Mr. Petite is an Officer in the Litigation Practice Group. He represents clients in general commercial litigation, with an emphasis on intellectual property litigation (trademark, copyright, and trade secrets) and antitrust and trade regulation litigation, both public and private, primarily in the franchise, motor fuel marketing, and health care arenas.
As part of Mr. Petite’s antitrust and trade regulation litigation practice, he regularly defends claims against oil companies for alleged unlawful motor fuel pricing practices and purportedly unlawful deed restrictions or brand covenants associated with the sale of gasoline stations. Mr. Petite has also worked on matters involving claims of unlawful franchise termination, including termination of motor fuel marketing franchises.
As part of Mr. Petite’s intellectual property litigation practice, he routinely handles trademark and copyright infringement claims, and manages trademark enforcement programs for large franchisors and other trademark owners. Mr. Petite represents clients in responding to office actions by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and in litigating contested proceedings before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB), primarily with respect to issues and claims of likelihood of confusion. He also frequently litigates computer tampering claims and claims involving the enforceability of restrictive covenants, such as non-compete, non-solicitation, and confidentiality agreements that implicate employers’ interests in trade secrets or customer relationships.
Mr. Petite also frequently litigates false advertising claims and provides pre-publication review of advertising and promotional programs for compliance with the Lanham Act and various state laws, including those that prohibit lotteries. Mr. Petite also has handled right of publicity and related privacy claims in connection with advertising campaigns.
In addition, Mr. Petite has extensive experience handling constitutional questions. In successfully defending defamation and privacy claims for media organizations, brokerage firms (Form U-5 filings), health care providers (data bank reports submitted pursuant to the federal Health Care Quality Improvement Act of 1986 (HCQIA)), and other defendants, he has frequently litigated First Amendment issues. He has prosecuted First Amendment attacks on state and federal legislation. His constitutional work includes prosecuting Fifth Amendment attacks on a municipality’s exercise of the power of eminent domain, and Commerce Clause, Due Process Clause, Supremacy Clause, and Equal Protection Clause challenges to state trade regulation and merchandising practices statutes.
Similarly, Mr. Petite regularly defends both public enforcement actions and private claims under the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act and similar deceptive trade practices statutes. Such claims have included putative class actions alleging the wrongful charging of fees or surcharges by various sellers, large and small.
Mr. Petite’s litigation experience also includes defending hospitals and other health care providers in medical staff privileges litigation, which implicates federal and state antitrust law, as well as state contract law and a wide spectrum of state tort law. His work in that area has yielded significant published state and federal court decisions under the HCQIA and Missouri’s rule of non-review (by which the judiciary generally defers to the quality of care decisions of health care providers), and with respect to the enforceability of medical staff bylaws under state contract law.
Mr. Petite practices in state and federal court, before the USPTO and the TTAB, and in arbitral forums, such as the National Association of Securities Dealers. He has tried bench and jury trials, and arbitration hearings. Mr. Petite has extensive appellate experience, and in addition to briefing issues in a variety of federal and state appellate courts, including the United States Supreme Court, he has presented oral argument to the Missouri Supreme Court, the Missouri Court of Appeals and the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.
Mr. Petite is the co-author of Ride-Alongs: Scrutiny of Officers During Searches Under Attack, First Amendment and Media Litigation Newsletter, Vol. 2, No. 3 (Spring 1996), and of Chapter 14 of the Missouri Media Law Handbook, entitled Eavesdropping, Wiretapping and Hidden Cameras.
Mr. Petite is AV Preeminent Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell.
- "Brand Covenants, Rights of First Refusal, and Creative Challenges to Enforceability," Petroleum Marketing Attorneys Annual Conference, Washington, D.C., April 20, 2012.
- "Critical IP Asset Protection, Counterfeiting & Infringement," Meritas Capability Webinar Series, October 4, 2011.
- "The 2007 Petroleum Marketing Practices Act Amendment's Impact on Trademark Rights: How to deal with a station that sells renewable fuel under a different brand," Petroleum Marketing Attorneys Annual Conference, Washington, D.C., April 2009.
- Johnson v. SSM Health Care St. Louis, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12412 (E.D. Mo. January 30, 2013): Successfully defended private hospital from state law claims for injurious falsehood and tortious interference with contract and business expectancy brought by staff physician who claimed that his medical staff membership and clinical privileges were improperly terminated.
- BP Prods. N. Am., Inc. v. Stanley, 669 F.3d 184 (4th Cir. 2012): Successfully prosecuted claim to enforce brand covenants/deed restrictions critical to major oil refiner’s distribution network in Virginia.
- Self v. Equilon Enterprises, LLC. Successfully defended major oil refiner against contract and tort claims for bad faith, discriminatory and predatory pricing.
- 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 47381 (E.D. Mo. June 29, 2007);
- 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 47393, 2007-2 Trade Cas. (CCH) P75,778 (E.D. Mo. June 29, 2007);
- 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 58607 (E.D. Mo. Aug. 8, 2006);
- 2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17288; 2005-01 Trade Cas. (CCH) P74.808 (E.D. Mo. March 30, 2005)
- Missouri v. American Blast Fax, Inc., 196 F.Supp. 2d 920 (E.D. Mo. 2002). Defended a fax advertising firm from an action brought by Missouri Attorney General for alleged violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act
- Ports Petroleum, Inc. of Ohio v. Nixon, 37 S.W.3d 237 (Mo. 2001). Successfully defended petroleum marketer against Missouri Attorney General’s issuance of a Civil Investigative Demand (CID) directed at alleged violations of the Missouri Motor Fuel Marketing Act below-cost pricing prohibition.
- Misischia v. St. John’s Mercy Medical Center, 30 S.W.3d 848 (Mo.Ct.App. 2000). Successfully defended private hospital from state antitrust and related common law claims for tortious interference with contract, defamation, retaliatory discharge, malicious prosecution, abuse of process and civil conspiracy brought by staff physician who claimed that his medical staff privileges and employment contract were improperly terminated.
- Sugarbaker v. SSM Health Care, 187 F.3d 853 (8th Cir. 1999). Successfully defended private hospital from federal antitrust and related state law claims for breach of contract, tortious interference with contract, defamation, and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress brought by staff physician who claimed that his medical staff privileges were improperly restricted and later terminated.
- Sugarbaker v. SSM Health Care, 946 S.W.2d 280 (Mo.Ct.App. 1997). Successfully defended private hospital against claim by staff physician seeking to enjoin hospital from reporting peer review action to National Practitioner Data Bank.
- Parker v. Boyer, 93 F.3d 445 (8th Cir. 1996). Successfully defended local television station against claims brought by subjects of breaking news story for alleged civil rights violations and related state law claims of invasion of privacy.
- SSM Health Care, Inc. v. Deen, 890 S.W.2d 343 (Mo.Ct.App. 1994). Successfully prosecuted contract claims against, and defended counterclaims for tortious interference with contract brought by, former physician employee.
- Laser Light Technologies, Inc. v. Brick Markers, Inc., 200 F. Supp. 2d 1093 (E.D. Mo. 2001). Successfully prosecuted patent infringement claim for laser marking company.