Randy Papetti is an experienced litigator and an elite trial lawyer. He has litigated and tried major intellectual property, commercial, real estate, and even criminal cases. From 2009-2014, Randy served as the leader of the firm's Litigation Practice Group, overseeing over 120 lawyers and paralegals. He is recognized by nearly every ranking publication and service as one of the top litigators in Arizona and in the Southwest.

Randy also has demonstrated an exceptional commitment to pro bono causes, where his work is internationally recognized.

Trial Work

Randy has successfully tried cases ranging from his defense of a man accused of first-degree murder to a complex lease and regulatory dispute that resulted in an $11.2 million jury verdict for the firm’s client. He was part of the trial team that in 2016 obtained a nationally publicized jury verdict that the writer, director, and producer of the Broadway play, Jersey Boys, copied from an unpublished manuscript of a deceased lawyer. He also regularly arbitrates cases and has obtained several awards exceeding $1 million in arbitrations and several defense verdicts. In 2011, Randy was invited into and inducted as a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, the preeminent trial lawyer organization in America.

Commercial and Intellectual Property Litigation

With a background in finance and economics, Randy has experience in handling a wide variety of intellectual property and commercial disputes. He has particular experience in disputes involving partnerships and other joint venture disputes, real estate, and intellectual property litigation. He was selected by Best Lawyers and his local peers in 2013 and again in 2019 as the Lawyer of the Year for “Bet-the-Company Litigation.”

Antitrust Disputes and Counseling

Randy counsels trade associations, industry consortiums, nonprofits, and corporations on antitrust, restrictive covenant, and other unfair competition matters, and has served as counsel in several major antitrust class actions filed in Arizona. He is a past chair of the Antitrust Section of the State Bar of Arizona. He was recently selected by Best Lawyers and his local peers as the Lawyer of the Year for "Regulatory Enforcement Litigation."

Pro Bono

Early in Randy’s career, he was asked to help on a case where the defendant had been convicted based on a medical diagnosis known as “Shaken Baby Syndrome” (SBS). With no experience in the area, Randy dug into the case and studied the science behind the diagnosis, concluding it was unreliable, and eventually securing that individual’s relief after serving a lengthy prison sentence. Since then, on a pro bono basis, Randy has handled several high-profile murder and other alleged homicide cases in which he believed the defendants had been falsely accused. In one, after a six-week trial, the jury hung 8-4 in favor of acquittal. In another, Randy helped overturn another wrongful conviction of a man who had served 10 years in prison for allegedly murdering his son; the State eventually dismissed all charges. In a third case in Qatar involving murder allegations against an American couple whose child suddenly died while the father was in Qatar on a work assignment, Randy's clients were exonerated by the Qatari courts, a nearly unheard-of result in that region. Recently, Randy’s concern about the unreliability of the science in this area led him to write a leading text, The Forensic Unreliability of the Shaken Baby Syndrome (Academic Forensic Pathology International 2018), which addresses the legal, medical, and scientific complexities and issues surrounding the diagnosis. Randy has received multiple awards for his pro bono and community service work.

More About Randy Papetti

Education

  • J.D., with high honors, George Washington University Law School, 1992
  • B.S.B.A., magna cum laude, University of Arizona, 1989

Bar Admissions

  • Arizona, 1993

Court Admissions

  • U.S. District Court, District of Arizona
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit

Community

  • State Bar of Arizona, Antitrust Section, Past Chair
  • Arizona Foundation for Legal Services and Education, Past Board Member and Treasurer
  • Arizona Justice Project, Board Member
  • Arizona Supreme Court, Advisory Committee on Rules of Evidence
  • American College of Trial Lawyers, Fellow
  • American College of Trial Lawyers, Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee, Chair

Representative Matters

  • Regularly handles disputes involving limited liability companies, close corporations, partnerships, and joint ventures.
  • Represented over 20 professional drag racing teams in their successful unfair competition suit against the National Hot Rod Association.  
  • Represented Lewis and Roca (effective January 1, 2016, Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie) in its successful constitutional challenge to Nevada Supreme Court Rule 199, which prevented the firm from using its name in Nevada.
  • Retained mid-stream in a complicated patent infringement and trade secret case and brokered a five-way settlement favorable to his client within four months.
  • Obtained complete defense verdict against the United States on behalf of an Arizona company after the United States demanded to unwind a transaction between the parties. After 12 years of litigation and a trial, the Court ordered the United States to pay lawyers’ fees and costs.
  • Represented a sand and gravel pit operator in a complex dispute with regulators and its landlord that resulted in an $11.19 million jury verdict and a total judgment exceeding $12 million for the operator. The verdict was one of the top five jury verdicts in Arizona in 2007.
  • Obtained, after prevailing at trial, first known appellate opinion in Arizona allowing a landlord to recover diminution-in-value damages for a shopping center based on the breach of a continuous operation covenant by the center’s anchor tenant.
  • Devoted a decade to representing a man who was previously wrongfully convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. After succeeding in having the conviction overturned, and after a five-week retrial that involved leading scientific and medical experts from around North America, a jury refused to convict the man on any charges.
  • Represented Matt and Grace Huang, Americans who were wrongly charged in Qatar of murdering their daughter. The Huangs eventually were exonerated by the Qatari courts.

State of Arizona vs. Drayton Shawn Witt

Defendant's Memorandum in Support of Petition for Post-Conviction Relief
Click Here to View 

Motion to Exclude the State's Expert Testimony
Click Here to View 

Exhibits
Click Here to View

Honors & Recognitions

  • Arizona Justice Project, One Injustice Award Recipient, 2020

  • State Bar of Arizona Tom Karas Criminal Justice Award Recipient, 2020
  • Benchmark Litigation, "Local Litigation Star" for Antitrust, General Commercial, and Professional Liability, in Arizona, 2012-2021
  • The Best Lawyers in America, 2019, 2020 "Lawyer of the Year," Woodward/White, Aiken, S.C., (Recognized in six areas: Antitrust Litigation, Banking and Finance Litigation, Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Real Estate Litigation, and Regulatory Enforcement Litigation), 2012-2021
  • Southwest Super Lawyers,  Top 50 Arizona Super Lawyer, 2012-2014, 2021 Business Litigation, 2010-2021
  • Chambers USA, Litigation: General Commercial, 2014-2020
  • Phoenix Magazine, Top Phoenix Lawyer
  • Martindale-Hubbell, "AV/Preeminent Attorney" rating
  • John P. Frank Pro Bono Award, Recipient, given to honor exceptional pro bono contribution
  • StandUp for Kids Founders Award, Recipient, highest honor given by national organization that helps homeless and street kids
  • Inaugural Robert J. Hooker Award, Recipient, given by the Arizona Public Defenders Association for exceptional service by private lawyers to criminal justice in Arizona

Clerkships

  • U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona

News

Publications

  • Law, Child Abuse, and the Retina
    Co-Author, The Champion 28, 2018-11-01
  • The Forensic Unreliability of the Shaken Baby Syndrome
    Author, Academic Forensic Pathology International, 2021-02-17

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