author, "Correcting a Boghos Analysis: The California Supreme Court Holds That Service of Suit Clauses Do Not Conflict with Arbitration Clauses," Mealey's Litigation Report: California Insurance, August 2005
  • Co-Author, "A Defense Lawyer's Guide to Appellate Practice," Defense Research Institute, 2004
  • Co-Author, "The First Look: Recognizing the Chances for Success on Appeal,: California Litigation, Vol. 16, No. 2, 2003
  • Co-Author, "Tales from the Corporate Trail: The California Supreme Court Clarifies Insurance Rules for Policy Assignment between Corporate Successors," Mealey's Litigation Report: Insurance, March 11, 2003
  • Co-Author, "The Dart Not Thrown: A Response to the California Supreme Court's Invitation to Establish an Evidentiary Standard for Proof of Lost Insurance Policies," Mealey's Litigation Report: Insurance, October 1, 2002
  • "Purpose and Limits: Consider the Goals of the Appellate Brief When Drafting," San Francisco Daily Journal, July 30, 2001
  • "Guessing Games: The Ninth Circuit Takes a Stab at California Insurance Law," The Recorder, November 8, 2000
  • Co-Author, "A Toxic Turn for Policyholders," Insurance Litigation, San Francisco Recorder, September/October 1998
  • Co-Author, "The Top Ten Reasons Insurance Coverage Lawyers Should Understand FMC v. Plaisted and Companies," Mealey's Litigation Reports: Insurance, July 21, 1998
  • "Reply Briefs," Certworthy, Fall 1998 (DRI - Appellate Advocacy)
  • Co-Author, "The 'Expected or Intended' Provision and California Insurance Code Section 533 - The Rest of the Picture," Mealey's Litigation Reports: Insurance, August 27, 1996
  • Co-Author, "Once A Wicked Sister: The Continuing Role of Assumption of Risk Under Comparative Fault in California," 20 USF Law Review 225, Winter 1986

Selected Speaking Engagements

  • Panelist, "When Things Go Wrong: Challenges and Strategies for Appeals from Jury Trials," State Bar of California's Appellate Summit, October 14, 2017
  • Speaker, "Last Acts Before Appeal: Post-Trial Motions and Statements of Decision," State Bar of California's 89th Annual Meeting, San Diego, California, October 2016
  • Speaker, "It's All About the record: Protecting and Presenting the Record on Appeal," State Bar of California's 88th Annual Meeting, Anaheim, California, October 2015
  • Co-presenter, "Statements of Decision," California State Bar CLE Webinar, January 14, 2015
  • Speaker, "Appellate Ethics," State Bar of California's 87th Annual Meeting, San Diego, California, September 2014
  • Speaker, "Advocate In Style for Better Results," State Bar of California's 85th Annual Meeting, Monterey, CA, October 2012
  • Speaker, "Update on Asbestos Coverage Issues," Forum for Environmental and Toxic Torts Issues Nineteenth Annual Conference, Chicago, September 2012
  • "Preserving and Presenting Appellate Issues in California," West-Thomson webinar, September 2012
  • "What's Hot in Asbestos," Program Forum on Environmental and Toxic Tort Issues, October 2006
  • "Publication and Depublication of California Appellate Court Opinions," Program for Bar Association of San Francisco, June 1999