Erik Swanholt is a partner and litigation attorney with Foley & Lardner LLP. Mr. Swanholt has substantial experience in a broad range of litigation matters, with an emphasis on product liability, pharmaceutical defects, complex commercial and consumer class action litigation, toxic torts, as well as cybersecurity, privacy, and data protection. He has defended individual and class action product liability and toxic tort claims in a variety of industries, including consumer products, fashion, pharmaceuticals, off-road vehicles, industrial safety equipment, asbestos, lead paint, and silica. He has defended businesses sued under California’s UnFair Competition Laws (UCL), the Consumer Legal Remedies Act (CLRA), the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), the Electronic Funds Transfer Act (EFTA) and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) to name a few. His experience in complex commercial litigation matters includes unfair competition, deceptive trade practices, and antitrust claims under state and federal consumer protection statutes involving health care, food and beverage, and other consumer products. Erik has also represented clients before the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) in connection with investigations and recalls.

Additionally, Mr. Swanholt has handled numerous construction matters, litigated cybersecurity matters, and regularly consults with clients on cybersecurity issues. He is a member of the firm’s Business Litigation & Dispute Resolution Practice.

Prior to joining Foley, Mr. Swanholt was a partner in the Los Angeles office of a major international law firm based in the United States, where he was the e-discovery lead. Early in his legal career, he served as an extern to the Honorable Gustave A. Diamond at the United States District Court, Western District of Pennsylvania.

Representative Experience*

  • Represented multiple toy manufacturers and defeated plaintiffs' motion for class certification of dozens of consumer protection claims under the laws of several different states pending simultaneously in the Northern District of Alabama and the Central District of California
  • Represented a home appliances manufacturer and reached a claims-made settlement in a class action lawsuit brought by purchasers of certain front-load washing machines, who alleged that the machines were defective
  • Successfully led nationwide litigation and defense of product liability cases and claims involving hundreds of claims filed across the country against off-road vehicles
  • Represented a fiber optic-based products manufacturer and certain of its directors, officers, and employees, in a shareholder action brought in Los Angeles County Superior Court alleging that they made materially misleading statements regarding their business, prospects, and the departure of its chief executive officer
  • Defended one of the world’s leading fruit companies in multiple toxic tort lawsuits brought by agricultural workers from 13 countries claiming that the use of a certain pesticide on banana farms in Latin America, Africa, and the Philippines during the 1970s caused adverse health effects
  • Represented one of the world’s leading food and beverage companies in connection with antitrust litigation claiming violation of the California Unfair Trade Practices Act and Unfair Competition Act in conjunction with the pricing of vending products
  • Represented a pharmaceutical company in a unique products liability matter relating to their $4 billion a year pharmaceutical product and won the summary judgment
  • Represented a health plan company in an arbitration concerning a contract dispute over termination of a jointly held Medicare health plan and in turn recovered millions of dollars
  • Successfully defended a group of respirator manufacturers in product liability litigation brought by over 50 plaintiffs who had worked at diatomaceous earth mines in California
  • Resolved a multijurisdictional dispute against contractor hired to convert pharmaceutical plant in Spain
  • Represented a pharmaceutical company relating to claims of product and design defect as well as failure to warn regarding effects and efficacy of a pharmaceutical product
  • Represented a large school district in resolving a $5 million dispute by general contractor and subcontractors over work to improve a school district’s air conditioning systems
  • Represented three families defrauded by a company and its agents after seeking assistance with home loan modifications and judgment was obtained against company and individuals involved in foreclosure consultant fraud
  • Represented an individual, who was evicted from his family home after seeking help to satisfy a $6,000 tax bill

*Certain of these matters were handled prior to Foley.


Mr. Swanholt was selected for inclusion in the Southern California Super Lawyers® in the area of business litigation (2009 – 2016). He was recognized by The Legal 500 in 2015 for his work in the area of product liability and mass tort defense: consumer products.


Mr. Swanholt is a graduate of University of California, Hastings College of the Law (J.D., cum laude, 1998). He earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from University of California, San Diego (B.A., cum laude, 1993).

Admissions and Professional Memberships

Mr. Swanholt is admitted to practice law in California and before all federal district courts in California. He serves on the Board of Governors for the Association of Business Trial Lawyers.

Community Engagement

Mr. Swanholt is a volunteer and frequent pro bono lawyer for Bet Tzedek and Public Counsel. He received the California State Bar's Wiley W. Manuel Award for Pro Bono Services every year from 2005 – 2012. He has served as a volunteer assistant district attorney conducting trials for the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office.

Selected Publications

  • Co-author, “Ignorance Is Not Bliss: 'Sham Affidavit' In 9th Circ.,” Law360 (October 29, 2012)
  • Co-author, “12 Angry Tweets: Jurors And Social Media Use,” Law360 (March 6, 2012)
  • Co-author, “Thinking Critically About Arbitration For Complex Civil Cases,” Bloomberg BNA Corporate Counsel Weekly (October 12, 2011)
  • Co-author, “Work Product Ruling Ignores Realities of Litigation,” Los Angeles Daily Journal (March 15, 2010)
  • Co-author, “At Your Service? Ruling Makes It Too Easy to Serve Foreign Corporations,” Los Angeles Daily Journal (June 18, 2009)
  • Co-author, “Have You Been Served? For Foreign Companies, It’s Hard to Tell,” Los Angeles Daily Journal (February 18, 2009)