John Hueston

John C.
Hueston

Partner

Partner

Education
  • Yale Law School (J.D., 1991) Notes Editor of The Yale Law Journal
  • Dartmouth College (B.A., 1986) magna cum laude
Clerkships
  • Hon. Frank M. Johnson, Jr., U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
Admissions
  • California
  • United States Supreme Court
“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
“Very smart, a terrific strategist and very tenacious in pursuing his clients’ goals.”
—Chambers USA
“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...”
—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.”
—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

John Hueston has been described by Chambers 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 represents Fortune 500 companies and governments as lead counsel in their most challenging and high-profile cases and investigations. His work ranges from winning and defeating multibillion-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 on winning, but also on 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.”

Representative Commentary and Reviews

“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

“Very smart, a terrific strategist and very tenacious in pursuing his clients’ goals.”
Chambers USA

“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.”
Washington Post

“Client’s 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.”
Chambers USA

“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

Experience

Business Trials and Litigation

Won complete defense verdict for the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) after a four-week jury trial in a $65 million whistleblower case. Obtained a unanimous jury verdict in a wrongful termination suit filed by a research scientist claiming retaliation in academia and in business ventures after allegedly exposing misuse of government funds. (See “Jury gives Caltech complete win over former researcher’s claims,” Daily Journal; “Hueston Hennigan Beats Back Whistleblower Claim Against Caltech,” The American Lawyer). (2019)

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).

Obtained a unanimous 9-0 opinion at the Supreme Court of the United States in favor of Nutraceutical Corporation in a case that has significant implications for class actions practice. (See “Missed Appeal Deadline Can’t Be Extended, Justices Rule,” Law360). (2019)

Defeated SEC’s contempt action against Elon Musk for alleged improper tweeting. (See “How Hueston Hennigan Steered Tesla’s Musk to Safety,” American Lawyer, “a clear win for Musk’s lawyer, John Hueston, in a faceoff against the SEC”).(2019)

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Representing Southern California Edison and Edison International in litigation arising out of the 2017 Thomas Fire, the 2018 Montecito mudslides and the 2018 Woolsey Fire.

Won trial for 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).

Won a 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 multimillion-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 a multibillion-dollar securities action against Amgen, obtained dismissal of a shareholder derivative suit and favorable resolution of related actions.

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.

On the eve of an international arbitration hearing, obtained a nine-figure settlement on behalf of the CEO of a 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 a 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.”

Prevailed on behalf of IMDb in a constitutional challenge to a California law restricting online speech.

Represented Western Digital and its SanDisk subsidiaries in their widely publicized dispute with Toshiba over joint ventures governing multibillion-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. 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 a seven-figure settlement, representing a full trial victory, on behalf of Alec Baldwin, in a high-profile art fraud case.

Representing Navajo Nation in a 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.

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 a patent jury trial against LG Electronics, obtaining favorable infringement and invalidity verdicts as to all asserted claims, resulting in a “Top 50 Jury Verdict in Texas in 2016.”

Represented Sumner M. Redstone in a breach of fiduciary duty and fraud case.

Secured decertification of a consumer class action alleging violations of California’s false advertising and consumer protection laws.

Won a trial for UCLA and secured a permanent injunction in civil actions against organizations and individuals threatening violence against faculty members and administrators.

Corporate Crisis and White Collar Criminal Defense

Secured a complete victory in an extremely high-profile settlement between Tesla CEO Elon Musk and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission over Musk’s extemporaneous tweets about his electric car company.

Representing Bill McGlashan, founder of TPG Growth LLC and The Rise Fund, in “Varsity Blues” college admissions case.

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, America’s largest environmental services provider, and two of its managers.

Secured termination of an SEC investigation of a high-level PIMCO officer relating to allegations of misleading investors about the performance of a fund and alleged failure to accurately value certain fund securities.

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Obtained dismissal of a criminal mortgage fraud indictment after evidentiary hearings for prosecutorial misconduct; the Dallas County district attorney was held in contempt. (See “Hill Wins, Watkins Loses,” Dallas Morning News).

Reversed an initial SEC charging decision and terminated an insider trading and tipping investigation into a Goldman Sachs banker with alleged ties to Galleon Group.

Obtained dismissal of all 306 counts of an indictment brought by the Nevada attorney general’s “Mortgage Fraud Task Force” in the first “robo-signing” prosecution.

Obtained declination of criminal investigation against Angelo Mozilo, former CEO of Countrywide Financial.

Obtained a complete dismissal of felony charges based on a successful challenge to the constitutionality of the offense statute.

Obtained declination of civil and criminal investigations for alleged immigration and visa violations by a Fortune 500 company.

Terminated the criminal investigation of a Fortune 500 medical device manufacturer without payment of fine or civil settlement.

Conducted an 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 the CEO of a Fortune 500 medical device manufacturer for alleged complicity in an off-label promotion scheme and false and misleading public statements and filings regarding the device development.

Resolved a tristate attorneys general investigation into alleged false advertising by a 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 a 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, the City of Santa Monica, and the San Diego Association of Governments.

Recognitions

  • “Top 50 Young Litigators,” The American Lawyer
  • Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers
  • California Lawyer of the Year (repeated), California Lawyer
  • Star Individual, Litigation: White Collar Crime & Government Investigations, Chambers USA
  • Band 1, Litigation: General Commercial, Chambers USA
  • “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in America,” The National Trial Lawyers
  • National Litigation Star (repeated), Benchmark Litigation
  • Elite Boutique Trailblazer, National Law Journal
  • “Top 100 Lawyers” in California (repeated), Daily Journal
  • “Lawyer of the Year” and a leading lawyer for Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, and White Collar Criminal Defense (repeated), Best Lawyers
  • Anti-Defamation League’s Marcus Kaufman Jurisprudence Award
  • Los Angeles Lawyer of the Year, Benchmark Litigation
  • Top Litigators in Los Angeles, Los Angeles Business Journal
  • LA500 (repeated), Los Angeles Business Journal
  • Leading Lawyer for Corporate Investigations and White Collar Criminal Defense, Legal 500
  • “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in America” (repeated) and "Top 20 Trial Lawyers in California," Benchmark Litigation

Activities

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.