John J. O'Brien Headshot

John J. O’Brien

Senior Associate

Mr. O’Brien is an attorney in the San Diego office of Johnson Fistel.  Mr. O’Brien’s extensive experience in complex business litigation and trial work is exemplified by his spearheading the widely publicized fraud and Bus. & Prof. § 17200 mass tort case, Jane Does No. 1–22 v. GirlsDoPorn.com, et al.  (Cal. Super. Ct. San Diego County, Case No. 2016-19027.)  After initiating the case with a single plaintiff against the online pornography enterprise, the representation grew to 22 plaintiffs, all of whom were young women represented on a contingency fee basis.  After over 3 years of litigation, opposing over 100 motions, filing over 30 motions, and taking depositions throughout the country, the case culminated in a 99-day bench trial, with 57 witnesses and over 3,000 exhibits.  At trial, which Mr. O’Brien co-chaired, the court awarded the clients approximately $13,000,000 in damages, voided the purported release agreements and copyrights, and issued a mandatory injunction against the defendants.  The court also found all 11 defendants jointly and severally liable as alter egos, co-conspirators, and agents.  During the trial, following the defendants’ and their employees’ testimony on the stand, the Department of Justice indicted all of the individual defendants, and several of the employees, for sex trafficking and other crimes. (USA v. Pratt, et al., No. 3:19-cr-04488, S.D. CA.)  Two of the defendants are now in federal prison awaiting trial and one remains a fugitive.

Prior to joining Johnson Fistel, Mr. O’Brien successfully owned and operated a private law practice for more than 10 years, focused on plaintiff commercial litigation, including business fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, unfair competition, misappropriation of trade secrets, misappropriation of name and likeness, breach of contract, alter ego claims, and real estate fraud litigation.  For his clients, Mr. O’Brien has prevailed in several business litigation trials and arbitrations.

Areas of Practice:  Mr. O’Brien concentrates his practice on complex commercial disputes, including consumer protection class actions and securities fraud class actions, representing businesses and individuals harmed by the fraudulent or wrongful acts of others.  He has extensive experience in all aspects of pre-trial practice, mediation, and trial work.

Professional Qualifications: Mr. O’Brien was admitted to the State Bar of California in 2007 and is admitted to practice in all courts in the State of California and The United States District Court for the Southern and Northern Districts of California.

Education and Awards:  Mr. O’Brien graduated from Boston College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics.  He received his Juris Doctor degree from California Western School of Law, where he was on the Dean’s List and Moot Court Honor’s Board.  While in law school, Mr. O’Brien clerked for the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California.

In 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020, Mr. O’Brien was recognized as a Super Lawyers Rising Star in business litigation, an award only bestowed to the top 5% of attorneys in San Diego.

Community Activities:  Mr. O’Brien is President of the Irish American Bar Association of San Diego, a member of Consumer Attorneys of San Diego, a member of the San Diego County Bar Association, a member of the Association of Business Trial Lawyers, a member of the Welsh Inn of Court, captain of his adult ice hockey team, and a member of the San Diego Yacht Club.