Intellectual Property

View alphabetical listings of Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek attorneys practicing in Intellectual Property below:

John H. Alspaugh Shareholder

Mr. Alspaugh specializes in business transactions with an emphasis on commercial leasing, trademark and copyright matters, corporate and real estate matters, and insurance law. He is a shareholder of the firm and a member of the firm’s Executive Committee. He is also responsible for the acquisition of employee benefits for the firm.

As the leader of our intellectual property practice area, Mr. Alspaugh is particularly active in trademark matters. SCMV’s acquisition of The Trademark Group® has strengthened the firm’s domestic and international capabilities in that area.

Education

Mr. Alspaugh received his B.A., with high honors, from Whittier College in 1980. He earned his law degree in 1983 from the University of California, Los Angeles, where he qualified for the Order of the Coif.

Representative Matters

  • Assists clients in a broad range of trademark and copyright matters, including:
    • 
Evaluation and selection of trademarks
    • 
Analysis of ownership issues
    • 
Federal Registration
    • 
Licensing, assignment, and sales transactions
    • Resolution of disputes and infringement claims
  • Represented the franchisor of a national restaurant chain in real estate and leasing transactions
  • Works closely with business owners in several industries to assist in planning for and responding to the variety of business and legal issues which arise in connection with the ownership and operation of a business
  • Represents buyers and sellers in routine and complex sales of businesses in many industries, including television broadcasting, hotel, resort, airline, construction, professional practice, and manufacturing, including the negotiation of consulting agreements and covenants not to compete
  • Created master lease forms for several large multi-tenant office buildings
  • Represents the owner of a chain of grocery stores in connection with leasing, acquisition, sale, and general operations matters
  • Representation of restaurant owners in connection with leasing, operational, and employment issues
  • Representation of buyers and sellers in the purchase and sale of commercial office and retail buildings
  • Representation of business owners in the evaluation of expansion strategies
  • Representation of clients in connection with insurance issues, including risk management evaluation, insurance policy review, coverage issues, review of compliance with contractual insurance requirements, and review of tenant coverages as required by leases
  • Representation of clients in connection with the development and distribution of home video products and television programming
  • Representation of clients in connection with the formation of entities and the evaluation of rights and obligations of owners and officers

Personal

Mr. Alspaugh is married, and has sons attending the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Colorado at Boulder. He has lived in San Diego County since the 1960s.

Robert S. Brewer, Jr. Of Counsel

Mr. Brewer’s practice focuses on a variety of civil litigation and white collar defense areas including government investigations, fraud, business and commercial torts, health care and intellectual property disputes.

Education

Mr. Brewer received a B.A. from St. Lawrence University in 1968 and his J.D. from University of San Diego School of Law in 1975.

Employment Background

Mr. Brewer was a respected prosecutor in Los Angeles from 1975-1982, serving as a Deputy District Attorney and as an Assistant U.S. Attorney – including as Assistant Chief of the Criminal Division – prosecuting cases involving espionage, bank robberies, smuggling, narcotics, murder for hire and civil rights violations.

Upon moving back to San Diego in 1982, Mr. Brewer entered private law practice specializing in a variety of civil litigation and white collar defense areas.  He co-founded the San Diego law firm of Chapin & Brewer in 1987 and served as the managing partner of the San Diego office of McKenna & Cuneo from 1991-2008.

Prior to joining Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek, Mr. Brewer was a partner in the San Diego office of the international law firm Jones Day and was Partner in charge of the San Diego office, 2012-2013.  He was a candidate for San Diego County District Attorney in 2014.

Before entering the field of law, Mr. Brewer was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army and served in Vietnam for 15 months as an Advisor to the Vietnamese Airborne Division, in combat in both Cambodia and South Vietnam, and an Operations Officer with MACSOG.  For his combat service in Vietnam he was awarded the Silver Star, two Bronze Stars, two Air Medals (one for valor), the Joint Service Commendation Medal and various Vietnamese medals for valor.

Representative Matters

  • Represented Boeing in a wide ranging multi-year investigation concerning the testing and quality control of certain metals used in the manufacture of military aircraft
  • Represented Radio Shack Corporation in numerous statewide and national class action matters involving the classification and pay of store managers. Successfully defended a class action jury trial in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Represented Alvarado Hospital in a Federal jury trial involving alleged illegal recruitment payment to physicians
  • Represented numerous physicians in health care investigations involving Medicare reimbursements and treatment classifications
  • Represented several Superior Court Judges regarding investigations by the State Commission on Judicial Performance
  • Represented numerous real estate developers in both civil dispute and criminal investigations

Professional Affiliations & Admissions

  • State Bar of California
  • American Bar Association
  • San Diego Bar Association
  • Enright Inn of Court (Master and Past President)
  • Federal Defenders (Former Board Member)
  • Advisory Board, United States Courts for the Ninth Circuit (2011-present)

Community Affiliations

  • Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial Association (Trustee)
  • StarPal (Board Member)
  • Downtown Rotary Club
  • San Diego Humane Society (Former Board Member)
  • Canine Companions for Independence (Donor and Former “Puppy Raiser”)
  • American Red Cross (Volunteer)
  • San Diego American Cancer Society (Partnership Council Member)
  • Patriot’s Initiative (Advisory Board)

Speaking Engagements

  • Veteran’s Day, Rancho Bernardo Veterans Memorial, Keynote Speaker (2015)
  • Adjunct Professor, USD School of Law (co-taught Advanced Civil Litigation) (2014)
  • Numerous speeches on Criminal Law issues as Candidate for San Diego County District Attorney (2014)
  • Veteran’s Day, Poway Veterans Memorial, Keynote Speaker (2013)
  • Cal Western School of Law, Law Review Dinner, Keynote Speaker (2012)

Professional Awards & Honors

  • Recipient, Distinguished Graduate Award, USD School of Law (2016)
  • Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America (1998-present)
  • Recognized in San Diego Super Lawyers (1998-present)
  • Named San Diego’s Criminal Defense White-Collar Lawyer of the year by Best Lawyers (2011)
  • Recipient of the Daniel T. Broderick Award (for Civility and Ethics), San Diego Bar Association (2009)
  • Named by Chambers USA as one of the leading white-collar crime/government investigations lawyer in California (2008)
  • Named by San Diego Super Lawyers magazine as one of the Top 10 Lawyers in San Diego (2008)
  • Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers (1999)

Hang Alexandra Do Associate

Ms. Do is an associate of the firm with her practice focusing primarily on insurance law, intellectual property, real property disputes and professional liability defense. She is bilingual in English and French.

Education

Ms. Do received her B.S. in Biology from the University of California, Riverside in 2005, completed all required courses for a Masters in Organic Chemistry from California State University, Fullerton, and received her Juris Doctor from California Western School of Law in 2015.

Employment Background

Prior to joining the firm, Ms. Do worked as an associate attorney at an intellectual property firm where she specialized in intellectual property litigation.

Professional Affiliations & Admissions

  • State Bar of California
  • Southern and Central Districts of California
  • San Diego County Bar Association
  • Association of Business Trial Lawyers
  • California Women Lawyers

Hillary M. Dorne Associate

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Ms. Dorne’s practice emphasizes representing lenders and borrowers in commercial real estate-secured loans and advising private client transactions including business planning and corporate compliance, corporate governance and real estate. She has additional experience in the formation and operation of businesses, mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, stock options, finance, Securities and Exchange Commission reporting, and general representation of entrepreneurs in widely diverse industries. Ms. Dorne is knowledgeable in personal estate planning and the formation and operation of tax exempt organizations.

Education

Ms. Dorne received her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California, Davis. She earned her Juris Doctor from the University of San Diego School of Law.

Employment Background

Prior to joining Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek, Ms. Dorne served as Judicial Extern for the Honorable Thomas J. Whelan in the Southern District of California and as a law clerk with the United States Federal Defenders, Criminal Division in San Diego.

Representative Matters

  • Represents lenders and borrowers in documentation, negotiation and closing of commercial real estate secured loan transactions (involving acquisition and development, construction, ground lease and(or) permanent financing for office, hotel, retail, commercial and industrial properties)
  • Represents lenders and borrowers in documentation, negotiation and closing of personal property secured loan transactions (involving equipment, negotiable instruments and(or) accounts receivable collateral)
  • Represents clients in real estate transactions, including sales, leasing, purchases, 1031 exchanges, financing, debt workouts and construction of major office, hotel, industrial buildings and retail shopping centers
  • Provides a wide-range of federal, state and local business advice to individuals, partnerships, corporations, and other business entities on corporate compliance
  • Forms business organizations, including limited liability companies, partnerships, and corporations
  • Represents clients in various business matters and transactions, including business governance, joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, reorganizations and spin-offs, and liquidations
  • Represents health care companies in mergers and acquisitions, formation of multi-specialty groups, independent practice associations, and management service organizations; negotiates management service contracts, physician service agreements, purchase and sale of professional practices and related agreements
  • Advises clients regarding formation and operation of charitable trusts and nonprofit organizations
  • Assists clients with succession planning for closely-held businesses and other personal and/or family assets
  • Designs and structures estate planning documents for clients (including wills, trusts, advance health care directives, asset management powers of attorney, etc.)
  • Advises clients regarding short and long-term business planning and strategies

Professional Affiliations & Admissions

  • State Bar of California
  • S. District Court, Southern District of California
  • San Diego County Bar Association
  • District of Columbia Bar
  • American Bar Association

Personal

  • Ms. Dorne is fluent in Spanish.

Joseph P. Martinez Shareholder

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Mr. Martinez is a firm shareholder practicing in the areas of real estate and business transactions. Mr. Martinez represents real property and business owners, investors and managers, as well as developers, landlords, tenants, borrowers and lenders. His expertise encompasses a variety of sophisticated matters, including acquisitions, dispositions, equity investment, development, leasing and secured lending transactions. Mr. Martinez is fluent in Spanish and English.

Education

Mr. Martinez earned his B.A., cum laude, from Harvard College in 1992 with a concentration in Economics. He earned his J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1996 where he served as Editor-in-Chief of the Harvard Latino Law Review.

Representative Matters

  • Represents urban and suburban residential, mixed-use and commercial real estate developers in documentation, negotiation and closing of purchase and sale transactions, leasing transactions and secured finance transactions
  • Represents interests of companies engaged in residential, mixed-use and commercial real estate development, investment and management transactions
  • Represents lenders and borrowers in documentation, negotiation and closing of commercial real estate-secured mortgage loan transactions (involving acquisition and development, construction, ground lease and(or) permanent financing for office, hotel, retail, commercial, industrial and multi-family properties)
  • Represents lenders and borrowers in documentation, negotiation and closing of personal property–secured loan transactions (involving intellectual property, negotiable instruments, stock/marketable securities portfolios, accounts receivable, life insurance, aircraft, watercraft and equipment collateral)
  • Represents borrowers in documentation, negotiation and closing of commercial real estate-secured conduit mortgage loan transactions and defeasance transactions
  • Represents landlords and tenants in documentation, negotiation and execution of office, retail, commercial and industrial real estate leasing transactions
  • Represents real estate interests of companies engaged in corporate merger and acquisition transactions
  • Represents real estate interests of companies engaged in bond financing transactions
  • Represents interests of owners, investors, borrowers and lenders in distressed commercial real estate transactions

Professional Affiliations & Admissions

  • United States Supreme Court
  • United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • United States District Court for the Northern District of California
  • United States District Court for the Southern District of California
  • Supreme Court of California
  • State Bar of California
  • State Bar of California, Agribusiness Committee, Co-Chairman (2006)
  • San Diego County Bar Association
  • San Diego County Bar Association, Real Property Law Section and Business Law Section

Community Affiliations

  • Southwestern College Foundation (Director)
  • Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center (Director)
  • San Diego Padres, Hispanic Community Leadership Committee (Member)
  • San Diego New Children’s Museum (Past Director)

Personal

Mr. Martinez enjoys running, mountain biking, hiking, fishing and camping in the great outdoors, he is a life-long fan of the San Diego Padres and the San Diego Chargers, and he volunteers his time to improve Spanish and English literacy in children at local elementary schools.

Gerald L. McMahon Chairman of the Firm & Litigation Department Chair

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Mr. McMahon is chairman of the board and head of the firm’s Litigation Department. Mr. McMahon’s practice emphasizes civil litigation. He has tried in excess of 100 cases before juries, judges, arbitration panels and administrative law judges.

The more than 100 cases he has tried include matters in the disparate areas of anti-competitive practices, family law, construction, corporations, eminent domain, employment, insurance, intellectual property, limited liability companies, partnerships, personal injury, planning and zoning, products-liability, professional malpractice, real estate, and securities, among others.

Education

Mr. McMahon received his B.S., cum laude, from the University of Southern California in 1956, and was awarded Order of the Palm as the outstanding graduating senior. He graduated summa cum laude from the University of San Diego School of Law in 1964, where he was the Notes Editor of the San Diego Law Review. While attending law school, Mr. McMahon was designated the St. Thomas More Scholar for the highest grade-point average in his class, and was named to the Order of the Coif.

Employment Background

Mr. McMahon was a naval aviator and, later, before entering the practice of law, held the position of Chief of Contracts for General Dynamics Corporation’s Centaur Space Vehicle Program.

Representative Matters

  • Represented manufacturer of medical device in patent infringement action against manufacturer of competing device
  • Defended international software maker against putative class action alleging defects in the software
  • Represented national fast-food chain in trade name infringement action
  • Represented national hospital corporation in defense of wrongful termination-of-employment action by several plaintiffs alleging dismissals in violation of public policy
  • Represented national chain of warehouse clubs in defense of anti-competitive practice claims by former supplier and in defense of a securities class action brought by shareholders
  • Defended law firm that had rendered tax opinion for a tax-shelter offering against investors’ claims
  • Represented developer of 340-unit condominium in defending against class action brought by homeowners
  • Represented religious leader before a jury of 550 of his peers
  • Represented building owner in construction-defects action against architect, general contractor and subcontractors
  • Represented national manufacturing corporation in defending class action brought by its California franchisees
  • Represented corporate majority shareholder in action against minority shareholder for usurpation of corporate opportunity
  • Represented spouse of principal in money management firm in dissolution-of-marriage proceeding
  • Arbitrated, before a tribunal of the International Court of Arbitration, royalty-sharing issues between holder of wireless telephone technology patent and an agency of a foreign government
  • Represented national trader of electric energy in putative class actions alleging unfair competition
  • Co-defense liaison counsel in coordinated California tobacco litigation proceedings
  • Represented several judges in individual matters

Professional Affiliations & Admissions

  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • California Supreme Court
  • U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • U.S. District Court, Northern, Southern and Central Districts of California
  • U.S. Claims Court
  • Co-Chair, San Diego County Bar Association Conference on Diversity and Advocacy (1995)
  • University of San Diego School of Law (Chairman, Board of Visitors, 1980, 1996-1998)
  • Chairman, Drafting Committee, San Diego Civil Settlement and Trial Manual (1978)
  • Judge Pro Tem, San Diego Superior Court (1978 to date)
  • Member of the American Arbitration Association Panel of Arbitrators
  • Judicial Arbitrators Committee, San Diego Superior Court (Arbitrator and Member, 1979 to date)
  • Chairman, Drafting Committee, San Diego Civil Settlement and Trial Manual (1978)
  • California State Bar District No. 9 (Disciplinary Referee Pro Tem, 1976-1978)
  • Adjunct professor of law and Assistant Director, Staff of Trial Techniques Course, University of San Diego School of Law (1969-1972)
  • Barristers (Member, Board of Directors, 1969-1970)
  • American Inns of Court, Louis M. Welsh San Diego Chapter (Master Barrister)
  • San Diego Inns of Court, Inc.
  • San Diego County Bar Association (Vice President and Director, 1974-1977)
  • State Bar of California (Litigation and Family Law Sections)
  • American Judicature Society
  • Phi Alpha Delta Legal Fraternity

Community Affiliations

  • Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center (former Member, Board of Trustees)

Publication & Speaking Engagements

  • Panelist, San Diego Trial Lawyers Association Masters of Advocacy Seminars (1986, 1989, 1991)
  • Speaker, San Diego Trial Lawyers Association, “Keys to Victory at Trial (or Some Good Excuses if You Lose)” (1989)
  • Demonstrator, American Board of Trial Advocates/San Diego County Bar Association seminar “Trial of a Sexual Harassment Case” (1992)
  • Demonstrator, State Bar of California Convention, “Comparative Cross Examination” (1993)
  • Demonstrator, U.S. Department of Justice United States Attorney’s Advocacy Institute, “Cross-Examination” (1994)
  • Speaker, The Rutter Group, “Punitive Damages, Preparation & Trial” (1996)
  • Panelist, California Continuing Education of the Bar program, “Creating and Implementing a Discovery Plan”
  • Panelist, California Continuing Education of the Bar program, “Effective Civil Discovery”
  • Panelist, California Continuing Education of the Bar program, “How to Make the Law of Evidence Work for You”
  • Panelist, California Continuing Education of the Bar program, “Effective Law and Motion Practice”
  • Panelist, California Continuing Education of the Bar program, “How to Prepare for Trial”
  • Panelist, California Continuing Education of the Bar program, “Effective Jury Voir Dire”
  • Panelist, California Association of Business Trial Lawyers Seminar (2001)
  • Founding Director, lecturer, demonstrator and workshop leader for San Diego Inns of Court, an Institute of Trial Advocacy
  • Lecturer at California Western Law School on the use of expert witnesses and the art of taking a deposition

Professional Awards & Honors

  • Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers
  • The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers
  • Designated as Distinguished Alumnus, University of San Diego School of Law (1976 and 1980)
  • American Board of Trial Advocates, San Diego Chapter (President, 1981)
  • Recipient of Daniel T. Broderick, III Memorial Award, bestowed by representatives of the San Diego Plaintiffs’ Lawyers Association, Defense Counsel Association and Bar Association, upon “an attorney with substantial litigation experience who epitomizes the principles of civility, integrity and professionalism” (1991)
  • Best Lawyers in America in Business Litigation, Family Law and “Bet-the-Company” Litigation categories (1988-current)
  • Named as one of three lawyers for 2010 in Southern California, based upon their particularly high level of peer recognition
  • University of San Diego School of Law, 2010 Hughes Career Achievement Award
  • San Diego Super Lawyers – 2014, 2015 (Business Litigation)
  • Named as one of the “10 Best” Attorneys in California by the American Institute of Family Law Attorneys (2015)

 

Michael G. Nardi Shareholder

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Mr. Nardi is a shareholder of the firm.  His practice focuses on complex civil/commercial litigation, in federal and state trial and appellate courts and in alternative dispute resolution proceedings.  Mr. Nardi has 30 years of experience representing individuals, governmental entities and private businesses ranging in size from small “mom and pop” organizations to large multi-national corporations.  He has particular expertise in insurance coverage, employment, environmental, intellectual property and business disputes.  He serves as Chair of the firm’s Appellate Law practice group and Co-Chair of its Insurance Law practice group.

Education

Mr. Nardi received his Bachelor of Science degree, magna cum laude, from Towson State University in 1981.  He earned his law degree, with honors, from the University of Maryland School of Law in 1986, where he was named Order of the Coif.  He was the recipient of the W. Calvin Chesnut Prize, Bridgewater M. Arnold Prize, and the American Jurisprudence Awards for Property, Criminal Procedure, Commercial Paper and Conflict of Law.  Mr. Nardi was a member and the Notes and Comments Editor of the Maryland Law Review.

Employment Background

Prior to joining Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek, Mr. Nardi served as a law clerk for the Honorable Norman P. Ramsey, U.S. District Court, District of Maryland from 1986-1987.

Representative Matters

Representative insurance matters and cases:

  • Represented insurer-client in insurance coverage/“bad-faith” action brought by underlying plaintiffs as assignees of D&O insureds. Case involved interpretation and application of policies’ related-claims and prior notice provisions. Summary judgment in favor of insurer-client and award of attorney’s fees and costs affirmed on appeal, with award of additional appellate attorney’s fees and costs.
  • Represented insurer-client in insurance coverage/“bad-faith” action involving alleged failure to pay underlying class-action settlement. Case involved interpretation of policy provisions not previously interpreted in California.  Summary judgment in favor of insurer-client and award of costs affirmed on appeal.
  • Represented insurer client in insurance coverage/”bad-faith” action involving liability coverage for hydrocarbon contamination at a public facility. Summary judgment for insurer client and award of costs affirmed on appeal.
  • Represented insurer-client in insurance coverage/“bad-faith” arbitration arising out of dispute regarding coverage for underlying wage-and-hour class-action suits. Three-member panel denied claimant’s demands for tort/“bad-faith” damages (including reimbursement of an underlying settlement, attorney’s fees and punitive damages), and prejudgment interest and ordered claimant to pay a substantial portion of insurer-client’s arbitration costs.
  • Represented insurer-client in multi-million-dollar contribution action to recover defense fees/costs and a settlement payment from a second insurer. Summary judgment favorable to insurer-client affirmed on appeal.
  • Represented insurer-client as defendant in contribution/subrogation action. Summary judgment granted in favor of insurer-client, with award of costs to insurer-client.
  • Represented holding company client in insurance coverage/“bad-faith” litigation. Motion to quash service of summons granted for lack of personal jurisdiction over holding company defendant.
  • Represented insurer-client in insurance coverage/“bad-faith” action involving alleged property damage coverage. Matter successfully resolved after proving the claim was inflated and overstated and securing partial summary judgment for insurer-client.
  • Represented insurer-client in insurance coverage/“bad-faith” action involving alleged property damage coverage. Matter successfully resolved after demurrer sustained for insurer-client.
  • Represented insurer-client in insurance coverage/“bad-faith” suit regarding coverage for complaints made to insured homeowners’ association. Case involved question whether pre-suit demand letters constituted a “Claim” for purposes of placing coverage in the appropriate claims-made policy period.  Case successfully resolved after ruling on insurer’s motion to dismiss.
  • Represented insurer-client in insurance coverage/“bad-faith” litigation brought by City of Phoenix, Arizona. Matter successfully resolved while awaiting ruling on insurer’s motion for summary judgment.
  • Represented title insurer defendant in consumer class action. Matter successfully resolved while awaiting decision on insurer’s motion to dismiss.
  • Represented insurer-client in dispute regarding reimbursement of insured’s independent counsel fees/costs. Matter involved complicated choice-of-law issues and conflict between statutory and common law rights/obligations pertaining to independent counsel.  Matter successfully resolved.
  • Represented insurer-client in insurance coverage/“bad-faith” litigation brought by California public entity insured. Matter involved claims exceeding $100 million in alleged defense and indemnity expenses associated with long-term environmental pollution.  Matter successfully resolved while insurer-client’s motion for summary judgment pending.
  • Represented insurer-client on petition for writ of certiorari to the United States Supreme Court. Case involved the rights of an insurer, as its insured’s subrogee, to pursue cost-recovery action under CERCLA.
  • Represented insurer-client in several insurance coverage/“bad-faith” suits arising out of underlying environmental litigation. Matters successfully resolved at various stages of the litigation.
  • Represented and continue to represent and advise insurer-clients on variety of coverage-related issues, with objective of avoiding (or improving likelihood of success in) litigation.

Representative appellate matters and cases:

  • Represented (in trial court and on appeal) defendant City of San Diego in a constructive discharge/age discrimination action brought by a former Deputy City Attorney. Action dismissed, and judgment affirmed on appeal.  See Monce v. City of San Diego, 895 2d 560 (9th Cir. 1990).
  • Represented, on appeal, defendant/appellant polybutylene plumbing fitting supplier seeking reversal of a judgment in favor of homeowner plaintiffs/respondents. Judgment reversed with directions to enter judgment for fitting supplier client.  See Gawara v. U.S. Brass Company (1998) 63 Cal.App.4th 1341.
  • Represented (in trial court and on appeal) insurer-client in insurance coverage/“bad-faith” action involving alleged failure to pay underlying class-action settlement. Summary judgment and award of costs in favor of insurer-client affirmed on appeal, with award of appellate costs to insurer-client.  See Screen Actors Guild, Inc. v. Federal Insurance Company, 957 F.Supp.2d 1157 (C.D. Cal. 2013).
  • Represented, on appeal, appellant seeking reversal of $4,000,000-plus negligent misrepresentation judgment after jury verdict in favor of developer respondent. Judgment reversed, with directions to enter judgment for and award costs to client.
  • Represented, on appeal, national retailer client seeking reversal of judgment in favor of developer plaintiff/respondent. Judgment reversed, with directions to enter judgment for (and award costs and attorney’s fees to) retailer-client.
  • Represented, on appeal, insurance company principal seeking to affirm summary judgment in his favor in an action alleging defamation and interference with prospective economic advantage in connection with the sale of an aerospace company. Judgment affirmed, with costs awarded to client.
  • Represented (in trial court and on appeal) insurer-client in insurance coverage/“bad-faith” action involving liability coverage for hydrocarbon contamination at a public facility. Summary judgment and award of costs in favor of insurer-client affirmed on appeal, and appellate costs awarded to insurer-client.
  • Represented (in the trial court and on appeal) independent television station and its owner in wrongful discharge/age discrimination action brought by former long-time station manager. The case involved significant and previously untested after-acquired evidence issues and was tried to a defense jury verdict on all causes of action.  Judgment affirmed on appeal.
  • Represented, on appeal, financial advisor employees who had been induced to accept employment, then wrongfully terminated. Former employer sought to reverse the judgment confirming an arbitration award in favor of terminated employees.  Motion to dismiss appeal granted, with award of costs to employee clients.
  • Represented insurer-client, as appellee, in the Arizona Court of Appeals, after securing summary judgment for client in the trial court on insured’s breach of contract/“bad-faith” action. The Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment in favor of (and awarded appellate costs and attorney’s fees to) insurer-client.
  • Represented insurer-client on petition for writ of certiorari to the United States Supreme Court. Case involved the rights of an insurer, as its insured’s subrogee, to pursue cost-recovery action under CERCLA.

Representative employment matters and cases:

  • Represented law firm and its partners in action brought by former associate attorney alleging discrimination and dismissal because of his medical condition (HIV/AIDS) and sexual orientation. The case presented unique challenges due to the simultaneous release of the Tom Hanks movie Philadelphia, significant adverse publicity and the emotionally-charged subject matter.  The case was tried to a defense verdict on all causes of action.
  • Represented defendant City of San Diego in a constructive discharge/age discrimination action brought by a former Deputy City Attorney. Action dismissed in trial court under little-known exception to the Age Discrimination in Employment Act applicable to members of the personal staff of an elected official.  Judgment affirmed on appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.  See Monce v. City of San Diego, 895 2d 560 (9th Cir. 1990).
  • Represented independent television station and its owner in wrongful discharge/age discrimination action brought by former long-time station manager. The case involved significant and previously untested after-acquired evidence issues and was tried to a defense jury verdict on all causes of action.  Judgment affirmed on appeal.

Representative business/commercial matters and cases:

  • Represented sports arena concessionaire in breach of contract/breach of fiduciary duty/usurpation of corporate opportunity action and cross-action by and against high profile shareholder/director. The case was tried to a jury verdict and multi-million dollar judgment in favor of concessionaire client.
  • Represented individual clients in arbitration proceeding against commercial real estate broker arising from a Section 1031 exchange in which the accommodator had failed to return the proceeds from the first leg of the exchange (clients’ sale of multi-unit apartment project). Clients’ real estate agent had recommended the accommodator without disclosing the lender/borrower relationship that existed between the accommodator and the agent.  The arbitration panel awarded clients all lost sale proceeds, emotional distress damages and attorney’s fees.
  • Represented warehouse retailer and founder in action by founder’s son for, among other claims, loss of filial consortium. Judgment of nonsuit entered upon conclusion of the plaintiff’s case.
  • Represented automobile dealership in administrative action by Department of Motor Vehicles seeking revocation of dealership’s license and imposition of monetary penalties due to alleged sales of “used” automobiles as new and alleged registration improprieties. The case was tried to decision in favor of the dealership on all accusations.
  • Represented international automotive products manufacturer in trademark infringement action, and secured (with co-counsel in Nashville, Tennessee) an order permanently enjoining infringing and related activities.
  • Represented University professor’s Limited Liability Company in litigation with University and second professor’s corporation regarding ownership of biotech invention(s). Matter successfully resolved.
  • Represented food service company as plaintiff in trademark infringement action against competing food service company. Matter promptly resolved in favor of plaintiff client after initial case evaluation conference.

Professional Affiliations & Admissions

  • State Bar of California
  • Admitted to practice in the United States Supreme Court, the United States Courts of Appeals for the Fourth and Ninth Circuits, the United States District Courts for the Southern, Central and Eastern Districts of California and the District of Maryland, and all California state courts
  • Judge Pro Tempore, San Diego Superior Court, Small Claims Division

Professional Awards & Honors

  • Peer Rated for Highest Level of Professional Excellence (Martindale-Hubbell: AV Preeminent)
  • Listed among San Diego Magazine’s Top Lawyers (2013-2016)

Neal P. Panish Shareholder

Mr. Panish, Esq. is a trial attorney, serving as lead counsel for a wide variety of institutional and entrepreneurial clients in State and Federal Court trials and arbitrations. He is a member of Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek and has been recognized as a Super Lawyer, a Top Lawyer by San Diego Magazine and one of San Diego’s top ten real estate and construction litigation attorneys by his peers.

Education

Mr. Panish received his B.A. in economics, with provost honors, from the University of California, San Diego in 1983. He earned his law degree, cum laude, from Loyola Law School in 1987, where he was a staff member and Note and Comment Editor of the International and Comparative Law Journal.

Representative Matters

General Practice

  • Representation of institutional and entrepreneurial clients in commercial litigation
  • Representation of businesses, financial institutions, banks, real estate entrepreneurs, developers and owners, contractors, subcontractors and individuals in a wide array of finance, real estate and construction-related litigation
  • Representation of publicly traded REIT in commercial litigation, real estate litigation, commercial lease disputes, condemnation proceedings and CEQA litigation
  • Representation of technology, services and other companies in alleged trade secret/proprietary misappropriation, unfair business practices and employment litigation
  • Defense and prosecution of real property title insurance and escrow claims/disputes on behalf of title insurance companies and their insureds, escrow companies and property owners
  • Representation of real property owners, hoteliers, restaurant owners and business owners in tax controversies, property tax assessment appeals and valuation hearings
  • Defense of public officials in Political Reform Act litigation

Specific Representative Matters

  • Representation of reinsurance intermediary in complex litigation filed by insurance agent/producer alleging damages in excess of $10 million for breach of producer’s agreement, misappropriation of trade secrets and fraud. The case involved complex surety bond underwriting, claims handling, reinsurance and proprietary information issues, as well as the investigation of numerous, underlying surety bond claims. After approximately one week of hearings on motions in limine and voire dire of 200-plus potential jurors for anticipated 6-month trial, the case settled favorably during jury selection
  • Defense of German bank/secured creditor in adversary proceeding filed by general contractor asserting damage claims in excess of $22 million on theories of equitable subordination, fraud and conspiracy in Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding in the United States Bankruptcy Court, Central District of California. Successfully resolved complex adversary proceeding during trial, freeing up in excess of $40 million in secured sales proceeds
  • Defense of German bank in complex, consolidated San Diego Superior Court proceedings involving 40-plus civil cases brought by materialmen, suppliers, subcontractors and design professionals seeking priority over German bank’s deed of trust. Successfully obtained dismissals, defense judgments and settlement of all cases
  • Prosecution of trade secret claims by information technology company against former employees and competitor, resulting in recovery of substantial monies through settlement
  • Representation of institutional real property owner in complex real estate litigation and condemnation proceedings arising from various public projects, including California State Route 56, widening of Interstate 5 and the Carmel Valley Restoration and Enhancement Project (CVREP)
  • Prosecution of specific performance action for real estate developers after 30-day trial. Obtained specific performance judgment acquiring approximately 80-acres of undeveloped land in northern San Diego County and attorney fee awards exceeding $800,000
  • Representation of automobile conglomerate in approximately 30-day arbitration over 6-month period of time in alleged wrongful termination/breach of contract claims by former employee
  • Representation of automobile conglomerate in approximately 14-day arbitration over 3-month period in defense of commercial contract claims asserted by individual dealer/broker and counterclaim for breach of an alleged oral contract. Complete defense verdict and substantial award on counterclaim and attorney fees
  • Defense of CPA firm in multi-party, real estate-related, malpractice/securities litigation
  • Defense of national real estate developer in class action case and arbitration asserting unfair business practices and violations of Business & Professions Code §§ 7000 – 7191 (contractors licensing law)
  • Defense of national title insurance company in insurer bad faith litigation case in San Diego Superior Court arising from the purchase and later foreclosure on 100-plus room motel. Defense judgment obtained on motion for summary judgment and successfully upheld on appeal
  • Defense of national title insurance company in insurer bad faith litigation filed in United States District Court for the Southern District of California by insured arising out of land use constraints and violations on insured’s improved real property
  • Defense of national retail tenant in commercial lease dispute with landlord/property owner. Defense verdict obtained after trial
  • Prosecution of breach of commercial lease case by landlord/property owner against national retailer enforcing liquidated damages provision to judgment and successfully upheld on appeal
  • Defense of purchaser/developer of large, retail real estate project in approximately 28-day jury trial, post-trial motions and appeal involving alleged real estate fraud
  • Representation of public officials in defense of Political Reform Act cases alleging official misconduct and violations of campaign or election law
  • Defense of regional supermarket company in breach of lease/covenant of continuing operations case resulting in defense judgment, upheld on appeal
  • Representation of majority co-owners in defense of partition action involving 100-plus room motel in Mission Valley area of San Diego, California
  • Representation of trustees/co-owners in successful prosecution of partition action to require sale of approximately 13-acres of undeveloped land neighboring California State University, San Marcos
  • Defense of former employees and start-up life science company defeating claims asserted by publicly-traded life science company on alleged theft of trade secrets, breaches of covenants not to compete, breaches of fiduciary duty and related claims. Settlement after summary judgment hearing and successful writ to court of appeal
  • Defense of reinsurance intermediary in complex trade secret case brought by health care insurance producer against health care insurer and reinsurance intermediary arising from California’s then-largest health care insurance program with hospitals, physicians groups and medical professionals
  • Defense of real estate developer/purchase of real property for retail development project for claims of fraud, breach of contract arising from purchase of land for retail development project
  • Prosecution of complex bad faith action by commercial property owner against insurance companies arising from 5-alarm fire in China Basin Landing area of San Francisco resulting in substantial settlement
  • Representation of co-tenants in real estate partition action compelling sale via public auction of 12.70 acres of raw land in San Marcos, California
  • Defense of real estate developer in real estate fraud action by purchasers of condominiums. Defense summary judgment granted by trial court, affirmed on appeal
  • Defense of real estate developers on Mills Act claims asserted by purchasers of condominiums. Defense summary judgment affirmed on appeal
  • Representation of creditors in trial in United States Bankruptcy Court, Southern District regarding determining value of assets of debtor’s estate including substantial real property, hotel/motel properties, apartments and other residential properties
  • Representation of commercial property owner in prosecution of business interruption claim arising from fire losses suffered by owner of 900,000 square foot office building
  • Representation of restaurant group in real property tax assessment controversies and successful assessment appeal
  • Representation of hotel group in successful assessment appeals in various, multi-day hearings on real property assessment appeals of unlawful taxation of intangible assets, providing total refund recovery in excess of seven figures

Professional Affiliations & Admissions

  • State Bar of California 1987
  • District Court, Northern, Central and Southern Districts of California
  • San Diego County Bar Association
  • San Diego Trial Lawyers Association

Publications & Speaking Engagements

  • “Chile Under Allende: The Decline of the Judiciary and the Rise of a State of Necessity,” published in the Loyola of Los Angeles International and Comparative Law Journal
  • Speaker, “Legal Ethics in California” seminar (December 2000; Lorman Education Services)

Published Opinions

  • El Centro Mall, LLC v. Payless Shoesource, Inc., 174 Cal.App.4th 58; 94 Cal.Rptr.3d 43 (2009)
  • In Re Perry Arden v. Motel Partners, 176 F.3d 1226 (9th Cir. 1999)

Professional Awards & Honors

  • Named a 2013, 2014 and 2015 Super Lawyer in real estate/business litigation by San Diego Super Lawyers Magazine; San Diego Super Lawyers Supplement to The New York Times, Riviera San Diego Magazine and Super Lawyers Business Edition
  • Named a 2014 Top Lawyer in Administrative, Land Use & Environmental by San Diego Magazine
  • Named by peers as one of San Diego’s “Top Ten Real Estate and Construction Litigation Attorneys,” San Diego Daily Transcript (2006)

 

Katrina W. Wu Associate

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Ms. Wu is an associate in the firm’s business department.  She represents clients primarily in the areas of business; intellectual property; cyber planning and response, estate planning and administration; international finance, investment and tax; administrative land use and environmental; and transactional tax planning and tax controversy.  Ms. Wu’s primary focus is developing creative, strategic solutions tailored to accomplish her clients’ specific goals.

She is bilingual in English and Chinese.

Education

Ms. Wu received her B.S. in Business Administration at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles in 2010, and her J.D., M.B.A, and LLM in Taxation at the University of San Diego School of Law in 2015. While in law school, Ms. Wu received multiple honors, including three CALI Awards (Energy Law, European Union Law and Art Law) and a High Pass in Energy Policy and Initiatives Center Internship. She was also a member of the Beta Gamma Sigma Business Honor Society.

Employment Background

While in law school, Ms. Wu worked as a legal intern for Global Energy Network Institute (GENI) and the University of San Diego. She also worked as research assistant at the University of San Diego’s Energy Policy and Incentives Center and State Income Tax Clinic.

Professional Affiliations & Admissions

  • State Bar of California (Taxation Section)
  • San Diego County Bar Association
  • Los Angeles County Bar Association
  • Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Los Angeles County (APABA)
  • Beta Gamma Sigma Business Honor Society
  • California Department of Real Estate, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson

Publications & Speaking Engagements

Professional Awards & Honors

  • Best Paper Award (YouTube Marketing: Legality of Sponsorship and Endorsement in Advertising), Pacific Southwest Academy of Legal Studies in Business (PSWALSB) 2016 Annual Conference.