J. Peter Coll, Jr.

Senior Counsel

New York

Peter Coll is a senior member of the firm's Complex Litigation & Dispute Resolution Group in New York. He stepped down as partner in 2020 in his transition for retirement in 2022. While a partner, Peter served as a member of the Firm's Executive Committee from 2000 until 2012. He is known for his ability to help clients develop litigation strategies that meet both their case-specific and business objectives.

Peter has tried major, complex cases in New York state and federal courts and throughout the United States, including Washington, the Virgin Islands, California and Arizona. During his 40+ year litigation and trial career, he has argued appeals before the United States Supreme Court, the highest-level appellate courts of New York and New Jersey, and seven federal circuit courts of appeal.

Peter has represented Fortune 500 companies, such as American Cyanamid Company, The Dow Chemical Company, American Home Products Corporation, Mead Corporation, Alleghany Corporation and Schering-Plough Corporation. He has also represented privately held companies and high-profile individuals, such as Mickey Mantle and Tom Brady. Peter's cases have involved general commercial, antitrust, securities fraud, mergers and acquisitions, product liability, federal taxation, ERISA, consumer fraud and intellectual property.

He is currently representing several energy producers in litigation in Georgia and the Dakotas over disputes arising over long term wholesale power contracts with values exceeding $1 billion.

Before joining Orrick, Peter was a partner at Donovan Leisure Newton & Irvine, LLP (1976-1998), where he served as Chairman of its Executive Committee.

  • The following are examples of Peter's notable cases.

    • MEAG v. JEA. In June 2020, Peter's litigation team obtained a judgement from the United States District Court fo the Northern District of Georgia sustaining the enforceability of a long term power purchase agreement (the "PPA") that was the centerpiece of the financing of a multi-billion dollar expansion of a nuclear power plant in Georgia. The purchaser, Jacksonville Energy Authority, sought to have the PPA voided claiming that the contract violated the Florida Constitution and certain Florida state statutes.
    • Hemlock Semiconductor Corporation v. Deutsche Solar Corp. The Eastern District of Michigan on July 26, 2016 entered a judgment in the amount of $793,467,822 against Deutsche Solar after granting Hemlock summary judgment. Deutsche Solar had breached its long term polysilicon supply contracts with Hemlock, asserting, among other defenses, that its performance was excused by its inability to perform profitably in light of the solar energy trade war between the U.S., the E.U. and China. The Court held that Deutsche Solar’s commercial impossibility defense could not be established on the grounds that the defendant’s business was no longer profitable because the contract prices for polysilicon exceeded the current trade war influenced market prices. Peter and John Ansbro lead the Orrick team enforcing Hemlock’s contractual rights against Deutsche Solar and others.
    • United States v. Mead Corporation. In June 2001, Peter won a victory for The Mead Corporation in the landmark United States Supreme Court decision United States v. Mead Corp., No. 99-1434. The government brought the appeal from a Federal Circuit ruling that the United States Customs Service had been unreasonable in changing its classification of Mead's "day planners" from a duty-free classification to a four percent-tariff classification. The government argued that under existing Supreme Court precedent, the Federal Circuit should have given Customs' classification the force and effect of law. But Peter convinced the Supreme Court to hold that courts cannot reflexively grant "controlling weight" deference to an agency's interpretation of the law that the agency is charged to administer, but rather, that courts are to give the agency's interpretation "a respect proportionate 'to its power to persuade.'" The Mead decision, viewed as seminal by administrative law academics, has had a far-reaching effect on administrative actions and litigation.
    • Continental Casualty Co. v. PricewaterhouseCoopers. The New York Court of Appeals on June 29, 2010 affirmed, 5-1, the grant of summary judgment by the trial court in favor of defendant PwC because plaintiffs, allegedly defrauded investors in a defunct hedge fund, had failed to demonstrate day of investment out-of-pocket losses. Instead, plaintiffs contended that they were entitled to recover out-of-pocket losses as determined upon the liquidation of the hedge fund. At Peter's urging, the Court of Appeals reaffirmed the black letter rule of Reno v. Bull that fraud damages are limited to out-of-pocket loss at the time of investment, and further explained that the authority of Hotaling v. Leach & Co. relied upon by plaintiffs was a limited exception to Reno v. Bull, rather than a rule of general application.
    • Williamson, Trustee v. PricewaterhouseCoopers. The New York Court of Appeals on June 7th, 2007, unanimously reversed a three-to-two intermediate appellate court decision that would have allowed the statute of limitations on accounting malpractice claims to be tolled by the accountant's engagements to perform similar audit services in subsequent years. The case, which was argued on PricewaterhouseCoopers' behalf by Peter, presented the Court of Appeals with its first opportunity to determine the applicability of the continuous representation doctrine in the accounting context and has not an immediate and far-reaching impact for accounting firms facing malpractice claims in New York. It is now settled that the statute of limitations will begin running upon the delivery of the auditor's report and will not be tolled by a continuous professional relationship.