Chair, Financial Services LitigationCo-Chair, Trial Practiceemail
Manatt trial lawyers don’t live for the billable hour. They live for the moment. The moment you are victorious. The moment you are vindicated in everyone’s eyes. The moment you walk down the courthouse steps and can once again move forward.
We prepare for this moment from the second we meet you. Our seasoned courtroom veterans are integral members of your team from the outset. We identify key elements of your case that will be raised if it goes to trial. Our strategy prevents excessive discovery and keeps the litigation laser-focused on the primary task at hand, resolving your case long before a trial. But if your case does wind up in court, a win is deeply rooted in Manatt’s DNA.
Some law firms pair clients with lawyers who practice inside specialty areas but do not have experience trying cases. Other firms have trial lawyers who know nothing about your business. Manatt embodies the best qualities of agile litigation boutiques and full-service law firms. Our approach is different, it’s efficient, and it works. We pair our clients with a team of trial lawyers who know what it takes to win in the courtroom and Manatt lawyers who have extensive experience in your business. Other firms claim "access" to these widely respected industry thought leaders, but Manatt has them.
Our results speak for themselves:
Dairy Farmers of America v. Cacique, Inc. (DFA)We secured a $14,305,418 verdict for DFA, the largest manufacturer of Hispanic-style cheeses and creams in the world. Under a contract between DFA and Cacique, DFA supplied approximately 22 million pounds of milk each month. In August 2007, Cacique suddenly terminated the contract on 10 days’ notice, which DFA claimed was a breach of the contract’s six-month notice requirement. Cacique attempted to justify the termination by arguing that in 2004 it had to recall several batches of defective cheese that it claimed were caused by DFA milk, and that it had only learned the defect was DFA's fault in August 2007. Cacique cross-complained seeking damages for the recall and damage to its reputation as a result of the recall. However, after a five-week trial, the court found that (1) Cacique breached its contract with DFA, (2) Cacique failed to show that DFA delivered defective milk in 2004, (3) DFA had negotiated with Cacique in good faith, (4) Cacique did not act in good faith in its dealings with DFA, and (5) the court did not believe Cacique’s claimed justification for the termination.
Hailey v. Blue ShieldThe issue of when health insurers are entitled to cancel an individual’s health insurance policy for misrepresenting his or her health history at the time of enrollment has been a hot issue in California for several years and has also received federal attention. In this case, the plaintiffs, a married couple, alleged that our client Blue Shield had wrongfully rescinded their health coverage, leaving them with hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid medical bills after a devastating car accident. Not only was this case the seminal lawsuit concerning rescission, but it was the first rescission case in California to proceed to a jury trial. As the trial progressed and the evidence mounted that the plaintiffs had engaged in willful misconduct, it became evident that they could not continue. In a dramatic conclusion, the plaintiffs confessed that they had intentionally sought to mislead Blue Shield and agreed that Blue Shield had done nothing wrong. Following their confession, the trial court entered a directed verdict in favor of Blue Shield and the health insurance industry breathed a collective sigh of relief.
Visto Corp. v. Seven Networks, Inc.We represented Visto Corporation (now Good Technology) in a patent infringement action in the Eastern District of Texas brought by Seven Networks, the provider of Sprint Business Connection software and Cingular Xpress Mail software. After a jury verdict of willful infringement in favor of Visto, the court doubled damages, awarded attorneys’ fees, and entered a stayed injunction. The case subsequently settled on very favorable terms for our client.
Flying J v. California Transportation CommissionWe represented truck stop operator Flying J in what was supposed to have been a simple land swap and cash deal between our client and the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans). Under the original agreement Flying J was to purchase 20 acres of land along a lonely stretch of highway in Mojave, California from Caltrans—for a bargain $40,000—to build a travel plaza along a route where there are few options for truckers and motorists. In exchange, Caltrans would get four acres of Flying J land to build a frontage road. But the real winner of the deal would be Mojave, which would see 100 or more jobs and get a badly needed boost to its economy. Then everything went wrong. The Transportation Commissioner told Caltrans it should get more money for the land than what the contract stipulated. Under political pressure from the Commissioner to put the land up for public auction, Caltrans buckled. At the same time, the Commissioner brokered a back-room deal for his friend—a Flying J rival—to secure the land. Flying J called foul and turned to us for help. Our lawyers took the case to trial, where a jury agreed that the state should be held accountable for breaching its contract and awarded a million dollars to Flying J, with an additional $60 million in lost profits yet to be determined.
Watanabe v. Blue ShieldIn 2007, Manatt won a landmark case at trial for the healthcare and health insurance industries. The plaintiff was a woman who feared she had a brain tumor. Her doctor requested an MRI, but the doctor’s supervising medical group denied the request. Later, while visiting Japan, the plaintiff collapsed. An MRI revealed that she had a brain tumor the size of a lemon. She sued the medical group and her health insurance plan, Blue Shield. The case appeared to be so strong for the plaintiff that Michael Moore tried to film the trial for Sicko, his movie indicting the U.S. healthcare system. We prevented Moore from turning the case into a circus and, through a month-long trial, secured a favorable verdict for Blue Shield. In late 2008, our appellate specialists secured its position as a landmark case by obtaining a unanimous published opinion from the California Court of Appeal that cuts off a massive zone of liability for both healthcare providers and health insurers by holding that they are not vicariously liable for each other’s conduct.
56 Hope Road v. AVELA, et. al.When Nevada-based company AVELA and two of its licensees—JEM Sportswear and Freeze—began the unauthorized manufacturing and distribution of T-shirts, toys and other items bearing the image of the late Bob Marley, the reggae icon’s family turned to us for help. We filed suit on behalf of 56 Hope Road, an entity formed by Bob Marley’s widow and nine of his 11 children, against AVELA for the unauthorized use of the singer’s image on its products, which were then distributed to major retailers such as Target, Walmart, and Wet Seal. Included in the suit were claims alleging business interference and unfair competition under the federal Lanham Act. Based on our arguments, a federal jury in Nevada awarded Marley’s family $300,000 in actual damages. In addition, the federal court ruled that the defendants intentionally interfered with the family’s business relationships and engaged in unfair competition. The ruling was a major victory for our client, made sweeter by the fact that the judge in the case is expected to award further damages.
Greene v. Julien’s Auction HouseWe represented Julien’s Auction House in a case brought by Milton H. Greene, involving the unauthorized use of photographs of Marilyn Monroe in connection with an auction of Monroe memorabilia on consignment from the Estate of Marilyn Monroe. We were brought in as special trial counsel after summary adjudication had been granted to Greene on the issue of liability. After a full trial on the issue of damages, the jury returned a verdict of approximately $34,000, even though Greene had previously demanded $2.9 million.
Ticketmaster v. Cleveland Cavaliers Operating Co., LLCThe Cavaliers had entered into an agreement to use only our client Ticketmaster’s services and products. However, they started using a service and product by Flash Seats (a company controlled by the same principals as the Cavaliers). Following a bench trial, the court ruled that the Cavaliers organization had breached its agreement with Ticketmaster and entered a permanent injunction enjoining the Cavaliers from using Flash Seats.
Harris v. CashCallThe plaintiff in this case, who had been terminated as part of a reduction in force, brought a seven-count action against our client CashCall, Inc., and her former supervisor, alleging pregnancy discrimination, failure to accommodate, interference with her pregnancy leave rights, and wrongful termination. The case proceeded to a jury trial, but the plaintiff later waived a jury in favor of a bench trial, where a verdict was rendered in favor of our clients on all causes of action following intensive post-trial briefing and argument.
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