Multi-million dollar recovery in motion picture exploitation rights litigation
Steven Velkei negotiated an eight-figure settlement during trial against a motion picture distributor in connection with the exploitation of the Academy Award-winning picture Monster.
$37 million verdict after four-week jury trial against defendants who had murdered a business partner and engaged in fraudulent transfers to prevent plaintiffs from recovering damages in civil action. (Adonis v. Chippendale’s)
Adonis v. Chippendales: Lead trial counsel on behalf of three plaintiffs in an antitrust, RICO, tortious interference, and fraudulent transfer action against the owners and associates of Chippendales. One defendant pled guilty to multiple counts of arson, attempted murder of two of the plaintiffs, and the actual murder (for hire) of one of the plaintiffs’ former business partners. The jury found the defendants liable for economic and emotional distress damages of $7.1 million and punitive damages of $30.5 million. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the entire $37.6 million verdict. (Opposing counsel: Howrey & Simon)
Four week jury trial in retaliatory firing of celebrity actress
Nicollette Sheridan v. Touchstone Television: Mr. Baute was plaintiff’s trial counsel in a four week jury trial involving labor and employment and contract claims for a retaliatory firing after Nicollette Sheridan, who starred in the TV show Desperate Housewives, complained that the show’s producer and show runner, Marc Cherry, had hit her on set during rehearsal. The plaintiff contended that her subsequent firing was orchestrated by Cherry, with approval of Touchstone and the Walt Disney Company. Multiple executives including the President of ABC Network testified that the decision to not renew Ms. Sheridan’s contract was made before Marc Cherry hit Ms. Sheridan. Eight jurors rejected Touchstone’s defense and voted for Ms. Sheridan’s version of events. Hung jury, on an 8 to 4 vote for the plaintiff. (Opposing counsel: Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP)
Settlement after 1 week bench trial in Mississippi (Longenecker Donovan v. Oakwood Capital Management)
Longenecker Donovan v. Oakwood Capital Management. Mr. Crochetiere travelled to Tupelo, Mississippi to defend Oakwood Capital Management, a California investment advisor firm, in a bench trial. The plaintiffs, a wealthy couple with extensive ties to the local community, claimed Oakwood had misrepresented the risks of an investment in which they had lost millions of dollars. A co-defendant bank located in Mississippi, which had retained Oakwood as an investment advisor, elected to join the plaintiff in claiming Oakwood committed fraud. After a week of trial, the trial court, in chambers, indicated he was inclined to rule in favor of Oakwood, and the case was subsequently settled. The trial court later sent a letter praising Mr. Crochetiere’s trial skills.
Successful representation of global theme park owner/operator in connection with park’s expansion
Co-counsel in representation of NBC Universal in its efforts to facilitate expansion of universal Studios through closure of existing freeway off-ramp.
$5.1 million verdict after two-week jury trial against former executive turned competitor. (Muranaka Farm v. Cesar Arechiga)
Muranaka Farm, Inc. v. Arechiga: Mr. Baute and Mr. Crochetiere were lead trial counsel for the plaintiff in a two-week jury trial against a former executive who took Muranaka’s property and used it to open a competing business. Muranaka sued for tortious interference, breach of contract, and unfair competition. The jury returned a plaintiff’s verdict of $5.1 million on all counts.
Large confidential recovery against foreign cartel that conspired to fix prices of flat-screen computer monitors and TV screens. (Proview Technology v. AU Optronics, et al.)
Proview Technology, Inc. v. AU Optronics, et al. (In re: TFT-LCD (Flat Panel) Antitrust Litigation): BCHV lawyers teamed with law firms in San Francisco and Seattle to bring price-fixing claims against the companies that produce virtually all flat-screen computer monitors and flat TV screens worldwide. Despite statute of limitations defenses and legal issues concerning standing (Proview was not a consumer, but assembled monitors and distributed them through “big box” retailers such as Costco, Best Buy, and Walmart), and application of the Foreign Trade Antitrust Improvements Act, survived multiple motions to dismiss. In a large multi-district case that would be tried largely on the basis of a battle of economics experts, achieved large sum via confidential settlements of claims against manufacturing companies in China, South Korea, and Japan. (Opposing counsel: Davis Polk, Nossaman LLP, Simpson Thacher)
Defense of international satellite launch company involving hundreds of millions of dollars of exposure
The Boeing Company v. RSCEnergia, et al.: Steven Velkei represented as lead trial counsel an affiliate of the Russian Space Agency in a dispute with The Boeing Company over a commercial satellite launch company based in Switzerland, involving alleged damages totaling hundreds of millions of dollars.
Multi-million dollar settlement in theft of trade secrets/misappropriation litigation
Steven Velkei obtained an eight-figure settlement after trial against a major Silicon Valley company for theft of trade secrets/misappropriation.
Defense verdict on breach of settlement claim (Bob Barker Company, Inc. v. Ferguson Safety Products, Inc.)
Bob Barker Company, Inc. v. Ferguson Safety Products, Inc. Mr. Crochetiere defended a client who had prevailed in an earlier jury trial in a second jury trial against the same party in Federal Court in the Northern District of California. The plaintiff claimed the defendant had breached the settlement agreement the parties entered into after the verdict in the earlier case. Prior to trial, the District Court ruled the defendant was liable for breach of contract. The jury returned a verdict of no damages. (Opposing Counsel: Hoge, Fenton, Jones & Appel)
Victory on eve of trial for elite cosmetics company
Steven Velkei achieved complete victory the day before trial in connection with claims brought by an Australian manufacturer.
$834,000 judgment after bench trial of minority shareholder claims for breach of fiduciary duty
Representing celebrity sued for breach of endorsement contract in Southern District of New York, won summary judgment on fraud claims, limiting plaintiff to one-day trial. (Raymond Weil, Inc. v. Charlize Theron)
Raymond Weil, Inc. v. Charlize Theron: Mr. Baute represented Charlize Theron in a breach of contract and fraud action involving an inadvertent breach of an exclusive endorsement contract for Raymond Weil watches. Obtained summary judgment on the fraud claim in the Southern District of New York. Locked Raymond Weil’s CEO and Chairman of the Board into admissions on cross examination that there were no monetary damages. Thus, the case no longer had monetary value despite an undisputed (albeit unintentional) breach of the contract. The trial judge gutted the plaintiff’s claims in a 32-page summary judgment ruling, limiting the plaintiff to a one day trial presentation and recognizing that the plaintiff’s damages may only be nominal.
Four-week bench trial — obtained declaratory relief against client’s former counsel
Langan v. Caskey & Holzman: Four week bench trial involving declaratory relief claims against former counsel. The trial judge issued a 21 page opinion in favor of our client, Mr. Langan. (Opposing counsel: Ballard Rosenberg Golper & Savitt LLP)
$1 million arbitration award in breach of contract action over operation of Latin American electric generation plant
North American Energy Services v. GENOR: Lead trial counsel for the plaintiff in a contested arbitration involving the breach/termination of a contract governing the operation of an electrical power plant in Latin America. The AAA arbitration panel awarded the full amount (approximately $1,000,000) of the plaintiff’s requested damages. (Opposing counsel: Stroock, Stroock & Lavan)
$800,000 arbitration award in breach of contract and fraud claims involving two Nevada apartment complexes
Emerald Bay Partners v. Heers: Lead trial counsel in a Nevada real estate fraud and breach of fiduciary duty case involving disputed claims and ownership rights to two apartment developments. The arbitrator entered an $800,000 award against a local Las Vegas-based developer, in favor of our clients, Japanese investors who now control both developments.