Kosta is a seasoned trial lawyer and strategist who has tried more than a dozen complex cases to verdict. As a Partner with Wilkinson Stekloff, he has played a key role in many of the firm’s matters, including serving as lead trial counsel for the NCAA in a high-profile defamation jury trial; serving as trial counsel for Facebook in a $6 billion intellectual property trial; serving as trial counsel for a former pharmaceutical executive in a nationally reported healthcare fraud trial; and defending a sitting federal judge in mandamus proceedings in the D.C. Circuit. He has also represented several Fortune 50 companies in high-stakes disputes and governmental investigations that have not become public.
Kosta’s current matters include multiple high-profile investigations by federal antitrust regulators, defense of one of the largest beef producers in the United States in a series of civil antitrust cases alleging a conspiracy to constrain output and raise profits, and defense of a pharmaceutical company against criminal antitrust charges. Kosta has also led representations in other substantive areas of law, including commercial disputes, environmental enforcement, intellectual property, and white-collar crime. While the goal in every case is to win before or at trial, Kosta also has a record of success in post-trial proceedings, including defeating attempted recoveries from his clients in the amount of several hundred million dollars.
Before joining the firm, Kosta served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia, where he successfully prosecuted fraud, public corruption, and intellectual property crimes on a national and international level. Kosta began his legal career by clerking for the Honorable John G. Roberts, Jr. on the Supreme Court and the D.C. Circuit.
Kosta has received numerous awards in private practice, including being recognized as one of the 500 “Leading Lawyers” and “Leading Litigators” in America (Lawdragon, 2019-2023), as a “Future Star” (Benchmark, 2021-2023) and member of the “40 & Under Hotlist” (Benchmark 2018-2019), as a “Rising Star” for “Trials” (Law360, 2018), and as a “DC Rising Star” (National Law Journal, 2017). He previously received awards for his work as a prosecutor, including a Department of Justice Director’s Award and an Assistant Attorney General’s Award.
- Undergraduate: St. Mary’s College of Maryland, B.A.; Valedictorian; Phi Beta Kappa; Honors Program
- Law: University of Virginia School of Law, J.D.; Articles Editor, Law Review; Dillard Scholar; Order of the Coif
- The Honorable John G. Roberts, Jr., Chief Justice, Supreme Court of the United States (2005 - 2006)
- The Honorable John G. Roberts, Jr., United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit (2004 - 2005)
- Lead trial counsel in Todd McNair v. NCAA. Obtained a defense jury verdict in state court in Los Angeles. McNair, a former USC assistant football coach, was implicated by the NCAA in the Reggie Bush benefits scandal. He sued the NCAA for defamation. Wilkinson Stekloff took over the representation after the NCAA had lost three pre-trial appeals, including on the issue of McNair’s ability to show falsity and malice. At trial, Kosta and his team persuaded the jury to reject McNair’s claims and find that none of the NCAA’s statements was false. Trial judge Frederick Shaller called the advocacy in the case “the best I’ve seen since I’ve been a judge.” After further proceedings, the matter resolved successfully.
- Trial counsel in ZeniMax Media et al. v Oculus VR et al., on behalf of Facebook, Oculus VR, and individual defendants in a federal jury trial in Dallas, Texas. Plaintiffs sought $6 billion in damages based on alleged use of their intellectual property. Kosta developed the case strategy and conducted witness examinations at trial. He helped obtain a defense verdict for Facebook and a partial defense verdict for the remaining defendants. He also led post-trial briefing, where he persuaded the court to sanction plaintiffs for withholding evidence and prevented them from recovering $40 million in attorneys’ fees.
- Trial counsel in a nationally reported criminal case about an opioid pain medicine. Kosta represented the lead defendant, a former pharmaceutical executive, in a four-month jury trial, including cross-examining dozens of government witnesses at trial and handling most of the legal arguments. Kosta also led post-trial briefing and argument, where he persuaded the trial court to throw out the lead charges in the case and to reject over $300 million in financial penalties sought by the government.
- Counsel for District Judge Emmet Sullivan in mandamus proceedings before the D.C. Circuit arising out of the criminal case against former White House National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. After the Department of Justice sought to dismiss Flynn’s guilty plea and conviction, Wilkinson Stekloff was hired to defend Judge Sullivan against an effort to prematurely terminate the case. The D.C. Circuit ultimately ruled in a bipartisan, 9-2 decision that the case should be reinstated and returned to Judge Sullivan.
- Represented the Executive Council of the Habematolel Pomo of Upper Lake in Hengle v. Asner, a consumer class action filed in the Eastern District of Virginia in April 2019. After motions practice resulted in Plaintiffs dropping all claims for money damages against the Tribe’s economic development arms and the dismissal of Plaintiffs’ injunctive relief claim under RICO, the parties reached a nationwide class action settlement in which the Tribe paid $0 into the settlement fund and $0 in attorneys’ fees.
- Obtained a complete dismissal under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of a putative securities fraud class action in Amalgamated Bank et al. v. Maximus, Inc. et al., in the Eastern District of Virginia. The victory was affirmed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
- Lead prosecutor in United States v. Kolon Industries, a novel prosecution of a foreign conglomerate for conspiring to steal trade secrets from DuPont. Opposite a team of law firms, including a former U.S. Solicitor General, Kosta succeeded in forcing the foreign conglomerate to appear in court in the United States, and obtained a conviction and payment of $360 million in restitution and fines. As reported in The American Lawyer, the case was “a historic first.”
- As a prosecutor, obtained convictions at trial in large-scale identify theft, bank fraud, diplomatic immunity fraud, mortgage fraud, and entitlement fraud cases. Also obtained bribery convictions of a Pentagon official and an Army serviceman based in Afghanistan, and a series of convictions that helped shut down a market manipulation brokerage in Costa Rica and a tax haven in the Cayman Islands.
- Successful defense of Cinergy (now a part of Duke Energy) in three Clean Air Act trials opposite the Department of Justice. Conducted direct and cross-examinations at trial as a law firm associate. The client prevailed on 44 out of 50 claims at the trial level, with additional claims won on appeal.