Thomas M. Peterson represents clients in complex civil litigation appeals, and in trial court litigation in anticipation of possible appeals. He has argued more than 75 appeals in the California appellate courts and many others in the other federal appellate courts. Tom practices regularly before the California Supreme Court and each of the California Courts of Appeal. He is also regularly consulted on issues of substance and procedure in cases that have not yet reached the appellate courts.
Tom has assisted clients in diverse business fields, including energy production and distribution, high-tech, healthcare, retail, construction, pharmaceutical, and financial services.
Tom has also served as a teaching practitioner–adviser in the appellate advocacy course at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, and he is a member of the American Law Institute.
Represented a utility in various successful appeals related to the 2015-2016 natural gas leak at the Aliso Canyon storage facility.
Represented a large pharmaceutical company before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to obtain affirmance of the dismissal of an antitrust lawsuit under Section 7 of the Clayton Act challenging a significant merger.
Represented another large pharmaceutical company on appeal in the California Court of Appeal exploring the scope of the California Cartwright Act as applied to acquisition transactions.
Labor & Employment Class Action
Represented an international retailer to obtain affirmance in the Ninth Circuit of a ruling against employees of the retailer's supplier factories who claimed poor working conditions and sought to fasten responsibility on the retailer.
Represented a securities industry trade association before the California Supreme Court in one of the industry's most significant wage and hour matters.
Represented large pharmaceutical companies in the Ninth Circuit on the issue of whether sales reps are exempt employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act and similar provisions of state law.
Represented numerous clients in the California appellate courts in connection with wage and hour, discrimination, and other employment-related claims.
ERISA Class Action
Represented a Fortune 500 company in the Ninth Circuit in an ERISA class action involving allegations that the company and its 401(k) administrative committee breached ERISA fiduciary duties.
Represented several different policyholders in multiple California cases, seeking on appeal coverage for liability resulting from asbestos exposure.
Represented, as national appellate counsel, three companies charged with mass torts and appearing as a result in numerous cases across the country. In connection with one such representation, Tom participated in early California trial court proceedings that shaped rules of procedure and substance to govern in future cases.
Represented multiple companies in petroleum and manufacturing industries seeking coverage for environmental and mass tort claims in separate California cases.
Represented the successful plaintiff on three separate appeals of a nine-figure judgment in patent infringement cases before the Federal Circuit.
Represented a large pharmaceutical company on appeal before the California Court of Appeal in its defense of one of the largest jury verdicts returned in California on business torts growing out of interference with the client's development of a new product. Secured affirmance and denial of California Supreme Court review.
Represented healthcare companies in separate cases challenging the constitutionality of a California pharmacy pricing disclosure law.
Secured from the California Court of Appeal a new trial for a major national bank serving as an indenture trustee in a case involving three separate trusts that defaulted, resulting in a class action suit by noteholders. The appellate court affirmed the jury verdict in favor of the bank/trustee for the first two trusts, affirmed a new trial order in favor of the trustee as to a third, and reversed cost awards to plaintiffs.
Georgetown University Law Center, 1980, J.D.
University of San Francisco, 1977, B.S.
US Courts of Appeals for the First, Second, Third, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Circuits
US Courts of Appeals for the Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, and Federal Circuits
Clerkship to Judge Cecil Poole of the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (1980 - 1981)
Awards and Affiliations
Recommended, Dispute resolution: Appellate: courts of appeals/Appellate: supreme courts (states and federal), The Legal 500 US (2019–2023)
Recognized, Commercial Litigation, San Francisco, The Best Lawyers in America (2017–2024)
Recommended, Supreme Court and Appellate, The US Legal 500 US (2014)
Member, American Law Institute
Georgetown University Law Center, 1980, Francis E. Lucey, S.J. Award (highest grade point average)