Experience

  • Energy Construction

First Republic Bank

We assist First Republic Bank with structuring, drafting and negotiating loan documents for its individual and business clients for business acquisition loans, real estate acquisition loans, short and long term real estate term loans, equity and accounts receivable secured personal and commercial lines of credit, real estate construction loans and loans for buy-outs and recapitalizations.

Silicon Valley Bank

We assist Silicon Valley Bank’s premium wine banking group with structuring, drafting and negotiating loan documents for its winery clients in connection with vineyard and winery acquisition and development loans, short and long term real estate term loans, inventory and accounts receivable secured working capital lines of credit, winery construction loans and loans for buy-outs and recapitalizations.

BTIG LLC

Represented BTIG, a large international broker-dealer, in connection with investments in BTIG by Goldman Sachs, Credit Lyonnaise and Blackstone, and in the establishment of BTIG’s investment banking and asset management businesses.

Wells Fargo Bank

Serve as counsel for eighteen Wells Fargo current and former employees ranging from senior executives to a member of the Wells Fargo litigation department to private financial advisers in internal (Audit Committee) and multiple federal government (DOJ, SEC, OCC, and state attorneys general) investigations and civil suits regarding allegations of improper retail and wealth management sales practices and improper consumer lending practices.  

Beneficial State Foundation

Advisor to founders of Foundation created as a bank holding company to advance triple bottom line banking. We advise on all matters related to business and governance structure, tax, employment, corporate, real estate, regulatory and other matters.

United Commercial Bank

Defended a former officer of failed bank in defense of securities class action, bankruptcy trustee action, FDIC enforcement and administrative actions and related government investigations.

Perpetual Energy Systems

Represented Perpetual Energy Systems in connection with renewable energy/construction financing of a $35 million construction term loan and tax equity investment. U.S. Bank served as the construction lender and tax equity sponsor.

DataTern v Bank of America Corp. et al.

We defended Visa Inc. in a lawsuit filed by DataTern against it and others in the Eastern District of Texas which claimed that Visa was infringing DataTern's ‘402 patent titled "System for enabling access to a relational database from an object oriented program." We obtained a successful settlement of the case for Visa.

Actus LLC v. Bank of America Corp, et al

We defended Sonic Solutions in litigation filed in the Eastern District of Texas by Actus LLC, a patent holding company, that asserted infringement claims on four patents relating to an electronic payments system directed at companies offering prepaid gift cards and online payment options for customers.  We were able to obtain an early favorable settlement for Sonic to avoid further costly legal proceedings. 

Every Penny Counts, Inc. v. American Express Co., et al.

Defended Visa U.S.A. Inc. in a case where the plaintiff accused Visa’s gift card technology of infringing five patents. We prevailed on a case-dispositive claim construction at the district court, leading to a stipulated judgment of non-infringement on all five patents. The Federal Circuit upheld the claim construction and judgment on appeal. 563 F.3d 1378 (Fed. Cir. 2009). A petition for en banc rehearing and petition for writ of certiorari were both denied.

Wells Fargo Bank as Investment Trustee of the Buck Trust

Represented Wells Fargo Bank as Investment Trustee of the Buck Trust, a $1 billion trust, on all legal matters including tax and regulatory compliance.

Employee Transitions; Restrictive Covenants

In a New York Stock Exchange arbitration involving the enforcement of a non-competition clause, we obtained a $3.4 million award on behalf of three former partners of an investment bank. In addition, the arbitrators took the extraordinary step of granting our request for attorneys' fees, although there was no attorneys' fees provision in the contract at issue.

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)

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.

Sessions Tank Liners v. Joor Manufacturing

Served as co-counsel on appeal overturning an adverse ruling in favor of plaintiff in an antitrust action involving the Noerr-Pennington doctrine..

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.

Firm Highlights

Publication

Hidden Liens in Custom Crush Relationships: How to Avoid Being Caught Between Creditors

Custom crush is an effective method for vintners to start and grow their label and brand without requiring the capital intensive investment of a dedicated winery. When evaluating potential custom-crush facilities and providers, wine...

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News

Farella Braun + Martel Elevates Five to Partner

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Publication

COVID Relief Granted to Opportunity Zone Investors

Opportunity Zones are economically-distressed communities designated under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to provide private investors that deploy capital there with certain tax advantages, provided those investors, and funds, comply with a vast...

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Publication

M&A Deals and PPP Loans: Unexpected Parties in Your Deal

The Payroll Protection Program has been a lifesaver to many businesses this year, but its quick roll out, and many generous features (including potential forgiveness) could tempt a borrower to treat the PPP as...

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Publication

CARES Act Paycheck Protection Program Summary (Updated)

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) aims to provide qualifying small businesses, nonprofit organizations, veterans organizations, tribal businesses, sole proprietors, and independent contractors forgivable loans of...

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Publication

Tips For Banks As USAA Check Deposit Patent Dispute Grows

In January 2020, we wrote a  Law360 guest article  that highlighted some of the risks that followed Wells Fargo Bank NA's strategy in its patent dispute with the United Services Automobile Association over remote deposit check imaging technology. Nearly...

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Publication

Top 10 Practical Business Implications Arising From the Passage of the CPRA

California’s Proposition 24 passed as expected, and the new California Privacy Rights Act will change the privacy landscape created by the California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA), which went into effect only months ago. While...

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Publication

SEC Expands Definition of “Accredited Investor” – Here Are 5 Key Takeaways

The SEC recently adopted amendments to Rule 501(a) of Regulation D of the Securities Act of 1933 that expand the definition of “accredited investor” by adding new categories of eligibility based on professional knowledge...

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