Elliot R. Peters
Partner

epeters@kvn.com
Tel. (415) 676-2273

Education

New York University School of Law, J.D., 1985

Yale University, B.A., 1980

Prior Experience

U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of New York

Clerkships

Hon. Whitman Knapp
U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York

Bar Admissions

California

New York

Elliot R. Peters

For three decades Elliot Peters has litigated, tried and advised clients in some of the nation's most high-profile, high-stakes complex commercial and white collar criminal cases. Mr. Peters has tried more than 50 cases on behalf of CEOs, leading law firms, and major corporations. He is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. He has also been named Attorney of the Year by California Lawyer and The Recorder, the Litigator of the Week by The American Lawyer, and one of the Top 100 Attorneys in California by the Daily Journal.

Cases of Note

Plaintiff v. Law Firm: We are defending an Am Law 200 law firm against claims of legal malpractice and breach of fiduciary duty arising from our client's work on a series of patent infringement cases. In less than a year, we obtained a complete dismissal of the case. An appeal is pending.

Financial Institution v. Law Firm: We defended a large Nebraska law firm from a multi-million dollar legal malpractice case in connection with a real estate transaction. The action stemed from a separate law firm’s failure to adequately protect a financial institution’s priority in a debt transaction where that client was the lender. As a result of the law firm’s failure to ensure the proper paperwork was filed, the client lost its priority to subsequent lienholders when the borrower went bankrupt. Six months after the original law firm’s malpractice occurred, our client was hired and then sued for indemnification by the financial institution as a third party. On the eve of trial, the plaintiff dismissed our client from the litigation.

Securities and Exchange Commission v. Executive: The Securities and Exchange Commission launched a securities fraud suit in California federal court against our client, a former vice president of sales. The SEC claimed he grossly inflated his company's revenue in order to raise additional capital from investors. We also defended him in a parallel criminal investigation. We were able to prevent any criminal charges from being filed, and resolved the SEC case for a small penalty.

United States v. Business Owner: We represent a former World Champion of poker in connection with a Department of Justice investigation and civil forfeiture action in the Southern District of New York relating to on-line poker.

United States v. Aaron Swartz: We defended brilliant software engineer and Internet activist Aaron Swartz from federal criminal allegations surrounding computer hacking. Mr. Swartz was indicted in Boston on criminal charges that he stole more than four million documents from MIT and JSTOR, an archive of scientific journals and academic papers. The case ended tragically, when Mr. Swartz took his own life.

United States v. Lance Armstrong: We represented American cyclist and seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong in connection with the U.S. Department of Justice's investigation into professional cycling, which terminated on February 3, 2012 with the announcement that there would be no charges and the investigation was being closed.

United States v. Investment Banker: We defended a former Silicon Valley investment banker on obstruction of justice charges. After two trials and a successful appeal, all charges were deferred. Related charges from the Securities and Exchange Commission and the National Association of Securities Dealers were also dismissed.

VS Technologies LLC v. Twitter Inc.: By winning a defense verdict in this federal jury trial, we protected Twitter Inc. from a patent infringement suit and $40 million damages claim. Virginia-based VS Technologies had obtained a patent for “an interactive virtual community of famous people,” and sued Twitter over its virtual community technology. During the six-day trial, we argued that Twitter's Browse Interests feature did not infringe the terms of the patent and that in fact, the patent was invalid. The jury agreed, and found Twitter not liable for patent infringement.

Department of Justice v. Major League Baseball Players Association: We successfully represented the Major League Baseball Players Association in its high-profile battle with the U.S. government. In August 2009, an en banc panel of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit ruled that federal investigators unlawfully seized drug-testing records of more than 100 athletes. In September 2010, the court issued a revised opinion that upheld its ruling.

Univision Communications v. Televisa: We represented Univision, the country's leading Spanish language television network, in a trial by reference. The case involved a breach of contract dispute over the rights to televise Mexican Soccer League games. The judge adopted the interpretation of the contract which favored our client.

Awards and Honors

  • California Lawyer Attorney of the Year (CLAY) for Pro Bono, California Lawyer, 2014
  • White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations and featured as one of the Leaders in Their Fields, Chambers USA, 2012-2014
  • Listed in Best Lawyers in America, White Collar Criminal Defense, Commercial, and Legal Malpractice Litigation, 2006-2014
  • Top 100 Lawyer, Daily Journal, 2010, 2013
  • Top 75 IP Litigator, Daily Journal, 2012
  • Recommended Attorney, Litigation - White Collar Criminal Defense, The Legal 500, 2011-2012
  • Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers, 2011
  • Attorney of the Year, The Recorder, 2010
  • Litigator of the Week, The American Lawyer, 2009
  • California Lawyer Attorney of the Year (CLAY), California Lawyer, 2003
  • America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, Chambers USA
  • U.S. Department of Justice Director’s Medal for Superior Performance
  • Moot Court Champion, New York University School of Law
  • Best Brief, Best Oralist, New York University School of Law
  • Most Outstanding Clinical Student, New York University School of Law

Publications and Speaking Engagements

  • "A Lawyers Holiday," Huffington Post, 2013
  • "Digital Defense: Representing the Alleged Cyber Criminal," NACDL's Annual West Coast White Collar Conference, 2013
  • "Computer Searches in the New Millennium: The Collision between the Fourth Amendment and Computer Forensics," Cybercrime Conference, 2012
  • "Criminal Investigation of Lawyers," Attorneys’ Liability Assurance Society Annual General Meeting 2012
  • Co-author with Nic Marais, “Battening Down the Hatches: Representing a Law Firm in the Stormy Seas of a Criminal Investigation,” Attorneys’ Liability Assurance Society Annual General Meeting 2012
  • "Daubert Challenges in Federal Intellectual Property Litigation," Association of Business Trial Lawyers (ABTL) Annual Meeting, 2011
  • "Fourth Amendment Litigation," Edward Bennett Williams Inn of Court, 2011

 

Securities and Exchange Commission v. Executive: The Securities and Exchange Commission launched a securities fraud suit in California federal court against our client, a former vice president of sales. The SEC claimed he grossly inflated his company's revenue in order to raise additional capital from investors. We also defended him in a parallel criminal investigation. We were able to prevent any criminal charges from being filed, and resolved the SEC case for a small penalty.

United States v. Business Owner: We represent a former World Champion of poker in connection with a Department of Justice investigation and civil forfeiture action in the Southern District of New York relating to on-line poker.

United States v. Aaron Swartz: We defended brilliant software engineer and Internet activist Aaron Swartz from federal criminal allegations surrounding computer hacking. Mr. Swartz was indicted in Boston on criminal charges that he stole more than four million documents from MIT and JSTOR, an archive of scientific journals and academic papers. The case ended tragically, when Mr. Swartz took his own life.

United States v. Lance Armstrong: We represented American cyclist and seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong in connection with the U.S. Department of Justice's investigation into professional cycling, which terminated on February 3, 2012 with the announcement that there would be no charges and the investigation was being closed.

United States v. Former Chief Executive Officer: We represented the former CEO of a public company in a criminal stock options backdating trial. Following a six-week trial in Los Angeles federal court, jurors acquitted our client on 16 of 20 counts. A federal judge then threw out one of two mail fraud counts. Despite the government's recommendation of a six year prison term, our client only received eight months of home confinement and a fine.

United States v. Biotechnology Company Executive: We secured an acquittal for a biotechnology company's chief of sales and marketing accused of paying kickbacks to doctors who prescribed his company's drugs.

United States v. Investment Banker: We defended a former Silicon Valley investment banker on obstruction of justice charges. After two trials and a successful appeal, all charges were deferred. Related charges from the Securities and Exchange Commission and the National Association of Securities Dealers were also dismissed.

Securities and Exchange Commission v. Chief Executive and Chief Financial Officers: We represented the CEO and CFO of a communications technology company in a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigation, a lawsuit filed with the SEC, related civil lawsuits filed by investors, and a related bankruptcy action. We resolved all of the lawsuits on favorable terms.

United States v. Lawyer: The U.S. Attorney’s Office investigated our client, a prominent plaintiff’s lawyer, in connection with the federal criminal investigation of his firm's historical payment of referral fees in class action litigation. We negotiated a very favorable plea deal before charges were filed.

Department of Justice v. Major League Baseball Players Association: We successfully represented the Major League Baseball Players Association in its high-profile battle with the U.S. government. In August 2009, an en banc panel of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit ruled that federal investigators unlawfully seized drug-testing records of more than 100 athletes. In September 2010, the court issued a revised opinion that upheld its ruling.

VS Technologies LLC v. Twitter Inc.: By winning a defense verdict in this federal jury trial, we protected Twitter Inc. from a patent infringement suit and $40 million damages claim. Virginia-based VS Technologies had obtained a patent for “an interactive virtual community of famous people,” and sued Twitter over its virtual community technology. During the six-day trial, we argued that Twitter's Browse Interests feature did not infringe the terms of the patent and that in fact, the patent was invalid. The jury agreed, and found Twitter not liable for patent infringement.

Software Co. v. Software Co.: We defended a red-hot Silicon Valley software company that provides information analysis to the intelligence, defense, and law enforcement communities from trade secret and copyright charges. Our client's competitor brought the charges in the Eastern District of Virginia. We successfully settled the case after five and a half torrid months of rocket docket litigation.

Digital Link Corp. v. Tiara Networks, Inc.: After a ten-week jury trial, we won a defense verdict for Tiara Networks, Inc. The networking technology company was accused of trade secret misappropriation involving high-tech routing technology.

Mr. Peters represents a number of leading law firms, including four international firms on the AmLaw 100. In accordance with firm policy, we do not disclose the names of those firms.

Plaintiff v. Law Firm: We are defending an Am Law 200 law firm against claims of legal malpractice and breach of fiduciary duty arising from our client's work on a series of patent infringement cases. In less than a year, we obtained a complete dismissal of the case. An appeal is pending.

Financial Institution v. Law Firm: We defended a large Nebraska law firm from a multi-million dollar legal malpractice case in connection with a real estate transaction. The action stemed from a separate law firm’s failure to adequately protect a financial institution’s priority in a debt transaction where that client was the lender. As a result of the law firm’s failure to ensure the proper paperwork was filed, the client lost its priority to subsequent lienholders when the borrower went bankrupt. Six months after the original law firm’s malpractice occurred, our client was hired and then sued for indemnification by the financial institution as a third party. On the eve of trial, the plaintiff dismissed our client from the litigation.

Plaintiff v. Law Firm: We represented an international law firm in a legal malpractice and breach of fiduciary case arising from the firm’s work on a series of patent infringement cases. We won a complete dismissal of the case.

Plaintiff v. Law Firm: We represented an Am Law 100 firm and one of its former partners in suits over the alleged mishandling of a patent application relating to electronic billboard technology. We won the complete dismissal of a state court action which was upheld by the California Court of Appeal. The plaintiff then filed a certiorari petition, however the U.S. Supreme Court denied it. We also secured the dismissal of four federal court claims, and won summary judgment on the remaining federal claim.

Plaintiff v. Law Firm: We successfully defended at trial an Am Law 50 law firm and one of its former partners against a $100 million claim. The plaintiff alleged malpractice and breach of fiduciary duty related to estate planning. After an eight-week trial in California state court, we won a complete victory.

Plaintiff v. Law Firm: The plaintiffs alleged our client, the plaintiff's former attorneys, were negligent. After we successfully transferred the case to Sacramento Superior Court and revealed key facts about the plaintiff during discovery, the case settled before trial for a small fraction of the demand.

United States v. Lawyer: The U.S. Attorney’s Office investigated our client, a prominent plaintiff’s lawyer, in connection with the federal criminal investigation of his firm's historical payment of referral fees in class action litigation. We negotiated a very favorable plea deal before charges were filed.

Plaintiffs v. Law Firm: We defended a law firm in a legal malpractice lawsuit connected to an underlying patent infringement action. The case involved complex intellectual property issues, in addition to issues relating to legal representation and performance. The plaintiff sought $75 million, plus trebling for willful patent infringement and punitive damages. However we resolved the case for a settlement of only $800,000.

Televisa v. Univision Communications: We represented Univision, the country's leading Spanish language television network, in a breach of contract jury trial. Televisa, a Mexican multimedia conglomerate which supplied Univision with its most popular Spanish language programs, attempted to terminate a long-term exclusive licensing agreement and sought more than $100 million in damages. The case was settled during trial on favorable terms. We also represented Univision in a bench trial which sought declaratory judgment to prevent Televisa from broadcasting over the Internet the same highly popular programs that it exclusively licensed to Univision. We won a complete victory at trial.

Univision Communications v. Televisa: We represented Univision, the country's leading Spanish language television network, in a trial by reference. The case involved a breach of contract dispute over the rights to televise Mexican Soccer League games. The judge adopted the interpretation of the contract which favored our client.

Department of Justice v. Major League Baseball Players Association: We successfully represented the Major League Baseball Players Association in its high-profile battle with the U.S. government. In August 2009, an en banc panel of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit ruled that federal investigators unlawfully seized drug-testing records of more than 100 athletes. In September 2010, the court issued a revised opinion that upheld its ruling.

In re Ronald W. Ross: In this pro bono habeas corpus case we won freedom for Ronald Ross, an innocent man who had been wrongfully convicted of attempted murder and sentenced to life in prison in 2006. Over the course of a four-year investigation, we, along with our co-counsel at the Northern California Innocence Project, uncovered trial-witness recantations and other newly discovered evidence that conclusively established Mr. Ross’s innocence. We presented this evidence at a three-day evidentiary hearing in Alameda County Superior Court, and we eventually convinced the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office to join in our request that Mr. Ross’s conviction be vacated. The Court granted Mr. Ross’s habeas petition and the District Attorney dismissed the underlying charges. After spending almost seven years in prison for a crime he did not commit, Mr. Ross was freed. We now represent Mr. Ross in post-habeas proceedings seeking compensation from the State of California for his wrongful conviction and incarceration.

John J. Tennison v. City and County of San Francisco: We pursued John Tennison’s civil rights claim against the City and County of San Francisco and the police and prosecutor responsible for Mr. Tennison’s wrongful conviction. We had previously represented Mr. Tennison in his habeas corpus case, where we unearthed exculpatory evidence hidden by the police which proved Mr. Tennison’s innocence - including the taped confession of another man. As a result, we won an order reversing Mr. Tennison’s conviction, after which he was set free. After several years of hard-fought litigation, we settled the civil rights case for $4.6 million. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, it was the largest amount the city has ever paid to a wrongly convicted person.

State of California v. John J. Tennison: After pro bono client John Tennison had spent 13 years in prison for a murder he did not commit, we won his freedom via habeas corpus. We unearthed exculpatory evidence hidden by the police—including the taped confession of another man—and proved our client’s innocence. We then sued the City and County of San Francisco, claiming that members of the San Francisco Police Department unconstitutionally withheld evidence at trial. We negotiated a $4.6 million settlement for Mr. Tennison.

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