Kosta is an experienced trial lawyer with a record of success in civil and criminal cases. He has tried one case per year, on average, for more than a decade. As a partner with Wilkinson Stekloff, he led a trial team that obtained a defense jury verdict for the NCAA in a highly publicized defamation case. He also represented Facebook in a $6 billion intellectual property trial, and a former pharmaceutical executive in a four-month criminal trial. Before joining the firm, he was an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia, where he prosecuted fraud, public corruption, and intellectual property crimes. Kosta began his legal career by clerking for the Honorable John G. Roberts, Jr. on the Supreme Court and the D.C. Circuit.
Kosta was named a leading lawyer in America (Lawdragon, 2019-20), a “Rising Star” for Trials (Law360, 2018), a member of the “40 and Under Hot List” (Benchmark Litigation, 2018-19), and a “DC Rising Star” (National Law Journal, 2017). He also received awards for his work as a prosecutor, including a Department of Justice Director’s Award and an Assistant Attorney General’s Award.
In 2019, Kosta was appointed by Chief Justice Roberts to serve on the U.S. Judicial Conference Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure.
- 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 (2005-06)
- The Honorable John G. Roberts, Jr., United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit (2004-05)
- 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 and accused it of ending his coaching career. 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. After the jury verdict, trial judge Frederick Shaller called the advocacy in the case “the best I’ve seen since I’ve been a judge.”
- 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 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. He then led post-trial briefing and argument, where he persuaded the court to throw out the lead charges in the case and to reject over $300 million in financial penalties sought by the government. Further proceedings are pending.
- 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.
Clients & Industries
Kosta has tried a variety of cases, including defamation, environmental law, intellectual property, and white-collar crime. He played a key role in two leading trade secrets cases, obtaining criminal convictions and $360 million in financial penalties related to the theft of DuPont’s Kevlar® fiber technology, and defending Facebook in a high-profile jury trial about virtual reality technology. He also has experience in sports law, including first-chairing a jury trial win for the NCAA. His current clients include a former pharmaceutical executive in a healthcare fraud trial and related proceedings, Bayer in coordinated judicial proceedings related to Essure® birth control, and the officers and economic development arms of the Habematolel Pomo of Upper Lake in a putative federal consumer class action.