• Charles T. Sheldon

       • Derek S. Johnson

       • Katherine P. Gardiner

Charles T. SheldonCharles ("Chuck") T. Sheldon is a senior trial counsel in WFBM's Environmental department.  Chuck spent the first 21 years of his legal career practicing at another firm, but is excited about his recent move and is honored to now be at WFBM.  Chuck concentrates his practice on matters involving toxic tort and asbestos defense, as well as product liability.  Over the last 15 years, he has served as the lead partner for regional counsel teams defending California and Western United States product liability cases for three Fortune 500 companies.

An active trial lawyer, Chuck has tried a number of cases to conclusion, and has obtained a number of defense verdicts.  Among his more notable pre-verdict results is a case in which he obtained a non-suit for an asbestos defendant following plaintiff's unsuccessful 3-day offer of proof, made before opening statements.  Chuck has secured dismissals from many asbestos cases during trial, including a number after the jury was selected.  He has developed solid professional relationships with the plaintiffs' bar, while also being actively involved in developing new and innovative defense strategies for his asbestos clients, both of which have enabled him to achieve excellent negotiated resolutions in over a thousand cases.  Chuck also has experience litigating toxic exposure cases arising from mold, lead and radiation.  He has defended insurance companies in bad faith litigation, and served as the primary case handler and second chair trial lawyer on two Oakland Hills fire cases that were tried to verdict.  The results from both trials beat the final pretrial demands.

Growing up in Arizona, Chuck competed in every type of sport available, but eventually focused on baseball, football, and swimming.  During his college years, Chuck played for Cal's rugby team.  After that experience, he retired his cleats, and now enthusiastically watches sports from the comfort of his couch.  He and his wife help run a charitable dog rescue organization in Northern California.  In an effort to save more dogs, they recently expanded the rescue to Southern California, and regularly transport dogs from overcrowded shelters in California to Oregon, Washington and Canada.  When they are not shuttling rescue dogs around the Western United States, Chuck and his wife spend much of their free time in the Napa Valley.

Derek S. JohnsonDerek S. Johnson, a senior associate in the Environmental department in WFBM's San Francisco office, is an experienced litigation and trial attorney representing clients in high stakes and sophisticated product liability, toxic tort, wrongful death, personal injury and premise liability cases in state and federal court.  He focuses his practice in asbestos litigation.  Derek represents several Fortune 100 companies, including industrial and equipment manufacturers, distributors and installation contractors in the power, oil, military defense, chemical and railroad industries.

He currently serves as the lead associate for the regional counsel team defending California and Western United States asbestos cases for a Fortune 100 company, with responsibility for thousands of cases filed in state and federal court.  Derek's role as part of the regional counsel team includes coordinating with expert medical and scientific witnesses and working closely with the client on nationwide discovery and investigation.  Derek also represents these clients in various state and federal coordinated proceedings, including multidistrict litigations.

Derek's trial experience includes a number of recent trials resulting in defense verdicts and early-stage, favorable settlements.  Derek's cordial relationship with members of the plaintiffs' bar has enabled him to achieve excellent negotiated resolutions in hundreds of cases before significant litigation expenses were incurred. 

Before law school, Derek worked as a high school teacher and at a technology start-up company.  He is a Bay Area native and currently lives in the East Bay with his family.  When not out at the ballpark watching his beloved Giants, he spend as much time as he can travelling, camping and backpacking with his friends and family.

Katherine P. GardinerKatherine ("Kate") P. Gardiner is a senior associate in WFBM's Environmental department.  She is an experienced litigation and trial attorney who focuses her practice in toxic tort and products liability litigation, with an emphasis in asbestos litigation.  Kate has represented manufacturers, distributors, contractors and premises owners, including multiple Fortune 100 companies, in the power, military defense and construction industries.  She focuses on cases filed in and removed to federal court - both to the multidistrict litigation venued in Pennsylvania, and to all California District Courts - and has won summary judgment motions from various federal courts which have, for the first time, clarified both maritime and California law in favor of her clients. 

She has deposed hundreds of plaintiffs, percipient witnesses, and expert witnesses, and she works on all aspects of litigation from the pleading stage through trial and settlement.  She has answered ready for trial in a number of trial courts in San Francisco and Los Angeles Counties.  Kate has been invited to participate in numerous Trial Academies, including the IADC Trial Academy (2011).

Kate is a Bay Area native, having grown up in Oakland, and now living in San Francisco.  She is a relatively new recruit to the sport of curling, taking to the ice after the last Winter Olympics.  Kate participates in a weekly league, where she met her fiancé, and frequently travels to Seattle and the Midwest for curling tournaments with her team.  They haven't won one yet, but they are working on it!  Kate is a big opera buff and is a longtime San Francisco Opera season ticket holder.