Ryan J.Watson

Partner

Washington + 1.202.879.3809

Ryan Watson focuses on appellate litigation and advocacy before federal regulatory agencies in challenges related to administrative and constitutional law, statutory interpretation, and federal agency action.

Ryan's appellate experience includes significant involvement in D.C. Circuit litigation, in which he has argued appeals and briefed numerous cases. Ryan has worked on numerous matters involving proposed or final actions by federal regulatory agencies. He was part of the team that persuaded a court to invalidate the Food & Drug Administration's (FDA) effort to impose pre-approval requirements for many changes to labels and brand names for tobacco products. In addition, Ryan served as principal brief writer in a D.C. Circuit appeal involving novel technology issues and foreign sovereign immunity, helped represent Michael Jackson's estate in a successful D.C. Circuit appeal, and served as principal brief writer in a successful D.C. Circuit appeal involving the False Claims Act. He has contributed to successful merits briefing in Supreme Court cases involving the First Amendment, limitations on the federal government's authority to take land into trust, and rules for preserving a challenge to jury instructions.

Ryan also has been involved in the appellate facet of a firmwide initiative that involves representing immigrants seeking asylum, particularly women seeking protection against persecution in Central America. In addition, he speaks about the Supreme Court, is a member of the Supreme Court Historical Society, and previously served as an adjunct professor at The George Washington University Law School.

Experience

  • Tobacco manufacturers challenge City of Edina's ban on flavored tobacco productsJones Day recently filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company and other clients that challenges a City of Edina, Minnesota ordinance banning flavored tobacco products.
  • Tobacco manufacturers challenge LA County's ban on flavored tobacco productsJones Day recently filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company and other affiliated clients challenging a County of Los Angeles ordinance that bans flavored tobacco products.
  • R.J. Reynolds and Philip Morris engage in patent battle related to tobacco heating products and vaping productsJones Day is representing R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company ("Reynolds") and R.J. Reynolds Vapor Company ("RJRV") in several U.S. actions as part of its global patent dispute related to tobacco heating and vaping products. Reynolds filed patent infringement complaints against Philip Morris and Altria entities in the U.S. International Trade Commission and in the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Virginia, alleging that Philip Morris' IQOS tobacco heating product infringes a number of Reynolds' patents.
  • Tobacco manufacturers and retailers challenge FDA graphic warnings ruleJones Day filed a First Amendment lawsuit on behalf of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company and other clients.
  • CEO testifies before Congressional subcommitteeJones Day prepared the CEO of a Fortune 500 company for testimony before a subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives.
  • Amici curiae assist in Supreme Court rejection of FLSA exemptions interpretationJones Day represented the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, The National Federation of Independent Business, and Retail Litigation Center as amici curiae in connection with a brief in support of the employer’s position in Encino Motor Cars LLC v. Navarro, No. 16-1362 (U.S.).
  • Woman who fled Central America obtains stay of removalJones Day, working in conjunction with Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, obtained a temporary stay of removal from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit for a Central American client in a life-or-death appeal.
  • Reynolds American acquired by British American Tobacco Plc in deal valued at $49 billionJones Day advised Reynolds American Inc. ("RAI") regarding the acquisition by British American Tobacco, p.l.c. ("BAT") of 57.8 percent of the outstanding shares of RAI not owned by BAT and its affiliates in a transaction valued at $49 billion.
  • Institutional Religious Freedom Alliance’s amicus brief helps persuade Supreme Court that faith-based organizations must be allowed to compete on “equal footing” for public benefitsJones Day filed an amicus brief on behalf of a national association of faith-based organizations, urging the U.S. Supreme Court to clarify that, at least in the absence of exceptional circumstances, religiously motivated institutions may not be excluded from otherwise neutral grant programs.
  • R.J. Reynolds obtains decision overturning FDA's attempt to impose preapproval requirements for many label changesOn behalf of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company and related entities, Jones Day and its co-counsel persuaded the court to invalidate the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's effort to impose preapproval requirements for many changes to labels and brand names for tobacco products.
  • Petitioner prevails in Sixth Circuit habeas appealJones Day successfully represented the petitioner in a habeas corpus case in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • Court-appointed amicus curiae files briefs in D.C. Circuit habeas corpus case involving extraditionJones Day attorney Ryan J. Watson, acting as court-appointed amicus curiae in this D.C. Circuit appeal, filed briefs relating to the habeas corpus petition of an individual who was extradited from Mexico to the United States.
  • Digital Recognition Network's amicus brief helps persuade Virginia court that license plate numbers are not personal informationOn behalf of Digital Recognition Network, Inc. and Vigilant Solutions, Inc., Jones Day filed an amicus brief that supported the Fairfax County Police Department's position in a case involving automatic license plate readers.
  • Religious groups urge Supreme Court to grant petition in major religious-freedom caseIn February 2016, Jones Day filed an amicus brief, on behalf of religious groups, urging the Supreme Court to review a Ninth Circuit decision that upholds a Washington State law requiring pharmacists to dispense "Plan B" prescription drugs even when doing so violates their religious beliefs.
  • R.J. Reynolds prevails in appeal of preemption decisionOn April 8, 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit held that federal law preempts claims for strict liability and negligence made against tobacco companies in the context of the Engle class action.
  • Digital Recognition Network and Vigilant Solutions successfully challenge constitutionality of Utah’s regulation of automatic license plate readersOn behalf of Digital Recognition Network, Inc. and Vigilant Solutions, Inc., Jones Day filed a First Amendment challenge against the Utah Automatic License Plate Reader System Act, which criminalized the use of automatic license plate reader systems to disseminate and collect license plate data.
  • Estate of Michael Jackson prevails on appeal in D.C. Circuit case relating to evidence that plaintiff claimed was “newly discovered”On behalf of the Estate of Michael Joseph Jackson and MJJ Productions, Inc., Jones Day successfully argued on appeal that plaintiff failed to exercise reasonable diligence in seeking out a letter that she claimed was “newly discovered evidence.”
  • The following represents experience prior to joining Jones Day:

    The following represents experience prior to joining Jones Day:

    Represented a nonprofit organization in successful merits briefing in a landmark Supreme Court case that the New York Times labeled a "doctrinal earthquake" because it overruled two Supreme Court precedents and established the First Amendment right of corporations to spend general treasury funds on speech that is intended to influence elections.

    Represented an individual defendant at the certiorari and merits stages in a 9-0 Supreme Court victory involving the interpretation of the federal "honest services" fraud statute and the rules for preserving a challenge to legally erroneous jury instructions.

    Represented a governor in a successful Supreme Court case that limited the federal government's authority to take land into trust.

    Defended a defense contractor in a False Claims Act appeal, in which the D.C. Circuit vacated the adverse judgment and rejected the government's expansive "collective knowledge" and damages theories.

    Argued before the D.C. Circuit in a challenge to a federal agency action that was brought on behalf of researchers who use adult stem cells for therapeutic development.

    Represented two entities in a successful D.C. Circuit appeal involving the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

    Participated in successful briefing in a D.C. Circuit case that unanimously established researchers' standing to seek an injunction of allegedly illegal guidelines for federal research funding.

    Defended a company in a $300 million False Claims Act case, in which the claims against the company were dismissed prior to trial.

    Speaking Engagements

    • December 13, 2019
      Lecture Topic: The Supreme Court of the United States
      Rockbridge Academy
    • October 4, 2019
      Symposium Panelist: Clerking at the Supreme Court — The GW Connection, Presented by The National Constitution Center & the GW Law Review
    • December 5, 2018
      Lecture Topic: The Supreme Court of the United States
      Rockbridge Academy
    • December 4, 2017
      Lecture Topic: The Supreme Court of the United States
      Rockbridge Academy
    • April 4, 2017
      Symposium Panelist: Trinity Lutheran Church v. Pauley, George Mason University -- Antonin Scalia Law School
    • March 22, 2017
      Christian Legal Society -- The George Washington University Law School Chapter
    • December 2, 2016
      Lecture Topic: The Supreme Court of the United States
      Rockbridge Academy
    • April 12, 2016
      Presentation Topic: The Life Cycle of a Supreme Court Case, the Role of Law Clerks, and the Cert Pool, University of Kentucky College of Law
    • November 20, 2015
      Lecture Topic: The Life Cycle of a Case Before the Supreme Court of the United States, Messiah College
    • October 29, 2013
      Lecture Topic: The Supreme Court of the United States
      Rockbridge Academy

    • Panel Discussion: Judicial Clerkships
      The George Washington University Law School
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