Stris Logo
Peter Stris

Founding Partner

Peter Stris

  • Harvard, J.D. (2000)
  • UPenn, B.A. (1997)

Peter Stris is one of the most prominent business litigators of his generation. He serves as a lead strategist and presenter in must-win trials, landmark appeals, and rapid media-response campaigns.

Chambers USA has identified Peter as a leading advocate in multiple nationwide categories, including plaintiffs-side ERISA litigation where he is ranked Band 1. Reuters has recognized him as one of the nation’s most influential lawyers before the United States Supreme Court, where he has argued 10 cases. And the Daily Journal has repeatedly named him to its annual list of the “Top 100 California Lawyers.”

Peter represents a wide range of clients including companies, governmental entities, non-profits, investors, entrepreneurs, and executives. He is also regularly hired by other attorneys to play a leading role in their most important and difficult cases.

Supreme Court and Appellate Practice

Peter represents clients in state and federal appellate courts nationwide, including the U.S. Supreme Court. He is an elected fellow of the American and California Academies of Appellate Lawyers. And his victories in “key matters” frequently make the National Law Journal’s exclusive Appellate Hot List (2016, 2018, 2019, 2021).

From 2015 to 2021, Peter was one of just 20 private-sector attorneys to argue six or more cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, achieving victories in cases interpreting the Copyright Act, the Securities Exchange Act, and ERISA. During that period, Peter also handled major appeals before appellate courts throughout America, with highlights including his revival of multibillion-dollar environmental claims against Volkswagen and reversal of dismissals leading to collected recoveries of $24 million for investors in one case and over $22 million for pensioners in another.

Trial Practice

Peter is an accomplished trial lawyer who represents both plaintiffs and defendants. “Over his 20-year career, he has successfully first-chaired a wide variety of bet-the-farm business cases to verdict or judgment” (LA Business Journal). He is consistently recognized as one of the leading courtroom lawyers in California (Benchmark Litigation).

Recently, Peter won a multi-phase jury and bench trial that the Daily Journal named a Top 20 Defense Verdict of 2021. The plaintiff, represented by a respected AmLaw firm, had sought $180 million for Lanham Act false advertising.

Peter is currently serving as lead counsel in several noteworthy cases preparing for trial in courtrooms throughout America.

Strategic Litigation

Peter is often retained when an effective public communications strategy is critical. He is adept at managing evolving situations where messaging must be issued in real time. For example, Peter ran a notable litigation communications campaign that recovered his client’s life rights from the National Enquirer, allowing her to speak publicly about a 10-month relationship with President Donald Trump. Watch Peter’s TV appearances.

Peter is known for his ability to serve as the public face of a communications strategy. He has personally appeared on numerous broadcast outlets including morning talk shows (e.g., Good Morning AmericaThe Today Show), cable news (e.g., Anderson Cooper 360The Rachel Maddow Show), as well as public radio and television (e.g., All Things ConsideredNightly Business Report). His work is regularly featured in national print media including the New York TimesWall Street Journal, and Washington Post.

Personal

Peter received his J.D. from Harvard Law School, where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review. He earned his B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, where, together with Elizabeth Brannen, he won the National Debating Championship. He currently lives in Southern California with his wife Alice and two young children.

Overview

Peter Stris is one of the most prominent business litigators of his generation. He serves as a lead strategist and presenter in must-win trials, landmark appeals, and rapid media-response campaigns.

Chambers USA has identified Peter as a leading advocate in multiple nationwide categories, including plaintiffs-side ERISA litigation where he is ranked Band 1. Reuters has recognized him as one of the nation’s most influential lawyers before the United States Supreme Court, where he has argued 10 cases. And the Daily Journal has repeatedly named him to its annual list of the “Top 100 California Lawyers.”

Peter represents a wide range of clients including companies, governmental entities, non-profits, investors, entrepreneurs, and executives. He is also regularly hired by other attorneys to play a leading role in their most important and difficult cases.

Supreme Court and Appellate Practice

Peter represents clients in state and federal appellate courts nationwide, including the U.S. Supreme Court. He is an elected fellow of the American and California Academies of Appellate Lawyers. And his victories in “key matters” frequently make the National Law Journal’s exclusive Appellate Hot List (2016, 2018, 2019, 2021).

From 2015 to 2021, Peter was one of just 20 private-sector attorneys to argue six or more cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, achieving victories in cases interpreting the Copyright Act, the Securities Exchange Act, and ERISA. During that period, Peter also handled major appeals before appellate courts throughout America, with highlights including his revival of multibillion-dollar environmental claims against Volkswagen and reversal of dismissals leading to collected recoveries of $24 million for investors in one case and over $22 million for pensioners in another.

Trial Practice

Peter is an accomplished trial lawyer who represents both plaintiffs and defendants. “Over his 20-year career, he has successfully first-chaired a wide variety of bet-the-farm business cases to verdict or judgment” (LA Business Journal). He is consistently recognized as one of the leading courtroom lawyers in California (Benchmark Litigation).

Recently, Peter won a multi-phase jury and bench trial that the Daily Journal named a Top 20 Defense Verdict of 2021. The plaintiff, represented by a respected AmLaw firm, had sought $180 million for Lanham Act false advertising.

Peter is currently serving as lead counsel in several noteworthy cases preparing for trial in courtrooms throughout America.

Strategic Litigation

Peter is often retained when an effective public communications strategy is critical. He is adept at managing evolving situations where messaging must be issued in real time. For example, Peter ran a notable litigation communications campaign that recovered his client’s life rights from the National Enquirer, allowing her to speak publicly about a 10-month relationship with President Donald Trump. Watch Peter’s TV appearances.

Peter is known for his ability to serve as the public face of a communications strategy. He has personally appeared on numerous broadcast outlets including morning talk shows (e.g., Good Morning AmericaThe Today Show), cable news (e.g., Anderson Cooper 360The Rachel Maddow Show), as well as public radio and television (e.g., All Things ConsideredNightly Business Report). His work is regularly featured in national print media including the New York TimesWall Street Journal, and Washington Post.

Personal

Peter received his J.D. from Harvard Law School, where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review. He earned his B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, where, together with Elizabeth Brannen, he won the National Debating Championship. He currently lives in Southern California with his wife Alice and two young children.

Representative Matters

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY DISPUTES

Grasshopper v. Clean & Sober Media

As lead trial and appellate counsel, obtained defense victory in $180 million Lanham Act false advertising case named by the Daily Journal a Top 20 Defense Verdict of 2021.

Fourth Estate v. Wall-Street.com

As lead Supreme Court counsel, prevailed before U.S. Supreme Court in Copyright Act case named by Managing IP an “Impact Case of the Year” in 2020.

McDougal v. American Media

As lead counsel, recovered Karen McDougal’s life rights from the National Enquirer, allowing her to speak publicly about her 10-month relationship with President Donald Trump.

Unicolors v. H&M

As lead Supreme Court counsel, represented global fashion retailer H&M before the U.S. Supreme Court in this Copyright Act case.

Americana Juice v. Nestle USA

As lead trial counsel, defended Nestle in this South Texas jury trial. The plaintiff sought $330 million asserting tort and trade secret claims. Nestle offered $10 million to settle before trial. Persuaded the jury to award only $1 million after which a confidential settlement was immediately reached. Describing closing argument, the press wrote: “Holding a lottery ticket, Stris told jurors ‘She thought she had a ticket to the Texas Mega Millions.’”

COMPLEX FINANCIAL DISPUTES

Frommert v. Conkright (Xerox)

Served as lead trial and appellate counsel in the Western District of New York, Second Circuit, and U.S. Supreme Court in this “epic litigation” against Xerox. Recovered pension benefits of over $17 million plus $4.9 million in attorneys’ fees.

Schueneman v. Arena Pharmaceuticals

As lead appellate counsel, persuaded the Ninth Circuit to revive this securities fraud case and then settled for $24 million.

Merrill Lynch v. Manning

As lead Supreme Court counsel, prevailed on behalf of several large shareholders who lost over $50 million in this U.S. Supreme Court case about the scope of exclusive jurisdiction under the Securities Exchange Act.

Fairbairn v. Fidelity Charitable

As lead trial counsel, designed this pathbreaking case (New York Times article) challenging the fire-sale liquidation of philanthropists’ $100 million stock donation. Overcoming longstanding precedent insulating charities from donor lawsuits, defeated defendant’s attempts to avoid a public trial, exposing “secrets about Silicon Valley’s favorite philanthropic loophole” and earning “Impact Case of the Year” recognition from International Tax Review.

Rozo v. Principal Life Insurance

As lead appellate counsel, persuaded Eighth Circuit to reverse grant of summary judgment in 9-figure certified class action concerning guaranteed investment contracts.

LaRue v. DeWolff Boberg

As lead Supreme Court counsel, prevailed before U.S. Supreme Court in what the New York Times described as “one of the most important rulings in years on the meaning of the federal pension law.”

HEALTHCARE & INSURANCE DISPUTES

Montanile v. National Elevator

As lead Supreme Court counsel, persuaded U.S. Supreme Court to reverse the Eleventh Circuit in this important healthcare case. Named “California Lawyer Attorney of the Year” for victory.

Silva v. MetLife

As lead appellate counsel, persuaded Eighth Circuit to reverse in this precedent-setting life insurance case about ERISA remedies decided in the wake of Cigna v. Amara.

Humana v. Nguyen

As lead appellate counsel, persuaded Fifth Circuit to reverse grant of summary judgment and resolve an unsettled question about the fiduciary status of health insurance companies.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana v. Fossen

Retained as lead Supreme Court counsel by the former Insurance Commissioner for the State of Montana in this important case about the federal preemption of state insurance law. After CVSG, met with the government and obtained recommendation that petition be denied. The Court denied the petition.

Catastrophically Injured Man v. Health Plan Fiduciaries

As lead counsel, obtained without litigation complete relief for individual rendered quadriplegic in tragic car accident following health plan’s refusal to cover neither $1.3 million in past medical bills nor any future care.

Government & Regulatory Disputes

Hillsborough v. Volkswagen

As lead appellate and Supreme Court counsel representing Salt Lake County and the Environmental Protection Commission of Hillsborough Florida, persuaded Ninth Circuit to revive environmental claims in opinion that stated “our conclusion may result in staggering liability for Volkswagen.” Defeated subsequent U.S. Supreme Court petition in which Volkswagen clarified it would face liability of over $11 billion.

Gobeille v. Liberty Mutual

Retained by State of Vermont to assist in the preparation of successful petition for certiorari in this important preemption case. Case argued by Partner Bridget Asay, who at the time was Vermont’s Solicitor General.

San Clemente v. Sovereign

Developed successful litigation and public communications strategy for addiction treatment provider in dispute with wealthy Southern California beach city.

ERIC v. City of Seattle

Currently representing City of Seattle as lead Supreme Court counsel opposing a preemption challenge to an ordinance that provides hotel employees access to medical care.

Associations

Active Memberships

  • American Academy of Appellate Lawyers, elected fellow
  • California Academy of Appellate Lawyers, elected fellow
  • American College of Employee Benefits Counsel, elected fellow

Awards

Recent Individual Honors

  • Top 100 Lawyer in California, Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journals (20202021, 2022)
  • Los Angeles Litigator of the Year, shortlisted (6 leading trial lawyers), Benchmark Litigation (2022)
  • Band 1, ERISA Plaintiffs Litigation (6 lawyers in America), Chambers USA (current)
  • Band 1, Appellate Litigation (4 lawyers in California), Chambers USA (current)
  • Leaders of Influence: Litigators & Trial Lawyers, Los Angeles Business Journal (2020, 2022)
  • Impact Case of the Year, winner, International Tax Review (2022)
  • Top Defense Verdict (20 in California), Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journals (2021)
  • Litigator of the Week, AmLaw Litigation Daily (20202021)
  • Intellectual Property Impact Case of the Year, winner, Managing IP (2020)
  • Legal Lion, Law360 (201620192020)
  • Attorney of the Year: ERISA, California Lawyer (2017)

 

Recent Firm Honors

  • National Boutique of the Year, finalist (7 firms in America), The American Lawyer (2019, 2022)
  • Appellate Hot List (20 firms in America), National Law Journal (2016201820192021)
  • Band 1, ERISA Plaintiffs Litigation (3 firms in America), Chambers USA (current)
  • Band 2, Appellate Litigation (9 firms in California), Chambers USA (current)

Admissions

State

  • California
  • New York

Federal

U.S. Supreme Court

All 13 Federal Circuits

Court of Federal Claims

All 4 Districts of California

Western District of New York

Southern District of New York

Stris & Maher LLP

777 S Figueroa St, Suite 3850
Los Angeles, CA 90017
+1 213 995 6800