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Overview

Natasha co-leads the firms’ Psychedelics and Emerging Therapies Practice Group and is also part of the product liability team. She focuses her practice on assisting clients in navigating the regulatory scheme for conducting clinical trials on psychedelics and other controlled substances and litigating product liability claims.

Natasha is well-versed in historical and current psychedelic research including recent FDA-approved studies on MDMA and psilocybin use for mental health and end-of-life issues, the legalization and decriminalization of psylocibin in numerous cities and states, and biotech and pharmaceutical research. Natasha’s interest in this area keeps her at the forefront of assisting clients in navigating regulatory uncertainty, legislative advocacy, corporate transactions, and ­­­­­­­­­­litigation in this rapidly evolving complex area. Natasha is also dedicated to insuring diversity, equity, and inclusion and recognizing and preserving indigenous knowledge.

Academic institutions, product manufacturers and commercial businesses are among the clients relying on Natasha’s broad experience. Natasha has defended clients against claims of mold, asbestos, and benzene exposure, including landlords and housing authorities in disputes regarding habitability. She has represented clients alleging violations under the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic (FD&C) Act, and counseled clients regarding California’s Proposition 65 warning requirements, among other state and federal laws.

While in law school, Natasha interned with the California Attorney General Energy Task Force, working on antitrust issues related to the state’s 2001 energy crisis. Her inside view of regulatory issues is appreciated by clients as she navigates them through various complex litigation and compliance.


Industries

Services

Education

  • J.D., Santa Clara University School of Law
    • Santa Clara Law Review, editor
    • Moot Court Best Oral Advocate
    • Best Brief Awards
  • B.S., University of California, Davis
    • Psychology major, Biology minor

Admissions

  • California
  • U.S. District Court, Central District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of California

Professional Memberships and Certifications

  • California Lawyers Association
  • Psychedelic Bar Association


*Contact Natasha to set up an in-person consultation by appointment in the Oakland office.
Experience
  • Researched and drafted briefing on federal preemption issues on behalf of leading global medical device manufacturer surrounding pharmaceutical and healthcare products.
  • Represented injured plaintiff in claim involving natural product misbranded in violation of Food, Drug, and Cosmetic (FD&C) Act resulting in a successful settlement.
  • Second chaired a jury trial involving a 34-year-old male with peritoneal mesothelioma that resulted in a defense verdict for product manufacturer client. Obtained a significant cost award following the court's finding that the client's C.C.P. Section 998 Offer to Compromise was made in good faith.
  • Counseled product manufacturer client in all stages of litigation including utilizing a novel medical defense whether a newly discovered genetic mutation (BAP1) was the sole cause of decedent's cancer.
  • Defended injured employee in personal injury claim involving traumatic brain injury obtained during at-work accident aboard a docked barge, resulting in a high settlement for employee and his family.
  • Drafted and argued a motion to dismiss an appeal on a medical malpractice claim as untimely with the 1st District Court of Appeal that was granted.
  • Advised entities on federal regulations and California law governing who is able to prescribe, administer and dispense controlled substances under California law, information needed for DEA licensing requirements, and clinic licensing requirements for human studies involving psychedelic substances.
  • Advised business on current state and federal drug paraphernalia laws and liability issues related to psychedelic substances.
News Releases | March 15, 2022
Husch Blackwell Launches Psychedelics and Emerging Therapies Practice Group

Husch Blackwell is pleased to announce the formalization of its Psychedelics and Emerging Therapies practice group, making it the first Am Law 100 firm to establish such a practice.

News Releases | April 01, 2021
Husch Blackwell Expands California Footprint
Outside the Office

An avid amateur photographer, Natasha enjoys getting outdoors whenever she can, and often has a camera in hand. She’s a continual student indoors as well, currently learning the piano and the long-established art of hand sewing. Cats Lightening and Priya (“dear, beloved” in Sanskrit) are close companions.

Community Leadership

Natasha regularly donates her legal talents to pro bono casework that promotes equity.

On a pro bono basis, Natasha first chaired a trial representing a plaintiff prisoner in a Section 1983 case, resulting in a $30,000 verdict. Natasha has also represented pro bono clients in matters regarding developmental disability educational rights in the state of Texas; immigration and asylum based on sexual orientation; and work with the Promise of Justice Initiative (PJI), a project dedicated to helping heal injustices and injuries caused by non-unanimous jury convictions in Louisiana.

Psychedelic Therapeutics

Natasha Sumner follows the research and development of these medicines for psychiatric conditions such as PTSD and treatment-resistant depression.

While psychedelic drugs such as MDMA, psilocybin, LSD and DMT are currently federally illegal Schedule 1 substances, the FDA is currently overseeing Phase I, II and III studies exploring the potential therapeutic benefit of these drugs. Members of the Husch Blackwell psychedelic law team are closely following this progress and concurrent proposed state legislation in multiple jurisdictions, and are positioned to help clients navigate what will no doubt be highly complex and novel legal issues.

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