Experience

TCPA Class Action

Represent Tilt Holdings and cannabis technology company Baker Technologies in defending a proposed Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) class action.

International Swimming League Ltd. v. FINA; Shields et al. v. FINA

Filed an antitrust suit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on behalf of the International Swimming League, and a class action on behalf of Olympic champion swimmers, against Federation Internationale de Natation (FINA). The suit was brought to remedy FINA’s unlawful group boycott of international swimming competitions sponsored by promoters other than FINA, such as the International Swimming League. FINA sought to enforce its group boycott by threatening the world’s elite swimmers with future disqualification from Olympic competitions if they participated in non-FINA approved events. FINA abandoned its group boycott once sued, but the actions are continuing so that plaintiffs can recover damages and attorneys’ fees and ensure that FINA does not take other actions to abuse its Olympic gatekeeper role.

Historic $575 Million Settlement With Sutter Health in Antitrust Class Action

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Farella Braun + Martel represents UFCW & Employers Benefit Trust (UEBT) and a certified class of direct purchasers of hospital services in seeking preliminary approval of a historic settlement reached on the eve of trial in the landmark antitrust class action against Sutter Health, the largest hospital system in Northern California. Sutter has agreed to pay $575,000,000 in monetary relief and to comply with comprehensive injunctive relief, including an independent monitor who will police Sutter’s compliance with the proposed final judgment over a 10-year period.

Area 51 Productions v. City of Alameda

On appeal, we won a dismissal on anti-SLAPP grounds of an event promotions company’s business tort claims against a local city and its officials, with an award of attorney’s fees.  Plaintiff voluntarily dismissed the rest of the suit.  Area 51 Productions, Inc. v. City of Alameda, 20 Cal. App. 5th 581 (2018). 

Confidential AAA Arbitration

After a three-week arbitration hearing, our trial team won a $4 million-plus arbitration award on behalf of a small technology startup against a multinational corporation for breach of a nanotechnology development agreement.

Confidential International Arbitration

We defeated plaintiffs’ main claims in a multi-million dollar international arbitration under UNCITRAL rules relating to deep-sea diving pipeline work in an offshore oil field off the coast of Angola. 

Hang Loose Rum v. Frank-Lin Distributors

Represented start-up alcoholic beverage company in lawsuit against co-manufacturing facility, on claim alleging negligent quality control caused product launch to fail.  Case settled for $1.1 million on second day of trial.

Atmel Corporation v. Ericsson

We represented Atmel, a leading semiconductor manufacturer, in a multi-week arbitration through which we obtained an award of over $43 million arising from Ericsson's misappropriation of Atmel's patented AVR microcontroller technology and Ericsson's multiple breaches of the parties' license agreement.  The International Centre for Dispute Resolution, International Arbitration Tribunal also awarded Atmel a permanent injunction prohibiting Ericsson from continued misappropriation of Atmel's proprietary technology.

hiQ Labs Inc. v. LinkedIn Corp.

Represented startup hiQ Labs Inc. in a precedent-setting litigation for data analytics, mining, and aggregator companies and their right to access publicly available data under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), and a California state law on unauthorized computer access. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed hiQ’s preliminary injunction against LinkedIn.

Bergeron v. Monex Deposit Company et al.

Defended a class action filed in the Central District of California against Monex and related entities and individuals. The suit alleged misrepresentations and omissions in the solicitation and trading of monies used to invest in precious metals, and alleged claims under the Commodities Exchange Act and California consumer protection laws (the Consumer Legal Remedies Act, and 17200). The team simultaneously defended a related, parallel enforcement action filed by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, raising similar allegations.

Roz v. Nestle Waters North America, Inc.

In addition to retail sales of bottled water, Nestle Waters, dba Arrowhead, also makes recurring monthly deliveries to home and office customers (i.e., water coolers). Plaintiffs brought a class action under a new California statutory scheme that regulates “automatic renewal contracts” – i.e., contracts where a credit card is charged on a repeated basis for continued deliveries of goods or services. Precedent in this area was limited because the statute is relatively new. In September 2017, the court denied class certification; plaintiff sought to try the case in order to preserve the right to appeal, and the case was set for trial in December 2017. After a pretrial ruling interpreted the statute to reject most of plaintiffs’ claims, the plaintiff agreed to dismiss with prejudice for a waiver of costs. 

BART v. GE Transportation Systems

We represented GE in a $500 million federal court litigation in the Northern District of California involving the development of an experimental train control technology for BART. The case successfully settled after a partial summary judgment motion knocked out BART’s breach of contract claim based on the exclusive remedy provision of the contract.

Brazil v. Dell Inc.

We defended Dell in a federal court consumer class action alleging false advertising and misrepresentations concerning product discounts and asserting claims for alleged violations of the Unfair Competition Law (“UCL”), Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code §§ 17200 et seq., the False Advertising Law (“FAL”), Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17500 et seq., the Consumer Legal Remedies Act (“CLRA”), Cal. Civ. Code §§ 1750 et seq., intentional and negligent misrepresentation, unjust enrichment and breach of contract.

Claydon v. Nestle Waters North America

We successfully defended Nestle Waters in an alleged nationwide consumer class action filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, claiming that Nestle Waters intentionally delivered unordered products to residential and commercial customers.  After four years of litigation, we obtained summary judgment against plaintiff’s nationwide class breach of contract theory, and then defeated class certification on the remaining false advertising, Business & Professions Code section 17200 unfair competition, and fraud claims.

Disney Enterprises, Inc. et al. v Hotfile Corp., et al.

Represented a cloud storage company against copyright infringement claims brought by five major movie studios in federal district court in Florida. The case involved cutting-edge issues of law under the DMCA, the Stored Communications Act and the Copyright Act in the cloud-computing context. 798 F. Supp. 2d 1303 (S.D. Fla. 2011)(motion to dismiss denied in part)

Garcia v. Dell Financial Services

We are defending Dell Financial Services in a federal court consumer class action alleging claims for violations of the Penal Code, the UCL, invasion of privacy and negligence arising from the alleged recording of customer phone call without consent. 

Grunfeld v Taldan Investment Co.

Represented Ernie Grunfeld (current President of Basketball Operations for the Washington Wizards and former NBA star) in a two week trial before U.S. District Court Judge Lowell Jensen to successfully prosecute claims for breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty against Taldan Investment Company arising from failed real estate investments.  (U.S. District Court, Northern District of California)

Gump v Wells Fargo Bank (San Francisco Superior Court)

Defended Wells Fargo Bank in a four month trial against multi-million dollar claims for breach of trust and breach of fiduciary duty. The trial involved a challenge to the bank's role as trustee for the Gump trust, whose primary assets were the Gump's department store in San Francisco, in addition to various real estate holdings and other assets. (San Francisco Superior Court)

MPS Acquisition, Inc. v Micro Power Systems, Inc., et al.

Defended Micro Power Systems, Inc. in a multi-million dollar suit for breach of contract, fraud and conspiracy resulting from failed acquisition negotiations.  Obtained judgment for the defendant, and then acted as lead counsel in a trial in Santa Clara Superior Court before the Honorable Conrad Rushing to successfully establish alter-ego liability against the principals of MPS Acquisition, Inc. to enforce recovery on cross-complaint. Obtained a verdict in favor of plaintiffs on all issues, which was affirmed on appeal.

Omstead v. Dell

We defended Dell in federal court consumer class action alleging UCL, FAL, CLRA, Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act and common law claims arising from allegedly fraudulent marketing and advertising of notebook computers.  We obtained early order compelling enforcement of class-waiver arbitration clause in consumer adhesion contracts and then dismissal for lack of prosecution.  The matter has settled, pending court approval of the settlement agreement.

SEC v. Leslie

We represented a former software company CEO in defense of a civil enforcement action brought by the SEC alleging accounting improprieties. After obtaining a ruling on summary judgment that significantly narrowed the claims against our client, we negotiated a favorable settlement with the SEC.

Securities Fraud

Currently representing targets and witnesses in various securities fraud investigations and trials.

  • Representing targets and witnesses in various securities fraud investigations directed by SEC and U.S. Attorneys' Offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Washington D.C.
  • Tried complex criminal securities fraud cases to jury verdicts in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
  • Resolved federal criminal and SEC cases alleging revenue recognition fraud against former vice president of international sales of a publicly traded company.
  • Resolved federal criminal insider-trading cases against high-tech engineer and attorney, including successful motions for downward departure at sentencing and probation in both cases.
  • Defended former CFO in SEC investigation of revenue recognition and accounting fraud. No enforcement proceedings were filed.
  • Represented controller of publicly traded company in parallel civil actions and SEC/DOJ investigations arising from securities fraud actions stemming from merger of pharmaceutical companies.
  • Represented general counsel of public company in SEC investigation of possible SOX "reporting up" violation.
  • Represented current and former officers and directors in state and federal derivative and shareholder litigation arising from alleged options backdating.
  • Represented former outside director in state and federal cases brought by company special litigation committee against former management, board members, and others in connection with allegations of backdated stock options.
  • Represented special committee of public national bank in investigation of bank's compliance with anti-money laundering statutes and related regulations.
  • Representing CFO in DOJ prosecution and parallel SEC case relating to alleged backdating of stock option exercises and related tax evasion counts.
  • Defending the founder and former CEO of public software company in connection with an SEC enforcement case pending in the Northern District of California (San Jose) alleging revenue recognition violations.

Technology Licensing Agreement Arbitrations

Represented Novartis in a series of arbitrations arising out of technology licensing agreements.

Titeflex

Serve as national coordinating counsel for products liability litigation relating to gas delivery system, and products liability counseling relating to Prop. 65.

Tourgeman v. Dell Financial Services, et al.

We are defending Dell Financial Services in a federal court consumer class action alleging claims for negligence, invasion of privacy and violations of the UCL arising from allegedly incorrect debt information provided to a purchaser of charged off loans.

Toyota Unintended Acceleration Economic Loss Class Actions

Co-lead defense counsel for Toyota in federal multidistrict proceedings alleging a putative nationwide class of vehicle owners who claim economic losses stemming from diminution of resale value due to purported concealed defects in electronic throttle control systems.  Plaintiffs asserted claims under the UCL, FAL, CLRA and various statutory warranty and common law claims.

U.S.A. v. Abrams; SEC v. Abrams

Represented former CFO in U.S. DOJ prosecution and parallel SEC case relating to alleged backdating of stock option grants and tax evasion counts. Though she faced a potential sentence of up to six years, Ms. Abrams ultimately received a much more favorable sentence of only four months in custody.

Visa v. Maritz

Represented Visa in connection with claims against Maritz arising out of Maritz's attempt to develop and deploy a points based rewards program for Visa and its members.

AGF Reinsurance et al. v. Spar Aerospace LTD

In an action testing the boundaries of industry‑standard contracts, we defended the Canadian manufacturer of a communication satellite that malfunctioned after launch in an action brought by an international consortium of insurance companies that underwrote launch insurance for the mission.

Boldryev v. Frankel

We represented the original developer of WinAmp, the industry leading MP3 player, involving claims of fraud, copyright infringement, and partnership accounting by an alleged co-developer, following the sale of the company to AOL.  The case was successfully resolved.

Firm Highlights

Publication

Jurors, Justice and Technology

Douglas Young, Farella partner and president of the American College of Trial Lawyers, spoke with podcast host Howard Miller about requirements in jury selection and technology for jury and non-jury trials. Listen to the...

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Publication

7 Ways to Check If Coronavirus Triggers ‘Force Majeure’ Clauses in Your Wine Business Contracts

Never in the experience of most of us has an event so thoroughly interrupted business as usual as the coronavirus pandemic. The wine business runs on contracts: grape purchase agreements, event hosting contracts, vineyard...

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News

Eight Farella Braun + Martel Lawyers Listed in Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch 2021

SAN FRANCISCO/ST. HELENA, CA, August 20, 2020: Eight Farella Braun + Martel lawyers were listed in the inaugural Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch . This recognition is awarded to attorneys who are earlier in...

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Publication

Force Majeure and Contractual Non-Performance During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Never in the experience of most of us has an event so thoroughly interrupted business as usual as the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Everywhere, contract parties facing severe stress in their businesses are reassessing their contractual...

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Publication

Litigation Management Checklist in the Time of COVID-19

We are all experiencing unprecedented challenges right now, both personally and professionally. To ease some of your legal team’s anxieties, we have put together a litigation-specific checklist with the measures we recommend taking, which...

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Publication

Landlord-Tenant Dispute Resolution

Farella's Real Estate Webinar Series features Tony Schoenberg discussing "Landlord-Tenant Disputes and Challenges." The laws governing landlord-tenant relationships are complicated. Understanding your rights and legal obligations will help you protect yourself, your rental business, and...

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News

52 Farella Braun + Martel Attorneys Listed in The Best Lawyers in America© 2021

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Publication

Testing California’s Price Gouging Statute

Pandemic-related price spikes in consumer goods have attracted the attention of both government enforcers and private plaintiffs. In California, Attorney General Xavier Becerra has issued two admonitions against price gouging – one focused on online...

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News

Benchmark Litigation 2021 Ranks Farella Among Top Litigation Firms in California

SAN FRANCISCO, October 12, 2020: Farella Braun + Martel continues to be ranked among the top litigation firms in California in the  Benchmark Litigation  2021 guide. Farella was ranked “Highly Recommended” for Dispute Resolution...

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Publication

Cannabis Disputes: How to Minimize Your Litigation Risks

Farella's Cannabis Industry Education Series features Tony Schoenberg and Cynthia Castillo discussing "Cannabis Disputes: How to Minimize Your Litigation Risks." The laws regulating the cannabis industry are quickly changing and evolving. Many disputes are a...

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