Pete Stone, a partner in the Litigation practice of Paul Hastings, is chair of the firm’s Global Securities Litigation practice. Mr. Stone is a member of the firm's Policy Committee, and is the immediate past chair of the Palo Alto office’s Litigation department. He was previously chair of the Orange County office's Litigation department. Mr. Stone has significant experience in complex business litigation, in both federal and state jurisdictions and before arbitration groups such as JAMS, with a primary emphasis on securities, shareholder, consumer/products liability, professional negligence, health care, and other class action and "big ticket" commercial matters.
- The Legal 500, Dispute Resolution - M&A Litigation: Defense (2021)
- The Legal 500, Dispute Resolution - Securities Litigation: Defense (2021)
- Euromoney's Benchmark: America's Leading Litigation Firms and Attorneys, Leading Litigation Lawyer (2011)
- American Jurisprudence Award in Civil Procedure, Real Property, and in Real Estate Transactions, University of California at Berkeley (Boalt Hall)
- University of California at Berkeley (Boalt Hall), J.D. (Order of the Coif, graduated second in his law school class), 1991
- University of California at Berkeley, B.A.(with high distinction; Phi Beta Kappa), 1988
As a business trial lawyer, Mr. Stone's recent victories include:
- Won a lawsuit filed against IBM in the Northern District of California and then won affirmance on appeal in the 9th Circuit.
- Won and/or successfully settled JAMS arbitrations brought by a hospital chain against several major health insurers. Recovered more than $100 million.
- Won a lawsuit filed in Delaware Chancery Court by a shareholder against the board of our public company client for breach of fiduciary duty and then won affirmance on appeal to the Delaware Supreme Court.
- Won a lawsuit filed in the Southern District of New York against our client, the Chairman and CEO of a public company, for alleged short swing profits, and then obtained dismissal of an appeal to the 2nd Circuit.
- Won a lawsuit filed in Delaware Chancery Court by a shareholder against our public company client seeking to enjoin the company's annual meeting to elect directors and asking for rescission or modification of the company's poison pill.
- Won a $500 million securities lawsuit filed against Morgan Stanley and its affiliates arising out of an investment in a private technology company and subsequent public company merger.
- Won a trial for a law firm client sued by a former adversary for malicious prosecution.
- Won a JAMS arbitration for a broker-dealer client as plaintiff for professional negligence against a former sales representative.
- Won summary judgment and defeated class certification for a public company and its officers and directors in a securities class action.
- Won a 9th Circuit appeal affirming the dismissal of a legal malpractice case against a law firm client.
- Won a 9th Circuit appeal affirming the dismissal of a securities class action against a public technology company and its officers and directors.
- Won an appeal in the California Court of Appeal of the denial of an anti-SLAPP motion, resulting in a judgment in favor of our hospital client and an award of all our attorneys' fees.
- Won a two-week JAMS arbitration for a bank client in a dispute over whether ground lease payments needed to be paid "in gold" at a rate in the millions of dollars.
Mr. Stone's securities litigation practice includes the representation of corporations, mutual funds, officers and directors, securities brokerage firms, accounting firms, and investors in the prosecution and defense of class actions involving claims under the federal securities laws, state fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, derivative and securities claims, and governmental investigations.
Mr. Stone has represented clients in securities cases involving the following issuers:
ACAD, ALSC, AMKR, ASPE, ABTL, CHYR, CLST, CNXT, DDI, DMAN, DOLE, DTA, FRIT, HAR, HP, HSQ, IBM, INSG, LQMT, LTRX, MASI, MIFI, MS, MGX, PKT, PLSIA, PXPL, QSFT, RNA, SHFL, SRNE, SSNLF, SST, SUNE, TAG, VWCM, VCAT, VRML & YHOO.
Typical securities cases include:
- Morgan Stanley, Inc. adv. Ariyoshi. Successfully represented Morgan Stanley and its affiliates in a $500 million securities litigation action brought in Hawaii concerning an investment in a private technology company and subsequent public company merger. Won the case on motions to dismiss and obtained a walk away settlement on appeal.
- IBM/Demandtec, Inc. Merger Litig. Successfully represented IBM in litigation in California challenging its acquisition of Demandtec, Inc. Defeated claims based on the acquisition and successfully settled all matters.
- In re Fisker Automotive, Inc. Securities Litig. Currently represent the former CFO of Fisker as lead counsel in multi-plaintiff securities litigation in federal court in Delaware arising out of Fisker’s failure. Obtained dismissal of class action claims in federal court in Illinois.
- Stock Options Backdating/Re-Pricing Cases. Successfully represented as lead counsel the officers and board members of three Silicon Valley-based Fortune 500 public companies in special committee investigations, SEC/DOJ investigations and securities and derivative litigation in Arizona, Pennsylvania and California, arising out of stock options backdating/re-pricing issues.
- In re Mutual Funds Investment Litigation. Successfully represented as lead counsel the board of trustees of the San Francisco-based RS Funds complex in the multi-district "market timing" and "late trading" litigation in Maryland. Obtained dismissal of all claims by motions practice.
- In re Masimo Corp. Shareholder Litig. Successfully represented the officers and board of directors of Masimo in shareholder litigation in Delaware challenging the company’s executive and director compensation practices. Defeated director claims and successfully settled remaining claims.
- In re Sorrento Therapeutics, Inc. Shareholder Litig. Successfully represented the officers and directors of Sorrento in shareholder litigation in Delaware challenging subsidiary compensation for officers and directors.
- In re Aspeon, Inc. Securities Litigation. Successfully represented as lead counsel this technology company and its officers and directors as defendants in Rule 10b-5 litigation arising out of a restatement of quarterly earnings. After initially winning the case in District Court, successfully argued and obtained affirmance by the Ninth Circuit.
- In re DDi Corp. Securities Litigation. Successfully represented this public semiconductor industry company and its officers and directors as co-lead counsel in federal securities litigation in United States District Court for the Central District of California. Defeated all fraud claims; successfully settled remaining Section 11 claim.
- In re Shuffle Master, Inc. Securities Litigation. Successfully represented the company and its officers and directors in securities class action and derivative action in federal and state court in Nevada arising out of an accounting adjustment and acquisition of an Australian subsidiary. Defeated claims based on the acquisition and successfully settled all matters.
- In re Dole Food Company, Inc. Shareholders’ Litigation (I). Successfully represented David Murdock as lead counsel in shareholder fiduciary duty litigation in Los Angeles Superior Court, the Central District of California, Hawaii state court and Delaware Chancery Court arising out of his $2.5 billion purchase of Dole Food Company, Inc. Obtained dismissal of all litigation in exchange for additional disclosures, payment of attorneys’ fees of less than one-half the national average for shareholder cases, and without any increase to the purchase price.
- In re Dole Food Company, Inc. Shareholders' Litigation (II). Represented David Murdock in defending breach of fiduciary duty litigation in Delaware and California arising out of his most recent, second purchase of all of the stock of Dole. Successfully defeated all attempts to enjoin the transaction, which closed. Thereafter, represented Mr. Murdock as lead counsel in post-closing merger and appraisal litigation.
- In re Tag-It Pacific, Inc. Securities Litigation. Successfully represented the company and its officers/directors as co-lead counsel in federal securities litigation in the Central District of California. Defeated class certification and then won summary judgment. Settled the case favorably after Ninth Circuit appeal.
- In re Van Wagoner Funds, Inc. Securities Litigation. Successfully represented as lead counsel this San Francisco-based mutual fund, its advisor and founder in securities litigation brought in United States District Courts in San Francisco, California, Wisconsin and Delaware, and in Wisconsin state court. Defeated efforts before the MDL panel to consolidate the litigation in Wisconsin, and instead successfully obtained a transfer to the Northern District of California. After obtaining dismissal with leave to amend (and establishing the precedent that fraud on the market does not apply to a mutual fund, In re Van Wagoner Funds, Inc. Sec. Litig., 2004 WL 2623972 (N.D. Cal. 2004), settled the case for corporate governance changes and a nominal payment.
Consumer/products liability and other similar class action and "big ticket" commercial litigation experience for both plaintiffs and defendants includes:
- IBM Trade Secret Litigation. Successfully represented IBM as a defendant in trade secret litigation brought in the Northern District of California concerning IBM's Rapid Resume technology. Obtained summary judgment and then won affirmance on appeal to the 9th Circuit.
- Harbor Freight Tools Company, Inc. Founder Litigation. Successfully represented the founder of Harbor Freight as plaintiff in litigation challenging aspects of a change in control of the company.
- Medical Capital Ponzi-Scheme Legal Malpractice Litigation. Successfully represented a San Francisco-based international law firm in malpractice litigation arising out of the firm's representation of Medical Capital in more than $200 million worth of defaulted loans. Successfully reduced the case by one-third through motions practice, and settled on favorable terms.
- Health Care Insurer JAMS Arbitrations. Successfully represented a health system of hospitals in several JAMS arbitrations brought against California's major health insurers. Total recovery for the client of over $100 million.
- FDC Defect Class Action Litigation. Successfully represented the Korean manufacturer of personal computers for eMachines, Compaq and Hewlett Packard as lead counsel in multi-billion dollar consumer class action litigation in state and federal court in Beaumont, Texas. Obtained a ruling decertifying a national class in eMachines, Inc. v. Packard, 148 S.W.3d 695 (Tex. App.– Beaumont 2004); amicus for Compaq on the Texas Supreme Court’s ruling decertifying national class in Compaq Corp. v. Lapray, 135 S.W.3d 657 (Tex. 2004).
- Gold Standard JAMS Arbitration. Won a two week arbitration for a bank client in a dispute over whether ground lease payments needed to be paid "in gold" at a rate in the millions of dollars.
- Alliance Semiconductor Canadian Judgment Litigation. Successfully represented the company in litigation in Santa Clara and San Jose seeking to enforce a billion-dollar Canadian Judgment.
- Disease Detection International JAMS Arbitration. Successfully represented this biotechnology company in a two week JAMS arbitration; complete defense result.
- DT Credit adv. Willoughby. Successfully represented this automobile financing company in consumer class action brought in Los Angeles under California’s Rees-Levering Act. Believed to be the first to convince a superior court in a consumer case after the Supreme Court’s decision in Discovery Bank to nonetheless enforce an arbitration clause with a class action waiver. Thereafter successfully settled the case.
- Graham & James adv. Sheehan. Won a trial victory for this law firm client in a state court lawsuit brought by a former adversary for malicious prosecution.
- MDAS adv. Watec. Won a federal district court dismissal and affirmance by the Ninth Circuit on appeal of a legal malpractice case for a law firm client.
Engagement & Publications
- Speaker at programs and seminars put on by the Association of Business Trial Lawyers, the Orange County Chapter of the Federal Bar Association, and the ACCA
- Co-author, Securities Litigation: A Practical Guide (Oceana 2004), a book designed for general counsel
- Author of dozens of articles in his practice area in the California Lawyer, Los Angeles Daily Journal, San Francisco Recorder, and other publications
- Past member, Board of Governors of the Association of Business Trial Lawyers, Northern California Chapter
- Past member, Board of Governors of the Association of Business Trial Lawyers, Orange County Chapter
- Past member, Board of Directors of the Federal Bar Association, Orange County Chapter
- Following law school, served as a judicial clerk for Judge James L. Buckley of the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit