David Boies: 15 Bananas Cases From The 'Dropout' Lawyer We Didn't Know About
If you’ve seen The Dropout, you surely remember David Boies, the weasley Theranos lawyer played by the dad from That ‘70s Show. Boies is not only a real person but, if high-profile cases were movie roles, he’d be Matthew McConaghey, representing everyone from tech companies to sports franchises to Jeffrey Epstein’s accusers to Big Tobacco.
Of course, Boies is best known these days as a lawyer for doomed health startup Theranos, on whose behalf he sued Richard Fuisz’s forehead and intimidated the people trying to expose the company for using little more than a shape sorter with a fancy label to diagnose life-threatening illnesses.
Before that, he represented another Dropout co-star, Larry Ellison’s Oracle Corporation, when they accused Google of ripping off their patents in the development of the Android operating system. They lost, but the judge remarked that it was the longest civil trial he’d ever endured, so at least he racked up the legal fees.
Way before that, Boies represented Napster in the landmark 2000 case that decided whether what the company was doing was super illegal or only kind of illegal. The judge decided the latter, which is why you have to sit through ads for mattresses between your 16th and 17th listens of “Call Me Maybe” every day.
United States v. Microsoft
Boies even represented the federal justice department when they took on Microsoft in 2000 for violating antitrust laws, becoming known as “the man who ate Microsoft” and finally scoring a win for the, uh, little guys?
Boies probably caught the government’s attention when he won a similar case against IBM years before, except he was on IBM’s side. You know what they say: If you can’t beat ‘em, pay ‘em buttloads of money.
The NFL and NBA Lockouts
In the 2010s, Boies switched from nerds to jocks to defend the NFL during its lockout … then joined his opposition to defend the players of the NBA during their own lockout just a few months later. He must not be a Jordan fan.
Boies’s devotion to the NFL is so great that he took a Theranos break in 2017 to advise Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones on how best to hit back at commissioner Roger Goodell for “overcorrecting” on the punishment of a player suspected of domestic violence. Because if there’s anything the NFL needs, it’s fewer consequences.
Boies even got involved, unusually for a fancy corporate lawyer, in the divorce of LA Dodgers owner Frank McCourt -- by representing his wife. She later served as an ambassador under the Trump administration, but we’re all out of red string, so that’s a whole thing we can’t even get into.
But one of the most eyebrow-raising clients of Boies’s was Harvey Weinstein, who hired Boies in 2015 to represent him in contract negotiations with his company. You might assume Boies didn’t know about the scandal that punched Weinstein in the dick a few years later, but he was the one who called “nuh uh” when Bob Weinstein claimed the same thing.
Jeffrey Epstein’s Victims
Considering his professional history with one of women’s biggest bads, you might be surprised to learn that Boies also represented several of the biggest bad’s accusers. He in turn was accused of squirreling away evidence for blackmail purposes, and though he denied it, it would make a pretty good vigilante movie.
In 2007, Boies defended the documentary filmmaker against charges by the U.S. Treasury that he’d violated the trade embargo with Cuba during the filming of his takedown of the American healthcare system, Sicko … by ferrying sick 9/11 rescue workers to the country for treatment they couldn’t afford at home. It’s rare there’s such a clear villain in these kinds of stories, but then again, Harvey Weinstein was involved in this one, too.
Boies did play a critical role in overturning California’s Prop 8, though, paving the way for legal gay marriage across the country, so that’s gotta be worth some Good Place points.
On the other hand, Boies also represented not one, not two, but three tobacco companies, not against vague charges of getting people addicted to their own death but responsibility for the very real death of a specific person. He lost, in a verdict that made it easier for people harmed by tobacco companies to get compensation, but still. That’s the evilest thing we can think of.
Electoral College Reform
In 2018, apropos of nothing in particular, Boies joined forces with a former fringe presidential candidate and a voting equality group to file a series of lawsuits challenging the electoral college. Not to get rid of it, mind you, just change the way each state distributes its electoral votes in an even more confusing way. Pretty much all of them were dismissed immediately.
Bush v. Gore
Boies has some understandable beef with the electoral college. He represented Vice President Al Gore in the legal fight over the 2000 presidential election (against a lawyer he later heartwarmingly teamed up with against Prop 8), so if you didn’t love how that went, blame him.
Top image: The Walt Disney Company