Baker Marquart Client Resource Center: COVID-19 Client Advisories

Baker Marquart is proud to have joined the Los Angeles pro bono initiative “LA Represents.” This initiative provides free and critical legal help to those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. “The firm has a longstanding and deep commitment to helping those who cannot help themselves with their legal problems, and that is more important more now than ever,” explained partner Brian Klein.

In May, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and City Attorney Mike Feuer announced “LA Represents.” A broad coalition of attorneys, law firms, and bar associations make up the initiative. To view the official LA Represents announcement and for more information, click here.

Baker Marquart achieved an important victory for two Fintech clients in the Southern District of New York on May 15, 2020, when Judge Ronnie Abrams dismissed the civil case, Wu, et al. v. Bitfloor, et al., with prejudice. “We are thrilled for our clients that Judge Abrams dismissed this meritless case at the outset and before it even proceeded to discovery and unnecessarily wasted our clients’ time and resources,” stated partner Brian Klein.

Judge Abrams agreed with Baker Marquart’s position that the complaint was time barred because the plaintiffs were on inquiry notice. The plaintiffs had alleged that the firm’s clients, a now-dissolved digital token platform and its owner, violated provisions of the Commodities Exchange Act. Judge Abrams also declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the remaining state law claims, dismissing the case in its entirety.

Brian Klein, Don Pepperman, and Teresa Huggins handled this matter.

Under the guidance of Baker Marquart partner Scott Malzahn, the firm is assisting Equality California on a pro bono basis as it navigates the new legal waters created by the COVID-19 crisis. Equality California is the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ+ civil rights organization, and the pandemic has interfered with its ability to hold large in-person events to raise funds for its important work. Scott sits on Equality California’s Board of Directors and serves as its Vice President. This is part of the firm’s large commitment to providing free legal assistance to those in need, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“At this time, many organizations are faced with a wide range of difficult and challenging issues—not only about how to deal with the immediate shut-down orders but how to plan for an uncertain future,” said Malzahn. “In the contractual context, as parties try to sort out their rights and obligations to one another, force majeure provisions in contracts and rarely-used common law doctrines like impossibility and frustration of purpose suddenly have taken on new importance. When coupled with sound practical advice, these doctrines can be used as tools to help organization chart a successful course through this crisis.”

For more information on Equality California and to contribute, please see this link: https://www.eqca.org/.

On May 10, 2020, Coindesk published a profile of partner Brian Klein, noting how he has “exploded onto the scene in recent years as a successful defender in numerous civil and criminal cases in the technology and cryptocurrency worlds.” The profile highlights his many recent victories and renown as the go-to trial attorney in the crypto space. It also includes client testimonials and delves into his early involvement with blockchain, and his outlook on businesses operating in the space of cryptocurrency.

Find the full article here: https://www.coindesk.com/meet-brian-klein-cryptos-own-high-stakes-trial-attorney?amp=1.

Baker Marquart, which has a robust and growing tech litigation practice, is now a proud sponsor of TechGC, the invitation-only, community platform for general counsels of leading venture capital funds and high growth technology companies. On April 24, 2020, Brian Klein, Scott Malzahn and Teresa Huggins gave a webinar to almost 50 general counsel members of Tech GC entitled “How to Handle Disputes During the COVID-19 Crisis.” The firm is committed to providing sophisticated and strategic counsel to its expanding list tech clients.

Baker Marquart protected its client’s right to require arbitration of disputes with customers. Following the firm’s argument in Camargo v. Sunnova Energy Corp., the California Appellate Court reversed a lower court finding that the client’s arbitration agreement was unconscionable because the lower court did not hold an evidentiary hearing, as required by California Civil Code section 1670.5(b). The lower court was directed to reconsider the client’s motion to compel arbitration with an evidentiary hearing regarding procedural and substantive unconscionability, which must both be established to invalidate an agreement to arbitrate as unconscionable. The case is yet another example of Baker Marquart’s success in the enforcement of important contract rights negotiated by clients.

Ryan Baker argued the case and was assisted by Teresa Huggins.

Baker Marquart achieved another Ninth Circuit victory on January 27, 2020, when the Ninth Circuit affirmed the Southern District of California’s ruling in McMillan, et al. v. Chaker, et al. In the case, plaintiffs argued defendants violated the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) based on the predicate act of extortion by disrupting plaintiffs’ right to practice law and publish decisions on the internet free of threats. The appellate court upheld the district court’s finding that these allegations were insufficient to state a RICO claim as a matter of law.

Extortion as the predicate act necessary to establish a RICO violation requires a plaintiff to allege that a defendant “obtained something of value” from plaintiff. In this case, the Court found plaintiffs’ claim deficient because plaintiffs did not allege defendant obtained property that could be “exercised, transferred or sold.” The Ninth Circuit affirmed dismissal of the complaint in its entirety.

Ryan Baker argued the case and was assisted by Teresa Huggins.

Partner Brian Klein was recently recognized again by Chambers (the world’s leading legal profession ranking service) as a preeminent litigator in FinTech. In doing so, Chambers stated, “He is experienced in representing early adopters and innovators in the FinTech sector and is ‘known as the guy you contact when you get in trouble’.”

Baker Marquart is pleased to announce that Melissa Meister has joined the firm in its Los Angeles office. Melissa works on both high-stakes criminal and regulatory defense matters and civil litigation. She has tried cases and argued appeals in state and federal courts across the country, including the United States Supreme Court.

“We are excited to have Melissa join the team. She is a hard-charging and talented trial attorney, who can draw on her valuable experience serving as a federal prosecutor in two districts,” said partner Brian Klein.

Melissa has represented Fortune 500 companies, blockchain and cryptocurrency startups, visionaries, hospitals, doctors, large pension funds, public universities, whistleblowers, and individuals in a variety of criminal and civil matters throughout the country.

Melissa has particular experience in parallel criminal and civil investigations and prosecutions, including numerous fraud, cryptocurrency, and False Claims Act matters.

Founding partner Ryan Baker added, “with Melissa’s recent addition, Baker Marquart continues to build its stellar roster of talented and well-rounded lawyers. Melissa’s skill and experience make her a perfect fit. The firm is lucky to have her.”

Melissa attended The University of Arizona. After law school, she clerked for Ninth Circuit Judge William C. Canby. She then joined the Department of Justice Honors Attorney program. Melissa spent five years as an Assistant United States Attorney in the District of Arizona and Southern District of California.

She is admitted to practice in California, Arizona, and the District of Colombia.

About Baker Marquart

Baker Marquart, based in Los Angeles, is a litigation boutique known for winning trials and appeals for Fortune 500 companies, startups and high-net-worth individuals. The firm handles high-stakes matters often involving innovative technology where complex legal issues are at play. The firm’s trial, appellate, and regulatory practice includes: antitrust and trade regulation, commercial disputes, corporate governance, criminal defense, cybersecurity, employment, entertainment, financial technology, intellectual property, patent litigation and securities.

Learn more about Melissa here.

Because Baker Marquart has a national litigation practice, our attorneys are flying around the country all year. In an effort to reduce our carbon footprint, we calculated the CO2 emissions from those flights in 2019 and donated the funds necessary to offset them to the Southern Cardamom REDD+ Project. The project’s goal of forest protection and community development prevent more than 3,000,000 tons of carbon emissions annually. This initiative will also protect a critical part of the Cardamom Mountains Rainforest, one of the most important conservation locations on the planet. We take protecting the climate seriously and are proud to contribute to this very worthy project.

Find out more about Baker Marquart’s commitment to the environment and other programs here.

Partner Brian Klein has been named one of the top 5 financial technology attorneys in the U.S. by Law360 as part of its 2019 MVP awards. The prestigious annual list, drawn from over 900 submissions, includes 160 attorneys from 76 firms spanning 35 practice groups and recognizes attorneys that have distinguished themselves from their peers by securing hard-earned successes in high-stakes litigation, complex global matters and record-breaking deals. Brian has been recognized for his handling of groundbreaking financial technology cases in courts throughout the country and string of successes in representing entrepreneurs and companies in the space.

Full article here: https://www.law360.com/fintech/articles/1214342/mvp-baker-marquart-s-brian-klein?nl_pk=7e0ffa4c-517e-4cac-ab28-8c82701ec546&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=fintech

The Daily Journal recognized Baker Marquart’s national litigation practice, naming Baker Marquart one of its “Top Boutiques in California 2019.” The firm was honored for recent significant victories, including a unanimous win before the California Supreme Court and an important victory in Milwaukee federal court, as well as Baker Marquart’s robust trial and appellate practice encompassing antitrust, commercial disputes, white collar criminal defense, cybersecurity, financial technology, intellectual property, and patent litigation.

Baker Marquart represented Block.one in its landmark settlement with the SEC. On September 30, 2019, the SEC announced it had settled charges with the company related to an unregistered initial coin offering of digital tokens that raised the equivalent of several billion dollars over approximately one year. The company agreed to pay a $24 million civil penalty. Brian Klein and Ashley Martabano led the team representing Block.one.

For the second consecutive year, the Los Angeles Business Journal has recognized Baker Marquart partner and co-founder Ryan Baker as a Leader in Law. As stated in the October 14, 2019 special supplement to the Business Journal, “candidates from each category were recognized for their exceptional legal skill and achievements across the full spectrum of responsibility, exemplary leadership and for contributions to the Los Angeles community at large.” Baker credits his team – “although these awards generally name an individual, they are only achieved through tremendous team effort; we have an exceptional collection of people at Baker Marquart. I am thankful for their support and proud to represent them.”

In its 2020 rankings, Benchmark recognized partners Ryan Baker and Jaime Marquart “Local Litigation Stars,” ranking them among the top litigators throughout California.

Benchmark Litigation is known as a guide to America’s leading litigation firms and attorneys. Now in its 12th year of publication, Benchmark exclusively covers the litigation and disputes market in North America, covering the US, Canada, Latin America and, most recently, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region. The vetting process is extremely rigorous including many months of research, telephone and in-person interviews. Benchmark states, “the interview is not simply a firm promotional opportunity – peer review is essential to the integrity of the Benchmark research process.”

Benchmark Litigation also recognized Baker Marquart for its “game changing” work and listed it among other highly reputable firms with its “recommended” status. “Firms achieving Benchmark “recommended” status are leaders in their respective markets.

Benchmark’s ratings can be found here: https://www.benchmarklitigation.com/states/california/us-ca#/logon/2

The National Law Journal named Ryan Baker a 2019 “Litigation Trailblazer.” This recognition is reserved for lawyers who have made an impact through new types of strategies or innovative court cases – lawyers who are “truly agents of change.”

Known for handling complex trials and appeals, Ryan has guided the growth of many client’s businesses. Baker is known as a big-picture thinker who frequently advances groundbreaking argument on behalf of disruptive technology clients before courts across the country.

As discussed in the National Law Journal, Baker recently obtained a unanimous California Supreme Court victory, clarifying certain limitations of California’s anti-SLAPP law. “It is important that anti-SLAPP jurisprudence track legislative intent, which was not to provide defendants a tool to snuff out valid claims in their infancy based on some tangential connection to a matter of public interest,” according to Baker.

The National Law Journal also notes Baker’s commitment to pro bono work.

Baker Marquart achieved a seminal cybercrime victory. On July 26, 2019, a federal judge in the Eastern District of Wisconsin sentenced the firm’s client, Marcus Hutchins, a renowned cybersecurity researcher, to no prison time and one year of supervised release for cybercrimes he committed in his youth. Years later, Marcus stopped the WannaCry ransomware attack, perpetuated by the North Korean regime. WannaCry infected hundreds of thousands of computers in about 150 countries (including in hospitals, banks, government agencies, and major companies) in May 2017, causing major and life-threatening disruptions and over $8 billion in damage before Marcus stopped it. In sentencing Marcus, the judge adopted the defense positions, and without precedent, suggested Marcus pursue a pardon.

“We are thrilled the judge recognized Marcus’ very important contributions to keeping the world secure and sentenced him to no time in prison,” said lead attorney Brian Klein. Emily Stierwalt worked with Klein on this matter along with co-counsel Marcia Hofmann of Zeitgeist Law PC.

Marcus’ case has received worldwide attention, including coverage in: TechCrunch, Telegraph, Ars Technica, Washington Post and New York Times.

While the recent emergence of streaming platforms such as YouTube TV and Amazon Prime Video seem to provide more options for consumers, the lack of Federal Communications Commission (FCC) guidance has done just the opposite, preventing smaller platforms from competing in the market, thereby reducing consumer control over their over-the-top (OTT) video delivery options. In their article for Intellectual Property magazine, Ryan Baker and Scott Malzahn discuss the current state of the video streaming market and the restrictions that hinder its growth.

The pace of technological innovation in recent years has skyrocketed, but the Copyright Act has remained largely unchanged since the 1970s. A comprehensive overhaul is unlikely anytime soon. Although there have been recent regulatory efforts to foster competition, Baker and Malzahn point out that the current administration’s policies have failed to promote broader competition in the OTT video delivery market, leaving the field to larger, entrenched players. Minimal regulatory action would foster competition and provide consumers with more choice.

“The market has clearly voted for OTT video delivery,” Baker and Malzahn wrote. “Now it is up to the relevant government agencies to either promulgate fair and technologically neutral regulations or interpret existing law in a technologically neutral fashion.”

Read the full article here.

Recently featured in The Recorder, Partner and Co-founder Ryan Baker was appointed to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Legal Advisory Committee. Baker now serves as a legal resource for the organization’s Los Angeles chapter and advises on a broad range of matters including discrimination complaints and policy issues.


“The Committee’s mission is to bring justice and fair treatment to those who face discrimination, and is extremely important in today’s climate. ADL is at the forefront of defending threats to our democracy, through their work in combating anti-Semitism, cyber hate, bullying, bias in schools, terrorism,hate crimes and much more,” said Baker. “I am committed to helping the ADL spread its message of tolerance and acceptance, which are the cornerstone of society.”

ADL’s Legal Advisory Committee is a select group of attorneys from a broad range of specialties who consult with and advise ADL staff on legal matters. In addition, ADL provides educational programs on hate crimes, elimination of bias in the workplace, religious accommodation and religion in public schools. Historically an organization that combats anti-Semitism, ADL has grown to combat injustice across the nation and has become a leading anti-hate organization. ADL is a global leader in exposing extremism and delivering anti-bias education, and is a leading organization in training law enforcement.

View The Recorder article here.

Partner Brian Klein’s extensive experience with cutting-edge technology cases has earned him a coveted spot on National Law Journal’s 2019 Trailblazers in Technology Law list. He has always had a passion for technology, which began with his upbringing in Silicon Valley. Since joining the firm, Brian has handled some of the most prominent civil litigation and regulatory and criminal defense matters involving financial technology and information security. He regularly represents leading entrepreneurs and start-ups in their most pressing and complex legal matters.

Read full profile here.

On May 6, 2019, in a victory for Baker Marquart, the California Supreme Court reversed an opinion of the Second Appellate District, holding that California’s anti-SLAPP statute does not bar a trade libel lawsuit between two commercial businesses, as argued in libel case FilmOn.com, Inc. v. DoubleVerify, Inc. As featured in the Daily Journal, The Recorder, Multichannel News and Broadcasting & Cable, the Court ruled that libelous statements made about FilmOn’s business in confidential reports sold by DoubleVerify, Inc. to online advertisers do not constitute protected speech under the anti-SLAPP statute.

“The Supreme Court’s unanimous opinion restores some reason and balance to the application of the anti-SLAPP statute,” said Ryan Baker,who represents FilmOn. “As many commentators have observed, the anti-SLAPP ‘cure’ has started to become the disease. Based on an over-emphasis of the Legislature’s directive to interpret the anti-SLAPP statute ‘broadly,’ nebulous anti-SLAPP interpretations have permitted well-heeled litigants, such as DoubleVerify, to insulate themselves from liability by connecting the speech or conduct at issue to a matter of public interest in some attenuated way.”

Baker added, “The Court clarified that the ‘functional relationship’ between the speech or conduct at issue and issues of public interest must be considered to determine whether that statement sufficiently encourages participation in matters of public significance to warrant anti-SLAPP protection.”

Read the Daily Journal (subscription required), The Recorder (subscription required), Multichannel News and Broadcasting& Cable articles.

In the wake of Apple’s announcement of its streaming video platform, Broadcasting & Cable turned to Trial Lawyer Ryan Baker for a Q&A to discuss the issues with the Copyright Act and regulatory environment that make it difficult for OTT services to roll out.

As Baker explained in the interview, while the Copyright Act has been updated from time-to-time, it was last wholly updated in the 1970s. He said, “It is still tied to this model that, to become a cable company, and get a right to retransmit without having to go negotiate [compulsory license] and enter into a business deal which is obviously at the discretion of content providers, you’ve got to have this [outdated] infrastructure of wires and cables.”

Under the current administration, regulatory agencies have pulled back efforts to level the playing field. Much needed updates to applicable regulatory regimes have been stalled. Baker points out that the FCC could help, stating that “the FCC ought to look at how it can help the market because there are these entrenched players passing the ball back and forth.”

Read the full article here.

Daily Journal sat down with Jaime Marquart, Ryan Baker and Brian Klein to discuss how the key to their firm’s success is finding attorneys with character over pedigree. While all the partners agree that a degree of aptitude is needed, the firm’s success lies on creating a team of smart people who are eager to put in the effort required to be successful.

Baker and Marquart have a long history – they first met at Harvard Law School and then later worked as associates together at Quinn Emanuel. In 2006, Baker and Marquart decided to hang their own shingle and today, the firm has grown to 15 attorneys, five of them partners, with Brian Klein becoming an equity and name partner.

Creating a fun, positive, supportive workplace was an important goal for them and Baker, Marquart and Klein are all new fathers – so they want their attorneys and staff to feel they can be there for their families. While they were building a culture as a modern and family-oriented firm, they simultaneously built a reputation and specialty in handling high-profile cases. Most recently, Klein represented Charlie Shrem in his case against the Winklevoss twins, and Marquart represents Dreamstime.com, LLC in a case against Google. Marquart noted that this case challenges Google’s dominance, something he and the firm are not afraid to take on.

Cases such as this require the firm’s attorneys to apply old laws and decisions to new technology in a new space. “That’s a recipe for making new law and that’s what we love to do,” added Marquart.

Link to the full article. (Subscription required)

Baker Marquart achieved a significant victory for its client Charlie Shrem in Winklevoss Capital Fund, LLC v. Shrem, which is before Judge Jed S. Rakoff in the Southern District of New York.

After reviewing transcripts of the Winklevoss twins’ depositions, Judge Rakoff found that the conduct of their company’s attorney, Tyler Meade, was obstructive. Meade instructed the twins not to answer on relevance and other improper grounds dozens of times, among other actions. As a result, Judge Rakoff ordered: (1) the twins to pay Shrem $15,000 in attorneys’ fees and costs for the depositions; (2) the twins to be re-deposed and to pay for Baker Marquart’s attorneys’ fees and costs for those depositions; and (3) Meade to pay the fine discussed above.

“We believe Meade did so in an attempt to hide information extremely helpful to Charlie. We can’t wait to re-depose the twins and now at their own expense,” said lead attorney Brian Klein. Klein, along with Don Pepperman and Theresa Huggins of Baker Marquart represent Shrem.

Trial is set for July 8, 2019.

Read full article here. (Subscription required)

Trial lawyers Ryan Baker, Brian Klein, Scott Malzahn, Jaime Marquart and Donald Pepperman were named to the 2019 Southern California Super Lawyers list for their work in intellectual property litigation, white-collar criminal defense, general litigation, business litigation and antitrust litigation, respectively. In addition, Klein was ranked on the Top 100 Los Angeles Super Lawyers list.

Super Lawyers is a rating service that recognizes lawyers who have attained a high degree of professional recognition and achievement. Attorneys across 70 practice areas are selected annually based on independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations. The Southern California lawyers who receive the highest point totals during this selection process are further recognized in Southern California Super Lawyers Top Lists.

On February 6, 2019, Ryan Baker argued FilmOn.com, Inc. v. DoubleVerify, Inc. before the California Supreme Court. In the Daily Journal article, “State high court mulls a challenge to anti-SLAPP law,” Baker discussed his representation of media company FilmOn.com in the appeal of a lawsuit dismissed on anti-SLAPP grounds. FilmOn initially filed claims against DoubleVerify, a company that provides confidential reports to advertisers. FilmOn.com alleges that DoubleVerify’s reports mislead advertisers, causing them to cancel advertising contracts.

Baker argued DoubleVerify’s comments were not speech protected by California’s anti-SLAPP statute because they provided confidentially, for a fee to individual advertisers. He also argued that the application of the anti-SLAPP statute has broadened so much that it’s now preventing wronged parties from pursuing legitimate claims. “What DoubleVerify has done has taken this law and built a legal moat around its business,” he told Daily Journal. Based on Baker’s argument, the state Supreme Court is now evaluating the bounds of anti-SLAPP protection in a commercial setting.

– Lower courts departure from existing anti-SLAPP jurisprudence creates further confusion and enormous legal barriers to holding companies accountable for their false statements –

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The California Supreme Court will hear oral argument in the high-stakes libel case FilmOn.com, Inc. v. DoubleVerify, Inc. on February 6, 2019. Los Angeles-based boutique litigation firm Baker Marquart partner Ryan G. Baker will argue on behalf of FilmOn. FilmOn aims to reverse the lower court’s ruling that the sale of private online advertising reports constitutes protected speech, even if the contents of the report contain false and misleading statements. This extension of existing anti-SLAPP jurisprudence would allow large and powerful interests to squash legitimate commercial suits in their infancy under the guise of free speech.

“Under the guise of ‘broadly’ interpreting California’s anti-SLAPP statute, the lower court used the statute as a sledgehammer to dismiss a purely private trade libel dispute between two commercial businesses,” said Baker. “This is not the purpose of the anti-SLAPP statute and unless this decision is reversed, it will only cause further confusion to an already muddled area of law.”

Background on the lawsuit: In November 2014, FilmOn.com, an internet-based television provider, filed a lawsuit against DoubleVerify (DV), a company that qualifies websites for online advertisers, for wrongfully labeling FilmOn’s website as “copyright infringers” and “distributors of adult content.” As a result, several advertising partners pulled their advertisements from FilmOn’s website. Further, misclassification of FilmOn’s content can result in being blacklisted by scores of potential advertisers, a tremendous threat to FilmOn’s primary source of revenue. Despite FilmOn’s numerous requests to get DV to correct these inaccurate statements, DV refused. FilmOn seeks compensation for the damages it has incurred as a result of these false and disparaging statements.

In 2015, a trial judge dismissed the lawsuit stating that the contents of DV’s reports constituted “protected activity” under the catch-all provision codified in subdivision (e)(4) of Code of Civil Procedure section 425.16. In 2017, an appellate court upheld the dismissal. The California Supreme Court granted certiorari on November 15, 2017. Oral argument is set for February 6, 2019.

The anti-SLAPP statute was enacted to promote free speech by preventing large and powerful interests from silencing those exercising their First Amendment rights with an avalanche of legal fees. This case, however, is a dispute between two commercial enterprises over whether DoubleVerify’s harmful classifications confidentially sold to FilmOn’s business partners have any basis in fact. The lower court’s decision to apply anti-SLAPP in this context creates further confusion in the already ill-defined area of determining whether an issue is of public interest or concern under the catch-all provision of the anti-SLAPP statute. The current ruling presents an enormous barrier to holding companies accountable for their false and misleading commercial statements.

FilmOn is represented by Baker Marquart Partners Ryan Baker and Scott Malzahn.

Partner Brian Klein is representing cryptocurrency exchange Kraken and its founder Jesse Powell in United American Corp v. Bitmain, filed in the Southern District of Florida in December 2018. This is believed to be the first cryptocurrency antitrust case. Powell and his company have been named in the lawsuit along with Bitmain and other parties. The dispute revolves around the Bitcoin Cash fork in November 2018.

We are pleased to announce that Partner Scott Malzahn has been elected as Vice President to the 2019 Board of Directors for Equality California and will serve a two-year term. Malzahn previously served as Secretary of the Board from 2017 to 2018.

“I am thrilled to be part of this amazing organization, especially as it celebrates a huge milestone – its 20th anniversary,” said Malzahn. “It is an important time for the LGBTQ community and I am looking forward to working with Equality California to fight for full and equal rights.”

Equality California is the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization, bringing the voices of LGBTQ people and allies to institutions of power in California and across the United States. The organization strives to create a world that is healthy, just and fully equal for all LGBTQ people by inspiring, advocating and mobilizing through an inclusive movement.

Baker Marquart Helps Client Petition for Appraisal and Avoid Involuntary Dissolution Pursuant to California Corporations Code Section 2000, Which Leads to Favorable Acquisition of All Outstanding Shares

Baker Marquart was engaged after its client was served with a notice of involuntary dissolution by other shareholders in a successful restaurant chain. Rather than permit dissolution, the firm’s client wanted to purchase additional shares and continue operations. The firm petitioned for appraisal under California Corporations Code section 2000. The other shareholders respondents sought to stay the section 2000 appraisal, which Baker Marquart opposed; Baker Marquart also moved to institute appraisal without further delay. The court denied respondents’ motion to stay appraisal and granted Baker Marquart’s motion to stay dissolution and commence appraisal. Shortly after the court’s order, and on the eve of appraisal, the firm’s client was able to acquire all outstanding shares at a favorable purchase price, a price significantly lower than had been previously offered.

Several Baker Marquart Attorneys Named 2018 Super Lawyers; Partner Brian Klein in top 100.

In 2012, Baker Marquart was hired to defend its client, FilmOn, against copyright infringement claims brought by all the major television networks in Los Angeles federal court. Another case was later filed by the major networks in Washington D.C., which Baker Marquart also defended. The firm initially won summary judgment in FilmOn’s favor. An editorial in the Los Angeles Times reported that the ruling “could usher in a new generation of pay TV services online[.]” After years of litigation, the parties presented arguments to the Ninth and D.C. circuit courts of appeal. Baker Marquart partner Ryan Baker argued the appeals. Oral argument in the D.C. court was scheduled for 15 minutes per side. After two hours of argument, Presiding Chief Judge Merrick Garland commended the parties for their “excellent oral argument.” Shortly after that argument, which highlighted significant issues raised by the firm in briefing and Baker at argument, the parties commenced settlement negotiations. The disputes between the parties in California and D.C. were settled shortly thereafter. The settlement terms were confidential, but FilmOn is “pleased to move beyond these disputes and focus on the continuing expansion of its innovative content delivery across a wide variety of media.”

Baker Marquart partners Ryan Baker, Jaime Marquart and Brian Klein named 2017 Super Lawyers once again.

Retained less than a week before the California Department of Business Affairs was set to present its case against a successful entrepreneur, Baker Marquart quickly marshalled the relevant facts and argument. Based on its efficient preparation, on the first day of trial, the firm obtained a settlement more favorable than anything that had been previously offered. The firm’s client was able to resolve the action and protect his other business interests.

After certain members in a profitable limited liability company engaged in self-dealing, Baker Marquart was retained by a member to negotiate a favorable purchase of the member’s interest. The firm immediately articulated several potential claims and threatened litigation. Based on those credible threats – and before any action was filed – the remaining members agreed to purchase the client’s membership interest at a significant profit for the client.

Baker Marquart’s client, a bank with over $60 billion in assets, had established a truck leasing program for a freight handler. When certain of the freight handler’s truck drivers, threatened to bring employment and other claims against the bank, Baker Marquart was retained. After conducting an internal investigation, the firm engaged opposing counsel to identify numerous issues with the threatened claims. No action was filed.

Baker Marquart was engaged to pursue claims for breach of a television production contract. The firm filed claims in federal court against the breaching party, as well as that party’s principals as alter egos. In response to the defendants’ counterclaims, Baker Marquart moved to strike pursuant to California’s anti-SLAPP law. The court granted Baker Marquart’s motion and subsequently awarded over $30,000 in fees. In addition, Baker Marquart obtained over $20,000 in sanctions against the defendants based on defendants’ discovery misconduct. Then, at mediation, defendants agreed to refund the majority of the funds that had been previously advanced pursuant to the production contract.

Baker Marquart partner, Scott Malzahn, was named to the Board of Directors of Equality California, the nation’s largest statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization. Malzahn was a member of the trial team in Perry v. Schwarzenegger, which won a historic federal court decision striking down California’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples. Through Equality California, which has successfully lobbied for the passage of more than 100 pieces of civil rights legislation, he is eager to continue his work to win and fight for full and lasting equality.

Of Malzahn and the eight other new appointees, EQCA executive director Rick Zbur said, “The new members of the boards and Equality Council bring a broad range of skills and expertise and continue to strengthen the leadership of our organizations. Their skills and leadership will help us both within the LGBT community and beyond, as we advance civil rights and social justice for LGBT people and the diverse communities of which we are a part.” Read EQCA’s full release here.

Inside Bitcoins reported that Baker Marquart partner Brian Klein led the creation of a 50-strong nationwide coalition of attorneys dedicated to protecting the civil liberties and constitutional rights of cryptocurrency users and companies.The newly formed Digital Currency and Ledger Defense Coalition also hopes their formation will encourage more companies to innovate without fear of legal reprisal.

“Law enforcement and regulatory actions relating to this technology have been steadily increasing over time and are all too often misdirected or premature[.] It is all too common for responsible entrepreneurs and companies to be subjected to unfair scrutiny by some federal or state agency, which, at a minimum, stifles them and broader innovation.” stated Klein, DCLDC’s Chairman.

From the Inside Bitcoins story by Ian DeMartino:

All emergent technologies have issues with established laws and politicians who struggle to understand them. When Automobiles first started gaining popularity, Britain passed the Locomotive Act of 1865, which limited automobile speeds to 2 mph in towns and cities and 4 mph in rural areas. The cars also had to be led by a man carrying a red flag. The flag bearer literally had to walk in front of the car to warn pedestrians and horse drawn carriages that the car was coming.

Read the full story here.

Broadcast & Cable‘s John Eggerton reports on Baker Marquart client FilmOn X’s continued push to get a compulsory copyright license to retransmit broadcast television. FilmOn X recently filed its reply brief in the appal of a November 2015 District of Columbia District Court ruling which found FilmOn X not entitled to the compulsory license. That ruling contradicted an earlier ruling of a California Federal Court, which found FilmOn X eligible for the license. (A compulsory license would allow FilmOn X to deliver TV station programming from the major networks at a government-set rate, rather than having to negotiate for it individually.)

According to Eggerton:

A California District Court judge ruled that FilmOn X was such a service and qualified for the license, which the broadcast networks challenged. Neither case has been resolved, so FilmOn X is asking the D.C. court to stay the U.S. District Court decision until that California challenge is resolved in the Ninth Circuit.

FilmOn had also asked the U.S. District court to stay its decision until the California case was resolved but was unsuccessful. The company says that court abused its discretion by denying the stay.

“The [U.S.] district court failed to examine the close relationships between the plaintiffs in the two parallel actions, which would have revealed no meaningful differences between them,” FilmOn X said this week. “The district court then abused its discretion when it refused a stay on the ground it might decide this case ‘slightly differently’ than the California court. The district court reached the opposite conclusion. To alleviate that conflict, this Court should vacate the district court’s order and stay this action pending final resolution of the California Action. In any event, FilmOn X is eligible for a cable system license.”

In the U.S. District Court decision, Judge Rosemary Collyer ruled that FilmOn X, which streamed on demand and day-and-date video online, was liable for infringing the plaintiff’s (Fox and other broadcast networks) performance right under the Copyright Act and was not eligible for the compulsory license.

The issue is whether online video distributors are effectively MVPDs eligible for the statutory license that allows them to avoid negotiating for individual network broadcast content. That issue is unsettled, with the Copyright Office saying they aren’t eligible but also saying that could change depending on what the courts and the FCC decide. The FCC is mulling defining some over-the-top distributors as MVPDs and FCC chairman Tom Wheeler has pointed to the need to prevent “old rules” from hampering online video competitors like FilmOn. But the FCC has also put that decision on the back burner while the marketplace develops.

California district judge George Wu ruled last year that FilmOn X was entitled to the compulsory license. Fox et al. challenged that ruling in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the National Association of Broadcasters slammed the decision.

Oral argument has not yet been scheduled in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Opposing FilmOn’s bid are Fox, Sinclair, CBS, NBC’s WRC-TV Washington, Disney/ABC, and Tegna.

Read the full Broadcast & Cable story here.

Variety‘s Ted Johnson recently wrote about Baker Marquart client VidAngel’s formal response to a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles federal court by Disney, LucasFilm, Twentieth Century Fox and WarnerBros. VidAngel argues that its movie filtering service is specifically authorized by the Family Movie Act. VidAngel also argues that its service is in the public interest, which is supported with numerous declartions from parents’ organizations and religious groups, including the Parents Television Council, the Media Research Center, the Traditional Values Coalition, American Family Assn., and Focus on the Family. Oral argument for the the studio’s motion for preliminary injunction is scheduled for Oct. 31.

From the Variety Article:

VidAngel contends that the service is legal following the passage of the Family Home Movie Act of 2005.

The law “authorizes for-profit companies to stream lawfully purchased movies for home viewing with objectionable content filtered out pursuant to each customer’s individual choice,” VidAngel said in a filing opposing the preliminary injunction.

VidAngel also noted that Disney “vigorously opposed” the Family Home Movie Act, but claims that the studio is trying to “neutralize” an act of Congress.

“Without apparent irony, Disney insists that VidAngel’s DVD-based business model is illegal, when it is Disney’s misconduct that has effectively made that model the only way in which FMA-authorized filtering can be meaningfully made to American families,” VidAngel says in its brief.

Read the full article here.

Baker Marquart was engaged by a former director of a major international investment bank to pursue wrongful termination claims. The director was constructively terminated when, after years of successful performance, he was transferred to a different department and away from all the clients—and commissions—he had developed over many years. The case was set for arbitration before FINRA. On the eve of arbitration, the parties mediated. The case settled shortly after mediation. Baker Marquart’s client obtained a settlement more than 10 times greater than what the bank had previously offered.

Baker Marquart partner Brian Klein recently joined a panel discussion of law enforcement and anonymous transactions at the Consensus 2016 blockchain technology summit. Consensus is the world’s leading bitcoin and blockchain technology conference. Joining Brian as panelist were industry leaders Prakash Santhana (the head of Cyber Risk and Payments Integrity at Deloitte Advisory), James Smith (the founder of Elliptic) and Zooko Wilcox (the founder of Zcash). A video of the panel discussion is available here.

After Baker Marquart’s Ryan Baker won reversal of a Florida cyberstalking injunction and obtained dismissal of the entire action in the Florida District Court of Appeals, distinguished free speech law expert, Eugene Volokh, devoted his column in the Washington Post to the case. Volokh explained that there’s a “distinction between speech to individual people who don’t want to receive it (which can often be restricted) and speech about people who don’t want to be talked about,” and that the injunction clearly violated the First Amendment. (The Appellate Court had determined that Baker Marquart’s client’s communications served a legitimate purpose and his social media postings were not directed at the resident and could not have caused the requisite substantial emotional distress. The Appellate Court directed the Circuit Court to dismiss the case in its entirety.) Read Eugene Volokh’s column about the ruling here.

The firm recently won reversal of a Florida cyberstalking injunction and obtained dismissal in the Florida District Court of Appeals. The Florida Circuit Court had issued a cyberstalking injunction against the firm’s client based on two litigation settlement communications directed at a Florida resident and several social media postings about that resident. Baker Marquart appealed. After the firm’s oral argument, the Court of Appeals reversed, finding that the injunction was an improper prior restraint of First Amendment free speech and that no cyberstalking had been established. The Appellate Court determined that the two communications served a legitimate purpose and the social media postings were not directed at the resident and could not have caused the requisite substantial emotional distress. The Appellate Court directed the Circuit Court to dismiss the case in its entirety.

Baker Marquart is widely recognized as having a leading litigation practice in the emerging and revolutionary Bitcoin and Blockchain technology industries. Firm attorneys have represented individuals and entities tied to these industries in matters as diverse as civil bankruptcy proceedings, SEC enforcement actions and DOJ investigations. Firm attorneys also regularly speak around the world on these issues at major payments and technology companies and conferences for digital currency industry members and legal professionals, among other places. Baker Marquart partner Brian Klein has also volunteered time at the Bitcoin Foundation as the chair of the legal advocacy committee and as outside general counsel.

“Huge,” “landmark,” “legal earthquake” and “shocking” were all terms used by the media to describe Baker Marquart’s recent summary judgment victory on behalf of FilmOn over the major television networks. Using arguments advanced by those same networks in an earlier phase of the case, Baker Marquart was able to demonstrate that the Copyright Act’s plain language entitles Internet-based services to a compulsory license under Section 111, provided that those services meet certain requirements. The ruling, which was widely applauded by consumer interest groups, paves the way for greater public access to network television over the Internet.

Baker Marquart successfully defended a client charged with running an unlicensed money transmitting business in federal court in Colorado. In July 2015, the U.S. Attorney’s Office dismissed the single-count indictment before trial.

On behalf of its client, Hologram USA, Baker Marquart brought claims for patent infringement against Cirque du Soleil and the Michael Jackson Estate over use of holographic technology in the Las Vegas show “Michael Jackson One.” The parties discussed settlement over the course of the litigation, but no agreement was reached until claim construction discovery closed. At that time, Baker Marquart was able to obtain terms far superior to those that had been previously offered. The settlement included an agreement that the parties would work cooperatively going forward.

The Firm was engaged to protect a client’s patent portfolio related to the creation of live three-dimensional images. After the client learned that its technology may have been used to produce a holographic image of Homer Simpson at 2014 Comic-Con, Baker Marquart initiated legal action. Settlement discussions ensued, and the case settled within months of filing.

Baker Marquart is proud to support the riders and community of the Leadville 100 Mountain Bike Race. As one of the most demanding endurance events in cycling, success at Leadville requires strategic planning, focused preparation and peak performance—the same techniques Baker Marquart employs to achieve clients’ goals in and out of the courtroom.

Baker Marquart partners Ryan Baker, Jaime Marquart and Brian Klein have again been recognized by Super Lawyers. Over the past several years, Baker Marquart attorneys have been recognized numerous times as Super Lawyers and Rising Stars by Super Lawyers magazine. On the basis of that recognition, the firm was recently profiled in the Super Lawyers Business Edition.

Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The selection process includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations.

Based on the number of Baker Marquart attorneys named as 2014 super lawyers and rising stars, the firm was recently featured in Super Lawyers Business Edition, a publication featuring top attorneys across the United States and in the United Kingdom.

Baker Marquart was retained to represent a software company plaintiff in a patent dispute. The firm took targeted discovery and worked with experts to establish infringement and prepare for claim construction. The parties had discussed settlement throughout the litigation, including a settlement discussion at the court’s early neutral evaluation conference. Shortly after the claim construction hearing, the parties engaged again in settlement discussions. The case settled when defendants agreed to pay a sum substantially higher than what had been previously offered for the right to practice the patents.

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.

Scott Malzahn, Christian Anstett and Kelly Raney were recently honored as rising stars in super lawyers magazine. No more than 2.5 percent of California attorneys receive such recognition.

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. 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 favorable settlement 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.

Ryan G. Baker and Jaime W. Marquart have once again been recognized as top lawyers by Los Angeles Magazine. Baker and Marquart were named 2014 Super Lawyers, recognizing their professional accomplishments. Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The patented selection includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations.

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.

Baker Marquart is pleased to announce that Brian Klein has left the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles to join the firm. Brian is an accomplished trial attorney, who has successfully litigated in federal and state court in California and New York and argued before the Ninth Circuit. Brian represents individuals and corporate clients in high-stakes and complex criminal, regulatory, and civil matters.

As an Assistant United States Attorney in Los Angeles for the past 5 years, Brian handled significant white-collar criminal cases, including cases involving corporate fraud, money laundering, and tax violations.

Brian has lectured at USC Law School and currently co-teaches a seminar there on federal criminal law. Brian graduated from New York University School of Law in 2000 and received his undergraduate degree from the University of Washington in 1996.

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.

Baker Marquart LLP is pleased to announce that three new lawyers have joined the firm. Mark Smith joins Baker Marquart as of counsel. Mark previously litigated at Winston & Strawn and Sullivan & Cromwell. Mark attended college at the University of Utah and obtained his law degree from Harvard Law School. Chris Anstett has left Quinn Emanuel to join Baker Marquart as of counsel. Chris attended college at the University of Southern California and law school at the University of Texas. Blake McCay joins Baker Marquart as an associate. Blake has an undergraduate degree from the University of Arizona, and he obtained his law degree from the University of Miami.

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.

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.