Practice

Trials

Brilliant Problem Solvers and Fearsome Trial Opponents

In a survey conducted by The American Lawyer, clients said they called on Munger, Tolles & Olson in “precedent-setting cases that require a creative mind.” Where resources are needed, the survey noted that we are able to deploy an “army of trial lawyers capable of waging war.”

We excel at untangling our clients’ most complicated legal challenges, offering novel litigation strategies and connecting with juries and judges at trial. Munger, Tolles & Olson attorneys are not only superior legal practitioners—we love trying cases. When clients choose our attorneys to represent them, they send an unmistakable message to the opposition that they are ready and willing to go trial if necessary and that their case will be litigated aggressively at every step.

Clients

We have achieved extraordinary victories on behalf of:

  • 99 Cents Stores
  • Amgen
  • Beats Founders
  • Fortress Investment Group
  • Garda
  • Norton Simon
  • Phillip Morris
  • DoubleLine Capital
  • Disney Enterprises Inc.
  • Lucasfilm Ltd. LLC
  • Plains All American Pipeline
  • Rent-A-Center
  • Southern California Edison
  • Steves & Sons
  • Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation 
  • Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
  • Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings (TEPCO)
  • Transocean
  • University of California
  • Wells Fargo
     

Related Practices

Team

Munger, Tolles & Olson are consistently recognized for setting the highest standard of excellence in the courtroom. Our team includes:

Brad D. Brian - (213) 683-9280
E. Martin Estrada - (213) 683-9253
Benjamin J. Horwich - (415) 512-4066
Bethany W. Kristovich - (213) 683-9292
Ronald L. Olson - (213) 683-9111 
Glenn D. Pomerantz - (213) 683-9132
John W. Spiegel - (213) 683-9152
Gregory P. Stone - (213) 683-9255
Donald B. Verrilli, Jr. - (202) 220-1101

Experience

Munger, Tolles & Olson litigators are known as much for providing long-term strategic leadership on cases as for their remarkable ability to parachute in on the eve of trial. We have prevailed in trials after decades of hard-fought litigation, and we have won astonishing trial victories despite having only a few weeks to prepare. Recent key representations include:

  • Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) and General Electric Power Co. in years-long litigation concerning the catastrophic tsunami and resulting nuclear incident in Fukushima, Japan.
  • Disney in a lawsuit alleging that the Academy Award-winning film “Inside Out” had infringed the plaintiff’s characters. Munger, Tolles & Olson established an important precedent confirming the power of district courts to dismiss meritless copyright suits at the pleading stage. 
  • Steves & Sons in the first matter ever in which a jury, not a regulatory body, has required divestiture as a remedy in private litigation over a completed merger.
  • Wells Fargo in cases arising from the opening of unauthorized accounts by personnel, one of the highest-profile challenges the bank has faced since the 2008-09 crisis. 
  • Disney, Lucasfilm, Twentieth Century Fox, Warner Bros, Marvel, New Line and Turner Entertainment in a complete trial victory for several motion picture studios against unlicensed streaming service VidAngel, followed by a successful resolution of claims in VidAngel’s bankruptcy.
  • Fortress Investment Group in a five-week bench trial against claims brought by HM Ruby, a life settlement hedge fund, which alleged breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, unfair competition, negligent misrepresentation, promissory estoppel and fraud and sought $200 million in damages. The trial victory was recognized among the Daily Journal’s “Top Defense Verdicts” of 2016. We are preparing to retry the case before a Los Angeles County jury later this year.

Case Studies

The Largest Environmental Disaster in U.S. History
Client: Transocean

In 2010, a blowout and explosion on the Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling rig led to the deaths of 11 Crewmen and the largest marine oil spill in history.

Brad Brian led more than 20 Munger, Tolles & Olson attorneys in defending Transocean, owner of the Deepwater Horizon, in criminal investigations, government enforcement actions and massive civil litigation arising from the spill. 

Our lawyers obtained a trial verdict in the federal multidistrict litigation, concluding that Transocean was not grossly negligent and, therefore, was (1) fully indemnified by BP, which had leased the rig, for compensatory damages and (2) not liable for punitive damages. 

In actions brought by the DOJ, we secured a favorable settlement. The American Lawyer named the matter among the 'most fascinating big business cases of 2014' and recognized our lead trial counsel on the case as a 'Litigator of the Week.' The verdict also earned the trial team a 2015 California Lawyer Attorney of the Year (CLAY) Award.

Transocean initially faced exposure upwards of $20 billion. They retained the firm to lead the response to the U.S. Department of Justice's civil and criminal investigations, and eventually tapped Munger, Tolles & Olson as lead counsel on all aspects of the litigation. We led a team of lawyers from six different firms, and coordinated with more than a dozen other lawyers representing individual witnesses. 

We were lead counsel at two trials in New Orleans, including a nine-week trial to determine the fault allocation for the oil spill; coordinated contested insurance issues; and ultimately led the successful efforts to settle on favorable grounds all of the criminal charges, the government penalty claims, and the private civil claims arising from the spill. We secured a favorable ruling at the conclusion of the trial of the first phase of multidistrict litigation, enabling Transocean to avoid tens of billions of dollars of indemnity claims by BP. 

Our lawyers successfully handled multiple appeals during the litigation, including obtaining wins in the Fifth Circuit affirming dismissal of state-law claims as preempted and affirming dismissal of citizen-suit environmental claims.

Press Coverage: BP Shortcuts Led to Gulf Oil Spill, Report Says

News

The American Lawyer Recognized Munger, Tolles & Olson As a Finalist For Its Litigation Department of the Year Accolade

The American Lawyer Recognized Munger, Tolles & Olson As a Finalist For Its Litigation Department of the Year Accolade

In “When Disaster Strikes, Munger Tolles’ Litigators Come to Clients’ Rescue,” published Sunday, The American Lawyer described the firm’s deep expertise...
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Munger, Tolles & Olson Named Finalist in The American Lawyer’s Litigation Department of the Year

Munger, Tolles & Olson Named Finalist in The American Lawyer’s Litigation Department of the Year

The American Lawyer announced Thursday that Munger, Tolles & Olson is among the seven finalists for its annual Litigation Department of the Year accolade...
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Brad Brian Discuss Virtues of the Firm’s One-to-One Partner-to-Associate Ratio with The AmLaw Litigation Daily

Brad Brian Discuss Virtues of the Firm’s One-to-One Partner-to-Associate Ratio with The AmLaw Litigation Daily

Munger, Tolles & Olson Chair and renowned trial attorney Brad D. Brian was interviewed by The AmLaw Litigation Daily for its “Litigation Leaders” series...
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