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Quinn, John B.

John B. Quinn

Partner

johnquinn@quinnemanuel.com
Direct Tel: +1 213-443-3200, Direct Fax: +1 213-443-3100
Los Angeles
Tel: +1 213 443 3000 Fax: +1 213 443 3100

In a 2016 poll conducted by Bloomberg LP’s Big Law Business, John B. Quinn was named the “most famous practicing lawyer in the world” at large law firms. Described as a “master strategist” by American Lawyer and a “Legal Legend” in the 10th Anniversary edition of the Lawdragon: The 500 Leading Lawyers in America, John has amassed a trail of victories second to none in the field of business litigation.

A few of his better known victories include:  winning $176 million as lead trial counsel for Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong and his companies in an arbitration against Sorrento Therapeutics, Inc. and its CEO Dr. Henry Ji; obtaining a $295 million jury verdict for two former Bertelsmann AG executives against Bertelsmann AG; defending Samsung Electronics Company in Apple Inc.’s “holy war” against the Android smartphone operating system where, after a trial held in Apple’s backyard, the jury awarded less than 5.5% of the amount Apple sought and decided that Apple itself infringed one of Samsung’s counterclaim patents; and obtaining a $2.1 billion settlement for two dozen hedge fund plaintiffs—including Elliott, Davidson-Kempner, Appaloosa, and Angelo Gordon—as holders of Yosemite and Enron Credit-Linked (ECLN) Notes in the Yosemite v. Citibank action in the Enron MDL.

John’s practice ranges across the full spectrum of business litigation cases.  John obtained a $1.1 billion settlement for General Motors in an action against Volkswagen, certain VW directors and officers, and GM’s former head of sourcing in Detroit for stealing secret GM documents; won a jury verdict establishing liability in an insurance coverage case for Occidental Petroleum regarding business interruption losses from over two hundred terrorist bombings of an oil pipeline in Colombia, leading to a nine-figure settlement; defended the University of Southern California in a retrial against a dental implant manufacturer seeking more than $1 billion in lost profits and prevented the plaintiff from receiving any lost profits; and obtained a $150 million settlement from Deloitte & Touche on behalf of Dr. Enrico Bondi, Extraordinary Commissioner of Parmalat S.P.A., in three separate lawsuits against Grant Thornton, Bank of America, and Citigroup arising out of the largest bankruptcy in European history (“Europe’s Enron”), for aiding and abetting Parmalat’s insiders in the commission of fraud and for auditor malfeasance.

John is a sought-after speaker. At the Future Investment Initiative Priority Summit in Miami (February 2024), he spoke on the “Emerging Legal Risks Posed By AI.”  At the Milken Institute in Beverly Hills (May 2023), he spoke on the panel “Governing AI: Ethics, Regulation, and Practical Applications,” and at the Future Investment Initiative Conference in Riyadh (October 2023), he moderated the panel “How Will AI Change Finance?”  John also chaired the panel discussions “Do Investors Finally Understand ESG?” at the Milken Institute in Beverly Hills (May 2022), “Managing Social Risks and Liabilities In International Business” at the Future Investment Initiative Conference in Riyadh (October 2022), and “What Policies Most Encourage Foreign Investment?” at the Future Investment Initiative Conference in Riyadh (October 2021).

For 33 years, he served as General Counsel to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the organization that gives out the Oscars. John is an avid mountain climber, Ironman triathlete, father of five, and contemporary art enthusiast. In 2016, he opened the Museum of Broken Relationships on Hollywood Boulevard and in 2021 launched an artist-in-residence program at Quinn Emanuel to create a platform for emerging and mid-career artists in greater Los Angeles. He is also the owner of Q Sushi, an omakase-only Michelin-starred sushi restaurant in downtown Los Angeles.

John is, of course, also the Founder and Chairman of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP, the largest law firm in the world devoted solely to business litigation and arbitration which The Wall Street Journal has termed a “global litigation powerhouse.”

  • Lead trial counsel for Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong and various of his companies in an arbitration against Sorrento Therapeutics, Inc. and its CEO Dr. Henry Ji, relating to development of an immunotherapy drug, and won award of $176 million. 
  • Lead trial counsel for Samsung Electronics Company in Apple Inc.’s “holy war” against the Android smartphone operating system.  Apple alleged that Samsung infringed five patents and owed Apple $2.2 billion in damages.  In a trial held in Apple’s backyard, the jury found two of Apple’s patents were not infringed and total damages were less than 5.5% of the amount Apple sought.  Mr. Quinn’s trial team further convinced the jury that Apple itself was an infringer of one of Samsung’s counterclaim patents. 
  • Represented two dozen hedge fund plaintiffs—including Elliott, Davidson-Kempner, Appalloosa, and Angelo Gordon—as holders of Yosemite and Enron Credit-Linked (ECLN) Notes in the Yosemite v. Citibank action in the Enron MDL.  The noteholders sought damages in excess of $1.4 billion.  With the Citibank’s motion for summary judgment pending, Citibank and Enron agreed to a joint settlement of more than of $2.1 billion to the plaintiffs. 
  • Lead trial counsel for Japanese entertainment company Tsuburaya Productions Co., Ltd. in a contractual dispute concerning ownership of rights in Tsuburaya’s iconic “Ultraman” superhero character in all countries outside of Japan.  The “Ultraman” universe comprises dozens of movies and television shows dating back to the 1960s, as well as countless products based on “Ultraman” characters.  The parties had disputed the validity of the alleged contract in multiple foreign countries for almost 20 years.  After a two-week trial, the jury unanimously found that the document was a forgery, thus paving the way for Tsuburaya to greatly increase its exploitation of “Ultraman” in the U.S. and elsewhere.
  • Lead counsel for Michael Milken in a $135 million suit brought by Ronald Perelman's companies alleging fraud in an educational software company transaction.  Mr. Quinn’s team successfully (1) removed the case from Texas state court to Texas federal court, (2) transferred the case to Delaware federal court, and (3) obtained summary judgment that the contract at issue disclaimed any right of the plaintiffs to rely on the alleged misrepresentations.  The Third Circuit unanimously affirmed, barring any suit against Mr. Milken.
  • Lead counsel for the University of Southern California (“USC”) in an arbitration brought by its former head football coach, Steve Sarkissian, after he was terminated in October 2015.  Sarkissian sought over $30 million from USC under a variety of theories including disability discrimination, failure to engage in the interactive process, failure to accommodate, breach of contract, invasion of privacy, and negligence arguing that he was improperly terminated due to his alcoholism.  The arbitrator denied each of Sarkissian’s claims, resulting in a complete victory for USC.
  • In a widely covered decision, argued by Mr. Quinn, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeal vacated a preliminary injunction issued against Samsung in the Apple-Samsung smartphone wars, holding that Apple failed to show a causal nexus between the infringing feature and irreparable harm.  For products like smartphones, which contain hundreds or thousands of patented features, this decision makes it more difficult for any patent holder to obtain an injunction based on infringement of a single feature patent. 
  • Defended a former director and majority shareholder of Peregrine Systems, Inc. against federal class claims, two state-court lawsuits by investors, and claims by the Peregrine Litigation Trust, seeking over $2 billion. (A dozen insiders pleaded guilty to charges based on the same facts.)  Obtained complete dismissal with prejudice in the largest of these cases.  The action was pending for more than three years, and the plaintiffs’ claim never progressed beyond the pleading stage.
  • Obtained a dismissal for Mattel with prejudice of a Sherman Act suit brought by a competitor seeking $3 billion.
  • Obtained a $150 million settlement from Deloitte & Touche on behalf of Dr. Enrico Bondi, Extraordinary Commissioner of Parmalat S.P.A., in three separate lawsuits against Grant Thornton, Bank of America, and Citigroup arising out of the largest bankruptcy in European history (“Europe’s Enron”), for aiding and abetting Parmalat’s insiders in the commission of fraud and for auditor malfeasance. 
  • Lead trial counsel for the University of Southern California in a retrial against a dental implant manufacturer who sought more than $1 billion in lost profits arising out of a failed clinical study.  The plaintiff was not awarded any lost profits.
  • Lead trial counsel for Southern California real estate developer Donald Bren in a jury trial against his children and their mother, who accused Bren of cheating them out of millions of dollars in child support payments.  Mr. Quinn successfully defended all claims for fraud and breach of contract and obtained a jury verdict in favor of Bren, which was later affirmed by the California Court of Appeal.
  • Obtained favorable settlement of objections filed by the Lehman Brothers Creditors’ Committee and the Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. estates to claims asserted by JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. in bankruptcy cases.  Approximately $700 million in funds were returned to the LBHI estate and $80 million in claims were re-characterized from secured to unsecured claims.
  • Won jury verdict establishing liability in insurance coverage case for Occidental Petroleum regarding business interruption losses from over two hundred terrorist bombings of an oil pipeline in Colombia.  Case settled for nine figures before the damages phase of the trial.  Mr. Quinn was lead counsel at trial.
  • Represented Genentech when Columbia University demanded that Genentech license its “new” patent on a widely used recombinant DNA technique for producing protein in a host cell.  Genentech sued the University for obviousness-type double patenting.  With a summary judgment motion looming, the University agreed to a broad covenant not to sue Genentech for past, current or future infringement of the “new” patent or any reissued patent with the same or similar claims.
  • Represented two former Bertelsmann AG executives against Bertelsmann AG.  The former executives had been the driving force behind the creation and development of AOL Europe.  When Bertelsmann sold its interest in AOL Europe for $6.75 billion, it refused to compensate them.  Mr. Quinn obtained a $295 million verdict for the Plaintiffs.
  • Represented General Motors in an action against Volkswagen, certain VW directors and officers, and GM’s former head of sourcing in Detroit for stealing secret GM documents. Working closely with in house counsel from GM and lawyers in Germany, the team led by Mr. Quinn defeated all Volkswagen’s jurisdictional and substantive motions. On the eve of the Volkswagen chairman’s deposition, Mr. Quinn obtained a $1.1 billion settlement for General Motors. 
  • Represented Avery Dennison Corporation and obtained an $80 million jury verdict in theft of trade secret case against Taiwanese competitor and its chairman.  Mr. Quinn was lead counsel at trial.
  • Represented an aerospace company in the retrial of a tortious interference suit brought against it in which the plaintiff had won $15 million in the previous trial and had rejected a $1 million settlement offer before the second trial.  At retrial, Mr. Quinn was lead trial counsel and obtained a defense verdict.
  • Represented Nestlé USA, Inc. and Nestlé Dreyer’s Ice Cream Company in an antitrust action involving an alleged conspiracy to exclude competition in a claimed market for ice cream.  The Court granted Nestlé’s motion for summary judgment dismissing all plaintiff’s claims.
  • Harvard Law School
    (J.D., cum laude, 1976)
    • Knox Fellow, Harvard University, 1976-1977
    • Harvard Law Review:
      • Editor, 1974-1976
  • Claremont McKenna College
    (B.A., magna cum laude, 1973)
  • The State Bar of California
  • The State Bar of New York
  • Awarded by Chambers as USA Commercial Litigation Law Firm of the Year, 2024
  • Recognized by Lawdragon Hall of Fame: Financial, Class Action Litigation, 2024
  • Recognized by Chambers Global USA: Litigation: General Commercial Band 1, 2024
  • Recognized by Benchmark Litigation as a “Litigation Star” and “National Practice Area Star,” 2024
  • Named “California – Litigation Star” by Benchmark Litigation, 2024
  • Lawdragon 500 Leading Global Litigators Guide, Global Disputes, General & Commercial Litigation, 2023-2024
  • Chambers Global, USA: Litigation: Trial Lawyers – Band 1, 2023-2024
  • Best Lawyers, Bet-the-Company Litigation (2006, 2024)
  • Best Lawyers, Commercial Litigation (2006, 2024)
  • Other Accomplishments: 
    Finisher, Ironman Triathlon World Championship, Kailua Kona, Hawaii, 1999 & 2004
  • Fellow, International Academy of Trial Lawyers
  • Lecturer on Federal Practice, California Continuing Education of the Bar
  • Member, Million Dollar Advocates Forum
  • General Counsel, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, 1987- present