Litigation Case Study:
Modern Day David v. Goliath

Indoor Air Quality Specialist, Scientist and Entrepreneur Achieves Successful Outcome in High Stakes Litigation Over Social Media Posts.

In this David and Goliath case, a highly regarded female scientist and entrepreneur faced high stakes litigation that threatened to ruin her professional career and the future of her business. The suit was brought against her by a large private company alleging her social media posts hurt the company’s sales of its technology. Fourteen months after initially hiring another law firm, she turned to Shields Legal Group. Our litigation team designed and implemented a litigation strategy that resulted in a successful outcome in nine months.


Our client was a highly credentialed female scientist and entrepreneur in the indoor air quality (IAQ) space. During the pandemic, business opportunities in the IAQ industry expanded exponentially as the quality of indoor air in our schools, homes, and public buildings came under increasing scrutiny. IAQ companies offered an array of air cleaning and air purification solutions based on different technologies. The federal government provided funding for enhancements made to improve indoor air quality in public buildings and schools. As a respected IAQ scientific expert, our client would share her scientific knowledge and opinions regarding various air cleaning and air purification technologies on social media as a way to address questions and concerns she would receive from members of the public, particularly parents worried about their children returning to the classroom.


Our client’s social media posts captured the negative attention of a large, well-funded privately owned IAQ technology company that sued her and her company, alleging several claims, primarily defamation and business disparagement, and seeking recovery of alleged damages in excess of $150 MM. The plaintiff hired a global law firm to aggressively pursue the litigation, which threatened to destroy not only our client’s professional career and business, but the livelihood and well-being of her family as well.

Fourteen months into the litigation, our client walked into Shields Legal’s office, desperate for a new direction in her legal representation. Our client faced three daunting and immediate challenges.

  1. Her opponent appeared to have an unlimited legal spend, whereas she had very limited resources with which to continue to defend herself.
  2. Her opponent was a sophisticated litigant who employed sophisticated tactics, both inside and outside the courtroom, whereas she had never been sued before.
  3. Time was against her due to the expiration of certain discovery deadlines and a looming jury trial in six months.

Most law firms would never agree to take on an engagement under these circumstances. However, Shields Legal recognized the significance of our client’s cause and the enormous risk that she, her business, and her family faced. We also knew that our litigation team had the experience, skill, and tenacity to fight the fight beside her. The key was to fight smarter.


Upon taking over the client’s representation, Shields knew that our client’s limited resources and limited time called for a strategic, surgical approach to defend the case and to prepare for the upcoming jury trial. We immediately implemented a three-pronged approach designed to disrupt the current status of the litigation and demonstrate that the plaintiff risked a negative outcome at trial.

First, we communicated the message to our client’s opponent that our client was not backing down nor buckling under pressure, and that our client was prepared to fight the case through trial and beyond. This message was communicated over and over, not by mere words, but through the consistent actions of our litigation team. This messaging carried meaning, because our team included highly skilled trial attorneys experienced in presenting complex cases to a jury.

Second, we focused on pursuing the deposition testimony of certain witnesses and the discovery of certain types of information and materials we anticipated would simultaneously reveal weaknesses in the plaintiff’s case while supporting the defense of our client. Although it took several months to overcome the plaintiff’s intense opposition to such discovery, once our team succeeded in obtaining the discovery, the risk to the plaintiff in continuing to pursue the litigation became increasingly apparent.

Third, we made it known that several other recognized, reputable scientific experts in the IAQ field—a number of them female engineers and scientists—were willing to step forward and testify at trial on behalf of our client. The prospect of such a visible show of support for our client at trial likely was neither anticipated nor welcomed by the plaintiff.


As a result of Shields Legal’s efforts, a case that was destined for the courtroom and then the appeals court, was settled on an exceedingly favorable basis to our client within nine months of our litigation team’s engagement. Our client continues to pursue her passion for cleaner, healthier air for all.