FacultyFaculty/Author Profile
Michael J. Pérez

Michael J. Pérez

Pérez Vaughn & Feasby LLP
San Diego, CA, USA

Michael J. Pérez is a trial lawyer who has amassed more than 40 civil trials and more than 40 criminal jury trials without a loss.  His practice focuses primarily on complex business litigation and class action litigation in the areas of intellectual property, Section 17200 claims and employment law.  As lead counsel, Mr. Pérez has successfully tried to verdict jury trials in the areas of trademark infringement, real estate investment loan class actions, employment-related matters, and Section 1983 actions on behalf of several municipalities.

In 2007, in only his second plaintiff’s jury trial, Mr. Pérez obtained an $188,000,000 jury verdict for his client in what is believed to be the largest defamation verdict in history. In that case, a Brooklyn jury in the Eastern District of New York awarded Mexican businessman Jose Ramiro Cantu of Mexico City, Mexico, $188,000,000 to compensate Mr. Cantu for damages he suffered as a result of defamatory statements made about him by Texas businessman Billy Flanigan.  The jury awarded $38,000,000 in economic damages and $150,000,000 in non-economic damages.

In 2014, Mr. Pérez obtained a jury verdict in excess of one billion dollars against the Petroleum Workers Union of the Republic of Mexico (an affiliate of PEMEX). After a long and contentious trial, a Houston jury found in favor of Arriba Limited, a company formed in 1984 by two Texas oilmen, when it concluded that a 1984 contract for the purchase of residual oil for refining in the U.S. was fully enforceable, and further determined that a 2004 settlement agreement between Arriba Limited and the Petroleum Workers Union was valid and enforceable. In reaching a decision, the jury was primarily tasked with determining if the individuals who signed each agreement on behalf of the Union had authority to do so. The jury concluded that the individuals did indeed have the authority to bind the Union.

Prior to establishing Pérez Vaughn & Feasby, Mr. Pérez was a partner in the business litigation practice group of San Diego’s oldest and largest law firm.  Mr. Pérez is also a former Counsel to U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno and then U.S. Deputy Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr.  Prior to working in Washington, D.C., Mr. Pérez served as General Counsel to the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City for three years. He is a former Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of California where he conducted numerous grand jury investigations and indictments, international financial investigations, and public corruption and drug trafficking trials and appeals.

As a native San Diegan and active member of the community, Mr. Pérez serves on numerous non-profit boards including the MLK, Jr. All People’s Breakfast Committee, the UCSD Hispanic Scholarship Council, and Volunteers in Parole, Inc.  He is also a Master in the William B. Enright Inn of Court.

Mr. Pérez is a former member of the Stanford University Board of Trustees, and past President of the California La Raza Lawyers Association.  Mr. Pérez earned his JD from the UCLA School of Law in 1990, and began his legal career at Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison LLP where he spent five years specializing in intellectual property litigation.  Mr. Pérez graduated from Stanford University in 1987 with a double major in Biology and Psychology, with dual honors.


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