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. BCH represented plaintiffs Dallen and Joanne Trealoff, a married couple who co-own and operate Eclipse Recreational Vehicles, Inc. (Opposing counsel: Musick Peeler & Garrett)
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)
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.
Bulletin Displays, Inc. v. Regency Outdoor Advertising: This was a four week jury trial involving claims against BCH’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)
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 BCH 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.
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)
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.
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)
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.