Photograph of Charles D. Austin

Education

  • Temple University, B.A. journalism
  • University of Maryland School of Law, J.D., magna cum laude, Order of the Coif, Order of the Barristers

Admissions

  • District of Columbia
  • Virginia
Charles D. Austin, Associate Washington, D.C.
caustin@crowell.com
Phone: +1 202.624.2665
1001 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20004-2595

Charles D. Austin is an associate in Crowell & Moring’s Litigation and Antitrust groups. He represents clients in both trial and appellate courts in individual and class actions involving a variety of claims, including antitrust, data breach, insurance coverage, breach of contract, and products liability. He has written briefs on both the trial and appellate levels, many of which have led to favorable rulings on dispositive motions; managed discovery in complex federal litigation; and led or aided in pre-trial settlement negotiations. His practice spans various industries that include transportation (particularly airlines and automotive manufacturers), educational institutions, hospitality companies, healthcare providers, and commercial insurers. He also counsels clients in various industries on issues including pre-litigation investigations, regulatory compliance, and potential data breaches.

Representative Matters

  • Representing major commercial airline in private civil lawsuit alleging multi-airline conspiracy.
  • Representing major commercial airline in federal appeal of dismissal of alleged False Claims Act violations.
  • Representing group of merchants appearing as amici before the U.S. Supreme Court in civil antitrust litigation alleging unlawful restraint of trade by a credit card company.
  • Representing automotive manufacturer in multiple putative class actions alleging product defects and misleading marketing practices.
  • Counseling public higher education institution on various issues including free speech, equal protection, sovereign immunity, and regulatory compliance.
  • Represented major commercial airline company against civil claims by the Department of Justice alleging violations of the Sherman Act. Following discovery, the DOJ dismissed the claims.
  • Defended private equity fund and its principals in shareholder lawsuit alleging breaches of fiduciary duty related to management of an energy company. Obtained pre-discovery dismissal of all claims.
  • Defended major hotel management company against former employees’ ERISA claims regarding benefits payments. Obtained affirmance of appeal of summary judgment.
  • Defended Medicare Advantage organization against breach of contract claims by multiple health providers. Obtained affirmance on appeal of dismissal of all claims.
  • Defended major hotel management company in putative class action alleging mismanagement of retirement plans and breaches of fiduciary duty under ERISA. Obtained dismissal of all claims after the trial court denied class certification.
  • Represented government contractor seeking breach of contract damages against another contractor, and obtained satisfactory resolution of dispute after filing lawsuit in state court.
  • Defended major hotel management company in putative class action alleging violation of consumer and data protection laws. The trial court dismissed all claims with prejudice at the pleading stage.
  • Coordinated forensic investigation into potential data breach and advised client regarding notice and pre-litigation issues.
  • Represented major commercial insurers in coverage disputes, in each instance obtaining favorable pre-trial resolutions.

In addition, Charles maintains an active pro bono practice that focuses on both trial and appellate litigation in state and federal courts, with a particular focus in his native Maryland. His representative pro bono matters include FOIA-style litigation under the Maryland Public Information Act, defending individuals against criminal charges in Montgomery County, MD, representing a U.S. Army veteran in a benefits dispute before the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, and pre-litigation investigation and counseling regarding potential government violations of homeless individuals’ civil and constitutional rights.

Before joining Crowell, Charles served as a judicial law clerk for the Honorable Roger L. Gregory, chief of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and the Honorable Gerald Bruce Lee (ret.) of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Charles graduated magna cum laude from the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, and he was recognized as a member of both The Order of the Coif and The Order of the Barristers. Charles also received the Roger Howell Achievement Award for exemplary leadership, scholarship, and character. During law school, he served as a notes & comments editor for the Maryland Law Review and captain of Maryland's National Trial Team, for which he now volunteers as a coach. As a student in the Public Health Clinic, he testified before the Maryland State Senate regarding tobacco legislation.

Before attending law school, Charles spent more than three years working as an associate producer for the evening news at WJLA-TV in Washington, D.C. He received a B.A. in Journalism from Temple University.



Affiliations

Admitted to practice: District of Columbia, Virginia, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia



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Feb.08.2018 Crowell & Moring Announces 2018 Leadership Counsel on Legal Diversity Fellow and Pathfinders