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Adams, William B.

William B. Adams

Partner

williamadams@quinnemanuel.com
Direct Tel: +1 212-849-7174
New York
Tel: +1 212 849 7000 Fax: +1 212 849 7100

William B. Adams is a partner in the firm’s New York office and has been a member of the firm’s appellate practice since its inception in 2005.  William has handled dozens of appeals spanning a broad range of subject matters, including intellectual property, products liability, insurance, environmental, regulatory, and constitutional law.  He has particularly substantial experience in the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Second, Ninth, and Federal Circuits and the New York Appellate Division, First Department.  William also has broad experience in the Supreme Court of the United States, where he has had a leading role in several successful petitions for certiorari and merits cases. 

Before joining the firm, William served as a law clerk for Judge Judith W. Rogers of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

  • American International Group
  • CNA
  • Colgate-Palmolive Company
  • Dow Chemical Company
  • Entergy Corporation
  • Samsung Electronics 
  • Shell Oil Company
  • Obtained an 8-0 victory for Samsung in the U.S. Supreme Court in Samsung Electronics Co. v. Apple Inc., 137 S. Ct. 429 (2016), which held that, where a patented design is applied only to a component of a product, an award of infringer’s profits under Section 289 of the Patent Act should be limited to profits attributable to that component.
  • Obtained a 6-2 victory for Wyeth, a division of Pfizer, in the U.S. Supreme Court in Bruesewitz v. Wyeth, 562 U.S. 223 (2011), a decision holding that the Vaccine Act expressly preempts state-law design-defect claims against manufacturers of childhood vaccines.
  • Obtained an 8-1 win for Shell Oil Company in the U.S. Supreme Court in Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railway v. United States; Shell Oil Co. v. United States, 556 U.S. 599 (2009), which held that a shipper of useful products may not be held liable under CERCLA as an “arranger” for the disposal of hazardous waste.
  • Obtained a unanimous win for Berry Petroleum Company in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, in French v. Linn Energy, L.L.C., __ F.3d __ (5th Cir. 2019), which held that claims asserted against Berry by a former shareholder were subject to subordination under Section 510(b) of the Bankruptcy Code.
  • Obtained a unanimous win for G-I Holdings in the New Jersey Appellate Division, in Ashland Inc. v. G-I Holdings Inc., 2019 WL 1552750 (N.J. App. Div. Apr. 10, 2019), which reversed a lower court’s ruling that had allowed G-I’s former co-client to disclose certain documents protected by the attorney-co-client privilege to third parties.
  • Obtained a unanimous win for Samsung in the New York Appellate Division, First Department, in MPEG LA v. Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., 166 A.D.3d 13 (1st Dep’t 2018), which reversed a $115 million judgment entered against Samsung for supposed breach of patent-pool licensing agreements.
  • Obtained a unanimous win for the Federal Housing Finance Agency in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in FHFA v. Nomura Holding America, Inc., 873 F.3d 85 (2d Cir. 2017), which affirmed an $806 million judgment in favor of FHFA under Sections 12(a)(2) and 15 of the Securities Act and analogous Blue Sky laws.
  • Obtained a unanimous win for The Bank of New York Mellon, as securities administrator for an RMBS trust, in the New York Appellate Division, First Department, in Bank of New York Mellon v. WMC Mortgage, LLC, 151 A.D.3d 72 (1st Dep’t 2017), which reinstated claims alleging breach of “backstop” repurchase obligations for defective loans and obligations to notify of such defects.  
  • Obtained a unanimous win for The Dow Chemical Company in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Nova Chemicals Corp. (Canada) v. Dow Chemical Co., 856 F.3d 1012 (Fed. Cir. 2017), which affirmed an award of attorneys’ fees under Section 285 of the Patent Act, following a prior unanimous win for Dow that had affirmed the dismissal of an independent action seeking to set aside a final judgment of patent infringement, see 607 Fed. App’x 993 (Fed. Cir. 2015).
  • Obtained a unanimous win for Infrassure, Ltd., a Swiss reinsurer, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Infrassure Ltd. v. First Mutual Transportation Assurance Co., 842 F.3d 174 (2d Cir. 2016), which interpreted a reinsurance agreement containing two competing arbitration provisions and held the one requiring arbitration in New York applied to the parties’ dispute concerning claims filed after Superstorm Sandy.
  • Obtained a win for Shell Oil in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Alaska Wilderness League v. Jewell, 788 F.3d 1212 (9th Cir. 2015), which denied petitions for review challenging Shell’s oil spill response plans for the Alaskan Outer Continental Shelf against challenge under the National Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act.
  • Obtained a unanimous win for Pinterest in the New York Appellate Division, First Department, in Schroeder v. Pinterest, 133 A.D.3d 12 (1st Dep’t 2015), which affirmed dismissal of all claims against Pinterest for alleged trade-secret misappropriation, unfair competition, and unjust enrichment in connection with development of Pinterest website and app.
  • Obtained a unanimous win for GFI Group in the New York Appellate Division, First Department, in Fewer v. GFI Group, Inc., 124 A.D.3d 457 (1st Dep’t 2015), which reversed entry of summary judgment against GFI in employment alleging former employee violated restrictive covenants in orchestrating massive employee defection.
  • Obtained win for Colgate-Palmolive Company in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, sitting en banc, in Barlow v. Colgate-Palmolive Co., 772 F.3d 1001 (4th Cir. 2014), which reversed a district court’s denial of a motion to vacate a remand order and became the first court of appeals to hold that district courts have authority under Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b)(3) to vacate remand orders procured by misconduct or fraud.
  • Obtained a unanimous win for a pro bono client in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in E.M. v. New York City Department of Education, 758 F.3d 442 (2d Cir. 2014), which vacated a district court’s judgment that had declined to require the NYC Department of Education to pay the tuition for a private program in which our client had placed her severely autistic daughter because she believed that the public school could not offer a safe and appropriate learning environment. 
  • Obtained a unanimous win for Samsung in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., 735 F.3d 1352 (Fed. Cir. 2013), which affirmed denial of permanent injunction with respect to three design patents and registered and unregistered trade dress.
  • Obtained a unanimous win for Entergy in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee, LLC v. Shumlin, 733 F.3d 393 (2d Cir. 2013), which affirmed prior victory following bench trial in district court and which held that the Atomic Energy Act preempts Vermont’s efforts to shut down the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant for radiological safety reasons reserved to the federal government. 
  • Obtained a unanimous win for AIG in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in American Int’l Group v. Bank of America, 712 F.3d 775 (2d Cir. 2013), which held that defendants could not remove state RMBS fraud cases to federal court under the Edge Act where the foreign (or insular) banking transactions at issue were not made by the federal bank that was a party to the suit.
  • Obtained a unanimous win for the Federal Housing Finance Agency  in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Federal Housing Finance Agency v. UBS Americas Inc., 712 F.3d 136 (2d Cir. 2013), which held that the statute of limitations in the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 supersedes the statute of repose in the Securities Act of 1933, allowing FHFA’s RMBS fraud suits against 18 banks to proceed.
  • Obtained unanimous wins for Shell Oil in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in REDOIL v. EPA, 716 F.3d 1155 (9th Cir. 2013), and Alaska Wilderness League v. EPA, 727 F.3d 934 (9th Cir. 2013), which upheld against Clean Air Act challenge EPA’s air permits for Shell’s operation of drillship Noble Discover and drilling unit Kulluk in the Alaskan Arctic.
  • Obtained a unanimous win for Shell Oil in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Native Village of Point Hope v. Salazar, 680 F.3d 1123 (9th Cir. 2012), which denied petitions for review of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s approval of Shell’s 2012 exploration plans for oil and gas resources on the Alaskan Outer Continental Shelf; obtained similar win as to Minerals Management Service’s approval of Shell’s 2010 exploration plan in Native Village of Point Hope v. Salazar, 378 Fed. Appx. 747 (9th Cir. 2010).
  • Obtained vacatur of convictions of an individual white-collar conviction in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in United States v. Banki, 660 F.3d 665 (2d Cir. 2011), which held that Iranian trade embargo restrictions do not unambiguously prohibit non-commercial remittances, including family remittances, between Iran and individuals in the United States.
  • Obtained a unanimous win for a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Affymax, Inc. v. Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 660 F.3d 281 (7th Cir. 2011), which reversed a vacatur of an arbitration award in a patent dispute and making new law narrowing the scope of “manifest disregard of law” as a ground for vacatur under the FAA.
  • Obtained a unanimous win for PG&E in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in SLOMFP v. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 635 F.3d 1109 (9th Cir. 2011), which upheld the NRC’s environmental assessment of a spent-fuel storage facility at a nuclear power plant.
  • Obtained a unanimous win for OneBeacon America Insurance Company in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Fireman’s Fund Insurance Co. v. North Pacific Insurance Co., 446 Fed. Appx. 909 (9th Cir. 2011), which vacated a multi-million judgment in an insurance coverage dispute.
  • Obtained a unanimous win for a CNA subsidiary in the Wisconsin Court of Appeals in Park Terrace, LLC v. Transportation Ins. Co., 338 Wis. 2d 484, 808 N.W.2d 741 (Wis. App. 2011), which reversed a $8 million judgment in a bad-faith insurance dispute.
  • Obtained a unanimous win for AIG subsidiaries in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in AXA Versicherung AG v. New Hampshire Insurance Co., 391 Fed. Appx. 25 (2d Cir. 2010), which rejected a jury verdict finding that a fraud claim had been brought within the statute of limitations and reversed a $34 million judgment.
  • Obtained a unanimous win for Allegheny Energy in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc. v. Allegheny Energy, Inc., 500 F.3d 171 (2d Cir. 2007), which overturned a $188 million contract judgment and reinstated all counterclaims in a contract dispute over sale of an energy trading business.

 

  • Stanford Law School
  • (J.D., with distinction, 2004)
    • Order of the Coif
    • Stanford Law Review:
      • Note Editor
    • Stanford Law & Policy Review:
      • Senior Editor
    • Supreme Court Litigation Clinic
  • Cornell University
  • (B.S., Industrial & Labor Relations,with honors, 2001)
The State Bar of New York; The State Bar of California; Supreme Court of the United States; United States Court of Appeals: First Circuit, Second Circuit, Third Circuit, Fourth Circuit, Fifth Circuit, Seventh Circuit, Ninth Circuit, D.C. Circuit, Federal Circuit; United States District Court: Southern District of New York, Eastern District of New York, Northern District of California
  • Law Clerk to the Hon. Judith W. Rogers:
    • United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, 2004-2005