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Price, William C.

William C. Price

Direct Tel: +1 213-443-3156
Los Angeles
Tel: +1 213 443 3000 Fax: +1 213 443 3100

A federal judge once described a Bill Price cross-examination as both a “symphony” and a “bloodletting.” Fitting words to describe the work of a man widely recognized as one of the nation’s premier trial lawyers – a master of the craft.

With Price, the superlatives pile high: “Trial ace,” “attorney of the year,” “litigator of the week,” “top gun trial lawyer,” “fantastic trial lawyer who specializes in bet-the-company cases," “devastating in court,” and so on.

The founder and co-chair of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan’s National Trial Practice Group, Price is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.  He is resident in the firm’s Los Angeles office.

One need only look at the two month period of December 2019 to January 2020 to observe the impact and versatility of Price’s trial skills.  In December 2019, Price successfully defended Elon Musk in a $190 million defamation suit brought by one of the men who had assisted in the rescue of 12 children trapped in a cave in Thailand.  Musk had called plaintiff, among other things, a “pedo-guy”.  It took the jury less than an hour to reach a verdict in favor of Musk. The press reported that the “killer blow” to plaintiff’s case was Price’s cross-examination of the plaintiff. View press coverage here. Just a few weeks later, Price was trial counsel on the plaintiff’s side, representing the California Institute of Technology in a patent infringement trial against Apple and Broadcom.  After a two-week trial the jury found that Apple and Broadcom had infringed Caltech’s patents and awarded over $1.1 billion in damages. View press coverage here.

Price has followed up those trials with multiple trial victories, including obtaining a defense verdict in another high-profile case involving Elon Musk—the multibillion dollar securities trial over Musk’s go-private tweets. Again, Price’s cross-examinations of the lead plaintiff and lead process/“go private” expert were key. View press coverage here.

Those are just two examples of a long history of accolades and high-profile trial wins.  The National Law Journal has named Price one of the top ten winning trial lawyers in the U.S. an unprecedented four times – the only trial lawyer so recognized this century, and one of only two so recognized since the annual list was started.  As a result of his stunning trial victories, Price has been named "Litigator of the Week" four times by The American Lawyer, which noted, "he has quietly and quickly developed a record that rivals those of the best in the business."  

Just this year, Price was ranked by Benchmark Litigation as a 2023 Top 100 Trial Lawyer, additional ranked as Top 20 Trial Lawyer. In 2020 Law360 ranked Price Top MVP in Trials. The Recorder (another top legal publication) named Price one of the California “Attorneys of the Year” in 2011. Chambers USA (2012) called him, “a top gun trial lawyer, who is well versed in trial work.” The Daily Journal named him one of the "Top 100 Lawyers in California" in 2012.  Chambers USA (2013) reported that Price is a "fantastic trial lawyer who specializes in bet-the-company cases" and is "devastating in court; he's one to keep your eye out for.”  Chambers USA (2014) said Price is "experienced in handling high-stakes disputes" and noted that "he recently defended Micron in a patent infringement case worth over $1 billion." Benchmark Litigation also named him one of its 2016 National Litigation Stars.  In 2015, Price was selected to be profiled in Law360’s inaugural “Trial Aces” series, which identified him as a lawyer “to call when losing is not an option.” In 2019, Legal 500 included him in “The Legal 500 Hall of Fame” for “Dispute Resolution – Leading trial lawyers,” one of only 45 individuals across the U.S. to be so included.

Price's then-longest trial winning streak—30 trials—was profiled in 2000 in the California Law Business section of the Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journals.  The streak ultimately extended to 35 trials.

The majority of Price's appearances have been for the defense, and almost all have resulted in defense verdicts.  In one notable example of a “bet the company” case, he successfully defended Micron Technology, Inc., as noted above, in an antitrust case involving random access memory chips during a three-month jury trial against Rambus, Inc.  Prior to trial, one of the alleged co-conspirators had settled for $1 billion.  Rambus asserted claims for violations of the Cartwright Act and sought $4 billion in compensatory damages, trebled to $12 billion under the Cartwright Act, as well as other relief. The jury rejected Rambus’ claims and awarded no damages.

On the plaintiff’s side, in addition to the $1.1 billion verdict obtained for Caltech, Price has obtained four nine-figure verdicts, and several eight-figure verdicts.  In 2018 Price first-chaired a trial on behalf of ResCap Liquidating Trust in a case arising from the mortgage lending crisis. In June 2019, a federal judge entered a final judgment of $68 million for ResCap, the plaintiff. In issuing her ruling, the judge wrote, “This was an extremely complicated, aggressively litigated case... This case required the top-notch legal counsel that ResCap retained... The excellent reputation of Plaintiff’s counsel is well-deserved.”

  • Elon Musk
  • California Institute of Technology ("Caltech")
  • ResCap Liquidating Trust
  • Broadcom
  • Disney
  • Freedom Wireless
  • Google
  • Hughes Aircraft
  • Icon
  • Lockheed Martin
  • Micron
  • Motorola
  • Qualcomm
  • Samsung
  • TRW
  • Warner Brothers
  • Zurich
  • USC
  • Secured a defense verdict in a multi-billion Securities trial in San Francisco, finding client Elon Musk and Tesla not liable for investor losses, following Musk’s 2018 tweet that he had “funding secured” to take Tesla private, with the jury reaching their decisions after just two hours of deliberation.  The trial received extensive media coverage by publications such as Law360, The Recorder, and The Washington Post, among others.
  • Obtained a defense verdict for Elon Musk against a claim for defamation, filed by British citizen Vernon Unsworth over comments Mr. Musk made about him in connection with a July 2018 rescue of a dozen Thai children who became lost while exploring caves.  The plaintiff claimed that our client referred to him as a “pedo guy” in a tweet and in off-the-record email to a BuzzFeed reporter as a “pedophile.” View press coverage here.
  • Obtained a verdict of $1.1 billion for the California Institute of Technology (“Caltech”) in a patent infringement lawsuit against Apple and Broadcom.  After a two-and-a half-week trial, the jury awarded Caltech over $1.1 billion in damages.  The patents protected Caltech’s invention of a novel advancement in error correction coding that is now used in WiFi.
  • Represented the ResCap Liquidating Trust (the “Trust”) in a case involving indemnity claims arising out of the sale of mortgages by Home Loan Center Inc. (“HLC”) to the Trust’s predecessor, Residential Funding Company, LLC (“RFC”).   After winning a jury trial last year, the Trust will be awarded a final judgment in the total amount of $68.5 million, reflecting the $28.7 million jury verdict, $16.7 million in interest per an order entered in March, and an award of attorney’s fees of $23.1 million, which the Court and our adversaries both characterized as “unprecedented.”
  • U.S. v. Sigelman:  Conducted cross-examination of the government’s key cooperating witness.  Prior to trial the government had offered Mr. Sigelman a plea under which he would be sentenced to 10 years in jail.  If convicted of the six felony counts for which he was charged,  Mr. Sigelman would have been sentenced to 15-20 years under the sentencing guidelines.  After two full days of cross-examination and within minutes of the cooperating witness admitting that he had twice committed perjury in front of the jury, the government asked for a recess interrupting the examination for the week.  On the morning the examination was to resume, the government entered into a plea agreement ending the trial and allowing the court to impose no incarceration, which it did.
  • Successfully defended Micron Technology, Inc. in a true "bet-the-company" antitrust case involving random access memory chips during a three month jury trial in San Francisco Superior Court against Rambus, Inc.  Rambus asserted claims for violations of the Cartwright Act and sought $4 billion in compensatory damages, trebled to $12 billion under the Cartwright Act, as well as other relief.  The jury rejected Rambus’ claims and awarded no damages.
  • Obtained a ruling after a two-week trial in the ITC that Rambus could not enforce its patents against our clients, including Broadcom, because it spoliated evidence in bad faith.
  • Won a verdict of $128 million for Freedom Wireless in a 12-week patent trial against Cingular and several other cellular carriers.  The jury concluded that our client's patents on prepaid cellular telephone technology were valid and infringed by the defendants.
  • Won a verdict of approximately $300 million (the verdict was in euros) on behalf of two German nationals against Bertelsmann and its former C.E.O. on breach of contract and other claims arising out of formation of the AOL Europe joint venture.  The case thereafter settled for $192 million.
  • Obtained a ruling after a one week court trial in Delaware that Rambus, the owner of patents covering computer memory chips, could not enforce its patents against our client, Micron, Inc.  Rambus had claimed billions in damages as a result of the infringement of its patents.  The court ruled that Rambus could not enforce its patents because it had spoliated evidence and acted in bad faith.
  • Obtained a defense verdict for TRW following a four week trial in which plaintiff, a twenty-six year employee and director of finance of our client, claimed that he was terminated because he spoke out about mischarging on government contracts.  Plaintiff had sought over $10 million in compensatory damages, and was also seeking punitive damages. A related qui tam suit filed by plaintiff, and defended by another law firm, resulted in a settlement in excess of $100 million.
  • Obtained a defense verdict for Tele-Tek in a seven-week jury trial in which plaintiff, a grandmother and the top salesperson for our client, claimed that our client, a leading telecommunications firm, discriminated against her on the basis of age and sex, manipulated commissions payments to systematically underpay salespersons, retaliated against her for complaining about illegal employment practices, and constructively terminated her.  Plaintiff had asked for $4 million in compensatory damages.
  • Obtained a defense verdict for Zurich Reinsurance in a federal jury trial in which plaintiff, an independent movie production company that boasted Martin Landau as one of its principals, claimed that our client breached an agreement to form a partnership to co-finance motion pictures and guarantee a $30 million dollar loan.  Plaintiff sought $22 million in compensatory damages.
  • Obtained a defense verdict for Disney in a jury trial in which plaintiff, a male employee of our client, claimed that a female supervisor subjected him to six months of sexual overtures and offensive sexual conduct, leading to his constructive termination.  Plaintiff had demanded $2.25 million prior to trial.
  • Obtained a defense verdict for Lockheed Martin in an eight week jury trial in which plaintiff, an African American plant protection officer employed in our client's security branch, claimed that from 1980 until he was constructively discharged in 1995 he was subjected to racial harassment by his supervisors and denied promotional opportunities because of his race.  Several Caucasian co-workers and one supervisor testified that plaintiff's supervisors had referred to plaintiff by using the "N" word.
  • Obtained a defense verdict for Optical Radiation Corp., a major pharmaceutical company, after a three week jury trial in a lawsuit involving scientist who claimed that he was fired for protesting the release of an allegedly defective product manufactured by the client that allegedly caused blindness in patients.
  • Obtained a defense verdict for Hughes Aircraft after an eight week jury trial in which plaintiff alleged that he was terminated after approximately ten years on the job for "blowing the whistle" on potential problems with weapons systems parts assembled at the plant where he worked.
  • Yale Law School
    (J.D., 1981)
    • John Fletcher Caskey Prize
    • Recipient and Student Trial Champion, 1981
  • Duke University
    (B.A., valedictorian, Phi Beta Kappa, 1978)
  • The State Bar of California
  • Law Clerk to the Hon. Stanley A. Weigel:
    • United States District Court, Northern District of California, 1981-1982
  • Assistant United States Attorney:
    • Major Crimes Unit and Public Fraud and Corruption Unit, 1985-1988
  • Recognized by Lawdragon 500 Leading Litigators in America – Complex Litigation, 2024
  • Named as a Top 10 Stellar General Commercial Litigation Lawyer in California for Business Today, 2023
  • Recognized as a Top 100 Trial Lawyer, additionally ranked as a Top 20 Trial Lawyer, by Benchmark Litigation, 2023 and 2024
  • Ranked by The Best Lawyers in America in Commercial Litigation, 2023-2024
  • Ranked in California General Commercial Litigation by Chambers USA, 2013-2022
  • Recognized as an “IP Star” by Managing Intellectual Property, 2013-2023
  • Recognized by Benchmark Litigation as a “Litigation Star”, 2016, 2018, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024
  • Recognized by Legal 500 as a “Leading Trial Lawyer” in Dispute Resolution, 2015-2022
  • Recognized as a “Top 100 Trial Lawyer for Antitrust and Intellectual Property” by Benchmark Litigation 2015, 2017, 2022, 2024
  • Named a Southern California Super Lawyer, 2004-2022
  • Named one of the top ten winning trial lawyers in the United States by The National Law Journal in 2004, 2006, 2009, and 2020
  • Recognized by Who’s Who Legal in Litigation, 2020
  • Ranked in Law360: "MVP in Trials", 2020
  • Recognized in Legal 500 “U.S. Hall of Fame”, 2017, 2019
  • Recognized in the 2015 “Trial Aces” Series by Law360
  • Named one of the LA Daily Journal’s Top 100 California Lawyers, 2012
  • Recognized by IAM 1000: The World’s Leading Patent Practitioners, 2012