Congratulations … for the excellent representation. I have never before seen such a surgically complete dissection of a complaint as achieved by you and your team. You have the respect of all of us here.
—The Chairman and CEO of a bank holding company

Bruce Ericson, leader of Pillsbury’s Securities Litigation & Enforcement team, has a stellar record of obtaining—and defending on appeal—dismissals of securities class actions and derivative actions.

Bruce, the managing partner of Pillsbury’s San Francisco office (2008-2016), represents banks, companies, boards and senior management in securities, M&A and corporate governance disputes, SEC investigations and litigation, and internal investigations. He has represented bank and bank regulatory agencies in all kinds of investigations and litigation, and has deep experience in antitrust, appellate, fraud and unfair competition litigation.

Representative Experience

  • Won affirmance of dismissal of class action against Wells Fargo & Co. alleging wrongful redemption of $837.5 million of trust-preferred securities. 
  • Won affirmance of dismissal of securities class action against a leading aluminum company challenging its $1 billion accounting restatement.
  • Won dismissal with prejudice of all claims in $6.8 billion action by federal regulators against the directors of the nation’s largest corporate credit union.

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  • Securities litigation, M&A and corporate governance disputes
    • Bruce represents public companies, their boards and their senior management in securities and corporate governance disputes of all kinds, in SEC investigations and SEC litigation, and in internal investigations, including situations involving disputes among senior management and significant questioning by outside auditors.  He has obtained many dismissals of class and derivative actions and is undefeated in defending such dismissals on appeal.
  • Banking investigations and litigation
    • Represented federal bank regulatory agencies in the investigation of Charles Keating, American Continental Corporation and Lincoln Savings and Loan Association, and in an action against the former officers, directors and shareholders of Southwest S&LA, including Governor J. Fife Symington, III of Arizona (obtaining an eight-figure settlement), in a mediation against a Big Four accounting firm (obtaining a seven-figure settlement), and in other investigations of directors, officers, lawyers and accountants.
    • Investigated directors, officers, shareholders, lawyers and others associated with Madison Guaranty S&LA of Arkansas. Bruce had principal responsibility for the Whitewater and Rose Law Firm investigations and drafted reports on these subjects. The reports were favorably reviewed by Garry Wills in The New York Review of Books, by Gene Lyons in Harper's Magazine and by Anthony Lewis in The New York Times. Lyons described the reports as “far and away the most comprehensive and reliable account of what happened (and didn’t) in virtually all aspects of the Whitewater matter." Lewis described the reports as “a voice of reason on Whitewater,” adding that the reports’ “findings are each backed by a painstaking statement and analysis of the evidence. Reading the reports, one is struck by the triviality of the long-ago events at issue—and by the detachment and clarity with which they are examined.” As part of the investigation, Bruce interviewed Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Treaty Room at the White House and also testified before the Senate Special Committee to Investigate Whitewater and Related Matters.
    • Represents foreign and domestic banks in contract cases, securities cases, investment advisor cases, lender liability cases, predatory lender cases, trust indenture cases, and ATM cases.
  • Privacy
    • Represented a major telephone company in In re National Security Agency Telecommunications Records Litigation, MDL No. 06-1791, a series of 40 actions alleging that telephone companies cooperated with the NSA's Terrorist Surveillance Program.
    • Represented a geothermal developer in a 45-day jury trial of allegations that the developer had unlawfully recorded thousands of telephone conversations in violation of California’s Invasion of Privacy Act and on appeal, ultimately obtaining complete victory for clients.
  • Antitrust, trade regulation and unfair competition
    • Has defended and prosecuted civil antitrust and unfair competition cases and counseled clients in industries as diverse as banking, computers, geothermal energy, groceries, magazine distribution, membership campgrounds, petroleum, professional sports, shopping centers and sugar beets.
    • Represented a major grocery chain in an action alleging a conspiracy to drive out magazine distributors.
    • Represented a major oil company in a challenge to its merger with another major oil company.
    • Represented a major grocery wholesaler in a class action alleging price-fixing and horizontal division of markets.
    • Represented a major commercial bank in unfair competition litigation challenging banks’ disclosures of ATM fees, and three manufacturers of computer printers in unfair competition litigation challenging disclosures of inkjet printer speeds.
  • Appellate litigation
    • Has handled a variety of appeals and writ proceedings in both federal and state appellate courts. He is undefeated in obtaining affirmances of dismissals of securities class actions in the Ninth Circuit, having won such appeals in 2015, 2013, 2009, 2003 and 2000. Other appellate experience representing parties and amici includes appeals in the Ninth Circuit (2019, 2017, 2011), Ohio Court of Appeals (2020), Connecticut Supreme Court (2019), D.C. Court of Appeals (2017), Louisiana Court of Appeals (2017),  Federal Circuit (2013), Delaware Supreme Court (2010), and California Supreme Court (2008, 2006, 2003).
  • Additional experience
    • Won dismissal of direct and derivative claims against venture capital investor in artificial intelligence company. Riskin v. Burns, C.A. No. 2019-0570-KSJM, 2020 WL 7973803 (Del. Ch. Dec. 31, 2020).
    • Won dismissal, and had dismissal affirmed on appeal, of all claims challenging merger of tech companies. Zalvin v. Ayers, 2020-Ohio-4021, 157 N.E.3d 256 (Ohio App. Aug. 10, 2020).
    • Won case establishing that stockholder of Delaware corporation must pursue books and records claims solely under Delaware law and in a Delaware forum. Juul Labs, Inc. v. Grove, 238 A.3d 904 (Del. Ch. 2020).
    • As amicus in domestic violence appeal, established principle that wife cannot be deemed to have engaged in a criminal trespass for entering onto property held solely in husband’s name. Burke v. Mesniaeff, 334 Conn. 100, 220 A.3d 777 (2019).
    • Won affirmance of order approving derivative action settlement. In re Hewlett-Packard Company Shareholder Derivative Litigation, 716 Fed. Appx. 603 (9th Cir. 2017).
    • Won dismissal of all claims against Japanese newspaper publisher in He Nam You v. Japan, No. C-15-3257-WHA (N.D. Cal. Nov. 24, 2015 and June 21, 2016), a case brought by Korean “comfort women” alleging aiding and abetting of war crimes, RICO violations and defamation.
    • Won summary judgment in favor of client in Trans Pacific Interactive Inc. v. U.S. Telemetry Corp., No. 507714 (19th Judicial District Court, Parish of East Baton Rouge, Louisiana, June 20, 2016), a Blue Sky action alleging fraud in transaction between shareholders in telemetry startup.
    • Won a precedent-setting award of entitlement to attorneys’ fees on behalf of successful defendant in merger litigation in In re Syntroleum S’holder Litig., No. CJ-2013-5807 (Okla. Dist. Court, Tulsa County, Jan. 15, 2016)
    • Won dismissal of all claims against acquirer of assets of biofuels company In re Syntroleum S’holder Litig., No. CJ-2013-5807 (Okla. Dist. Court, Tulsa County, July 31, 2015).
    • Won affirmance of dismissal of class action in James L. Turkle Trust v. Wells Fargo & Co., 602 Fed. Appx. 360 (9th Cir. 2015), which alleged wrongful redemption of trust preferred securities.
    • Won summary judgment in favor of client in Southeast Wireless Network, Inc. v. U.S. Telemetry Corp., No. C505430 (19th Judicial District Court, Parish of East Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Aug. 5, 2014), a Blue Sky action alleging fraud in exchange transaction with telemetry startup.
    • Won dismissal of all claims against HP’s former CEO in In re HP Securities Litigation, No. C-12-05980-CRB, 2013 WL 6185529 (N.D. Cal. Nov. 26, 2013).
    • Won affirmance of dismissal of securities class action challenging accounting restatement in In re Century Aluminum Securities Litigation, 729 F.3d 1104 (9th Cir. 2013).
    • Won dismissal of class action alleging wrongful redemption of trust preferred securities in James L. Turkle Trust v. Wells Fargo & Co., No. C-11-6494-CW, 2012 WL 2568208 (N.D. Cal. July 2, 2012).
    • Won dismissal of another class action alleging wrongful redemption of trust preferred securities in Call v. Wells Fargo & Co., No. C-11-5215-CW, 2012 WL 1232132 (N.D. Cal. Apr. 12, 2012).
    • Won dismissal with prejudice of all claims in $6.8 billion action by federal regulators against the directors of the nation's largest corporate credit union in National Credit Union Administration Board v. Siravo, et al., No. CV-10-1597-GW (C.D. Cal. Aug. 1, 2011).
    • Won dismissal with prejudice of securities class action challenging accounting restatement in In re Century Aluminum Co. Securities Litigation, No. C-09-1001, 2011 WL 830174 (N.D. Cal. Mar. 3, 2011).
    • Won affirmance of trial court victory in software license case and made significant new law on forum selection clauses in Ingres Corp. v. CA, Inc. 8 A.3d 1143 (Del. 2010).
    • Won dismissal of securities class action challenging restatement in In re Century Aluminum Co. Securities Litigation, 2010 WL 1729426 (N.D. Cal. Apr. 27, 2010).
    • Won trial of software licensing case arising out of divestiture of software assets in CA, Inc. v. Ingres Corp., C.A. No. 4300-VCS, 2009 WL 4575009 (Del. Ch. Dec. 7, 2009).
    • Won affirmance of dismissal of claims against bank holding company and its chairman in Rubke v. Capitol Bancorp Ltd., 551 F.3d 1156 (9th Cir. 2009).
    • Represented UnionBanCal in four class actions challenging a tender offer for its outstanding public shares made by its parent, Mitsubishi UFG Financial Group.
    • Handled SEC investigation in 2008 of major bank regarding alleged insider trading.
    • Won preliminary injunction against enforcement of San Francisco ordinance limiting independent advocacy for or against candidates for elective office in Committee on Jobs Candidate Advocacy Fund v. Herrera, C-07-3199-JSW, 2007 WL 2790351 (N.D. Cal. Sept. 20, 2007).
    • Won dismissal of all claims against broker-dealer defendants in action alleging mutual fund revenue-sharing practices in Siemers v. Wells Fargo & Co., No. C-05-4518-WHA, 2007 WL 760750 (N.D. Cal. March 9, 2007) and No. C-05-4518-WHA, 2007 WL 1456047 (N.D. Cal. May 17, 2007).
    • Represented AT&T in class actions alleging that telephone companies cooperated in the NSA's Terrorist Surveillance Program in In re: National Security Agency Telecommunications Records Litigation, MDL No. 1791.
    • Won dismissal of claims against bank holding company and its chairman in Rubke v. Capitol Bancorp Ltd., 460 F. Supp. 2d 1124 (N.D. Cal. 2006).
    • Won dismissal of all claims against maker of sunglasses and its board of directors in In re Orange 21, Inc. Sec. Litigation, No. 05-CV-0595-JM (S.D. Cal.)
    • Won dismissal of all claims against maker of dental laser devices, its CEO and CFO in In re BioLase Sec. Litigation, No. 8:04-cv-947 (C.D. Cal.).
    • Resolved 2005 SEC private investigation of Fortune 100 corporation without any action against corporation.
    • Won dismissal with prejudice of $550 million action alleging that investment bank conspired to spin-off divisions of paper company into an insolvent entity in In re Crown Vantage, Inc., No. C 02-03836 MMC, 2003 WL 25257821 (N.D. Cal. Sept. 25, 2003) and 2004 WL 1635543 (N.D. Cal. July 12, 2004), aff’d 198 Fed. Appx. 597 (9th Cir. 2006), cert. denied, 127 S. Ct. 1381 (2007).
    • Won dismissal of negligent misrepresentation action in IDT Corp. v. Neckowitz (N.D. Cal.).
    • Won affirmance of dismissal of all claims in 10b-5 action in Winick v. Pacific Gateway Exchange, Inc., 73 Fed. Appx. 250 (9th Cir. 2003).
    • Won dismissal with prejudice of all claims in 10b-5 action in In re Pacific Gateway Exchange Sec. Litig., No. C-00-1211 PJH, 2002 WL 851066 (N.D. Cal. Apr. 30, 2002).
    • Won dismissal of all claims in 10b-5 action in In re Pacific Gateway Exchange Sec. Litig., 169 F. Supp. 2d 1160 (N.D. Cal. 2001).
    • Won summary judgment in 2001 for oil company in class action challenging tender offer for limited partnerships.
    • Won dismissal of all securities claims with case subsequently settled on very favorable terms in Haney v. Pacific Telesis Group, 2000 WL 33400194 (C.D. Cal. 2000).
    • Won affirmance of dismissal of 10b-5 action in Lawrence v. Zilog, Inc., 242 F.3d 382, 2000 WL 1545053 (9th Cir. 2000).
    • Won trial of fiduciary duty suit, challenging a corporate refinancing involving a change of control.  Equity-Linked Investors, L.P. v. Adams, 705 A.2d 1040 (Del. Ch. 1997).

Professional Highlights

  • Winner of the 2016 LEAP for Justice Award for the Domestic Violence Legal Empowerment and Appeals Project.
  • Received the Burton Award for Excellence in Legal Writing in 2013.

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  • Honors & Awards
    • Best Lawyers (published by BL Rankings LLC), Commercial Litigation (2018 - 2022)
    • The Legal 500 U.S., Securities Litigation: Defense (2016 – 2019), Shareholder Litigation (2015)
    • Super Lawyers (2006 – 2021)
    • BTI Client Service All-Star (2014)
  • Associations
    • American Bar Association
    • Association of Business Trial Lawyers (President, Northern California chapter, 2020)
    • Bar Association of San Francisco
    • Civil Local Rules Attorney Advisory Committee, N.D. Cal. (chair)
    • Federal Bar Association, N.D. Cal.
    • Lawyer Representative to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference
    • Magistrate Judge Merit Selection Panel, N.D. Cal. (chair)
    • Supreme Court Historical Society
    • Ninth Judicial Circuit Historical Society
  • External Publications
    • The SPAC Explosion: Beware the Litigation and Enforcement Risk, Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance, Authors: Bruce A. Ericson, Ari M. Berman, Stephen B. Amdur, 1/14/2021
    • Chapter 35, Settlements, Robert L. Haig (ed.), Business and Commercial Litigation in Federal Courts, American Bar Association Section of Litigation and West Group, 4th ed., 2016, Authors: Bruce A. Ericson, 12/01/2016

    • Delaware’s Adoption of Garner — and Practical Ways to Respond, Law360, Authors: Bruce A. Ericson, Dorothy F. Kaslow, 08/27/2014

    • 5 Tips for Avoiding Settlement Traps, Corporate Counsel, Authors: Bruce A. Ericson, Frederick A. Brodie, 05/02/2012

Education

  • J.D., Harvard Law School, 1977
    cum laude

    A.B., University of Pennsylvania, 1974
    summa cum laude, with highest honors

Admissions

  • California

Courts

  • Supreme Court of the United States

    United States Courts of Appeals for the District of Columbia and Ninth Circuits

    United States District Courts for the Northern, Eastern, Central, and Southern Districts of California.

    Pro Hac Vice: U.S. District Courts for Colo., Maine, Utah; N. D. of Ga.; N. D. of Ill.; E. and N.D.s of Texas; the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware; and trial courts in Louisiana, Ohio, and Oklahoma