John W. Spiegel is a partner in the Los Angeles office of Munger, Tolles & Olson. Mr. Spiegel is recognized nationwide and in California by Chambers USA as a “leading lawyer” in securities, white collar and general commercial litigation. He is also ranked in The Best Lawyers in America with bet-the-company litigation and commercial litigation.
Before joining Munger Tolles, Mr. Spiegel clerked for Justice Byron White of the Supreme Court of the United States and served as an Assistant United States Attorney in Los Angeles, where he tried approximately two dozen cases in United States District Court. He also served as Special Assistant to Deputy Secretary of State Warren Christopher, where his primary responsibilities were in the area of international economic policy. Mr. Spiegel played first on the varsity tennis team at Stanford University and received the “Block S” award for the varsity athlete with the highest grade point average. He continues to compete in USTA national tournaments.
- Represented Transocean Ltd., the parent company and indirect owner of the drilling rig Deepwater Horizon, in shareholder derivative litigation and federal securities cases arising from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, obtained dismissals with prejudice.
- Represented Warner Bros. in litigation with actor Charlie Sheen arising from his termination from the television series Two and a Half Men. In 2012, he received a California Lawyer Attorneys of the Year Award for his representation of Warner Bros. in this case.
- Lead trial counsel in successful defense of leading biotechnology company in $100 million breach of contract claim brought by Fortune 50 pharmaceutical company.
- Represented Mattel and its officers and directors in litigation arising out of the recall of toys manufactured in China; named one of the top ten California defense verdicts of 2009 by the Los Angeles Daily Journal.
- Lead trial counsel in Adelphia Communications Corp., v. Motorola, U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the SDNY, successfully recovering over $68 million in a post-trial settlement in December 2009 against Motorola in a case alleging aiding and abetting fraudulent accounting practices at Adelphia.
- Represented the founders of Google, Inc., Sergey Brin and Larry Page, in litigation in Delaware Chancery Court challenging the issuance of non-voting stock alleged to extend the founders’ voting control of Google; settlement agreement reached the day before trial permitted the issuance of the challenged stock.
- Represented a former CEO in a case of first impression brought by the SEC under Section 304 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, seeking “clawback” of the CEO’s bonuses and stock profits without allegation of wrongdoing by the CEO.
- Represented former officers and directors of IndyMac Bank and New Century Financial Corporation in litigation and investigations arising from the current financial crisis.
- Represented one of the nation’s largest law firms in litigation and investigations arising from the collapse of Enron Corporation. The court granted a motion to dismiss the law firm from the Enron-related class actions consolidated in Federal Court in Houston.
- Obtained dismissals of federal securities fraud class actions and shareholder derivative suits for clients including Northrop Grumman Corporation, The Walt Disney Company, Edison International, Occidental Petroleum Corporation, Mattel, Inc. and Corinthian Colleges, Inc., and obtained affirmances of dismissals on appeal in the Ninth Circuit, including a published decision confirming important defenses for directors and officers under the federal securities laws. Metzler Investment GMBH v. Corinthian Colleges, 540 F.3d 1049 (9th Cir. 2008).
- Obtained an arbitration award for Occidental Petroleum against Chevron Texaco regarding the allocation of costs in the operation of a major oil field, with an award of $2.3 million in attorneys' fees.
- Successfully represented Southern California Edison Company (SCE) in litigation arising from the California power crisis in 2000-2001.This litigation included an action by SCE against the California Public Utilities Commission resulting in a settlement by which SCE recovered billions of dollars of electricity procurement costs, and breach of contract actions by dozens of electricity generators against SCE, which were dismissed by the coordination trial judge.
- Supervised litigation and investigations arising from allegations of improper practices at the psychiatric hospital division of National Medical Enterprises, Inc. (now Tenet Healthcare Corporation) and negotiated a global settlement with U.S. Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services, Securities and Exchange Commission, a consortium of state Attorneys General, securities class action plaintiffs and private health insurance companies.
- Served in a pro bono capacity as General Counsel of the Independent Commission on the Los Angeles Police Department (the “Christopher Commission”), appointed in the aftermath of the Rodney King incident to investigate and recommend improvements in the LAPD. As General Counsel, Mr. Spiegel was responsible for directing the volunteer staff of over 100 lawyers and accountants and for overseeing the drafting of the Commission’s Report issued in July 1991.
- Served as chair of the American Bar Association Litigation Section Coordinating Group on Civil Justice Reform, co-chair of the ABA Litigation Section Committee on Class Actions and Derivative Suits, and chair of the Los Angeles County Bar Association Committee on Professionalism. He has taught trial advocacy at the National Institute for Trial Advocacy, the University of Southern California Law Center, and the Hastings Center for Trial and Appellate Advocacy. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation.