Peter E. Ball

Peter E. Ball

Boston, Massachusetts

"Trust is the essential element in an attorney's work. Clients have to trust not only that you understand their case backwards and forwards, but also that you are willing and able to defend them no matter how rough the going gets."

Peter Ball joined Fitch Law Partners LLP in 2002 after spending the previous 12 years at Hill & Barlow, the last eight as a Member of the firm. A former Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Eastern District of New York, Peter concentrates his practice in the representation of clients in white-collar criminal matters, government investigations and complex civil litigation.

In multiple years, Peter has been named as one of the Top 100 Massachusetts Super Lawyers in the ranking published by Law & Politics in Boston Magazine. He has also been listed in multiple years in Best Lawyers®, a highly esteemed, national peer review guide of attorneys.

Peter has tried more than 30 cases, principally jury trials, in Massachusetts, New York, New Hampshire and Florida federal courts and Massachusetts state courts. He has represented corporations and individuals in government investigations of alleged bank fraud, mail and wire fraud, health care fraud, bankruptcy fraud, government procurement fraud and public corruption. Peter has also represented clients in cases involving allegations of criminal violations of the tax, environmental, securities, labor, debt-collection, campaign-finance and antitrust laws. Peter's civil litigation practice has included a focus on business disputes, often those involving allegations of fraud, unfair business practices or civil RICO; non-competition cases; and probate litigation. His appellate work has included arguing criminal and civil appeals and receiving reported decisions from the U.S. Courts of Appeals for three different federal circuits and the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. Included among Peter's reported cases are: Watson v. Baker, 44 Mass. 487 (2005); North Bridge Assocs., Inc. v. Boldt, 274 F.3d 38 (1st Cir. 2001); Dukakis v. Fed. Election Comm'n, 53 F.3d 361 (D.C. Cir. 1995); and U.S. v. Butt, 955 F.2d 77 (1st Cir. 1992).

Peter has frequently appeared on bar association and other panels, presenting on criminal and civil litigation topics. He has been a guest commentator on television and has published articles in publications as diverse as Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, The Boston Bar Journal, Commonweal, and International Company and Commercial Law Review.

Peter graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Brown University in 1981. He received his J.D. from Columbia University Law School in 1985, where he was Executive Editor of the Columbia Journal of Law and Social Problems. Following law school, Peter served as a law clerk to the Hon. Leonard B. Sand, United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York. Peter is currently a member of the Board of Editors of the Boston Bar Journal, which is published by the Boston Bar Association. He was formerly a member of the Steering Committee of the Boston Bar Association's Criminal Section, and he has served as a member of the Criminal Justice Act panel, receiving appointments to represent indigent defendants in federal criminal cases. Peter has also served as a member of a Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education curriculum committee. Peter has long been active in Columbia Law School alumni affairs, having served as President of the Columbia Law School Alumni Association of Boston, Vice President of the national Columbia Law School Alumni Association and a member of Columbia Law School reunion committees.

Representative Engagements

White-Collar, Government Investigations and Criminal Matters

• Represented major national corporation with operations throughout the country in criminal investigation by the State Attorney General and the Massachusetts Department of Revenue into allegations that client underpaid state income taxes.  Obtained a declination of prosecution.

• Represented leading national architectural firm in investigation conducted by U.S. Attorney’s Office into alleged health-care fraud arising from a major hospital renovation.  Obtained a resolution in which the client made an administrative payment, but no criminal or civil charges were brought against client, and the client made no admission of wrongdoing.

• Represented leading national manufacturer of certain construction product in Justice Department Antitrust Division investigation into alleged bid-rigging.  Obtained a declination of prosecution.

• Represented architectural firm in separate investigations by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Government Services Administration that arose out of the awarding of a federal courthouse-design contract to the architectural firm.  The investigation concluded with a finding that there was no impropriety in the award, and the client retained the contract.

• Represented a high-ranking member of the state legislature who was investigated in connection with a major multi-year corruption probe by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.  No charges were brought against the client.

• Represented a corporation’s president and sole owner who received a target letter from the U.S. Attorney’s Office stating that he was being investigated for environmental crimes and for obstruction of justice.  Obtained a resolution whereby the corporation pled guilty to a misdemeanor and no action was taken against the owner.

• Represented a bank president in Securities & Exchange Commission Investigation into allegations that client had provided inside information to purchasers of the bank’s stock.  Obtained a declination of prosecution by the SEC.

• Represented the vice president of worldwide sales of a software company in a Securities & Exchange Commission investigation in which the client had received a “Wells Notice” stating that the SEC staff would recommend to the Commission that the client be charged with revenue-recognition violations.  The case was also being investigated by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for potential criminal action.  Obtained a declination of prosecution by the SEC, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office also took no action.

• Represented senior state-government official who received a Notice from the State Ethics Commission that it was conducting a “Preliminary Inquiry” into conflict-of-interest allegations.  Obtained a declination of prosecution.

• Represented a bank president who received a Notice from the State Ethics Commission that it was conducting a “Preliminary Inquiry” into whether the president had arranged for a favorable loan for a state official.  Obtained a declination of prosecution.

• Represented a jeweler in a federal criminal trial on charges that he knowingly received more than $1 million in stolen jewelry.  Obtained acquittal of the client at trial.

• Represented (as part of trial team) the head of the New Hampshire loan office of a national bank on federal charges of bank fraud.  Obtained acquittal of the client at trial.

• Represented a housing police officer in state court on charges of assault with a dangerous weapon and illegally carrying a firearm onto a college campus.  Obtained dismissal of the firearms charge over objection of the Commonwealth.  Obtained acquittal of client at trial on assault charge.

• Represented a client charged in state court with assault with a dangerous weapon and two counts of improperly storing a firearm. Obtained pre-trial dismissal of one of the firearms counts over the objection of the Commonwealth. At trial, obtained acquittal of client on the remaining counts.

• Represented a client charged in federal court with defrauding investors out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.  Trial resulted in a hung jury.

• Represented physician charged in state court with credit card fraud. Persuaded the Commonwealth to drop all charges on the day of trial.

• Represented a client who was charged with assault and battery when he physically blocked his daughter from leaving the house.  Persuaded the District Attorney’s Office to dismiss the charges after presenting the DA’s Office with evidence that the daughter was psychologically troubled and that the client was afraid that she would harm herself if she left the home.

• Represented in-house lawyer in investigation by U.S. Attorney’s Office and Justice Department into allegations that false statements were made to government regulators.  Client was not charged.

• Represented numerous employees from a total of four different companies in connection with multiple federal and state investigations into the Big Dig.  No clients were ever charged or subject to civil action.

• Represented client who was being investigated for Campaign Finance Act violations for allegedly reimbursing employees he supervised for contributions the client had induced the employees to make to a political campaign.  Negotiated a misdemeanor federal guilty plea involving no term of incarceration.

• Represented nurse who allegedly assisted in preparing false records to support Medicaid billing.  Obtained immunity for nurse, and no charges were brought against her.

• Represented college student charged with possessing oxycontin with intent to distribute (in a quantity sufficient to trigger a mandatory minimum prison sentence of several years) and illegal possession of a firearm.  Obtained a Continuance Without a Finding on all charges whereby client avoided a guilty finding and a criminal record.  Subsequently negotiated terms with college Dean of Students by which client would be allowed to re-enroll.

• Represented numerous individual and corporate victims and witnesses in connection with various government investigations.

• Represented numerous college students in academic and non-academic disciplinary proceedings. 

Civil Litigation

• Represented limited partner in dispute with general partner over partnership distribution resulting from sale of the partnership’s major asset, a large commercial property.  Obtained $23 million summary judgment award for client.

• Represented professional trustee in successful declaratory judgment action in which Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court upheld client’s position regarding the constitutionality of a state statute regarding the interpretation of trusts and wills.

• Represented not-for-profit foundation that was beneficiary of a $20-million estate in complex will-contest action involving dozens of parties.  Case settled with client receiving large bequest.

• Represented major national broker of computer parts in multiple litigations to enforce the company’s non-compete agreements.  Obtained preliminary injunctions and, in one case, obtained dismissal of complaint seeking declaratory judgment that non-compete agreement could not be enforced against particular former employee.

• Represented defendant in civil RICO action in which plaintiff alleged multi-million dollar “land fraud”.  Obtained dismissal of the complaint with prejudice in the federal district court, which ruling was upheld by the First Circuit Court of Appeals.

• Represented partner in development of property who was sued by former partner, who had abandoned project when it appeared unprofitable, but who re-emerged after the property was sold for substantial profit.  Obtained summary judgment in client’s favor on grounds that the former partner had previously filed for bankruptcy, but had not declared his interest in the partnership as an asset.

• Represented national corporation that provides back-office services and financing to dental practices that was sued for allegedly tortiously interfering with the sale of a dental practice.  Obtained summary judgment in client’s favor on all counts.

• Represented company that provides billing services to medical practices in lawsuit by competitor alleging that the client tortiously interfered with the competitor's contract with a particular medical practice. Successfully moved to dismiss the complaint.

• Represented developer in suit brought by fellow business venturer who claimed he was owed money.  Obtained favorable judgment at trial.

• Represented member and manager of limited liability company in lawsuit brought by fellow 50% member.  Settled case with client buying out and obtaining non-compete agreement from the other party.

• Represented corporation that developed educational software and which was sued by co-developers of a particular software program.  Case settled on favorable terms in which client made no payment of money to co-developer.

• Represented renowned scientist who was sued by co-author of a book that was rejected for publishing.  Co-author voluntarily dismissed complaint after the filing of motions to dismiss.

• Represented board of large condominium complex in dispute with former trustee and with construction manager over allegations that the former trustee and construction manager had conspired to defraud the condominium in connection with major renovation of the complex.  Case settled with both defendants on favorable terms.

• Represented several video-rental stores in pro bono civil rights and First Amendment lawsuit against municipality that threatened clients with criminal prosecution for renting adult videotapes.  After three days of trial, defendant settled by agreeing to make no further threats against clients and taking necessary action to have dismissed the one criminal prosecution that had already been initiated.

• Represented major national company that provides lease financing to medical professionals in multiple disputes with its customers.

• Represented multiple clients in lawsuits brought pursuant to Mass. General Laws chapter 21E alleging the clients had contaminated neighboring properties with pollutants.

• Served as pro bono Special Assistant Attorney General in complex case brought against the owner of one of the largest mobile home parks in the state, alleging multiple abuses, including improperly noticing the closure of the park and improperly prohibiting the tenants from purchasing propane from suppliers of their choice.  After more than eight years of litigation and a successful partial summary judgment motion, the case settled on favorable terms, including a monetary settlement, the withdrawal of the notice of closure and with tenants free to purchase propane from whichever supplier they chose.

• Represented commercial landlords, including shopping mall, and commercial tenants in numerous lease disputes.

• Represented Governor Michael Dukakis and the Dukakis for President Committee in a successful federal appeal of the Federal Election Commission’s decision that the Governor and the Committee had to repay some of the federal matching funds they had received in connection with the 1988 presidential election.

• Represented (as part of the trial team) a light bulb manufacturer in a fraud and Civil RICO suit against a distributor.  Obtained a substantial judgment at trial, which judgment was upheld on appeal.

• Represented a municipality in litigation against the bond provider for the general contractor that had built a new high school.  After filing suit, the municipality settled on favorable terms.

• Second chaired the special prosecutor appointed by a state House of Representatives to conduct the impeachment trial of the chief justice of the state’s Supreme Court.  In televised trial held before state Senate, conducted witness examinations of, among others, a sitting state Supreme Court justice, a superior court judge, the chief judge of the state’s district court system and the general counsel of the state’s Judicial Conduct Committee.