Gretchen Freeman Cappio serves her clients with the commitment and passion that led her to become an attorney.
As a partner in the firm’s nationally-recognized Complex Litigation Group, Gretchen takes cases she truly believes in. Whether the case involves a family who paid a premium for a so-called environmentally-friendly car that spews toxins, a municipality that needs a corporation to clean up its pollution, or children whose families can barely pay for lifesaving medicine, Gretchen gives her clients a powerful voice in the legal system.
Gretchen strives to be a lawyer’s lawyer. Physicians, professors, parents, environmentalists, and other attorneys have called on her when they require representation in the face of long odds.
Gretchen takes on impactful litigation, and fights for meaningful results.
Currently, Gretchen serves on the leadership team representing Volkswagen, Audi, and Porsche consumers who purchased and leased unlawfully polluting vehicles in the multi-billion dollar litigation In re Volkswagen “Clean Diesel” Marketing, Sales Practices, and Products Liability Litig., No. 3:15-md-2672-CRB (N.D. Cal.). She represented a mid-western town against a paper products company that left behind an environmental disaster when it left the community. Following the litigation, the mayor praised the work of Gretchen and her colleagues stating, “You were knowledgeable, responsive and genuinely cared about the Village’s case.” Additionally, Gretchen represented parents who discovered their children’s products were unsafe in In re Mattel, Inc., No. 2:07-ML-01897 (C.D. Cal.), multidistrict litigation regarding hazardous, lead-contaminated toys. Gretchen’s work on the co-lead counsel team against a major national bank led to the settlement of In re JPMorgan Chase Mortg. Modification Litig., No. 1:11-md-2290 (D. Mass.), resulting in improved home mortgage modification processes for homeowners.
In a cutting-edge civil rights case, Gretchen represented plaintiffs in Erickson v. Bartell Drug Co., 141 F. Supp. 2d 1266 (W.D. Wash. 2001), a class action brought on behalf of employees. Erickson established that an employer violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act when its otherwise-comprehensive insurance coverage plan failed to cover certain prescriptions vital to women.
Whether representing employees, municipalities, or families, Gretchen fights for justice and has a record of success to prove it.
Among Gretchen’s all-time favorite pieces of mail is a photograph of a satisfied client in a baby products case and her young son holding a homemade, hand-written sign that simply says “Thank you Mrs. Cappio.”
Bar and Court Admissions
2000, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington
2008, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
2009, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
2009, U.S. Supreme Court
2011, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington
2011, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
2015, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
Dartmouth College – B.A., magna cum laude, 1995
Religion, Environmental Studies Certificate, Phi Beta Kappa
Foreign Studies – 1992 Germany; 1994 Kenya
University of Washington School of Law – J.D., 1999
Executive Comments Editor, Pacific Rim Law & Policy Journal, 1998-1999
Articles & Presentations
Presenter, Practising Law Institute 22nd Annual Consumer Financial Services Institute 2017.
Panelist, Law Seminars International – 13th Annual Conference on Litigating: Settlement Strategies for Class Actions and Multidistrict Litigation, April 28, 2017.
Panelist, EmoryLaw NextGen Conference and EmoryLaw Fed. Judicial Ctr. and JPML Program, December 14-16, 2016.
Panelist, HarrisMartin’s MDL Conference, Settlements in Mass Tort and Class Action Litigation, July 27, 2016.
Panelist, American Association for Justice webinar, Dissecting the U.S. Supreme Court Decision in Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, May 26, 2016.
Panelist, Law Seminars International – VW Diesel Emissions Litigation: A Case Study of the Interplay Between Government Regulatory Activity and Consumer Fraud Class Actions, May 6, 2016.
Presenter, Practising Law Institute Consumer Financial Services Institute 2016: Data Security & Privacy Issues, May 12, 2016.
Panelist, HarrisMartin Pharmaceutical and Environmental Mass Tort Litigation, Class Action and Data Breach Litigation, March 30, 2016.
Panelist, Bridgeport Consumer Class Action Litigation Conference, “Current State of the Law on Ascertainability and Standing,” January 2016
Panelist, HarrisMartin MDL Conference Volkswagen and Pharmaceutical Update: RICO and Additional Defendants, December 2, 2015
Panelist, Bridgeport Volkswagen Class Action & MDL Seminar – Diesel Emissions Scandal, November 23, 2015
Panelist, HarrisMartin Volkswagen Diesel Emissions Litigation Conference: RICO and Additional Defendants, October 27, 2015.
Panelist, Law Seminars International, The Eleventh Annual Comprehensive Conference on Class Actions: “Data Breaches: Cases at the Intersection of Class Actions and Internet Technology,” June 4, 2015.
Panelist, ABA Section of Dispute Resolution Meeting 17th Annual Spring Conference – Solutions in Seattle: A View From the Trenches: What’s Working and What’s Not Working with Mediators, April 16, 2015.
Presenter, HarrisMartin Data Breach Litigation Conference: Coming of Age: The Differences between Employee and Consumer Cases, March 25, 2015.
Presenter, Practising Law Institute, Managing Complex Litigation 2014: Class Actions; Mass Torts & MDL., October 21, 2014.
Presenter, Class Action Conference: Recent Settlement Trends in Class Actions and Multidistrict Litigation: A Detailed Look at the Process for Settling and Administering Settlements: How case law in the past several years is playing out in the courts and in ADR; best practices for designing a settlement that the courts will approve; how to administer the settlement once it is approved, June 13, 2014.
Presenter, Harris Martin’s MDL Conference: Target Data Security Breach Litigation: Recent Development, Issues in Data Breach Litigation, March 26, 2014.Presenter, Law Seminars International, Class
Presenter, Law Seminars International, Class Actions and Other Aggregate Litigation Seminar: Post-Certification Motion Issues in Class Actions, May 14, 2013.Panelist, Chartis Security & Privacy Seminar, October 20, 2011.
Panelist, Chartis Security & Privacy Seminar, October 20, 2011.Presenter, 20th Annual American Bar Association Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section Spring CLE Meeting:
Presenter, 20th Annual American Bar Association Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section Spring CLE Meeting: Toxic Torts: Toxins In Everyday Products, April 1, 2011.
Gretchen Freeman Cappio, Erosion of Indigenous Right to Negotiate in Australia, 7 Pac. Rim L. & Pol’y J. 405 (1998).
Honors & Awards
Selected to Rising Stars list in Super Lawyers – Washington, 2002, 2009-2012.
Professional and Civic Involvement
Global Justice Center, Board Member
The Global Justice Center works worldwide and domestically with women’s rights advocates, grassroots groups, and policymakers to prevent and respond to gender-based violence.
King County Bar Association, Member
Washington State Bar Association, Member
American Bar Association, Member
Washington Women Lawyers, Member
American Association for Justice, Member
The National Trial Lawyers, Member
Mother Attorney Mentoring Association (MAMAS), Member; Founding Board Member, 2006-2008