Over the decades, our firm has represented clients in thousands of cases in myriad situations. We find our prospective clients like a general idea of the type of work we have done.
Our firm does handle “big cases” such as appearing before the United States Supreme Court on the constitutionality of Mechanics Lien laws or arguing in the California Court of Appeals on enforceability of arbitration clauses in contracts. We have and do represent large clients, ranging from the Ukrainian government seeking to recover funds allegedly embezzled by its former premier to the Japanese giant NEC which was accused of unfair business practices. But, by far our typical case will involve companies and families engaged in the day to day work of enforcing contracts, seeking payment of debts, perfecting and protecting trade marks, buying or selling real estate or businesses, starting businesses, or creating estate plans that will work for generations.
Or, as one of our partners said two decades ago, “We should be here to tell them how to draft the documents and help make the decisions to avoid fights…but to win the fights that cannot be avoided.”
The cases below are typical of our practice since 1939. They are neither the largest nor the smallest cases, but should demonstrate the work we often perform. The cases are taken at random and do not represent all the fields in which we practice.
Following are some representative case
Represented a distributor claiming a manufacturer improperly invaded distributor’s exclusive territory and sold directly to its customers. Six day arbitration in Los Angeles. Verdict for distributor for full amount claimed plus all attorneys fees and costs incurred. Manufacturer paid judgment in full over the next year. 1989
Represented manufacturer against a distributor located in Spain and Belgium who had secretly started a competing business to manufacture competing products in violation of its fiduciary duty. Actions filed in New Jersey, Brussels and Madrid. Judgment achieved in all jurisdictions, distributor driven out of business, then disappeared when Belgian tax police raided his home. Distributor reappeared ten years later in Thailand engaged in a different business. 1997
Represented manufacturer against a Spanish distributor who was counterfeiting products. Judgment achieved and arrest warrant issued against distributor. Spanish police raided and confiscated all inventory. Trade marks and trade name reclaimed. Distributor disappeared to avoid arrest, later rumored to be in business in Cuba. 1999
Represented a fifty percent owner of a business who discovered his co owner was seeking to seize company customers and begin his own business and was already in the process of opening the new business. Litigation for breach of duty and seizure of corporate opportunity was commenced. Case settled before trial with our client selling his interest in the business for full market value of both businesses. 2007
Represented a company that was the victim of trade libel promulgated by its competitor claiming unsafe products. Opponent driven out of business before trial. 1976
Represented business whose chief executive officer left and began its own business taking proprietary software, numerous customers and employees in violation of employment agreement and buy and sell agreement. Four day arbitration and full judgment plus attorneys fees and costs awarded to our client. 1987
Breach of contract claim against buyer of goods (electrical materials) from our client with customer failing to pay. Corporate defendant filed bankruptcy. We proceeded on the guaranty of the owners for the purchase of the goods. The guaranty had an arbitration clause. Two day arbitration resulting in judgment and writs of execution issues seizing bank accounts of individual defendants. Sums collected approximately six months later. 2003
Enforcement of Mechanics Lien and Stop Notice challenged by opposing party who claimed the Mechanics Lien statute was unconstitutional. Case eventually was heard in the United States Supreme Court which rule in favor of our client upholding the constitutionality of Mechanics Liens and Stop Notices. 1976
Partition Action to force sale of property with our firm representing family members who wished the property sold, claiming that the other owner occupiers were not caring for the property or sharing it appropriately. Property sold via settlement two months prior to trial. 2006
Breach of employment agreement and violation of fiduciary duty filed by our corporate client against former key executive who began his business in secret and was discovered to have wrongfully utilized corporate assets, thus the case expanded into embezzlement claims. Judgment obtained, criminal proceedings begun by state district attorney but settled after our case settled. 1987
Embezzlement charged by our client against former bookkeeper who had successfully stolen over three hundred thousand dollars over a six year period. Judgment achieved, DA began actions, defendant disappeared leaving behind real estate that was attached and sold. 1975
Trust litigation with our Trustee client defending against efforts to overturn trust and against claims of breach of fiduciary duty. Case settled two months before trial, all claims dismissed. 2005
Trust litigation with our firm representing heirs who claimed that property in the Trust had been wrongfully converted by Trustee into her own name. Five day trail with Trustee, before verdict, but after testimony and comments of judge, transferring all property back and paying costs of litigation and resigning from post as Trustee. 1986
Claimed breach of construction contract with our client subcontractor being accused of shoddy work and failure to abide by change order procedures. Five day arbitration and judgment for our client in full plus attorneys fees. Related actions for stop notice and mechanics liens. 2007
Insurance litigation against insurer who refused to cover extensive water damage when HVAC failed. 1996
Fraud alleged against other party in real estate purchase contract resulting in rescission of contract and payment of damages. 1999
Suit alleging infringement of trade mark and logo of our client whose designs were stolen and manufactured in China for importation into the United States. Action filed and consent decree entered against the infringer. 2004
Adverse possession claim prosecuted to success for our client regarding fence line and local ordinances. 1991
Prescriptive easement claim for access road in rural county tried to successful conclusion for our client. 2007
Defended a client national distributor of refurbished materials against claim of manufacturer for violation of the Lanham Act. Defense successful with manufacturer abandoning all claims. 1995
REAL PROPERTY TRANSACTIONS
Drafting, negotiating and implementation of real estate development contract representing developer and involving construction of fourteen commercial buildings with related lofts. 2000
Drafting, negotiating and counseling for numerous Tenancy in Common Agreements for multi unit residential premises. 2000-8
Commercial lease for business requiring extensive installation of fixtures involved in restaurant business. 2007
Sale of commercial space representing owner landlord. 2004
Purchase of commercial space representing buyer. 2007
Joint venture creation for development of residential real estate construction. 2004
Joint venture creation for development of commercial real estate construction. 2006
Construction contract negotiated for multi million dollar residence. 1994
Engineering form contract created for engineer client. 2002
Asbestos removal litigation defended for our asbestos contractor client. 2001
Defense against stop notice and mechanics lien claim filed against our owner client for installation of materials.2000
Sale of hotel and attached restaurant to large multi national chain on behalf of our Chinese clients. 2003
Creation of family partnership agreement for multi generational family business that wished to develop numerous parcels. 1997
Negotiation for early termination of commercial lease by client wishing to close his business. 1993
Renegotiation of commercial lease by client wishing to expand business. 200
Negotiating for purchase of business interest in limited liability company purchasing large building. 2007
Negotiation of real estate sales transaction with Texas developer. 2007
Negotiation of construction contract with our office representing the design professional. 1996
Negotiation of construction contract with our office representing owner. 2001
Quiet Title to complex adverse possession claim renegotiated and implemented for our client. 1991
Easement negotiated and created for our client. 2001
Creation and structural counseling for international joint venture engaging in software development in Asia. 2008.
Creation and structural counseling for company raising money internationally for new type of web search engine. 2007.
Structural planning including buy and sell agreements for distribution company bringing in new employee-owners. 2006.
Creation of form contract package for company commencing international operations of sale of goods to Europe. 2006
Negotiations and drafting of agreement for purchase of leather goods from Italy; creation of forms for sale of finished leather products in the United States. 2008
Negotiation of joint marketing program for cooperage products in the wine industry with out of State company for sales world wide. 2005
Employment negotiations and creation of employment manuals for large multi state company for operations in the United States.
Creation of construction joint venture for project involving both construction and raising of funding for related securities businesses. 2004
Set up distribution contracts for United States company engaged in distribution in Europe, Africa and South America. 1997-2006
Sale of restaurant corporation to chain. 2002
Sale of manufacturing company of aluminum products to a larger former competitor. 2005.
Purchase of small wholesale distributor that was a small competitor to our client prior to sale. 2007.
Sale of our client wholesale distributor to international company seeking presence in the United States. 2003
Creation of non profit foundation engaging in development of therapeutic pharmaceuticals. 2001
Creation of Business Plan for development of soft ware company 1995
Private offering for raising of capital for start up business. 2004
License agreement for utilization of patented devices for start up business. 2007
Negotiation and implementation of liquidation plan for multi generational business. 1994
Negotiation and drafting of contracts for testing and, later, distribution of pharmaceuticals with various testing entities. 1998-2008.
Sale of trade mark and trade name and licensing of same internationally for clothing and accessories. 2002.
Creation of contracts for Brazilian Consulate of San Francisco.
TRUST AND ESTATE PLANNING
Couple created a QTIP (marital deduction) intervivos (living) trust for children and grandchildren; pour over wills; durable powers of attorney for health care and assets. (1960-2008 several thousand times)
Creation of off shore trust for family with assets in Europe and Israel. 2004
Creation of Special Needs trust for couple with developmentally disabled child. 2001
Imposition of conservatorship as to elderly father by daughter after father found lost wandering the streets late at night. 1999.
Creation of educational trust for Indian family. 1997
Creation of land holding trust for Russian business man whose family was seeking to immigrate to the United States. 2002.
Creation of a trust to care for a beloved pet by a woman diagnosed with cancer and with no near relatives to care for the animal. 2007
Creation of generation skipping trust with property located both in the United States and abroad. 2008
Creation of a trust to quarantine substantial separate property of a wealthy woman remarrying a business man in a high risk business. 2000
Creation of a “Crummy Trust” to fund an irrevocable life insurance trust to assist in payment of estate taxes. 2005
Creation of a charitable trust (CLAT) to allow funding of charities with maximum tax benefit and flexibility by client. 1996
Creation of various minor trusts to fund educational and related expenses. 2006
Creation of family partnership owned by various family trusts to engage in real estate and related businesses 2000
Contract to make mutual binding wills and trusts. 2003
Creation of family multi generational charitable trust with family members on board. 2008
Creation of receiving trusts to take family property divided after partition. 1996
The cases above represent a small portion of our long history of serving our clients but do give a general idea of the usual “bread and butter” work our office performs. It is perhaps noteworthy to recall that our office started providing such services when Franklin Roosevelt was president of the United States, two years before Pearl Harbor, and when the total number of lawyers in San Francisco was equivalent to the number practicing in any one of the sky scrapers that now fill our city.
Seventy years later, connected to the world by the latest technology, and regularly negotiating contracts and engaging in litigation internationally, we find that the essential skills that were required before the first television was designed still apply. Integrity; having an abiding concern for long term relationships with clients who often become friends; and a willingness to fight hard and diligently for the client’s interests are still the hall mark of any successful law office. That was true in 1939…and we believe will be true in 2039…when our firm hopes to be representing your children, grandchildren, and the companies they may own.