$17+ million unanimous jury verdict with $15 million in punitive damages after six-week jury trial. (Dallen Trealoff v. Forest River, Inc/Forest River Inc. v. Eclipse Recreational Vehicles, Inc.)
Dallen Trealoff v. Forest River, Inc. / Forest River, Inc. v. Eclipse Recreational Vehicles, Inc.: Plaintiff’s counsel in a six-week jury trial against billionaire Peter Liegl and his company, Forest River, Inc., which is now a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. The jury’s unanimous verdict included findings of fraud and breach of oral contract, along with malice, against both Peter Liegl and Forest River, Inc., and a total monetary judgment of over $17 million, with $15 million in punitive damages. The jury also unanimously rejected Forest River’s claims for misappropriation of trade secrets. BCHV represented plaintiffs Dallen and Joanne Trealoff, a married couple who co-own and operate Eclipse Recreational Vehicles, Inc. (Opposing counsel: Musick Peeler & Garrett)
$11.2 million verdict after four-week jury trial against plaintiff’s former tax attorney and accountant. (Gunderson v. Gruys)
Gunderson v. Gruys: Plaintiff’s counsel in a four-week jury trial against tax lawyer / CPA defendant. Twenty-five felony counts were pending against the defendant on related issues. The defendant filed a cross-complaint seeking damages of $20 million. Plaintiff sued his former lawyer and accountant for breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, and theft of funds in connection with tax planning emanating out of the plaintiff’s decision to sell his business for $45 million. The jury came back with an 11-1 vote in favor of the plaintiff on all claims and all defenses, a verdict of $11 million on all of the plaintiff’s claims, and a complete rejection of the entirety of the cross-complaint. (Opposing counsel: Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP)
Unanimous defense verdict in federal court for NBA athlete sued for sexual battery. (Jane Doe v. Derrick Rose, Randall Hampton, and Ryan Allen)
Jane Doe v. Derrick Rose, Randall Hampton, and Ryan Allen: Mr. Baute, assisted by Ms. Palko, represented NBA athlete Derrick Rose in a two-week civil jury trial in federal court, in which Mr. Rose and two of his closest friends were accused of raping the plaintiff. Race and gender tensions in the case were exacerbated due to inaccurate and sensationalist nationwide media coverage. Obtained a gag order preventing the plaintiff and her counsel from talking to news media about the case. A jury of six women and two men voted unanimously in favor of all three defendants after only two hours of deliberation. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the judgment.
Unanimous defense verdict in federal court for major outdoor advertising company against racketeering and antitrust claims
Bulletin Displays, Inc. v. Regency Outdoor Advertising: This was a four week jury trial involving claims against BCHV’s client, Regency Outdoor Advertising, for alleged racketeering and antitrust violations. Mr. Baute and Mr. Crochetiere tried the case for the defendant. Unique challenges to defending this case included an FBI agent testifying against our client, as well as adverse testimony from the former mayor of the City of Lynwood and our client’s former lobbyist, both of whom had been convicted of felonies and were compelled to testify against our client. The plaintiff sought $60,000,000 in damages. After the unanimous verdict in favor of our client, a juror wrote an unsolicited letter to the federal judge stating that she wanted to vote for the plaintiff but that defense counsel’s closing argument was so forceful and persuasive that a “block of five jurors” would not vote for the plaintiff and were able to convince the other three jurors to vote for the defendant. (Opposing counsel: Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP)
$2 million jury verdict for business manager of celebrity after two-week jury trial. (Howard Entertainment, Inc. v. Lisa Kudrow)
Howard Entertainment, Inc. v. Lisa Kudrow: This was a two-week jury trial, in which Mr. Baute and Mr. Crochetiere represented the plaintiff, Scott Howard, who alleged that Lisa Kudrow breached an oral contract to pay him 10% of her allocated share of the syndication revenue from the sitcom “Friends.” The case had been litigated for four years prior to BCHV taking over shortly before trial. Expert witnesses were retained on the eve of trial. The jury returned a $2 million verdict against Ms. Kudrow. ABC News broadcast Ms. Kudrow’s cross-examination. Experts on both sides opined on the central issue of whether a 10% oral commission agreement was enforceable after a termination of a business manager’s services, with respect to syndication revenues arising both before and after the termination of services.
Successful defense of major health insurer in largest enforcement action by a state agency
In re PacifiCare Life and Health Insurance Company: Steven Velkei acted as lead trial counsel to successfully defend one of the nation’s largest health insurers in the largest enforcement action ever tried by a state agency in the United States, which sought up to $10 billion in penalties against the insurer. Mr. Velkei also successfully defended the decision on appeal.
Successful defense of large real estate owner in multiple lawsuits, leading to global resolution of $200 million redevelopment project
City of Los Angeles v. Lincoln Place Tenants’ Association: Steven Velkei successfully represented large real estate owner as lead counsel in a highly contentious and difficult redevelopment project in Los Angeles County that had been stalled for years. After successfully defending the company in multiple lawsuits, Mr. Velkei helped negotiate a resolution of the matter with participation by community interests and local, state and federal agencies that paved the way for the $200 million redevelopment project to proceed.
Defense verdict after 32-day bench trial (Virtual Media Group, Inc. v. Regency Outdoor Advertising, Inc.)
Virtual Media Group, Inc. v. Regency Outdoor Advertising, Inc. Mr. Crochetiere won judgment for the defendant in a 32-day bench trial in a dispute over the ownership of multiple billboards located in Southern California claimed to be worth $17 million. The case was complicated by the testimony of the defendant’s former legal counsel in support of the plaintiff’s claim, and the attempted forgery by the plaintiff of several key documents. Mr. Crochetiere also successfully defended the appeal from the trial court’s decision. (Opposing Counsel: McGuire Woods, LLP)
$15 million jury verdict against former attorney for fraud and breach of fiduciary duties. (Outdoor Media Group, Inc. v. Fisher & Associates)
Outdoor Media Group v. Paul Fisher: Plaintiff’s counsel in four-week jury trial on behalf of outdoor advertising company against former attorney and his law corporation for breaches of fiduciary duties, professional negligence, and intentional interference with economic relationships. Defendants had prevented the plaintiff from acquiring rights to valuable billboard locations visible from major interstate highways. The jury returned a verdict for damages of $13.8 million and a punitive damages award of $1.38 million.
Successful defense of international entertainment company in multi-jurisdictional litigation over control. (Platt v. Sky Zone)
Richard Platt v. Sky Zone, et al.: Steven Velkei successfully defended as lead trial counsel the leading indoor trampoline company in litigation in multiple jurisdictions brought by the company’s founder and other members challenging the strategic decisions of the company and the authority of the company’s managers to act. The successful conclusion of the litigation paved the way for the company, owned by fewer than twenty members, to be sold to a public company for a nine figure purchase price.
$2.25 million verdict after three-week jury trial in federal court against corporate defendant who infringed plaintiff’s intellectual property rights in anti-suicide garments. (Ferguson Safety Products v. Bob Barker, Inc.)
Ferguson Safety Products, Inc. v. Bob Barker, Inc.: Mr. Baute and Mr. Crochetiere were lead trial counsel for the plaintiff in a three-week jury trial in Federal Court in the Northern District of California. The plaintiff prevailed on fraud and unfair competition claims against a corporate defendant who wrongfully obtained and then misused the plaintiff’s anti-suicide smock and anti-suicide blanket designs and specifications. The jury returned an 8-0 verdict against the defendant in the amount of $2.25 million. (Opposing counsel: Hoge, Fenton, Jones & Appel)
Multi-million dollar settlement in favor of low-income insureds
Steven Velkei achieved an eight-figure settlement against a major insurer in litigation involving a product targeting low-income residents of North Carolina, Ohio, and Missouri.
Defense verdict after two-week jury trial over ownership interests in “Accountable Care” medical business. (AccountableCare Service Org. v. NACO)
Accountablecare Service Organization v. NACO, Dr. Andre Berger, and Dr. Alex Foxman: This was a two-week jury trial over ownership of an “Accountable Care” medical business under the federal Accountable Care Act. Mr. Baute and Mr. Crochetiere were defense counsel. The plaintiffs claimed damages of millions of dollars, contending that a series of email exchanges documented a 25% ownership stake in the defendants’ business entity, which created a fiduciary obligation among co-owners of the business. The most problematic document in the trial was an email written by both defendants, appearing to confirm that it was “correct” that the plaintiff owned 25% of the company called “NACO.” The defense involved, among other things, convincing the jury that an email confirming a 25% ownership stake in the name of the plaintiff was just an interim statement of unresolved negotiations, and that the 25% ownership interest was never finally consummated. A jury of twelve voted unanimously in favor of all three defendants after only 75 minutes of deliberation.
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.