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Representative Litigation Matters

The following are examples of the breadth of experience the Firm has in various litigation cases.

Business Litigation

The Firm represented a number of investors who had been defrauded by the Branch Manager of a national securities broker/dealer. Mr. Huddleston and Mr. Sipos tried the case against the broker/dealer to a jury in Contra Costa County Superior Court and the clients were awarded a verdict for the full amount of their investment loss plus interest. After a finding by the jury entitling the Firmís clients to the possibility of being awarded punitive damages, an amount in addition to the recovery already achieved, a confidential settlement was negotiated.

The Firm represented two partners in fraud and breach of fiduciary duty claims against the managing partner of an East Bay moving company. Mr. Huddleston tried the case to a jury in Alameda Superior Court and the clients were awarded a verdict in excess of one million dollars.

The Firm represented a company that repairs and services turbine engines used in power plants over a significant dispute challenging the proficiency of its work. The case was tried in the United States District Court in Utah and a full recovery was obtained for the client.

The Firm represented one of the largest commercial insulation companies on the West Coast in five different cases with one of its largest competitors, a billion dollar national company over the validity of each companyís trade secrets and noncompete agreements. The venues of the five cases were Contra Costa, Alameda, Sacramento, Reno, Nevada, and Phoenix, Arizona. In each case the matters were settled with no significant restrictions or payments by the Firmís client.

The Firm represented the owner of a large apartment complex that had been seriously damaged by water intrusion and resulting mold contamination. The Firm filed suit against the clientís insurance carrier for coverage and bad faith. A confidential settlement that satisfied the clientís damages was obtained.

The Firm represented a regional franchisor and its shareholders in the defense of Franchise Investment Law claims brought by a number of franchisees throughout Northern California. The case was consolidated with similar cases in Southern California and tried to a jury before the Los Angeles County Superior Court. The trial court dismissed all claims against the shareholders represented by the Firm. The jury found in favor of the franchisees on several Franchise Investment Law claims. However, the Firmís motion for a new trial, based on inconsistencies in the juryís verdict, was granted and a new trial ordered. The Firm represented the same parties in appeals filed by the franchisees. All decisions by the trial court were affirmed with the Firmís clients awarded their costs on appeal. Prior to retrial, the franchiseesí claims against the regional franchisor were resolved through a confidential settlement agreement.

Employment Litigation

The Firm represented a company in the defense of a wrongful termination of employment case. The matter was tried to a jury in Contra Costa County, with a defense verdict returned after less than one hour of deliberation by the jury.

The Firm represented a company in the defense of an age discrimination claim. Summary Judgment, dismissing all claims, was obtained. The Firm was then successful in obtaining an award of attorneys fees for its client. The plaintiff appealed and the Firm represented its client in the appeal. The dismissal and the award of fees were affirmed on appeal.

Real Estate Litigation

The Firm represented a non-profit organization in its significant disputes with the landlord of an apartment building where many of the organizationís clients lived. The disputes centered upon the conditions of the premises, interpretations of the lease documentation, and payment of rent. A settlement was reached that fully reimbursed the client for its damages.

The Firm represented a Century 21 office and its agents in the defense of a claim involving nondisclosure in a real transaction. The case was tried in Contra Costa County Superior Court and a defense verdict obtained completely absolving the clients of any liability.

The Firm represented property owners that were sued for water intrusion by their downhill neighbor. The case was tried before a jury in Contra Costa County Superior Court with a defense verdict on the neighborís claims and an affirmative recovery on the Firmís clientsí cross-complaint.

The Firm represented two parents against their son and daughter-in-law as to residential real property located in Pleasant Hill, CA. The parents contended that the son and daughter-in-law possessed no interest in the property even though all four had been placed on title to the property when it was purchased. Following a two day trial, the court found that the parents owned 100% of the property.

Trust, Estate and Will Disputes

The Firm represented two heirs in a will contest filed by the children of an omitted deceased sibling. The probate estate consisted of real estate valued at several million dollars. The case was tried in Contra Costa County Superior Court with a finding by the trial court upholding the will.

The Firm represented four heirs who alleged that a grant deed to their fatherís Martinez, CA, residence had been forged. The forged deed transferred the fatherís residence and property to his third wife and precluded the heirs from sharing in their fatherís estate, which was valued at well over a half million dollars. The case was tried to a jury who returned a unanimous verdict in favor of the heirs.

Purchase and Sale of Businesses

Since this aspect of the Firmís representation is not generally a matter of public record, to maintain clientís confidentiality, the following is a general description of the examples of representation in this area.

The Firm represented the Seller of a packaging graphics and design business to a national company. The representation included negotiating and drafting an Asset Purchase Agreement, Escrow Agreement, and Employment Agreements for the Sellers.

The Firm represented the Seller of all stock held in a metal finishing business in Alameda County in the negotiation of and drafting of an Agreement for Purchase and Sale of Stock. The sale documentation included preparing a long term lease for the business premises, ownership of which was being retained by the Firmís clients.

The Firm represented the Purchaser of a regional newspaper located in Contra Costa County including the negotiation and drafting of the Purchase Agreement and supervising the closing of the transaction.

The Firm represented the Seller of all assets of a computer equipment and supply company located in Contra Costa County in the negotiations and drafting of an Asset Purchase Agreement.

The Firm has represented more than a dozen purchasers and sellers of various forms of ownership interests in real estate brokerages and mortgage brokerages located in Contra Costa and Alameda Counties. The Firm assisted in the negotiations of and drafting of all sale documentation and typically handled the closing of the transactions.

Purchase and Sale of Real Property

Since this aspect of the Firmís representation is also not generally a matter of public record, to maintain clientís confidentiality, the following is a general description of the examples of representation in this area.

The Firm represented the Purchaser in the purchase of approximately 13 acres of commercial property in Alameda County in the negotiation and execution of an Agreement of Purchase and Sale. The Agreement included provisions for the construction of an office building and other improvements on the property as part of the transaction.

The Firm represented one of the Sellers in the sale of approximately 1.2 acres of commercial property in Los Angeles County that had significant soil contamination issues. The Firm assisted in the drafting and negotiations of a Purchase Agreement and Escrow Instructions including the extensive release provisions relating to the soil contamination issues.

The Firm represented the Seller of five acres of commercial property in Solano County that included the negotiation of all significant terms of the transaction, the drafting of a Purchase Agreement, and the drafting of a long term commercial lease for the lease back of the property by the Seller.

The Firm has represented numerous purchasers and sellers of residential real property throughout Northern California in the negotiations and drafting of Real Estate Purchase Agreements.

The Firm represented one client in its purchase and sale of 11 warehouses and shopping centers, ranging from 19,000 to 688,000 square feet, effectuating IRC section 1031 tax deferred exchanges and negotiating loans ranging from $2 million to $21 million. The FIrm has continuously handled all leasing, condemnation, unlawful detainer, and other matters arising out of the operation and management of these properties.

The Firm has negotiated hundreds of leases for retailers, gas station operators, office users and warehouse owners and tenants.

Real Estate Litigation Section:

Mr. Sipos represented a residential real estate brokerage against its franchisor for breach of contract, and recovered a substantial sum without the necessity of filing a lawsuit.

Mr. Sipos represented a subcontractor against another contractor for breach of a covenant not to compete agreement. After two years of litigation in which the defendant sought to conceal its violations, Mr. Sipos developed hundreds of violations of the covenant, forcing the defendant to settle for a significant amount.

Mr. Sipos successfully defended a grocer charged by the California Alcoholic Beverage Control Department with being a nuisance based on excessive calls to the Sacramento Police Department. After a week long trial, the Judge issued a 50 page decision fully exonerating the grocer of all charges and preserving the client's ABC license.