Main Menu
Photo of T. Peter  Pierce

T. Peter Pierce

Shareholder | Los Angeles

Overview

Peter demystifies the appeals process.  A creative advocate, he analyzes a case from every angle to help litigators position the case most effectively for appeal.

Peter represents individuals, businesses, non-profit corporations, and public agencies in appellate courts and trial courts throughout California.  He is one of only 135 attorneys admitted to the California Academy of Appellate Lawyers, and one of fewer than 300 attorneys certified as a specialist in appellate law by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization.  Peter has been selected by his peers in California eight times as a Super Lawyer in appellate law.  Most recently, Peter was selected by his peers for inclusion in the 2018 edition of Best Lawyers in America.

Work for Clients

Peter has briefed and argued more than 150 appeals and writs. He represents a diverse group of clients on appeal, including non-profit and for-profit corporations, businesses, entertainment industry talent, medical professionals, real estate investors, local elected officials, and numerous cities in California on a wide range of issues affecting local governments.

Professional Experience

Before attending law school, Peter was a radio and television news reporter and copy writer.  Immediately following law school, Peter served one year as a law clerk to a federal judge of the United States District Court in New Orleans.

Honors & Awards

Best Lawyers in America, Appellate Law, 2018

California Super Lawyers, Appellate Law: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017

California Academy of Appellate Lawyers

Certified Appellate Specialist, California State Bar Board of Legal Specialization

American Society of Legal Advocates, top 100 appellate lawyers in California, 2015

Daily Journal legal newspaper, top 25 public agency lawyers in California, 2012

Professional and Community Affiliations

Past Chair and member, California State Bar Committee on Appellate Courts

Past Vice-Chair and member, California State Bar Appellate Law Advisory Commission

Member, Los Angeles County Bar Association, Committee on Appellate Courts

Member, Bar Association of San Francisco

2018 Co-President and Board of Governors member (2012-present), LGBT Bar Association of Los Angeles

Chair, Amicus Committee, LGBT Bar Association of Los Angeles

Co-Chair, Judicial Endorsements Committee, LGBT Bar Association of Los Angeles

American Bar Foundation fellow

Member, Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom

Cornell University Alumni Admissions Ambassadors

Lecturer in Law, USC Law School (Spring semesters 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009)

       
       

clerkships

Law Clerk, Honorable Marcel Livaudais, Jr., United States District Court, New Orleans (1992-1993)

Interests

Peter completed two Ironman 70.3 triathlons in 2015 and 2017.  Peter also cycled 545 miles from San Francisco to Los Angeles four times since 2012, raising a total of $70,000 for the Los Angeles LGBT Center.

Expertise

Recent Appellate Victories

  • Kurzulian v. Straus (2017) – Court of Appeal affirmed order authorizing judgment creditor to levy retirement account of judgment debtor
  • Wells Fargo Bank v. Terteryan (2017) – Court of Appeal affirmed judgment affording real estate investor protection under California’s anti-deficiency statute
  • Mercury Casualty Co. v. City of Pasadena (2017) __ Cal.App.5th __ – Court of Appeal reversed judgment, and held City not liable in inverse condemnation for significant damage caused by falling trees in windstorm

 Published Decisions (partial list)

  • Santa Clarita Organization for Planning and the Environment v. Abercrombie (2015) 240 Cal.App.4th 300 – water agency’s decision to acquire water company not invalid because water company general manager previously served on water agency’s board; acquisition impliedly exempted from Political Reform Act
  • Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine v. Applebee’s International, Inc. (2014) 224 Cal.App.4th 166 – notices and certificates of merit did not comply with Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act in absence of knowledge of posted warning signs
  • Conejo Wellness Center, Inc. v. City of Agoura Hills (2013) 214 Cal.App.4th 1534 – first published appellate decision in California squarely holding that cities may ban medical marijuana establishments.  Holding later vindicated by California Supreme Court in separate case
  • Nordyke v. King (9th Cir 2012) 681 F.3d 1041 (en banc)  – County of Alameda law prohibiting firearms on County-owned property did not violate Second Amendment
  • Nordyke v. King (9th Cir. 2011) 644 F.3d 776 – County of Alameda law prohibiting firearms on County-owned property did not violate First Amendment as applied to gun show promoters
  • Joffe v. City of Huntington Park (2011) 201 Cal.App.4th 492 – Court of Appeal upheld dismissal of inverse condemnation action that was premised on theory of unreasonable pre-condemnation conduct.
  • Kay v. City of Rancho Palos Verdes (9th Cir. 2007) – Damages not available under federal Telecommunications Act regarding provision of mobile services; municipal employees immune from liability in damages
  • City of Rancho Palos Verdes v. Abrams (2005) 544 U.S. 113 – U.S. Supreme Court unanimously held that zoning provisions of Telecommunications Act may not be enforced through action for damages and attorney’s fees under 42 U.S.C. sections 1983 and 1988
  • City of West Hollywood v. 1112 Investment Co. (2003) 105 Cal.App.4th 1134 – Vested right to convert residential buildings to condominiums expired, and owners of units required to comply with City’s rent control law
  • Nordyke v. King (2002) 27 Cal.4th 875 – California Supreme Court held local law prohibiting firearms on local government property not preempted by California firearms regulations
  • Echevarrieta v. City of Rancho Palos Verdes (2001) 86 Cal.App.4th 472 – City’s view preservation ordinance a legitimate exercise of police power, did not work an unconstitutional taking of private property, was not unconstitutionally vague, and did not deprive property owner of due process
  • California Rifle & Pistol Assn. v. City of West Hollywood (1998) 66 Cal.App.4th 1302 – Local ordinance banning sales of Saturday Night Special handguns not preempted by California law
  • Private Industry Council v. State of California (1997) 57 Cal.App.4th 1290 – Court of Appeal invalidated State Employment Development Department directive requiring non-profit job training agency to disgorge state funds if not spent within certain time frame
  • Friedman v. City of Beverly Hills (1996) 47 Cal.App.4th 436 – Court of Appeal interpreted word “and” in state statute to mean “or” such that city could create preferential parking districts for residents only

 Amicus Briefs authored (partial)

  • Teixeira v. County of Alameda (9th Cir. decision pending) – on behalf of League of California Cities and California State Association of Counties
  • Peruta v. County of San Diego (9th Cir. 2016) 824 F.3d 919 – on behalf of League of California Cities
  • People v. Goldsmith (2014) 59 Cal.4th 258 – on behalf of League of California Cities
  • Cemex v. County of Los Angeles (9th Cir. 2006) – on behalf of League of California Cities
  • Boelts v. City of Lake Forest (2005) 127 Cal.App.4th 116 – on behalf of League of California Cities and several public agencies
  • San Jose Christian College v. City of Morgan Hill (9th Cir. 2004) 360 F.3d 1024 – on behalf of 62 California cities and towns
  • Rubin v. City of Burbank (2002) 101 Cal.App.4th 1194 – on behalf of 34 California cities
  • Friends of Mammoth v. Town of Mammoth Lakes Redevelopment Agency (2000) 82 Cal.App.4th 511 – on behalf of 30 California cities and redevelopment agencies
  • Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association v. City of San Diego (1999) 72 Cal.App.4th 230 – on behalf of 85 California cities and towns

News

Presentations

  • Event // Speaker - Working with Clients and Trial Counsel and Effective Amicus Briefs
    Advanced Civil Appellate Conference – Pincus Professional Education Series, 2017
  • Event // Speaker - Presented paper on regulating sober living homes under federal anti-discrimination laws
    League of California Cities, City Attorneys Department Meeting, 2016
  • Event // Speaker - Impact of Federal and California fair housing laws on local zoning issues
    State Bar of California, Fair Housing Program, 2016
  • Event // Speaker - Preserving and Presenting the Record on Appeal; Moderated roundtable - Biggest Challenges in an Appellate Practice
    Advanced Civil Appellate Conference – Pincus Professional Education Series, 2016
  • Event // Speaker - Becoming an Appellate Law Specialists Certified by the California State Bar Board of Legal Specialization
    Los Angeles County Bar Association Program, 2015
  • Event // Speaker - Developments in Second Amendment Case Law
    2014
  • Event // Speaker - Public Law Appeals
    Government Law Seminar, Santa Monica, 2014
  • Event // Speaker - Developments in Second Amendment Case Law
    Civil Litigation Symposium, 2014
  • Event // Speaker - Local Gun Regulation: How Far Is Too Far?
    California State Bar Annual Meeting, 2013
  • Event // Speaker - Becoming a Certified Appellate Specialist
    2013
  • Event // Speaker - Housing for Persons with Disabilities: Legitimate Neighborhood Concerns Verses Prejudice and Unlawful Discrimination
    Annual Fair Housing and Public Accommodations Symposium, 2013
  • Event // Speaker - Presented paper on Regulating Group Homes Without Running Afoul of Federal and State Laws
    League of California Cities Annual Meeting, 2012
  • Event // Speaker - How courts evaluate regulations under the Second Amendment
    Law Center To Prevent Gun Violence Annual Conference, Chicago, 09.08.2012
  • Event // Speaker on several appellate topics during 6-hour program
    Administrative Writs of Mandamus -- Pincus Professional Education Series, 2011
  • Event // Speaker on several appellate topics during 8-hour program
    Civil Appeals: Winning Strategies from Start to Finish - Pincus Professional Education Series, 2011
  • Event // Speaker - Public Law Appeals
    California State Bar Annual Meeting, 2010
  • Event // Speaker - Co-presented paper entitled Seven Deadly Sins in a Case Headed for Appeal
    2009
  • Event // Speaker on several appellate topics during 7-hour program
    The Complete Appeal: Strategies from Start to Finish - Pincus Professional Education Series, 2009
  • Event // Speaker - Co-presented paper entitled Seven Deadly Sins in a Case Headed for Appeal
    09.08.2008
  • Event // Moderator and speaker on several appellate topics during 3-hour segment
    The Complete Appeal: Strategies from Start to Finish -- Pincus Professional Education Series, 2008
  • Event // Speaker - Co-presented paper entitled Seven Deadly Sins in a Case Headed for Appeal
    California State Bar Annual Meeting, 2007
  • Event // Speaker - Administrative Records - Tips and Traps
    2006
  • Event // Speaker - Impact on Cities of Telecommunications Act of 1996
    American Planning Association Conference, 2004
  • Event // Speaker - Current Litigation Issues:  Elections, Insurance & Civil Rights
    League of California Cities Annual Meeting, 2004

Publications

  • CEB California Civil Appellate Practice, contributing author (continuous)
  • CEB California Administrative Mandamus, contributing author (continuous)
  • CEB California Civil Writ Practice, contributing author (continuous)
  • Local Gun Regulation: History, Preemption and the Second Amendment
    Winter 2013
    Public Law Journal

Practice Areas

Focus Areas

Education

J.D. Tulane University School of Law

M.S. Syracuse University (Journalism)

B.A., Cornell University (Neurobiology)

Back to Page
{Logo Image}

Richards, Watson & Gershon delivers practical advice and solutions tailored to the unique needs of public entities. Working seamlessly across offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Orange County, Temecula and the Central Coast, our dedicated team of experts provides the full scope of public law services.

Read More

Helpful links

Client Alerts

RWG consistently monitors developments that impact our private and public agency clients. Our frequent e-alerts serve to provide our unique insights into these developments.

UA-106529649-1