William A. Kershaw

Top rated class action & mass torts attorney in Sacramento, California

Kershaw Talley Barlow
William A. Kershaw
Kershaw Talley Barlow

Practice Areas: Class action & mass torts, Consumer law, Employment litigation; view more

Licensed in California since: 1973

Education: Santa Clara University School of Law

Selected to Super Lawyers: 2005 - 2022
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Kershaw Talley Barlow

401 Watt Avenue
Suite 1
Sacramento, CA 95864 Visit website


Attorney William A. Kershaw is the managing partner of Kershaw Talley Barlow, which has offices in Sacramento and Chico, California. Nationally ranked as one of the preeminent trial lawyers in the country, Mr. Kershaw has more than 48 years of total legal experience, and he provides unmatched counsel and support to clients throughout Sacramento, El Dorado, Placer, Yolo, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Butte and Yuba counties who have legal needs involving any of the following:

Over the course of his legal career, Mr. Kershaw has handled hundreds of complex injury matters in state and federal courts across the country. Among his most notable successes, he helped negotiate a settlement of more than $330 million against a major automobile manufacturer for RICO violations and a $180 settlement against a leading chemical company for the release of toxic gases.

He has also obtained settlements and verdicts in the tens of millions of dollars against some of the largest corporations in America for matters involving wage and hour disputes, breaches of contract, misleading advertising and other questionable business practices.

In recognition for his impeccable professionalism and high ethical standards, Mr. Kershaw has earned an AV Preeminent peer review rating* from Martindale-Hubbell, and the Sacramento Business Journal voted him Best of the Bar each year between 2014 and 2018. He has also received perennial designation as a Top Lawyer from Sacramento Magazine as well as the CCTLA Mort Friedman Humanitarian Award and many other top rankings and endorsements from his peers.

A 1969 graduate of Santa Clara University, Mr. Kershaw returned to his alma mater and obtained his Juris Doctor from Santa Clara University School of Law in 1972. A leader in his legal community, he has served at various times as president, chairman, vice president, secretary and treasurer of the Sacramento County Bar Association, and he has served as director and board member of the California District Attorneys Association.

In addition, Mr. Kershaw is a member of The State Bar of California, the Capitol City Trial Lawyers Association and the American Association for Justice as well as with his local Rotary Club.

*AV®, AV Preeminent®, Martindale-Hubbell Distinguished and Martindale-Hubbell Notable are certification marks used under license in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies. Martindale-Hubbell® is the facilitator of a peer review rating process. Ratings reflect the anonymous opinions of members of the bar and the judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Rating™ fall into two categories – legal ability and general ethical standards.

Practice areas

Class action/mass torts: plaintiff, Consumer law, Employment litigation: plaintiff, Personal injury - general: plaintiff

Focus areas

Class actions, Toxic torts

  • 50% Class action/mass torts: plaintiff
  • 20% Consumer law
  • 20% Employment litigation: plaintiff
  • 10% Personal injury - general: plaintiff

First Admitted: 1973, California

Professional Webpage: https://www.kctlegal.com/our-team/william-a-kershaw/

  • Northern California Super Lawyer, Super Lawyers Magazine (2005-2019), superlawyers.com
  • 2019, Mort Friedman Humanitarian Award, CCTLA , CCTLA
  • 2014-2021, Best of the Bar, Sacramento Business Journal, Sacramento Business Journal
  • 2015-2021, Top Lawyer, Sacramento Magazine, Sacramento Magazine
  • 2014-2021, Superb Top Attorney, AVVO, AVVO
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent Rated Attorney, Martindale-Hubbell
Educational Background:
  • Bachelor of Arts, Santa Clara University, 1969
  • A $39 million settlement against VeriSign, Inc. on behalf of a nationwide class alleging misrepresentation to U.S. businesses regarding the degree of security provided by VeriSign's Secure Site Pro encrypted security certificates.
  • A $211 million settlement against BMW of North America, LLC on behalf of roughly 200,000 class members alleging BMW stopped replacing defective components and altered the vehicle’s software after discovering design flaws in BMW models containing N54 engines.
  • Bayshore Ford Truck Sales, Inc., et al. v. Ford Motor Company, USDC, District of New Jersey, No. 99 CV 741 (JCL), Filed in 1999 as a class action on behalf of all Ford heavy truck dealers for breach of contract damages arising from Ford’s unilateral sale of its heavy-truck business to Freightliner, KCR was appointed co-lead class counsel on behalf of the dealer class.  After seven years the class was certified as to liability and thereafter proceeded as individual damage cases on behalf of 77 dealers. Served as co-lead trial counsel in a bellwether jury trial on behalf of 11 dealerships and obtained $45 million jury verdict following month-long trial.  The case is currently on appeal. 
  • In re American Honda Motor Co., Inc. Dealerships Relations Litigation, MDL 1069, U.S. District Court, Baltimore, Maryland. An antitrust and RICO class action where Mr. Kershaw served as plaintiffs’ co-lead counsel. A limited liability class was certified in July 1997. Ultimately the Court approved a global settlement of $330 million (plus) in Borman Motor Company, et al. v. American Honda Motor Company, Inc., et al. a class action brought by current and former Honda and Acura dealers alleging RICO and antitrust violations and fraud related to misallocation of cars. Borman II was a case evolving from the MDL involving misconduct on the part of certain of Honda’s counsel, resulting in an additional settlement of $60 million.
  • $45 Million Jury Verdict against Ford Motors Company: A $29.6 million jury verdict on behalf of eleven heavy truck dealers in the Ford Motors breach of contract lawsuit increased to $45 million in August 2012 to reflect interest accrued over the life of the suit. The case, which took 13 years of litigation, was based on allegations that Ford violated its franchise agreement for failing to supply the dealers with heavy trucks following sale by Ford of its heavy truck business to Freightliner in 1997. The eleven dealerships were located throughout the United States.
  • A $330 million class action settlement against American Honda Motor Co., Inc. arising out of MDL proceedings on behalf of all present and former Honda dealers alleging RICO violations relating to misallocation of vehicles in a nationwide bribery conspiracy.
  • A $46 million settlement against Jenny Craig, Inc. for misleading advertising and improper business practices. Multiple recoveries on behalf of class members, totalling more than $75 million against the funeral industry for improper handling of human remains.
  • Sconce/Lamb Cremation Cases, Coordination No. 2005 (Los Angeles County Superior Court).  Mr. Kershaw served as co-lead class counsel. This case involves the improper handling of cremated remains of approximately 19,000 decedents.  The case was certified on a mandatory basis for settlement purposes.  The court approved was a $16.5 million settlement, plus a $1.6 million settlement on behalf of the Carolina Biological subclass, which had been certified for settlement purposes.  Mr. Kershaw represented petitioners in a California Supreme Court decision arising out of this litigation, Christiansen v. Superior Court, 43 Cal.3d 868, 2 Cal.Rptr.2d 79 (1991).
  • Mr. Kershaw is currently serving on the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee for the In re Stryker Rejuvenate and ABG II Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation (MDL No. 2441) pending in the United States District Court, District of Minnesota. This MDL is in its preliminary stages with the leadership appointed during the first week in November 2013., 2014
  • In Cornn, et al. v. United Parcel Service, Inc. (N.D. Cal C 03 2001 TEH), Mr. Kershaw served as co-lead class counsel which settled for an $87 million cash payment and other monetary benefits. Mr. Kershaw and KCR represented over 23,000 current and former UPS drivers in the Cornn case. Our research revealed that the $91 million settlement is the largest class-action settlement in California history based solely on meal and rest period violations and itemized statement violations.
  • An $87 million settlement against United Parcel Service, Inc. (UPS) on behalf of a class of 23,600 UPS drivers to recover unpaid wages based on allegations that the employer failed to provide meal and rest periods. The cases settled in 2006 for an $87 million cash payment and other benefits to class members valued at more than $4 million. This is believed to be the largest "meal and rest period" settlement in California history, and was one of the largest nationwide wage and hour settlements of 2007.
  • A $180 million settlement against a Richmond chemical company for release of sulfuric acid vapor in the San Francisco Bay area.
  • Contratto v. Ethicon, Johnson & Johnson, Lifecore, et al U.S. District Court, Northern CA. No. C03-3804MJJ ARB, Mr. Kershaw served as lead counsel in this mass tort action involving some sixty plaintiffs initially filed in the Northern District of California and ultimately prosecuted in Florida State Court, West Palm Beach, Florida. The action sought damages caused by the medical device, Integral, a product intended to reduce adhesions in women undergoing abdominal surgery. However, in certain women, the device caused injury by actually increasing adhesions. The case was prosecuted over three years resulting in a global settlement on behalf of KCR’s clients.  The settlement amount and the terms of the settlement are confidential.
  • Campbell v. PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP (Case No. 06-CV-02376-LKK-GGH). Mr. Kershaw is currently serving as lead class counsel in the first certified class action against a big four accounting firm for failure to pay overtime to PwC Audit Associates as well as other compensation based on their alleged non-exempt status under California’s wage and hour laws. The case has been up and down to the 9th Circuit three times on class certification and summary judgment and is currently set for trial in March 2015.
  • Mr. Kershaw is currently serving on the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee for the DePuy ASR™ Hip System Cases, California Judicial Council Coordination Proceeding No 4649 pending in the Superior Court in San Francisco County. These proceedings are working cooperatively with MDL 2197, In re: DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., ASR™ Hip Implants Products Liability Litigation., 2014
Bar/Professional Activity:
  • Past President, Sacramento County Bar Association (SCBA) 
  • Chair of Kershaw, Cook & Talley's Class Action Practice Group, 2015
  • Past Chair, California Consumer Protection Council
  • American Association for Justice, 2014
  • Past Chair, Sacramento County Bar Association (SCBA) Conference of Delegates Committee to the State Bar Conference of Delegates 
  • Past Secretary, Treasurer, and Vice President, Sacramento County Bar Association (SCBA) 
  • The State Bar of California
  • Member (Master Emeritus), Anthony M. Kennedy American Inns of Court, 2014
  • Past President, St. Michael’s Episcopal Day School
  • Capitol City Consumer Attorney, 2014
  • President, Board of Trustees, St. Michael’s Episcopal Day School 
  • Member, Sacramento County Civil Courts Advisory Committee, 2014
  • Past Chair of Kershaw, Cutter & Ratinoff's Class Action Practice Group, 2014
  • Capitol City Trial Lawyers Association
  • Sacramento County Bar Association, 2014
  • Past Board Member, Director, California District Attorneys Association (CDAA) 
  • Past Chair, Sacramento County Bar Association (SCBA) Judiciary Committee- responsible for evaluating candidates for judicial office and performance of sitting judges 
  • Bio Video: Managing Partner Bill Kershaw | Kershaw, Cook & Talley, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FdeGbuqgiB0, 2018
Pro bono/Community Service:
  • Volunteer, Habitat for Humanity, 2018
  • Volunteer, WEAVE, inc. 
  • Board of Directors for the Rotary Club of Sacramento, 1979 – present
  • Past Member, Board of Directors, Sacramento Downtown Rotary
Industry Groups:
  • Medical Device
  • Pharmaceutical

These comments were made by fellow attorneys during the annual nomination process.

“One of the best, hardworking lawyers I've ever known.”

Office location for William A. Kershaw

401 Watt Avenue
Suite 1
Sacramento, CA 95864

Phone: 916-520-6639


18 Years Super Lawyers
  • Super Lawyers: 2005 - 2022

Top lists

Top 25: Sacramento Super Lawyers: 2018

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