John C. Hueston

John Hueston has been described by Chambers USA as “the best lawyer of his generation” with a “commanding reputation for his trial advocacy.” Rated one of the nation’s top trial lawyers, Mr. Hueston has been recognized twice as a “California Lawyer of the Year,” including for his recovery of $5.15 billion after trial.

Mr. Hueston has represented Fortune 500 companies and governments as lead counsel in their most challenging and profile cases and investigations. His work has ranged from winning and defeating multi-billion-dollar actions to terminating some of the nation’s most significant regulatory and criminal investigations and cases.

A former lead prosecutor for the Enron trial of Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling, Mr. Hueston is also noted for “his deftness with sensitive, white collar matters and investigations” (Benchmark Litigation). In these matters, his unrelenting focus is not just winning, but avoiding reputational damage. As noted by Benchmark Litigation: “as great as he is with high-profile work, he is equally great with deliberately ‘low profile’ stuff – the matters his clients don’t want you hearing about.

 

“Hard-driving, insightful and aggressive” with “an energy that is tremendous.”

Chambers USA

“He is the best lawyer of his generation. He is razor sharp in every way, whether in court, on paper or in his teams, he thinks ten steps ahead and never skips a beat.”
-Chambers USA

“Hard-driving, insightful and aggressive” with “an energy that is tremendous”
-Chambers USA

“He doesn’t just win. He destroys.”
-Los Angeles Times

“With no key evidence, skill was at a premium…. Hueston’s chilly persistence left the once-genial corporate chieftain, who had been expected to flash his charm like a get-out-of-jail card, stammering and angry, drawn for the jury in a few quick strokes as a micromanager who thought he could talk his way out of trouble…”
-The Washington Post

“Clients regularly turn to John Hueston to handle their most challenging litigation cases, calling upon his ‘absolutely incredible’ trial skills to defend environmental disputes, in business tort issues and in defending class actions.”
-Chambers USA

A “high-profile, tough-as-nails lawyer”
-Daily Journal

“To a judge, he is a master of the facts; to a jury, he is a storyteller; to the opposing side, he is a formidable, relentless foe.”
-Attorney at Law Magazine

“Hueston has a knack for taking complicated information and presenting it to jurors so they’ll understand it in a personal way.”
-Houston Chronicle

“[A] commanding reputation for his trial advocacy”
-Chambers USA

“Widely lauded . . . simply an ass-kicking trial lawyer with an appetite for taking matters all the way.”
-Benchmark Litigation

“A devastating cross examination…”
-Los Angeles Times

 

 

Rankings and Recommendations

Business Trials & Litigation: Representative Matters

  • Secured a $5.15 billion settlement after trial for the Tronox Trust as the Litigation Trustee responsible for prosecution of consolidated national litigation against Anadarko Petroleum Company and Kerr McGee Corporation for fraudulent transfer of massive environmental, tort, retiree and other liabilities (see “Tronox Trust Wins Up To $14B In Kerr-McGee Spinoff Row” Law360 ; “Anadarko, Kerr-McGee liable for Tronox cleanup costs” Reuters ; “Judge Approves Anadarko’s $5.15 Billion Settlement” Wall Street Journal).
  • Defending Edison International and Southern California Edison against claims arising out of fire alleged to be the largest in California history, and in litigation arising out of the recent Montecito mudslides which are alleged to be the deadliest flooding event in California in decades.
  • Won trial for client State Bar of California after a high-profile legal battle with its former Executive Director/CEO, defeating claims of whistleblower retaliation and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. (see “Joe Dunn Loses arbitration over his firing by State Bar” Sacramento Bee).

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  • Won high-profile, three-week federal jury trial on misappropriation of trade secrets and breach of contract claims for T-Mobile. The Seattle jury awarded a multi-million-dollar verdict and found that Huawei Devices USA stole T-Mobile’s smartphone robotic testing technology and violated its contractual obligations to T-Mobile.
  • In multi-billion-dollar securities action against Amgen, obtained dismissal of shareholder derivative suit and favorable resolution of related actions (see “Amgen Beats decade-old Investor Suit over Off-Label Scheme” Law360 ).
  •  Won an eight-figure damages verdict, and liability findings on all counts, after a three-week jury trial in New York federal court, in a case alleging fraud, deceptive business practices and false advertising.(See “Collecting: Thieves And Forgers Rush In Where Big Spenders Dare To Tread” Forbes ; and “How They Won It” Law360).
  • On eve of international arbitration hearing, obtained a nine-figure settlement on behalf of CEO of major social networking app.
  • Obtained summary judgment for Sempra Energy, a Fortune 500 energy services company, in a cross-border dispute relating to a billion-dollar liquefied natural gas terminal.
  • Obtained precedent-setting victory in a challenge to the constitutionality of a land use ordinance described by the New York Times as “one of the most stringent anti-development measures ever attempted in the country.” (See “Judge Overrules Malibu Voters…” L.A. Times).
  • Prevailed on behalf of IMDb in constitutional challenge to a California law restricting online speech. (see “IMDb Sues California Over Law Allowing Actors to conceal Their Ages” Wall Street Journal.
  • Represented Western Digital and its SanDisk subsidiaries in their widely publicized dispute with Toshiba over joint ventures governing multi-billion-dollar NAND flash memory business assets. The dispute encompassed multiple arbitrations before the ICC International Court of Arbitration and litigation in the California trial and appellate courts, where we secured injunctive relief in aid of the arbitrations. As one market analyst commented: “SanDisk/Western Digital has ultimately won the courtroom battle not once, not twice but on every occasion both parties have had a legal dispute.”
  • Obtained seven-figure settlement, representing a full trial victory, on behalf of Alec Baldwin, in a high-profile art fraud case. (see “Alec Baldwin Files Suit Accusing Art Dealer of Fraud” New York Times).
  • Representing Navajo Nation in CERCLA and tort action against the United States Environmental Protection Agency and other responsible parties with regard to exposure of the Navajo Nation’s people, water, and lands to contaminants from the August 2015 Gold King Mine spill. (see “Navajo Nation preps lawsuit against EPA over mine spill” The Hill).
  • Obtained dismissals and defeated TROs in high-stakes trade secrets cases including Broadcom v. SpaceX and Teva v. Amgen.
  • Obtained dismissal with prejudice of consolidated federal shareholder litigation arising from a $600 million settlement with the USDOJ for alleged off-label promotional activities related to Botox.
  • Won patent jury trial against LG Electronics, obtaining favorable infringement and invalidity verdicts as to all asserted claims, resulting in a 2016 Top 50 Jury Verdict in Texas.
  •  Represents Sumner M. Redstone in breach of fiduciary duty and fraud case. (see “Sumner Redstone Sues Ex-Companions for Elder Abuse” Vanity Fair).
  • Defending Caltech against allegations of retaliatory termination and breach of implied contract.
  • Secured decertification of consumer class action alleging violations of California’s false advertising and consumer protection laws.
  • Won trial for UCLA and secured permanent injunction in civil actions against organizations and individuals threatening violence against faculty members and administrators.

 

Corporate Crisis & White Collar Criminal Defense: Representative Matters

  • On the eve of trial, and after four years of investigation and litigation, obtained dismissal of all felony federal charges against a subsidiary of Waste Management Inc., America’s largest environmental services provider, and two of its managers.
  • Secured termination of SEC investigation of high-level PIMCO officer relating to allegations of misleading investors about the performance of fund and alleged failure to accurately value certain fund securities.
  • Obtained dismissal of criminal mortgage fraud indictment after evidentiary hearings for prosecutorial misconduct; Dallas County District Attorney held in contempt (see “Hill Wins, Watkins Loses” Dallas Morning News).

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  • Reversed initial SEC charging decision and terminated insider trading and tipping investigation into Goldman Sachs banker with alleged ties to Galleon Group (see “U.S. SEC, in about-face, Ends Probe of Goldman Banker” Reuters).
  • Obtained dismissal of all 306 counts of an indictment brought by the Nevada Attorney General’s “Mortgage Fraud Task Force” in first “robo-signing” prosecution (see “Massive ‘robo-signing’ prosecution dismissed for misconduct” National Law Journal).
  • Obtained declination of criminal investigation against Angelo Mozilo, former CEO of Countrywide Financial.
  • Obtained complete dismissal of all felony charges based on successful challenge to the constitutionality of the offense statute.
  • Obtained declination of civil and criminal investigations for alleged immigration and visa violations by Fortune 500 company.
  • Terminated criminal investigation of Fortune 500 medical device manufacturer without payment of fine or civil settlement.
  • Conducted FCPA investigation on behalf of a Fortune 100 company within 60 days and concluded it without assessment of sanctions or fines.
  • Terminated criminal and parallel civil investigations targeting CEO of Fortune 500 medical device manufacturer for alleged complicity in off-label promotion scheme and false and misleading public statements and filings regarding device development.
  • Resolved tri-state attorneys general investigation into alleged false advertising by Fortune 500 health care company without fines or penalties.
  • Obtained prosecution declination for Kaiser Permanente in Nadya Suleman “Octomom” investigations of alleged HIPAA violations.
  • Resolved federal investigation of alleged celebrity privacy breaches at UCLA without charges or fines.
  • Served as independent counsel for investigations on behalf of numerous government agencies, including the County of San Bernardino and the City of Santa Monica.

 

Mr. Hueston has lectured nationally at law and business schools on topics of trial advocacy and corporate governance, including Cornell, Loyola, Stanford, UCLA, U.C. Hastings, UCI, USC, and Yale.

Mr. Hueston served as a law clerk for the Honorable Frank M. Johnson, Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.  Mr. Hueston is currently National Co-Chair of the ABA White Collar Crime Committee. Mr. Hueston is a member of the American College of Trial Lawyers’ National Trial Competition Committee, California-Southern State Member Selection Committee and Federal Rules of Evidence Committee.

Mr. Hueston is Chair of Sen. Kamala Harris’s Central District of California Judicial Commission. As Chair, Mr. Hueston assists Senator Harris in the vetting of candidates for the U.S. Court of Appeals and the U.S. District Court. Mr. Hueston previously served as a Central District of California Merit Selection Panel member to assist the U.S. District Court with the appointment and reappointment of magistrate judges.

Mr. Hueston is a past President of the Orange County Bar Association, the second largest bar association in the State of California, and a former President of the Federal Bar Association of Orange County. Mr. Hueston also served as a Central District of California Judicial Conference Lawyer Representative. Mr. Hueston also serves Yale Law School and Dartmouth College in a number of leadership roles, and is a former member of the Board of Visitors for UCI Law School.

 

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John C. Hueston

Partner
  • "Hueston’s chilly persistence left the once-genial corporate chieftain, who had been expected to flash his charm like a get-out-of-jail card, stammering and angry."

    Washington Post

  • "Hard-driving, insightful and aggressive" with "an energy that is tremendous."

    Chambers USA

  • "He doesn't just win. He destroys."

    Los Angeles Times

  • A "high-profile, tough-as-nails lawyer."

    The Daily Journal

  • "To a judge, he is a master of the facts; to a jury, he is a storyteller; to the opposing side, he is a formidable, relentless foe."

    Attorney at Law Magazine

  • "Hueston has a knack for taking complicated information and presenting it to jurors so they'll understand it in a personal way."

    Houston Chronicle

  • "A commanding reputation for his trial advocacy."

    Chambers USA

  • "Widely lauded . . . simply an ass-kicking trial lawyer with an appetite for taking matters all the way."

    Benchmark Litigation

  • "A devastating cross examination..."

    Los Angeles Times

jhueston@hueston.com 949.226.6740 Print profile Download vcard

Education

Yale Law School (J.D., 1991) Notes Editor of The Yale Law Journal

Dartmouth College (B.A., 1986) magna cum laude with Honors

Clerkships

Hon. Frank M. Johnson, Jr. U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit

Admissions

California

U.S. Supreme Court