Peter Bicks is a nationally recognized trial lawyer based in New York. Clients repeatedly turn to Peter for their most challenging, high-profile business disputes -- ranging from intellectual property to mass tort claims. Over the course of his career, he has proven he can win at trial in any forum, ranging from state court juries in Alabama, California, New York, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia to the International Trade Commission.
In recognition of Peter’s career trial work, he was inducted into the American College of Trial Lawyers in 2015. Juries have compared him favorably to Johnnie Cochran and F. Lee Bailey. Clients laud Peter, telling Chambers USA 2020, “He is brilliant in the courtroom under the most intense pressure,” “a master of seeing the full chessboard.” That praise is echoed by sources saying, Peter is “one of these lawyers that really turns big cases; he’s a real trial lawyer,” and calling him “one of the most gifted trial lawyers that I have ever seen.” A peer in the trial bar told Law360: “What is most impressive is his ability as a true Field General – calmly directing his team’s efforts.”
Peter has received numerous other awards for his trial successes. Benchmark Litigation has recognized Peter as one of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers in America in its 2017 and 2018 editions “on the strength of historical and unwavering peer and client review, as well as proven achievements.” Law360 named him Media & Entertainment “MVP” in 2013 for his wins in “bet the company cases.” Lawdragon has recognized him for an “impressive track record of winning cases.”
Peter’s versatility is one of his hallmarks. To each case, he brings a combination of deft courtroom skills, strategic acuity and team leadership. The results have included a triumph in a bi-coastal battle for Dish Networks against the major television networks, fending off a multibillion-dollar lawsuit for Union Carbide in a hostile Texas courtroom against one of the nation’s winningest plaintiff’s lawyers, and protecting Nintendo’s popular Wii video gaming system before the ITC.
Peter defended DISH Network in a high-profile trial in Illinois where the FTC and various state attorneys general sought more than $700 billion in damages and penalties for alleged telemarketing violations, limiting recovery to less than one percent of that amount. Peter also represents Oracle in its high-stakes copyright infringement litigation against Google, currently on appeal, in which The Recorder proclaimed after his opening statement: “Oracle’s New Lawyer Comes out Swinging.” Additional examples of his opening statements, voir dires, cross-examination and closing statements, including accompanying graphics, can be found in the Engagements section below.
Peter serves as a member of Orrick’s Board. Before joining Orrick, Peter was a partner at Donovan Leisure. He captained his college tennis team to a national ranking, has successfully competed in major national sailboat competitions, and serves on the Board of the Harlem Junior Tennis and Education Program. With his wife Linda, he has three children: Avery, Isabelle and Phoebe.
Mass Torts and Product Liability
Johnson & Johnson. Peter is part of a small group of market-leading outside counsel overseeing J&J’s defense of more than 15,000 personal injury lawsuits involving J&J’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower products. Peter serves as lead trial counsel for J&J in a variety of different types of cases including: products liability trials in Indiana, Missouri, New York and other states, major consumer class actions in California, and cases brought under Proposition 65 in California. Peter’s opening statement in a successful Indiana trial can be found here and his cross-examination of the leading plaintiff’s expert can be found here. In the Prop 65 case, Peter’s team demonstrated the complete lack of merit to plaintiffs’ claims and the judge granted the voluntary dismissal and awarded J&J its legal fees to dismiss the case. Peter also represents J&J in SEC, DOJ, and AG investigations as well as senior executives in major depositions.
Major Agriscience Company. Peter represents a major agricultural chemical company as trial counsel in eight individual product liability cases pending in California in connection with alleged injuries from exposure to the client’s pesticide product.
Flexible Products. Peter was co-lead trial counsel for Flexible Products in a lawsuit filed in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The plaintiffs were 1500 coal miners who alleged respiratory injury from exposure to isocyanate-containing products used in the coal mines to prevent roof collapses and improve ventilation. After Frye motions, in limine motions and jury selection, the case was favorably resolved in September 2010.
Peter’s voir dire of more than 500 jurors in an Alabama theater can be found here.
Union Carbide Corporation. Peter is and has been lead trial counsel for some of the company’s biggest cases.
Peter was lead trial and appellate counsel for Union Carbide in Hamilton Materials v. Union Carbide, where the 9th Circuit affirmed the district court’s summary judgment dismissal of Hamilton’s commercial fraud lawsuit, seeking from Union Carbide in excess of $100 million in compensatory damages, as well as punitive damages.
Peter was lead trial counsel in the highly publicized 2004 landmark trial in Texas State Court, Brazoria County, where Kelly-Moore Paint Company sued Union Carbide for $1.4 billion in compensatory damages and $4.2 billion in punitive damages, alleging fraud when Union Carbide sold raw asbestos to Kelly-Moore for use in its asbestos containing products. After a six-week trial, the jury deliberated for less than three hours and ruled 11 to 1 in Union Carbide’s favor, finding no fraud. The Kelly-Moore case was covered extensively by The American Lawyer and named one of the “Top Defense Wins of 2004” by the National Law Journal. In 2006, Chambers emphasized how Peter was “praised for his awareness, and utilization in court, of new technologies; one of his fortes is state-of-the-art graphics” when presenting to the jury. In the 2007 edition, Chambers highlighted that “Peter Bicks’ victory over star plaintiff lawyer Mark Lanier in the landmark multibillion-dollar case filed against Union Carbide is still sending shock waves through the industry and taking on ‘something approaching legendary status.’”
Peter was also lead counsel in the highly publicized “mass” asbestos trial in West Virginia where, after a five-week jury trial, the jury rendered a partial verdict in Union Carbide’s favor, finding no conspiracy, no punitive damages and no product defect during the vast majority of time Union Carbide sold raw asbestos.
Peter also served as lead trial counsel on behalf of Union Carbide in Riggs v Asbestos Corporation Limited in the State Court of Utah.
His cross-examination of expert witness Dr. Ken Cohen, an industrial hygienist, can be found here.
KBC Bank. In a nearly eight-year high-profile $1.5 billion RICO case, Lazare Kaplan International, Inc., v. KBC Bank N.V., Peter won numerous victories on behalf of KBC Bank, one of the largest banks in Belgium. In 2011, Lazare filed a complaint against KBC after defaulting on a $45 million loan from KBC’s subsidiary. The case involved an alleged international conspiracy to steal tens of millions of dollars of diamonds and proceeds from their sale.
There is ongoing litigation in Belgium between KBC and Lazare, and KBC maintained the entire case belonged in that forum. KBC initially won dismissal on forum non conveniens in 2012—requiring the case to be litigated in Belgium—but the Second Circuit reversed, ordering the district court judge to make factual findings on which of two disputed forum selection clauses applied. Following substantial discovery and a two-day trial in February 2017, the district court in August 2018 again granted KBC’s motion to dismiss the complaint on the grounds of the forum selection clause and forum non conveniens.
Lazare appealed yet again, prompting the Second Circuit to issue its second ruling in November 2019. The court completely adopted KBC’s arguments, assembled by Peter and the team. The appeals court held that the forum selection clause in the banking agreement required all but one claim to be litigated in Belgium, and it affirmed the dismissal of the sole claim remaining in the United States because Lazare did not comply with the contractual conditions precedent to bringing a lawsuit against KBC. The decision not only assures the case will be litigated in Belgium, but also removes the threat of Lazare’s RICO claims. In March 2020, Lazare submitted a letter to the district court indicating that it no longer had any intention of pursuing its claims in the United States.
Manville Personal Injury Settlement Trust. Peter was a lead member of the trial team representing the Manville Personal Injury Settlement Trust, through the Claims Resolution Management Corporation, other trusts and the asbestos manufacturer successor corporations in a series of multibillion-dollar suits in federal court against the tobacco industry to recover tobacco’s share of liability to those injured by occupational and other exposure to asbestos.
Peter’s cross-examination of Kip Viscusi, a Harvard professor and expert for the tobacco industry, can be found here.
Mutual Credit Corporation. Peter has represented several parties, including Mutual Credit Corporation, a California licensed premium finance agency, in connection with litigation relating to non-recourse financed life insurance policies. The clients successfully obtained a TRO, preliminary injunction, and in The Lincoln Life Insurance Company v. The Gordon R.A. Fishman Irrevocable Life Trust summary judgment upholding the validity of the non-recourse premium finance loans.
Chesterfield Investment Partnership. Peter was a lead member of the trial team representing Chesterfield, an investment partnership, in a $100 million breach of contract claim against Stone Container Corporation that was tried before a jury in Los Angeles County Superior Court in 1999. The case settled in Chesterfield’s favor for more than $30 million during jury deliberations.
In Re 105 East Second Street. Peter first-chaired the successful trial defense of a United States Trustee in Federal Bankruptcy Court in a multifaceted real estate partnership dispute, affirmed by the Southern District of New York and the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.
Po v. Wild. In this highly publicized case, Po v. Wild, et al., Peter successfully obtained, on behalf of the top world-ranking professional women’s tennis players, a preliminary injunction thwarting an attempted takeover of the Women’s Tennis Association players’ union.
Oracle. Peter and Annette Hurst are lead trial counsel for Oracle in the retrial of a copyright infringement action arising from Google’s development of Android. The case has been described as one of the most important copyright cases of the decade, if not the century. The damages claimed exceed $9 billion.
The Federal Circuit has reinstated Oracle’s long-running lawsuit against Google for copying its prized Java technology and ordered a new trial on damages, adopting the central arguments developed by an Orrick appellate team and Oracle’s in-house legal department. A three-judge Federal Circuit panel unanimously overturned a 2016 jury verdict, rejecting Google’s argument that it was fair use for Google to copy Oracle’s Java software code into Google’s Android operating system. The Federal Circuit in 2014 found Oracle’s software code entitled to copyright protection, thus leading to a 2016 trial on whether Google’s copying of Oracle’s Java code amounted to fair use of the technology. The Federal Circuit found that it was not—a stunning rebuke to Google in one of the most closely watched IP cases in the tech sector over the past decade. The case is now under review by the US Supreme Court.
DISH Network. Peter led the Orrick team representing DISH Network in U.S. et al. v. DISH Network LLC, brought by the U.S. Justice Department for alleged telemarketing violations. Peter and his team were brought in just six months before trial, after summary judgment had been granted on certain liability issues, and succeeded in limiting recovery to less than one percent of the $700 billion in damages and penalties sought by government.
Peter’s 2016 cross-examination of the government’s compliance expert in the case can be found here.
Peter also led the Orrick team representing DISH Network litigation against the four major television networks in the Southern District of New York and the Central District of California. The cases implicated important and far-reaching copyright issues in the entertainment industry and have received intense media coverage from outlets including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, CNN and Time magazine. Previously defeating Fox’s motion for a preliminary injunction in a highly publicized decision in November 2012, the Orrick team earned an affirmation on the ruling as the Ninth Circuit upheld the decision in July 2013. Peter and his team won again by defeating ABC’s preliminary injunction motion on September 18, 2013.
Dow AgroSciences. Peter served as lead counsel for Dow AgroSciences LLC (DAS) in a series of patent infringement actions brought by Bayer CropScience AG in the United States District of Delaware, including Bayer CropScience AG v. Dow AgroSciences, LLC. One of the patents is U.S. Patent No. 6,153,401 and relates to a gene that confers resistance to the herbicide 2,4-D in a plant (Enlist E3). On September 27, 2012, following a 4-day evidentiary hearing, Peter and the Orrick team were victorious in obtaining summary judgment in favor of DAS and dismissing Bayer’s multi-billion-dollar patent infringement action. On September 23, 2013, both the Orrick appellate and litigation teams went on to win an appeal as the Federal Circuit upheld the previous victories at the district court level. Then in October 2013, the Bicks-lead team won another dismissal of claims in U.S. District Court. The ruling on summary judgment stated that Dow had a valid sublicense to all seven patents at issue.
Nintendo. Peter was trial counsel for Nintendo of America Inc and Nintendo Co., Ltd., in a patent infringement action relating to the Wii system filed in the International Trade Commission, Inv. No. 337-TA-743, Certain Video Game Systems and Controllers in 2010. Following a bench trial in August 2011, the administrative law judge issued an Initial Determination in Nintendo’s favor that the Wii gaming system does not infringe and that the Complainant failed to satisfy the ITC’s domestic industry requirement. On appeal, the Commission adopted the ALJ’s decision as its final determination. On May 13, 2013, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed the final determination.
Peter’s cross-examination of the key inventor in the case can be found here.
Talley Industries, Inc. In TRW v. Talley Industries, a complex intellectual property action in the United States District Court for the District of Arizona, Peter was a member of the trial team that obtained a $138 million jury verdict, the second largest jury verdict nationwide in 1995, for Arizona-based Talley Industries, Inc. Subsequently, this verdict was affirmed by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The preliminary injunction, which was obtained in the first action and then affirmed on appeal to the Ninth Circuit, was unique in that it required TRW to make seven-figure royalty payments each quarter to Talley during the duration of the litigation. In total, approximately $200 million was recovered for Talley.
Peter’s cross-examination of TRW’s key damages expert, Stanford University Professor Avram Tucker, was featured in the judge’s preliminary injunction ruling, which described Mr. Tucker’s opinions as “unconvincing,” “speculative,” and “not fully supported by the record.”