Peter B. Morrison is the leader of the Los Angeles Litigation Group, co-head of the West Coast litigation practice and one of the hiring partners for Skadden’s Los Angeles office. He has a broad litigation practice with a particular emphasis on securities, M&A and tax litigation.

Bio

Mr. Morrison advises corporations on matters involving both federal and state securities laws, duties of corporate directors, SEC and stock exchange inquiries and investigations, contests for corporate control and tax reporting. In 2019, Mr. Morrison was named a Top Litigator and Trial Lawyer in Los Angeles by the Los Angeles Business Journal. In 2018, Mr. Morrison was named Lawyer of the Year for Litigation – Securities, Los Angeles by The Best Lawyers in America. Mr. Morrison has been selected for inclusion in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business since 2016 and The Best Lawyers in America since 2014. For three consecutive years (2011-13), Mr. Morrison was named to Law360’s list of Rising Stars.

Mr. Morrison has advised clients in a wide variety of industries in securities and derivative litigation. He recently has represented, among others:

  • The We Company and certain of its current and former directors in two putative shareholder class action and derivative lawsuits stemming from the company's withdrawn 2019 initial public offering, a disputed tender offer involving the company's largest investor and certain past conduct by the company's former CEO;
  • American Apparel, Inc. in connection with securities class actions and derivative lawsuits brought in federal and state court in California;
  • certain former outside directors of Countrywide Financial Corporation in securities, derivative and ERISA litigations;
  • Questcor Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (now Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals) in federal securities class action and derivative litigation in Los Angeles alleging misrepresentations concerning, among other things, the effectiveness of the company’s flagship product and prospects for growth;
  • Ripple Labs Inc. in a putative class action alleging that it should have registered its virtual currency XRP as a security under federal securities laws;
  • a syndicate of underwriters in a putative class action brought by purchasers of preferred securities in New Source Energy Partners Inc. alleging that the offering materials for its public offering of preferred securities omitted material information;
  • Centene Corporation in securing the dismissal with prejudice of a consolidated federal shareholder derivative action that alleged breaches of fiduciary duties and other violations of federal securities laws;
  • the former officers of Rentech, Inc. in a federal putative securities class action filed in Los Angeles based on allegedly misleading statements;
  • LaSalle Bank, N.A. (now Bank of America) in successfully defeating five related class actions in Orange County Superior Court alleging that the defendants sold fraudulent securities and real estate investments;
  • the underwriting syndicate in securing a full dismissal with prejudice of a putative securities class action that alleged false or misleading statements concerning the initial public offering of Obalon Therapeutics;
  • STAAR Surgical Co. and three of its officers in a consolidated putative class action asserting claims under Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934;
  • ChinaCache International Holdings Ltd. in securing the dismissal without prejudice of a federal securities class action alleging it made false and misleading statements about its financial performance;
  • ZTO Express (Cayman) Inc. in securing a complete dismissal of securities claims arising out of its IPO, which was the largest of 2016;
  • Cheetah Mobile Inc., a China-based mobile and computer applications developer, in securing the dismissal of a putative securities class action brought by a plaintiff who relied on a third-party short-seller report accusing the company of engaging in “click fraud";
  • RYB Education Inc. in securing the dismissal of putative securities class actions alleging that the company made misrepresentations of material fact in violation of federal securities laws concerning safety, security and services at RYB schools;
  • Yirendai Ltd. and certain individual officers and directors in securing the dismissal of a federal shareholder class action involving claims of alleged violations of U.S. federal securities law;
  • Nio Inc. in several securities class actions in federal and state courts alleging that the company made false and misleading statements regarding its business operation and sales forecast;
  • a Chinese internet retail company in securing the dismissal with prejudice of a securities class action in connection with its 2018 IPO alleging a failure to disclose that certain third parties were using its e-commerce platform to sell counterfeit goods; and
  • Youku Tudou in securing the dismissal of a federal securities litigation alleging that it made false and misleading statements regarding its financial performance in violation of Sections 10(b) and 20(a).

Mr. Morrison also represents companies and directors involved in litigation arising from M&A transactions. Select matters include:

  • Centene Corp. in a putative federal securities fraud class action arising out of its $6.8 billion acquisition of Health Net, Inc.;
  • Valeant Pharmaceuticals International and certain of its directors and officers in class action lawsuits in California and Delaware brought by shareholders in connection with the proposed $3.3 billion merger of Valeant and Biovail;
  • Asterias Biotherapeutics, Inc. in securing the dismissal of a California state lawsuit arising out of the company’s merger with BioTime (now known as Lineage), and in a related matter currently pending in the Delaware Court of Chancery;
  • Oakley, Inc. and its board of directors in a lawsuit brought by one of the company's shareholders seeking to enjoin the $2 billion acquisition of Oakley by Luxottica Group S.p.A;
  • John C. Malone in securing the dismissal with prejudice of all cross-claims in connection with an insurance dispute arising from Lionsgate Entertainment’s acquisition of Starz Entertainment;
  • Foamix Pharmaceuticals Ltd. and its board of directors in multiple individual and putative class action lawsuits in connection with Foamix’s merger with Menlo Therapeutics Inc.; and
  • Gateway, Inc. and its board of directors in a lawsuit brought by Gateway’s shareholders in both California and Delaware seeking to enjoin its $710 million merger with Acer, Inc.

Mr. Morrison has significant experience in matters involving accounting and tax litigation, including representing:

  • KPMG in multiple actions involving claims ranging from fraud, negligence and contract enforcement to constitutional violations;
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in securing summary judgment both in an action in Oregon State Court and in an action in Nevada State Court;
  • Bank of America in the defense of multiple putative nationwide class actions related to tax reporting; and
  • a public utility in securing the reversal of class certification in a case alleging breach of contract and fraudulent misrepresentation.

Credentials

Education

  • J.D., New York University School of Law, 1999 (Order of the Barristers)
  • B.A., University of Pennsylvania, 1996 (magna cum laude)

Admissions

  • California
  • New York
  • New Jersey
  • U.S. District Court for the Central, Northern and Southern Districts of California
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York
  • U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth and Ninth Circuits

Associations

  • Board of Trustees, Seven Arrows Elementary School (2014-Present)
  • Board of Trustees, The Accelerated School (2009-Present)
  • Member, Executive Committee of the Litigation Section, Los Angeles County Bar Association (Commencing 2014)
  • Board of Directors, Friends of the Los Angeles County Law Library (Commencing 2014)
  • Board of Directors, New York University School of Law Alumni Association (2013-Present)
  • Member of Board of Directors (2011-Present) and Chair of the Board of Directors (2018-19), Constitutional Rights Foundation
  • Member, Federal Bar Association (Commencing 2020)
  • Member, Chancery Club (Commencing 2020)

Experience

  • Law Clerk, Chancellor William B. Chandler III, Delaware Court of Chancery, 1999-2000

Peter B. Morrison