Areas of Practice
  • Case Western Reserve University School of Law, J.D., 1985
  • University of Colorado, B.S., 1982
Bar & Court Admissions
  • California

Ruth Kahn

633 West Fifth Street
Suite 700
Los Angeles CA 90071
TEL: +1 213 439 9429
FAX: +1 213 439 9599

Ruth Kahn is a partner in Steptoe’s Los Angeles office.  Ms. Kahn is an accomplished litigator and trial attorney and has handled a wide variety of civil cases in state and federal courts.  She also is a thoughtful and respected negotiator.  For the last 20 years, Ms. Kahn has focused her practice on the areas of complex litigation and products liability.  She has been repeatedly identified as one of the top women litigators in the State of California. 

Toxic Tort Practice
Ms. Kahn has developed a forte defending complex, multi-party toxic tort cases involving chronic medical conditions in which it is alleged that exposure to a chemical caused an injury.  She actively represents manufacturers and suppliers of chemical and petroleum-based products in litigation and at trial. Ms. Kahn works closely with nationally renowned experts, including epidemiologists, toxicologists, and industrial hygienists to provide a highly skilled, comprehensive defense. She is particularly interested in cases in which law and science intersect. She often represents multiple defendants in an action.

Products Liability Litigation
Ms. Kahn has successfully defended numerous companies in products liability and mass tort litigation across the country. She has been admitted pro hac vice in numerous jurisdictions and has extensive experience involving both industrial and consumer products for major pesticide/herbicide manufacturers in cases filed in Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego Counties, arising from alleged exposures to agricultural, professional landscaping, and lawn and garden products.

Complex Litigation
Ms. Kahn has successfully prosecuted and defended a wide range of complex actions, including environmental and groundwater contamination cases, and commercial disputes involving breach of contract, profit-sharing agreements and a variety of business-related torts. She is comfortable handling all aspects of complex litigation, including the use of large quantities of data and complicated calculations, massive document productions, a large number of potential witnesses, the need to present, defend and cross-examine expert witnesses in highly technical or otherwise complex subjects, and the need to educate and persuade through the use of sophisticated graphics and technology.

Representative Matters

  • Defense verdict for Shell Oil Company in a toxic tort benzene-AML wrongful death case, co-tried with Steptoe partner Larry Riff in Los Angeles where it was alleged that a chemical salesman’s exposure to benzene in petroleum-based solvents caused his acute myelogenous leukemia and his development of various chromosomal abnormalities were the hallmark of a benzene-induced disease. Head, et al. v. Chevron Corp., et al. Jury verdict returned February 2011. (The Daily Journal described this as one of the "Top Defense Verdicts" of 2011.)
  • Summary judgment for Exxon Mobil Corporation and Texaco Downstream Properties, Inc. in Canino, et al. v. Exxon Mobil Corp., et al., in a toxic tort case where it was alleged that exposure to gasoline and automotive products caused a former service station operator to develop brain cancer. Result date: December 2010.
  • Defense verdict for a major California electric utility company in a product liability case where it was alleged that a cable splicer's exposure to wood preservatives (pesticides) on poles caused him to develop multiple myeloma. Jury verdict returned in May 2010.
  • Defense verdict for Chevron USA Inc., Shell Oil Company and Union Oil Company of California in Molina vs. Shell Oil Company, a benzene-lymphoma case, co-tried with partner Larry Riff in Los Angeles County, in 2008.
  • Defense verdict for Chevron USA Inc. in Hooper v. Chevron U.S.A. Inc., a benzene-lymphoma case, co-tried with partner Larry Riff in Alameda County. (The Daily Journal described this as one of the “Top Defense Verdicts” of 2005.)
  • Representation of a major producer of crude oil in an action filed by 350+ residents of a public housing project which was built on a former oil field. Result: dismissals from, or summary judgments against, all plaintiffs.
  • Representation of multiple chemical suppliers in a collection of cases brought by employees and former employees in the semiconductor industry. The litigation, which spanned more than five years, involved a total of 135 different chemicals and 21 different injuries.


Select News & Events

Selected Publications

Professional Affiliations

  • California and Los Angeles County Bar Associations, Litigation Sections
  • Chancery Club of Los Angeles (2012-Present)
  • Los Angeles County Bar Association, Member, Ad Hoc Committee on Adequate State Court Funding and Operations (2012-2015); Ad Hoc President's Advisory Committee on Women in the Legal Profession (2013-2015); Member, Shattuck Price Award Committee (2012-2013); Member, Board of Trustees (2011-2012); Member, Board of Directors of Los Angeles County Bar Association Foundation (1996-2003); Inn of Court (early 1990s)
  • Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles, Immediate Past-President (2013-Present); President (2012-2013); Officer (2008-2012); Co-Chair, LACBA-WLALA Joint Task Force on Retention and Promotion of Women (2011-2012); Board of Governors (2006-Present)