John Poulos is an equity partner in the Sacramento office of Lewis Brisbois and is co-chair of the Complex Business & Commercial Litigation Practice where he focuses exclusively on commercial litigation. He is also vice-chair of Lewis Brisbois’ Banking & Finance Practice and serves on The Firm's Executive Management Committee, and vice-chair of the Directors & Officers and Securities Litigation Practice.
Mr. Poulos is an experienced federal and state court trial lawyer with more than two decades of experience handling complex business litigation matters. Mr. Poulos has extensive appellate and jury trial experience which includes holding a spot in California’s top ten trial victories of 2009. Mr. Poulos also recently secured one of the few class action defense verdicts in California’s history.
Mr. Poulos' practice spans a multitude of subject matter areas including class actions, complex real estate matters, construction disputes, breach of contract, employment decimation, fraud and a wide variety of other commercial business disputes. Mr. Poulos has many years of experience representing owners, contractors, subcontractors, lenders and material suppliers in both public and private works construction disputes and has prosecuted and defended False Claims Act claims. He also has experience prosecuting and defending mechanics' liens, stop notices, performance and payment bond claims, and construction defect claims. Mr. Poulos has represented design professionals and contractors regarding state licensing issues and has extensive experience representing developers, title insurance companies, builders, lenders and property owners in a variety of real estate disputes, including government investigations, disputes as to title, lien priority, breach of contract, development rights and real estate related torts, including significant mold-related claims and property contamination matters. Mr. Poulos has experience litigating claims under CERCLA, RCRA, the Clean Water Act, California's Endangered Species Act and various other state environmental statutes.
Finally, Mr. Poulos has significant experience handling binding arbitrations and has successfully resolved many complex disputes through other alternative dispute resolution processes, including early neutral evaluation programs and mediation.
Mr. Poulos has been named one of Northern California’s Super Lawyers for many years running and is consistently recognized as a top California trial lawyer from various peer and industry organizations. Mr. Poulos was a law clerk to Justices Edmund Burke, Alexander Bryner and Robert Eastaugh of the Alaska Supreme Court. Mr. Poulos is a former Trustee of the Davis Joint Unified School District.
Mr. Poulos has represented Sacramento Municipal Utility District on virtually every conceivable litigation event surrounding power generation, including vegetation management, property damage caused by fire, explosion, and inverse condemnation. John is familiar with the current or former Calpine facilities at Pastoria, the Delta Energy Center and The Greenleaf 2 Biomass facility and Yuba City. John also has significant experience with refinery and other downstream fires for facilities in Deadhorse Alaska, the San Francisco Bay Area, Texas and the Gulf Coast.
Primary Area(s) of Practice
- Banking & Finance
- Complex Business & Commercial Litigation
- Wage & Hour Class Actions
- Class Action & Mass Tort
- Italy Practice
- Directors & Officers and Securities Litigation
- COVID-19: Commercial & Contractual Litigation Disputes
Supreme Court of the United States
Awards & Honors
- America’s Top 100 Bet-The Company Litigators Northern California 2019
- Ranked as Northern California Super Lawyers, 2005, 2011- 2019, Business Litigation
- Named to the 2019 list of “America’s Top 100 High Stakes Litigators for Northern California”
- Certified as being selected as a Charter Fellow of the Construction Lawyers Society of America
- Selected by Peer Recognition in The Best Lawyers in America, 2015, 2018, 2019
- Selected by Peer Recognition as Best Lawyers in Northern California, Wall Street Journal, 2018
- Recognized in Top Lawyers, Sacramento Magazine, 2016—2018
- Selected for inclusion in Best of the Bar, Sacramento Business Journal, 2015
- Selected for inclusion in Northern California's Super Lawyers, San Francisco Magazine, 2013–2015, 2019, 2020.
- Recognized by Best Lawyers as Top Attorneys in Northern California, 2013, 2018, 2019
- Recognized by Best Lawyers as Top Attorney in Construction Law and Real Estate Law
University of California, Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law
Juris Doctor, 1991
Claremont McKenna College
Bachelor of Arts, 1987
Trustee of the Davis Joint Unified School District (2000-2003)
- Verizon v. Airtouch - Third District Court of Appeal
- American Nurses Association v. O'Connell - Third District Court of Appeal
- Premier Medical v. CNA Insurance - Fourth District Court of Appeal
- Health Net v. Haukedelin - Third District Court of Appeal
- Kern County Water Agency, et al. v. California Department Water Resources - Fourth District Court of Appeal
- American Nurses Association v. Torlakson – Third District Court of Appeal
- Supreme Court Settles Jurisdiction Question Under Telephone Consumer Protection Act, Authors: Andrew D. Bluth, Lauren Lynch Flick, John S. Poulos, 1/19/2012
- Nonprofit Defends Purchase Deals for City of Los Angeles, Authors: Deborah B. Baum, Andrew D. Bluth, Alvin Dunn, John S. Poulos, Chris R. Rodriguez, 4/25/2008
- Pillsbury Winthrop on Affordable Housing 2003 Issue, Authors: Rachel B. Horsch, Michael Ouimette, John S. Poulos, Matthew Africa, Jason A. Hobson, Tuan A. Pham, Monique L.C. Wright, Paul R. Schrecongost, Gary Downs, 2/18/2003