John M. Pierce

Managing Partner
C: (650) 400-7782
john@piercesergenian.com

"It’s the unconquerable soul of man,
not the nature of the weapon he uses,
that insures victory."

 

John M. Pierce

John M. Pierce is a trial lawyer and Managing Partner of Pierce Sergenian LLP. He was described by Benchmark Plaintiff Litigation 2012 as "one of the most esteemed jury trial lawyers" at the world's largest business litigation law firm, and The Legal 500 United States 2015 praised his "real trial presence." In 2008, he won two multi-million dollar jury verdicts within a span of two months, including the 67th highest jury verdict in the United States in 2008 as determined by the VerdictSearch Top 100 list, as well as a victory in a major film financing trial in Los Angeles featured in The Hollywood Reporter.

A graduate of Harvard Law School, where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review, Mr. Pierce is often retained by major corporations and financial institutions in the most difficult, high-profile business disputes. He has successfully represented clients in complex disputes involving, among others, hedge funds, private equity, structured finance, real estate finance, financial fraud, insurance coverage, intellectual property, legal malpractice, false advertising, First Amendment claims, government contracts, and film financing.

Mr. Pierce has played a managerial role in some of the most high-profile complex commercial litigations in recent U.S. history, including Apple vs. Samsung, TCW vs. Gundlach, and Allergan vs. Valeant. In the course of doing so, Mr. Pierce has developed knowledge of best practices regarding the discovery, review and management of Electronically Stored Information and related litigation support technology and practices in a complex commercial litigation setting. He is also an experienced appellate advocate.

Mr. Pierce has successfully handled contingent and alternative fee matters, often working with third party litigation funders who assist individual and corporate clients to finance large, meritorious plaintiff-side claims. In addition, he has published an article in The Hedge Fund Journal on the emergence of third party litigation funding as an uncorrelated asset class for institutional investors.

On behalf of institutional clients and individuals suing as plaintiffs, Mr. Pierce has obtained verdicts, pre-trial judgments and settlements amounting to more than $292 million. On behalf of corporate defendants, he has obtained verdicts, pre-trial judgments, and settlements successfully defending over a billion dollars in claims.

Prior to founding Pierce Sergenian LLP, Mr. Pierce was a partner at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP and Latham & Watkins LLP. He also served as co-Global Practice Area Leader for Litigation and Dispute Resolution at K&L Gates LLP. He continues to serve as outside General Counsel for the SGVC family of technology venture capital funds.

Prior to law school, Mr. Pierce was an M1A1 Abrams tank platoon leader in the U.S. Army’s 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, Texas. He attended the Army’s Airborne School at Fort Benning, Georgia and participated in two rotations at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California.

In addition to his studies at Notre Dame and Harvard Law School, Mr. Pierce has taken courses on cyber security at Stanford University as well as mergers and acquisitions at the University of Chicago's Booth Graduate School of Business.

PRACTICE AREAS

NOTABLE REPRESENTATIONS

Won a jury verdict of $30 million for an LA-based real estate group in a two-week trial against the town of Mammoth Lakes, California in a contract dispute over development of a large hotel and condominium project at the Mammoth Yosemite Airport. Affirmed in full by the California Court of Appeal in a 66 page published opinion at 191 Cal. App. 4th 435 (2010). Over $2 million in attorneys' fees awarded for trial and over $1 million in attorneys' fees awarded for appeal." This was the 67th largest jury verdict in the United States in 2008 as determined by the Verdict Search Top 100 List, was the largest verdict in the history of Mono County, California, and was described as a "staggering verdict" by local media. The case was featured in Quinn Emanuel’s selection to the 2009 National Law Journal's Plaintiffs’ Hot List.

Obtained a favorable settlement after six weeks of jury trial in Fresno County Superior Court on behalf of a large security company and its CEO accused of fraud, breach of partnership, and breach of contract. Mr. Pierce examined six of the final seven witnesses at trial immediately prior to the case settling.

Represented Trust Company of the West against former portfolio manager Jeffrey Gundlach and his new company DoubleLine Capital. After a two month trial in Los Angeles, obtained a jury verdict finding in favor of TCW on its claims for theft of trade secrets, breach of fiduciary duty, and tortious interference with contractual relations. The jury also rejected Gundlach's oral contract claim for nearly half a billion dollars.

Represented major regional bank in action against major insurer involving $612 million in bank-owned life insurance. This case was the first litigation of its kind in the nation. Case settled for nine figures prior to trial.

Represented a major financial institution in legal malpractice case against an AmLaw 15 law firm. Case settled for high eight-figure amount in mediation with the law firm and its insurers prior to claims being filed.

The month immediately following trial against the Town of Mammoth Lakes, won a jury verdict of $5 million including seven-figure punitive damages for prolific Hollywood producer Robert Cort (producer of Mr. Holland's Opus, Runaway Bride, Save the Last Dance, Hand That Rocks the Cradle, Jumanji, Cocktail and other hits) in a three-week trial against a hedge fund and its principal for breach of a Term Credit Agreement under which defendants committed to provide millions of dollars in film financing for Cort's film development agreement with Paramount. Affirmed in full by the California Court of Appeal at 2010 WL 3327823. Approximately $1 million in attorneys' fees were awarded collectively for both trial and appeal. The result of this trial was featured in The Hollywood Reporter.

Represented Marvell Technology and several of its executives against Jasmine Networks in summary judgment phase of highly publicized Silicon Valley trade secret litigation. After substituting in as counsel, Mr. Pierce led a team that secured voluntary dismissal of all individual defendants within a matter of weeks. Client ultimately prevailed at trial.

Represented Allstate and Prudential in a suite of residential mortgage-backed securities ("RMBS") cases against major banks, including Bank of America, JP Morgan, Credit Suisse, Nomura, UBS, Royal Bank of Scotland and Barclays involving billions of dollars of securities. Cases settled prior to trial.

Represented TOUSA, Inc. in litigation in New York and Florida concerning completion and carve-out guaranties provided in connection with a $675 million structured mezzanine real estate financing. This was the largest real estate finance transation in Florida history at the time. Case settled prior to trial.

Defeated preliminary injunction sought under the Lanham Act for prison mattress manufacturer against competitor relating to video demonstrating product comparison. Decision reported at 202 F. Supp. 2d 818 (N.D. Ind. 2002).

Represented Parker Hannifin Corporation in insurance coverage and bad faith dispute with multiple insurance carriers regarding millions of dollars in historical asbestos liabilities. Case settled following a lengthy mediation for recovery of $8,000,000 and an agreement to pay future costs.

Represented Greer Industries, Inc. against Chubb Corporation and other defendants in insurance coverage and bad faith suit for first-party property loss and business interruption losses arising from an underground limestone mine roof collapse. Following a mediation, the insurer agreed to a settlement that was over five times greater than the insurer's original adjustment of the loss..

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