In an five-year battle over authorship of a major motion picture that grossed over $450 Million in box office sales, Baker Marquart, along with Quinn Emanuel, successfully defended Oscar-winning writers, directors and producers from claims of plagiarism and copyright infringement brought by aspiring writers. Baker Marquart first obtained summary judgment. Plaintiffs appealed and the Ninth Circuit remanded a portion of the case back to be tried before a jury. At stake were the reputations of two Oscar-winning creators accused of stealing an idea for one of their highest grossing films. After a two-week trial, the jury returned a unanimous verdict in favor of the defendants, solidifying their high regard within the industry.
Baker Marquart was recently retained to protect a client’s patent portfolio. Upon learning of one party’s infringing activities – and that party’s refusal to voluntarily cease that infringement – the firm quickly filed suit. Before the defendant responded to the complaint, the defendant agreed to cease the alleged infringement. The parties then negotiated a settlement on terms favorable to the firm’s client. That settlement not only protected the client’s patent portfolio, but it also facilitated potentially lucrative future business dealings among the parties.
Baker Marquart represented a film production company in an action to enforce trademark rights. Prior to the firm’s engagement, the defendant had ignored demands to cease and desist from infringing the production company’s trademark. Baker Marquart filed a complaint for trademark infringement action. Shortly thereafter the firm sought a preliminary injunction and served aggressive discovery. The defendants then initiated settlement discussions. The firm was able to negotiate a settlement on very favorable terms for our client before depositions began.
Baker Marquart represented a hazardous waste cleanup company facing multiple state criminal charges. The firm took quick in response to the allegations. Based on the firm’s efforts, all charges were dismissed before a trial date was set.
The firm was recently retained by an investor in a startup media company. The client had lost all his investment when the company abruptly shut its doors, unable to satisfy its senior creditors. The firm recovered a significant portion of its client’s investment by bringing claims against the company’s former executives and other claims covered under the company’s insurance policy.
Mattel retained the firm after several insurance companies appealed the denial of their motion to intervene in the litigation between Mattel and MGA over Bratz fashion doll intellectial property. The firm argued that the district court properly denied the insurer's motion, because the insurers brought that motion only after Mattel appealed the final judgment in the case , which divested the district court of jurisdiction . The Ninth Circuit agreed, affirming Mattel's victory in the Central District.
When a consumer products company was sued by its former investment bank, an international financial institution, the firm was retained to defend the company in a JAMS arbitration. The bank claimed it was entitiled to a multimillion dollar fee related to a recent round of financing that had been raised by the company. The bank advanced numerous theories in support of its claim. During five arbitration hearing days -- and after the bank had rejected a substantial settlement offer -- the firm established that the bank's claims were wholly without merit. The firm's client was deemed the prevailing party, and the company recovered nearly all fees and costs spent during the arbitration.
The California Court of Appeal recently published an opinion vindicating the right to a jury trial. After the firm filed suit on behalf of its clients, two sets of defendants moved to compel arbitration. Another group of defendants joined one of the motions. The trial court denied both motions and the joinder. All defendants appealed. In a published opinion, the Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court's ruling as to a first set of defendants, finding that they could not compel arbitration because there was no agreement to arbitrate and that equitable estoppel did not apply. Denial of the joinder was also affirmed in that opinion. Months later, the Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court's ruling on a second motion. That ruling was largely based on published authority in the first opinion.
The firm was recently retained on the eve of trial to prosecute claims related to the purchase of commercial real estate in Beverly Hills. The case had been litigated for over two years prior to the firm’s appearance. After exposing major weaknesses in defendants’ theories, the firm obtained a favorable settlement on the courthouse steps.
Fortune 500 Company Retains Firm to Defend Breach of Software Development Contract Claims, Nets Positive Recovery
The firm was retained by one of its clients, a Fortune 500 company, to defend claims brought by a software company. Plaintiff essentially alleged breach of a contract related to the design and licensing of a software system designed to train new employees. Because the system never worked as anticipated, the client had refused to pay for it. Upon retention, the firm went on the attack, filing cross-claims and taking aggressive discovery. Following several months of discovery, during which the firm obtained information related to the software company's breach of contract, the case was mediated. Plaintiff agreed to pay our client in exchange for the dismissal of the cross-claims. The firm's client, after being sued, obtained a net positive recovery.
The firm obtained an extraordinary preliminary injunction to protect the trademarks of one of its clients, a software company. The firm presented the court with evidence that our client’s competitor directly copied the marks as part of a scheme to confuse, and ultimately steal, customers and potential customers. The court agreed with our argument that the deliberate copying supported an inference of secondary meaning because the competitor also sought to confuse consumers into believing they were perusing our client’s website instead of the defendant’s site. The court’s order, which adopted nearly verbatim our arguments, enjoined the competitor from engaging in the complained-of conduct, including the use of our client’s trademarks in URLs, as key words to generate search results and as metadata.
The DIRECTV Group retained Baker Marquart to pursue breach of contract claims against a former DIRECTV dealer. After taking discovery that made the former dealer’s liability clear, the firm obtained an arbitration award of all damages sought, in addition to attorneys’ fees.
The firm was retained by one of its clients, the manufacturer of revolutionary lightweight sport aircraft, to defend against claims brought by an engineering firm related to the development of a prototype. The firm immediately commenced discovery to develop cross-claims against the manufacturer. Shortly after those claims were articulated to the manufacturer, the parties agreed to a walk-away settlement.
When an out-of-state franchisor was sued by a California franchisee, the franchisor retained the firm to defend against those claims. The firm immediately moved to compel arbitration. The court granted the motion, staying the proceedings in California State Court, pending the resolution of arbitration.
Baker Marquart was recently retained by a popular Los Angeles nightclub to defend against claims brought by the club’s landlord. Within days, the firm negotiated a favorable settlement of the matter and obtained dismissal of the landlord’s claims.
The firm was hired by a well-known talent agency to help it collect unpaid commissions from an Academy Award® nominated film editor that were due our client in connection with multiple feature film projects. The editor refused to pay the commissions, alleging that our client’s agency contract had been fraudulently induced and contained mistaken terms. The firm presented theclient’s claims in a bifurcated arbitration before the International Film and Television Alliance. After considering the evidence—including cross-examination of the editor and his new talent agent—the arbitrator issued an award finding that the client’s agency contract was valid and binding for the full length of its term, thus entitling the client to full commission on all applicable projects.
The firm was hired to represent an individual in a stock option dispute with his brother and his brother’s company (a national public lumber company). The dispute was extremely contentious. Following a two-week arbitration hearing in Boston, the firm's client was awarded stock valued at approximately $8.3 million.
The firm represented NAACP Image Award winner Morris Taylor “Buddy” Sheffield in a breach of contract lawsuit against defendant ABC Cable Networks Group concerning the creation of the hit television show Hannah Montana. The firm beat defendant every step of the way, starting with early depositions of defendant’s development executives concerning the creation of Hannah Montana. The client later won tens of thousands of dollars in monetary sanctions related to a successful motion to remand the case from federal court (defendant had strategically removed the case based upon a copyright preemption theory). Upon remand to state court, the firm obtained an order requiring defendant to provide detailed financial discovery for Hannah Montana and defeated defendant’s motion to delay the trial. Defendant settled the matter on confidential terms less than four weeks before the jury trial was scheduled to commence in Los Angeles Superior Court.
The firm obtained summary judgment for Rolls-Royce in a breach of contract action related to the construction of an oil platform. Plaintiff alleged Rolls-Royce was liable for its freight forwarder’s failure to pay plaintiff pursuant to a contract between plaintiff and the freight forwarder. After demonstrating there was no agency relationship and no other basis for liability, the court granted Rolls-Royce's motion for summary judgment. That result prevented at least one additional lawsuit from another company in the same position as plaintiff.
The firm, together with Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, recently defeated a nine-figure copyright claim brought in federal court, and ensured that it was upheld by the Ninth Circuit. Plaintiffs alleged that the firm's clients, an Academy Award® winning director, an Academy Award® winning screenwriter and a major motion picture studio, had infringed the copyright in plaintiffs' screenplay and stolen their idea for what ultimately became an internationally-acclaimed film. Plaintiffs sought more than $100 million in damages. The firm obtained summary judgment against all of the plaintiffs' claims and had it affirmed in the Ninth Circuit, leaving only the overwhelmingly less valuable implied contract claim to be tried to a jury (which the Firm intends to do in the coming months).
The firm recently obtained summary judgment and a sanctions award in Maine federal court. Defendants had failed to repay a substantial commercial real estate loan to the firm's client, a real estate developer. After taking discovery, the firm moved for summary judgment and for an award of sanctions based on defendants’ discovery misconduct. The Maine District Court granted summary judgment as to liability, finding that defendants were liable for the entire amount of claimed damages. The court also granted the motion for sanctions. When the defendants refused to satisfy the judgment, the firm initiated disclosure proceedings. After one of the defendants failed to appear for his examination, the firm moved for an order holding him in contempt of court. Shortly after the filing of that motion, defendants satisfied the judgment.
The Firm defended two Internet companies established by one of the founders of MySpace.com. The case related to defendants' purchase of a popular Internet browser. Plaintiff, the seller, alleged breach of multiple contracts related to the transaction. Defendants counterclaimed against the plaintiff company and plaintiff's principal. Following an unsuccessful mediation, the parties engaged in discovery. The Firm obtained a favorable settlement days before the deposition of plaintiff's principal, also a cross-defendant. The settlement included terms plaintiff had explicitly rejected at mediation and was more favorable to our clients than any offer previously made by plaintiff.
The Firm defended a commercial lender in a fraud and breach of contract action brought by a competing lender. Plaintiff sought $2 million in compensatory damages as well as punitive damages. We completed discovery within six months and moved for summary judgment. The court granted our motion. We also obtained a six-figure sanctions award pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11. That award enabled us to obtain a waiver of plaintiff’s appellate rights and provided our client finality and a substantial positive recovery (despite no cross-claims) within months of the litigation's inception.
The majority shareholders of a private company located in California retained the firm to replace prior counsel in heated litigation regarding control of the corporation. The minority shareholder had attempted to assert ownership of the company's trade secrets, and during discovery the firm learned that he was unfairly competing against the corporation while remaining its chief executive. Shortly after appearing in the case, the firm obtained removal of the “independent director” that the court had appointed at the minority shareholder's insistence, and who was interfering with the clients' right to control the company. After several days of argument on a motion to dissolve an injunction that the court had issued against the clients prior to the firm's involvement, the corporation's minority shareholder agreed to settle the entire litigation.
The firm recently obtained a favorable settlement for a client faced with a whistleblower retaliatory termination action. A former employee of the client alleged he was terminated because he had informed his superiors of millions of dollars in overcharges that were allegedly submitted to government agencies by the client’s customers. Plaintiff sought damages in the millions of dollars. The firm was hired the afternoon that plaintiff filed a federal lawsuit seeking a temporary restraining order, which was soundly defeated. That initial success allowed the firm to convince plaintiff's attorneys (three separate law firms) to mediate. After convincing the mediator that plaintiff’s claims had no merit, the case settled for less than the cost of a motion to dismiss.
The firm defended two independent movie companies and Blockbuster Inc. in a dispute over royalties for the motion picture “Monster.” Plaintiff sought damages in excess of $15 million, punitive damages and attorneys' fees. The firm, together with Vinson & Elkins, tried the case on behalf of all defendants in Dallas, Texas. The case settled the second week of trial for a fraction of plaintiff's claimed damages, and for significantly less than had been offered in settlement days before trial began.