Our People

Click on the letters below to view alphabetical listings of Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek attorneys:

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z | View All

John H. Alspaugh Shareholder

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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.

Marnie Wright Barnhorst Of Counsel

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Ms. Barnhorst specializes in trademark protection and enforcement. Founder of The Trademark Group, she joined the firm as Of Counsel in July 2013.

Education

Ms. Barnhorst graduated cum laude with a JD from University of San Diego. She received her BA in Biology and Chemistry from Indiana University and an MS in Genetics from San Diego State University.

Employment Background

Ms. Barnhorst served as President of The Trademark Group, APLC, a firm she founded in 1997, until joining SCMV 2013.  Prior to founding The Trademark Group®, Ms. Barnhorst was a partner at the firm of Gray Cary Ware & Freidenrich; she joined what was then Gray Cary Ames & Frye as an associate attorney in 1992. She began her legal career with the La Jolla firm Pretty Schroeder Bruggeman and Clark.

Representative Matters

Ms. Barnhorst has filed several thousand trademark applications in the US and throughout the world. She has handled responses to over one thousand Office Actions from trademark offices worldwide, including more than five hundred from the US Patent and Trademark Office. Ms. Barnhorst has also participated in over one hundred Oppositions at the US Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, resolving most and avoiding costly discovery proceedings.

The program Ms. Barnhorst put into place for one particular client while at The Trademark Group® effectively saved the company from considerable damage to profits and reputation.  Some clients simply require serving constructive notice that “this is my trademark; don’t use it” when necessary while others demand worldwide watches for any names similar to their mark being used.  But some need an even deeper level of protection. In the case of one client, the company sought protection from a probable high incidence of illegal counterfeiting of instructional videos. Ms. Barnhorst recommended recording the company mark with the United States Customs and Border Protection Office. As a result, Customs seized a sizable shipment of illegal counterfeit goods at the Long Beach Port of Entry.

When a local beverage company sought to register several word and design marks to put on a limited run of promotional t-shirts and other apparel, the Patent and Trademark Office initially refused to register the marks.  Through cost-effective advocacy, including several calls with the Examining Attorney and some creative briefing, Ms. Barnhorst and The Trademark Group® were able to get the client’s mark registered on the Principal Register. The promotional campaign led to the desired results—increased sales of the client’s beverage products.

Professional Affiliations & Admissions

Ms. Barnhorst is a member of the International Trademark Association (INTA) and the Intellectual Property Section of the American Bar Association.  Ms. Barnhorst has chaired the Trademark Section of the State Bar of California and of the Intellectual Property Section of the San Diego County Bar Association, for which she received the 1995 Leadership Award. She has also served on the editorial board of The Trademark Reporter and has taught Intellectual Property Law at UCSD and USD.

Proffesional Awards & Honors

Named a Top Trademark Lawyer in San Diego by San Diego Magazine, March 2013

Marianne Barth Of Counsel

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Phone:
Fax:
619.702.6883

Practice Areas

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Ms. Barth is of counsel at Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek and specializes in family law matters. Ms. Barth’s experience as a civil and business litigator has provided her with the necessary expertise to understand and successfully resolve complex financial and emotional issues present in divorce cases. Ms. Barth works collaboratively with clients and adversaries to reach realistic, reasonable and cost-effective solutions.

Education

Ms. Barth received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Villa Maria College in 1979.  She attended California Western School of Law and earned her Juris Doctor in 1988.

Employment Background

Ms. Barth began her career as an associate and later a partner of the former firm McInnis Fitzgerald Rees & Sharkey.  When that firm merged with Higgs Fletcher & Mack, Ms. Barth became a partner at the Higgs firm where she practiced until August 2011.  She then founded Marianne Barth, APC until joining Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek in 2014.

Professional Affiliations & Admissions

  • American Inns of Court, Louis M. Welsh Chapter
  • Association of Business and Trial Lawyers
  • Lawyers Club
  • San Diego County Bar Association
  • San Diego Inn of Court
  • State Bar of California
  • Superior Court of California, Judge Pro Tem

Community Affiliations

  • Lieutenant, San Diego Public Health Service
  • San Diego County Task Force

Professional Awards & Honors

  • Named in 2014 by San Diego Magazine as one of San Diego’s Top Lawyers (Family Law)
  • Martindale-Hubbell® Rating of AV Preeminent

Lawrence S. Branton Of Counsel

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Mr. Branton is Of Counsel with the law firm of Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek. He is certified by the State Bar of California as a Specialist in Taxation Law. Mr. Branton’s practice emphasizes tax law, estate planning, and employee benefits.

Education

Mr. Branton received his Bachelor of Science degree from Indiana University in 1967 and his Juris Doctor from the University of California, Hastings College of Law in 1970.

Employment Background

Prior to joining Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek, Mr. Branton was a shareholder in the law firm of Branton & Wilson, APC in San Diego.

Professional Affiliations & Admissions

  • State Bar of California
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Tax Court
  • Certified Specialist-Taxation Law, State Bar of California, Board of Legal Specialization
  • Taxation Law Advisory Commission (Chairman, 1986-1987; Member, 1983-1986)
  • Member, California Board of Legal Specialization (1986-1987)
  • Adjunct Professor of Law, University of San Diego School of Law (1979-1984)

Publications & Speaking Engagements

  • Author, “A Re-examination of Internal Revenue Code Section 2042 as Applied to California Community Property Laws” (20 Hastings Law Journal, pp. 1330-1354
  • Author, “Using Private Reverse Split-Dollar to Avoid Gift Tax Liability-IRS Shows the way,” (88 Journal of Taxation, pp. 216-220, April 1998)
  • Author, Attorney’s Guide to California Professional Corporations, 4th Edition, California Continuing Education of the Bar (1992-1999 updates)
  • Moderator, Lorman Business Services “Advanced Course of Study:  Pass Through Entities,” 1999, San Diego, Orange and Los Angeles counties
  • Co-Author, Chapter 16 (Tax compliance) to “Financing and Protecting California Businesses,” California Continuing Education of the Bar (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2014 updates)
  • Co-Author, “Use of Voluntary Contributions Increased Qualified Plan Benefits,” 50 Journal of Taxation (April 1979, pp. 230-235)
  • Co-Author, “Should Employers Permit Voluntary IRA-type Contributions to Qualified Retirement Plans?”  57 Journal of Taxation (December 1982, pp. 378-384)
  • Adjunct Professor of Law, University of San Diego School of Law; Tax Policy (1979-1984)
  • Associate Research Editor, Hastings Law Journal (1969-1970)

Professional Awards & Honors

  • Named by Best Lawyers in America as the Lawyer of the Year in San Diego in Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law (2013)
  • Listed in all editions of Best Lawyers in America
  • Listed in 2010 edition of Top Attorneys in San Diego, San Diego Magazine

Robert S. Brewer, Jr. Of Counsel

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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
  • American College of Trial Lawyers (Fellow)
  • Enright Inn of Court (Master and Past President)
  • Federal Defenders (Former Board Member)

Community Affiliations

  • 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)

Publications & 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)
  • Cross Examination Tips; ABA Litigation Section Magazine (1999)
  • Final Arguments to Remember; DOJ Magazine (1979)

Professional Awards & Honors

  • 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)

Andrew D. Brooks Associate

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Mr. Brooks’ practice emphasizes advising entrepreneurs in personal and business matters. He has 25 years of experience in the formation and operation of businesses, mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, stock options, corporate governance, finance, and Securities and Exchange Commission reporting, representing publicly traded and privately held clients of all types and sizes in widely diverse industries. Mr. Brooks is also experienced in personal planning and the formation and operation of tax-exempt organizations.

Education

Mr. Brooks received his B.A with honors in economics and distinction in general scholarship from the University of California, Berkeley in 1983. He earned his law degree from the Gould School of Law, University of Southern California in 1986.

Employment Background

Prior to joining Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek, Mr. Brooks was a partner in a law firm in Riverside, California.

Representative Matters

  • Prepare and file issuer’s annual, periodic and current reports under Securities Exchange Act of 1934
  • Compliance advice, including preparation and filing of reports under Sections 13 and 16 of Securities Exchange Act
  • Private placements of securities (common stock of multiple classes, preferred stock, escrow stock, convertible debt instruments, limited liability company interests and limited partnership interests), including disclosure documentation and governmental filings
  • Outside general counsel for publicly-traded company
  • Advise business organizations and entrepreneurs in mergers and acquisitions, asset purchase agreements, securities purchase and redemption agreements, non-competition agreements, confidentiality agreements, national and international dealer relations and terminations, vendor relations and terminations, consumer product labeling requirements, employment agreements and terminations, compromise of collective bargaining unit, unfunded benefit plan obligations, tax qualified deferred compensation and profit-sharing plans, phantom stock plans, notice and conduct of shareholder meetings
  • Create and administer stock option plans, including compliance with Internal Revenue Code requirements for incentive stock options, requirements of Securities and Exchange Commission, and state “blue sky” regulations
  • Form and operate business organizations, including corporations, general partnerships, limited partnerships, limited-liability companies and limited-liability partnerships
  • Represent health care companies in mergers and acquisitions, formation of multi-specialty groups, independent practice associations, and management service organizations.  Negotiate management service contracts, physician service agreements, purchase and sale of professional practices and related agreements
  • Federal and California trademark applications and trademark licensing agreements
  • Applications for recognition of federal and state tax exempt status, and form and operate tax exempt entities
  • General counsel to government agencies and quasi-governmental organizations (including low-income housing corporation and regional economic development corporation), including their formation and proceedings related to Proposition 218 assessment districts
  • Special counsel to public facilities corporation
  • Former Red Book Bond Counsel issuance of tax-exempt municipal bonds. Prior Clients include government special districts, underwriters, private borrower of proceeds of industrial development bonds, government-sponsored tax-exempt borrower of proceeds of low income housing bonds and landowners/developers of Mello Roos and 1915 Improvement Act bonds

Professional Affiliations & Admissions

  • American Bar Association
  • State Bar of California
  • San Diego County Bar Association
  • District of Columbia Bar (Inactive)
  • Solicitor, The Law Society of England and Wales (Inactive)
  • Admitted before all U.S. District Courts in California, U.S. Tax Court and U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • Major, California State Military Reserve (JAG Cops)

Robert Caplan President

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Mr. Caplan is shareholder and president of Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek. His practice emphasizes real property law, which encompasses retail, office, industrial, hospitality, residential and mixed-use projects

Education

Mr. Caplan received his B.A., with distinction, from Stanford University in 1957. He earned his law degree from Stanford University in 1960.

Professional Affiliations & Admissions

  • State Bar of California
  • San Diego County Bar Association
  • American College of Real Estate Lawyer

Community Affiliations

  • San Diego Symphony Foundation (Board of Trustees)
  • La Jolla Playhouse (Board of Directors)

Publications & Speaking Engagements

  • Co-author, “Commercial Lease Practice” published by the California Continuing Education of the Bar (1976)
  • Participated in several panels on real property issues for the American Law Institute-American Bar Association
  • Speaker at programs involving real property matters sponsored by the California Continuing Education of the Bar

Professional Awards & Honors

  • Listed in The Best Lawyers in America (1984 – through the present)
  • Recognized in San Diego Super Lawyers magazine for real estate law (2007 – through the present)
  • Named one of San Diego’s Men Who Make a Difference by San Diego Magazine (2015)

Tamatha Clemens Of Counsel

Tamantha-Clemens-attorney-240x240
Phone:
Fax:
619.702.6833

Practice Areas

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A native San Diegan, Ms. Clemens has devoted her legal career exclusively to the area of Family Law,  guiding people through every aspect of family law cases. Ms. Clemens has experience in both settling and litigating all aspects of family law, including, but not limited to, child custody and support issues, spousal support matters, division of property (including community businesses), domestic violence restraining orders, domestic partnerships and navigating through extremely high asset, complex family law matters. Ms. Clemens is a dedicated and compassionate attorney with a strong work ethic that makes her a successful litigator. However, Ms. Clemens understands the emotional and financial difficulty of divorce and works hard to settle cases amicably and efficiently. Ms. Clemens strongly believes that every client deserves individual attention and strong representation.

Education

Ms. Clemens received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of California, Riverside in 1994. She then attended the University of California, Hastings College of the Law where she received her Juris Doctor in 1997.

Employment Background

After graduating from law school, Ms. Clemens began her career working at the Center for Community Solutions, a non-profit firm, where she assisted victims of domestic violence in obtaining restraining orders and dissolutions. Ms. Clemens then transitioned to the San Diego District Attorney’s office where she worked for two years in the Department of Child Support Services division. In February of 2001, Ms. Clemens joined the Law Offices of Sandra Joan Morris where she was mentored by one of San Diego’s leading family law attorneys, Sandra Joan Morris for the next 14 years of her career. In 2005, Ms. Clemens attended the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers Trial Advocacy Institute in Houston, Texas where she received the highest of accolades from the staff on her closing argument.

Professional Affiliations & Admissions

  • San Diego County Bar Association (Family Law Division)
  • State Bar of California

Ms. Clemens also believes strongly in paying it forward, and as part of that commitment, has volunteered and participated with the Lawyer’s Club of San Diego’s Annual Read-In at Central Elementary School for the last 8 years. Ms. Clemens has gathered donations of backpacks and other school supplies and basic necessities for these children in need.

Rhonda Crandall Shareholder

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Ms. Crandall is a shareholder of the firm. Her practice emphasizes tax law, estate planning, trust and probate administration, tax-exempt organizations and business transactions.

Education

Ms. Crandall received her B.A., with honors, from Washington University in St. Louis in 1995. She earned her law degree, cum laude, from Harvard Law School in 1999, where she served as an Executive Editor of the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy. She received her LL.M. in Taxation, cum laude, from the University of San Diego in 2001, where she was a Graduate Law Merit Scholar and recipient of the Judge Theodore Tannenwald, Jr. Award.

Representative Matters

  • Advises clients regarding the local, state, federal and international tax consequences of a wide range of estate planning and business transactions
  • Assists individuals and families in designing and implementing appropriate estate plans, utilizing living trusts, wills, advanced health care directives, financial powers of attorney, irrevocable gift and life insurance trusts, charitable trusts, special needs trusts, qualified personal residence trusts, grantor retained annuity trusts, family limited partnerships and limited liability companies
  • Represents trustees and executors during the administration of trusts and probate estates
  • Advises beneficiaries of trusts and estates with respect to their rights
  • Represents entities and individuals in a wide variety of tax matters, including appealing income, gift and estate, and sales tax assessments and obtaining private letter rulings, before governmental entities such as the Internal Revenue Service, California State Board of Equalization, and California Franchise Tax Board
  • Forms nonprofit organizations, including public charities and private foundations; obtains Federal and California tax-exempt status rulings for such organizations; and provides guidance on the operation of such organizations
  • Represents clients in structuring and implementing tax-deferred Section 1031 exchanges of real property and personal property, including airplanes and works of art; past exchanges have included reverse and build-to-suit exchanges and multi-asset exchanges involving properties valued in excess of $100 million
  • Counsels established and emerging companies regarding entity formation and governance, contracts, mergers and acquisitions, and tax issues
  • Represents companies in structuring tax-free reorganizations

Professional Affiliations & Admissions

  • State Bar of California (Taxation and Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law Sections)
  • San Diego County Bar Association (Taxation Law and Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law Sections)
  • United States Tax Court

Publications & Speaking Engagements

  • Lecturer on Estate and Gift Taxation for University of San Diego School of Law Summer Tax Institute
  • Speaker on 1031 Exchanges for La Jolla Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Section

James R. Dawe Shareholder

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Mr. Dawe is a shareholder and member of the Executive Committee of the firm. He also serves as the Chief Financial Officer of the firm and chairs the Administrative, Land Use and Environmental Law practice area. His practice encompasses real property, land use, administrative and environmental law. His primary practice consists of representing owners and developers of master-planned communities and complex commercial projects. He also represents landowners in connection with environmental cleanup issues.

Education

Mr. Dawe received his B.A. from Lehigh University in 1967 and a Master of City Planning Degree from San Diego State University in 1974, both with honors. He earned his law degree, cum laude, from the University of San Diego School of Law in 1976.

Representative Matters

  • Represents owners and developers of master-planned communities and complex commercial projects to obtain entitlements with appropriate conditions
  • Negotiates on behalf of owners and developers of master-planned communities with agencies such as the California Department of Transportation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, California Department of Fish and Game and various special districts to assure environmental clearance and the provision of services
  • Responsible for real estate and land use law advice in connection with San Diego projects including La Costa (3,500 acres surrounding the La Costa Spa and Resort), Carmel Mountain Ranch (1,500 acres), Rancho San Diego (3,000 acres), Singing Hills Residential (1,000 acres), Miramar Ranch North (1,200 acres) and San Diego Naval Training Center (a base closure and redevelopment project of 400 acres)
  • Represented major telecommunications and high-technology companies in connection with out-sourcing and franchising issues with municipal governments

Professional Affiliations & Admissions

  • American Bar Association (ABA Advisory Panel, Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section and Urban, State and Local Government Law Section)
  • American Bar Association Committee on Creative Growth Management Techniques
  • State Bar of California
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of California
  • San Diego County Bar Association (Land Use, Environmental and Real Property Sections)
  • Lambda Alpha International, an honorary land economics society – San Diego Chapter (Board of Directors)
  • Urban Land Institute (Associate Member)
  • National Association of Home Builders Legal Action Network for Development Strategies Advisory Council
  • California Building Industry Association (Legal Action Subcommittee, Environmental Issues Task Force and the Select Conference on Industry Litigation)
  • Building Industry Association of San Diego (Former Chair, Legal Action Committee; Officer, Political Policies Committee, Urban Council)

Community Affiliations

  • San Diego Economic Development Corporation (Executive Committee, Board Member, Development Committee, Public Policy Committee Chair)
  • Friends of Balboa Park (Advisory Council)
  • Chaired numerous national, state and local library boards
  • Chair, Urban Libraries Council—the members of which include the 120 largest public library systems in the United States
  • President, Library of California Board
  • Chair of Californians for Literacy and Community Libraries—the campaign committee in support of the $350 million library bond issue measure passed by the voters of California in March, 2000
  • San Diego Public Library Commission (Chair, eight years)
  • San Diego Public Library Foundation (Founding Chair)
  • Downtown San Diego Partnership (Executive Committee Member, past Chair)
  • San Diego City Manager Ballot Committee (past Chair)
  • San Diego Opera (Board of Directors; past Vice President of Legal Affairs)
  • San Diego Symphony (past Advisory Committee Member)
  • Mingei International Museum of World Folk Art Development Board (Founding Chair of Development Board and current Board Member)
  • Musical Arts Foundation (Founding Board Member)
  • Francis W. Parker School (past Officer, Board Member)
  • Co-Chair, Steering Committee for Downtown San Diego Centre City Community Plan Update (2006)
  • San Diego History Center (past Board Member)
  • Art of Elan (Board Member)

Professional Awards & Honors

  • Listed in the 1993-present editions of The Best Lawyers in America
  • Listed in the 2007-present editions of the Southern California Super Lawyers, San Diego Edition
  • Listed in Who’s Who in American Law
  • Association of Fundraising Professionals – San Diego Chapter, National Philanthropy Day Outstanding Fundraising Volunteer Award (2003)
  • American Jewish Committee, San Diego Chapter, Judge Learned Hand Award (2004)
  • Listed in Who’s Who in the World
  • American Library Association Trustee of the Year Award and 100 Most Influential Library Supporters of the Twentieth Century (1995)
  • California Library Association’s President’s Award for efforts to improve library services throughout California and the nation (1999)
  • Downtown San Diego Partnership Alonzo Awards – President’s Award (2006) and Founder’s Award (2010)
  • San Diego Best Lawyers, Lawyer of the Year, Land Use & Zoning – San Diego (2012)
  • Lambda Alpha International – San Diego/Tijuana Chapter, Crystal Globe Award (2012)
  • San Diego County Bar Association, Outstanding Attorney of the Year Award (2012)
  • San Diego Super Lawyers – 2014, 2015 (Land Use/Zoning)
  • Martindale Hubbell Peer Review rating of AV Preeminent

James A. Dooley Associate

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Phone:
Fax:
619.685.3100

Practice Areas

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James A. Dooley is an associate with Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek whose practice is devoted exclusively to Family Law matters. Mr. Dooley is a Certified Specialist in Family Law by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization.  Mr. Dooley’s personal approach guides clients to rewarding and cost-effective solutions, but his experience in high-intensity family law litigation equips him with the skills necessary to prosecute matters that become contested.

Education

Mr. Dooley received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Nevada at Las Vegas in 2001, graduating magna cum laude.  He earned his Juris Doctor from Southwestern Law School in 2003, and was a Family Law Extern for The Honorable Judge Roy Paul of the Los Angeles Superior Court.

Employment Background

Before relocating to San Diego and joining Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek, Mr. Dooley was with the reputable Beverly Hills, California, family law litigation firm of Kolodny Law Group, and its predecessor Kolodny & Anteau, since 2006, serving high‑end clientele in high-impact cases.  Mr. Dooley also served in the United States Navy between 1994 and 1999.

Professional Affiliations & Admissions

  • State Bar of California
  • Association of Certified Family Law Specialists
  • San Diego County Bar Association (Family Law Section)
  • San Diego Family Law Bar Association

Public Speaking & Engagements

  • Los Angeles County Bar Association, Family Law Section Participant, 2010 Family Law Advocacy Training Program: How to Conduct A Custody Trial (March 2010)
  • Beverly Hills Bar Association, Family Law Section Panelist, “Oh What a Tangled Web We Weave When First We Practice to Deceive [Feldman Seminar]” (November 2007)

Professional Awards & Honors

  • Named as a “Rising Star” by the Super Lawyers Directory (2009-2011)
  • Certificate of Tribute by the Harriet Buhai Center for Family Law (2009, 2010, 2013)

David J. Dorne Shareholder and Business Department Chair

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Mr. Dorne is a senior partner and chairman of Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek’s Business Department. His practice emphasizes private client transactions, including tax advice and business planning, mergers and acquisitions, real estate, and health care law.

Education

Mr. Dorne received his Bachelor of Science Degree, magna cum laude, from the University of Illinois in 1969 and holds a Master’s Degree from the London School of Economics. He received his law degree, cum laude, from Boston University in 1973.

Employment Background

Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Dorne was with the New York law firm of White & Case.

Representative Matters

  • Recently completed creation of venture funds in excess of $350 million
  • Handled the negotiation, structuring and documentation of complex relationships among private equity funds and their investment managers, trading counterparties, and investor, including development of selection matrix for fund investment
  • Counseled high net worth families and individuals on asset distribution, wealth management, and family office issues
  • Represented a regional distribution center in a $300 million sale to a Fortune 500 company
  • Represented a San Diego corporation in the conduit financing of $250 million of real estate
  • Representation of clients in the acquisition, sale, leasing, financing and construction of major office, hotel, industrial buildings and retail shopping centers
  • Handled the successful merger of a regional specialty group of physicians into an integrated provider group

Professional Affiliations & Admissions

  • State Bar of California
  • San Diego County Bar Association
  • State Bar of New York
  • Personal Income Tax Subcommittee of the California State Bar (Past Chair)

Community Affiliations

  • Past President of the San Diego Symphony Orchestra Association

Publications & Speaking Engagements

  • Frequent lecturer for the California Continuing Education of the Bar

Professional Awards & Honors

  • The Best Lawyers in America, Tax Law category
  • Southern California Super Lawyers – San Diego Edition
  • Who’s Who in America
  • Named in Super Lawyers – Business Edition for Tax (2014)
  • Named in San Diego Super LawyersBusiness Edition for Tax (2014, 2015)
  • Rated by Martindale-Hubbell® as AV Preeminent™ (2016)

Hillary M. Dorne Associate

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Ms. Dorne’s practice emphasizes advising private client transactions, including business planning and corporate compliance, corporate governance, real estate, and health care law.  She has additional experience in the formation and operation of businesses, mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, stock options, finance, and 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 degree from the University of San Diego School of Law.  While in law school, Ms. Dorne was a Senior Associate of the Journal of Climate and Energy Law.  She was also a participant of the University of Barcelona School of International Law Program in Barcelona, Spain.

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

  • Advises clients regarding formations and operations 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.)
  • Forms business organizations, including limited liability companies, partnerships, and corporations
  • Prepares various business contracts and advises clients regarding short and long-term business planning and strategies
  • Provides a wide-range of federal, state and local business advice to individuals, partnerships, corporations, and other business entities on corporate compliance
  • Represents health care companies in mergers and acquisitions, formation of multi-specialty groups, independent practice associations, and management service organizations. Negotiate management service contracts, physician service agreements, purchase and sale of professional practices and related agreements
  • 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
  • Represents clients in various business matters and transactions, including business governance, joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, reorganizations and spin-offs, and liquidations
  • 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)

Professional Affiliations & Admissions

  • State Bar of California
  • U.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.

Daniel Eaton Shareholder

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Phone:
Fax:
619.702.6880

Practice Areas

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Mr. Eaton is a shareholder of the firm in the Litigation Department and practices employment law.

Education

Mr. Eaton received his B.S. from Georgetown University in 1984 and received his law degree, cum laude, from the Harvard Law School in 1989.

Employment Background

Prior to joining Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek, Mr. Eaton was with Proskauer Rose in Los Angeles from 1995 to 1998 and with Gray Cary Ware & Freidenrich from 1989 to 1995. He was an Adjunct Professor of Law at Western State College of Law in 1993. He also has taught employment law at the University of California, San Diego, and both human resources law and business ethics at San Diego State University. From 1983 to 1986, Mr. Eaton served as an aide to Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senator Arlen Specter.

Representative Matters

  • Won appeal before the Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board on behalf of an integrator of computer systems, ultimately obtaining damages against the claimant in separate action brought against company for wrongful termination
  • Represented national weight loss company on workers’ compensation actions
  • Successfully represented a Hollywood film processing company division in labor union arbitrations
  • Obtained dismissal of two separate wrongful termination actions against major regional hospital, winning award of attorneys’ fees in one such action
  • Favorably settled wrongful termination cases for national automobile tune-up shop
  • Favorably settled a double sexual harassment case against an apartment manager and developer
  • Favorably settled a wrongful termination/fraud case against an entertainment company
  • Favorably settled a wrongful termination case brought by a former head of a temporary services agency
  • Assisted in trial of a wrongful constructive termination action brought by a former officer of a large insurance carrier
  • Presented four sessions of interactive program on business ethics to more than 200 employees of local company

Professional Affiliations & Admissions

  • State Bar of California
  • The Earl B. Gilliam Bar Association (Past President)
  • Equal Justice Committee of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California (Past Member)
  • On-Air Legal Analyst for KNSD-TV News (1993-1995), Channel 6 TV News (2003-2011) and KPBS radio “These Days” (2006-2011)
  • Lawyer Representative, Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference (2001-2003)
  • San Diego County Bar Legal Ethics Committee: Member (2002-2013); Chair (2004-2005)

Community Affiliations

  • Chair, Ethics Advisory Board for the City of San Diego (1993-1994)
  • City of San Diego Civil Service Commissioner, where he heard and decided numerous disputes involving discipline of members of the City’s 11,000 member workforce (1995-2005; President, 1999 and 2003)
  • Georgetown University, School of Foreign Service Board of Visitors (2000-2007)
  • University of California, San Diego Board of Overseers (2001-2010, and Chair, 2009)
  • Named by San Diego Magazine as one of the “50 People to Watch” in 2009

Professional Awards & Honors

  • Listed in “50 People to Watch in 2009,” San Diego Magazine (January 2009)
  • Recognized in San Diego Super Lawyers magazine for employment defense (2007-2009)

Publications

  • An Ounce of Prevention: Drug Testing
  • An Ounce of Prevention: Preventing Liability Under the FMLA
  • Avoiding Frivolous Lawsuits
  • California Supreme Court Says No to Noncompetes. Now What?
  • In-House Counsel Checklist for Handling Electronically Stored Information
  • ETHICS QUARTERLY
    • Volume 10, No. 4
    • Volume 10, No. 3
    • Volume 10, No. 2
    • Volume 10, No. 1
    • Volume 9, No. 4
    • Volume 9, No. 3
    • Volume 9, No. 2
    • Volume 9, No. 1
  • CUMULATIVE INDEX
    • Top 10 Legal Ethics Rulings of 2013
    • Top 10 Legal Ethics Rulings of 2012

Media

Jason R. Faas Associate

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Mr. Faas is an associate whose practice emphasizes taxation, business law, estate planning and trust administration.

Education

Mr. Faas attended Brigham Young University where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting. He received his Juris Doctor at Chapman University and his LL.M. in Taxation at New York University.

Representative Matters

  • Represents clients in various business matters and transactions, including business formations, joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, reorganizations and spin-offs, and liquidations.
  • Provides a wide-range of federal, state and local tax advice to individuals, partnerships, corporations, and other business entities.
  • Represents clients in real estate transactions, including sales, purchases, 1031 exchanges, financing, and debt workouts.
  • Prepares various business contracts and advises clients regarding short and long-term business planning and strategies.
  • Represents clients before federal, state and local tax authorities in audits, appeals and tax litigation.
  • Advises clients regarding worker classification including federal and state tax aspects of independent contractor and employment relationships.
  • Assists clients with property tax planning and controversies, including transfers to or from business entities, parent-child exclusion transfers, and transfers between spouses.
  • Designs and structures simple and complex estate planning documents for clients (including wills, trusts, advance health care directives, asset management powers of attorney, etc.).
  • Assists clients with succession planning for closely-held businesses and other personal and/or family assets, and provides estate, gift, and income tax advice regarding these types of assets.
  • Advises clients regarding charitable giving and formations and operations of charitable trusts and nonprofit organizations.
  • Represents individual, professional private fiduciary, and corporate trustees in trust administrations.
  • Represents beneficiaries of estates and trusts.

Professional Affiliations & Admissions

  • State Bar of California (Taxation and Business Sections)
  • San Diego County Bar Association
  • United States Tax Court
  • BYU Management Society, San Diego Chapter

Community Affiliations

  • Boy Scouts of America, Unit Committee Chair

Personal

Mr. Faas lived in St. Petersburg, Russia for two years. He is proficient in Russian and enjoys golf and baseball.

John I. Forry Of Counsel

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Mr. Forry is well known in the United States and internationally as a leading attorney and academic in the areas of international finance, investment and tax planning and compliance. Throughout his 45-year career, Mr. Forry has represented U.S. and foreign businesses, financial institutions and individuals doing business either abroad from the U.S. or from abroad into the U.S., with significant focus on Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East.

In addition to his legal work, Mr. Forry has served as the director of tax programs and selected international programs and is a professor in residence at the University of San Diego School of Law and has held academic positions at universities in Brazil, China, France and New York.

Education

Mr. Forry is a graduate of Amherst College and Harvard Law School.

Employment Background

Early in his career, Mr. Forry founded a California law firm focused on U.S. investments from abroad. He later became a senior partner with Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, where he headed the firm’s California offices and its Pacific Rim and Latin America international practices and served on its governing board. He was also a partner with Ernst & Young LLP in New York, where he was the first global leader of its Project Finance practice and director of the firm’s Foreign Legal Services Alliances.

Representative Matters

  • Investments and financings into or out of the U.S. and over 45 other countries involving real estate and infrastructure projects, business acquisitions and joint ventures, intellectual property development, individual tax and estate planning, and numerous other activities and assets

Professional Affiliations & Admissions

  • Advisory Group to the U.S. Commissioner of Internal Revenue
  • International Fiscal Association
  • International Bar Association
  • State Bars of California, District of Columbia and New York

Community Affiliations

  • Director of Tax Programs and selected International Programs and Professor in Residence at the University of San Diego School of Law
  • Visiting Professor at Business and Law Schools in Brazil, China, France and New York

Publications & Speaking Engagements

Mr. Forry is the author of six books and approximately 50 articles on international finance, investment and taxation, including:

  • International Finance Techniques, Graduate Business and Law Schools teaching text, 1st edition 2008, 2nd edition 2009
  • A Practical Guide to Foreign Investment in the United States, 1st edition 1979, edition in French 1980, 2nd edition 1982, edition in Japanese 1983, edition in German 1983, 3rd edition in looseleaf 1989-1995
  • Joint Ventures in the United States, 1988, edition in Chinese 1994

Professional Awards & Honors

  • Chair of numerous professional organization committees and projects on international finance, investment and taxation
  • Co-Founder, Los Angeles International Tax Forum for highly experienced international tax attorneys, accountants and company executives

Adam Gordon Associate

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Phone:
Fax:
619.685.3100

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Mr. Gordon is a highly experienced trial lawyer focused on business litigation and white collar criminal defense/SEC investigations. He developed his skills as a trial lawyer while a Deputy District Attorney in the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office.

Education

Mr. Gordon graduated Harvard University in 2004, where he played wide receiver on Harvard’s varsity football team. For his work as a student-athlete, he was awarded the Francis H. Burr Scholarship Prize and the Patrick C. Melendez Award. Mr. Gordon subsequently graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law in 2008. He was a member of Omicron Delta Kappa (eligibility only for top third of the class), Extramural Moot Court Chairman and a finalist in the William Minor Lile Moot Court.

Employment Background

Prior to joining Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek, Mr. Gordon worked as a Senior Associate at Fitzgerald Knaier LLP. His areas of practice included complex business litigation, copyright infringement, breach of contract, wage and hour litigation and corporate alter ego litigation.

Mr. Gordon also worked as a Deputy District Attorney for the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office, where he was assigned to the Central Pre-Trial Unit, Gang Unit, East County Branch and Superior Court Division, and tried 30 cases to jury verdict. He began his career by serving on the trial team which successfully prosecuted one of the murderers of Oceanside Police Officer Dan Bessant. Mr. Gordon rose through the ranks and assumed first chair responsibility, leading him to prosecute jury trials in cases such as premeditated attempted murder, gang violence, assault causing great bodily injury, battery causing great bodily injury, robbery and residential burglary.

Representative Matters

  • Defended an elected official against charges of public corruption
  • Obtained jail time against a serial violator of a Civil Harassment Restraining Order
  • Pat & Oscar’s Concepts, Inc. v. Casual Food Group, et. al. This lawsuit was brought by the owner of the Pat & Oscar’s restaurant brand against a group of former Pat & Oscar’s franchisees, who converted their restaurants to O’s American Kitchen following the bankruptcy of Pat & Oscar’s. Although the plaintiff sought over $23 million in damages against the former franchisees, the main cause of action resulted in a hung jury. The Court subsequently declined to award any actual damages to plaintiff, and instead, awarded a total of $100 in nominal damages

Professional Affiliations & Admissions

  • Board Member, San Diego Regional Chamber Young Leaders (2016)
  • Association of Business Trial Lawyers
  • Honorable William Enright Inn of Court
  • State Bar of California
  • San Diego County Bar Association
  • United States District Court for the Southern District of California

David M. Greeley Shareholder

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Mr. Greeley is a shareholder of the firm in the Litigation Department and focuses both on resolving, through litigation or negotiation, business, corporate, insurance, licensing, trademark, leasing, franchising and contract disputes and on advising clients on how to avoid future disputes by strengthening business relationships through effective communication.

Education

Mr. Greeley graduated cum laude with a B.A. in American history from Wake Forest University in 1990. He graduated magna cum laude from the University of Arizona College of Law in 1998, where he was a member of the Order of the Coif and the Symposium Editor of the Arizona Law Review.

Representative Matters

Advisory Matters

  • Advises and counsels business owners on effective negotiation tactics with the goal of resolving disputes before either side considers, much less files, litigation
  • Advises business owners on avoiding alter ego liability
  • Advises business owners, developers and general contractors on procuring proper insurance and on obtaining policy benefits
  • Advises businesses on protecting trade secrets and other intellectual property
  • Advises construction professionals on procuring and maintaining the proper licenses
  • Advises franchisors and franchisees on issues related to compliance with the California Franchise Investment Law and the California Franchise Relations Act
  • Advises employers on compliance with both California federal wage and hour laws
  • Advises litigants on cross-border litigation

Litigation Matters

  • Favorably resolved real estate developers’ insurance coverage claims against insurance company and insurance brokers
  • Favorably resolved licensee’s claim against licensor under “accidental franchise” theory of recovery
  • Obtained full-demand settlement for publisher following court granting preliminary injunction in business dispute
  • Successfully arbitrated real estate seller’s claim against buyer arising out of sale of apartment building
  • Obtained summary judgment and award of attorneys’ fees on three complaints and over fifteen causes of action for CEO in complex business litigation
  • Obtained defense verdict in bench trial wherein plaintiff alleged claims of breach of fiduciary duty and breach of partnership agreement
  • Obtained summary judgment for title insurance company in defending against complaint for breach-of-title policy and bad-faith denial of claim

Professional Affiliations & Admissions

  • State Bar of California
  • San Diego County Bar Association
  • Mentor, American Bar Association Forum on Franchising
  • Floor Leader, San Diego County Bar Association Caucus for the California Conference of Bar Associations

Proffesional Awards & Honors

  • Best of the Bar (San Diego Business Journal, 2016)

Sean T. Hargaden Shareholder

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Mr. Hargaden is a shareholder of the firm and has been practicing with the firm in the areas of real property law and business transactions for over 25 years. His real estate practice experience includes extensive representation of real estate funds, lenders, developers and institutional and 
non-institutional investors in all areas of real estate.

Education

Mr. Hargaden graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles, with a B.A. magna cum laude, in 1982. He earned a joint M.B.A. and law degree from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1987.

Representative Matters

  • Commercial real estate acquisitions, dispositions, and leasing
  • Financing transactions and equity generation
  • Documentation of secured real estate loans
  • Entity formation and governance
  • Development and redevelopment of property
  • Agreements relating to development of real estate
  • Purchase and sale of business entities and assets
  • Workout and restructuring of debt secured by mixed collateral
  • Ground leasing and ground leasehold financing
  • Loan restructuring and loan enforcement
  • Formation and negotiation of joint ventures
  • Development and financing of residential projects, shopping centers, hotels, industrial projects, office buildings, golf courses and other commercial and mixed-use projects

Clients Include:

 Developers, master developers, merchant builders of single-family detached and attached product in both suburban and urban areas, investors in real estate developments, lenders, landlords and tenants in the leasing of office, industrial, retail and mixed-use developments and entrepreneurs with real estate and general business needs.

Professional Affiliations & Admissions

  • State Bar of California
  • San Diego County Bar Association

Professional Awards & Honors

  • Martindale-Hubbell® AV rating
  • San Diego Super Lawyers – 2012 – present (Real Estate)

Brian M. Katusian Shareholder

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Mr. Katusian is a shareholder with Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek. His practice emphasizes tax law, tax exempt organizations, business law, and ERISA/Employee Benefits.  He is certified by the State Bar of California as a Specialist in Taxation Law.

Education

Mr. Katusian received his Bachelor of Science degree in Management Science, with honors, from the University of California at San Diego, in 2004, and his Juris Doctor from the University of San Diego School of Law, in 2007. While attending the University of California at San Diego, Mr. Katusian also studied abroad at the University of Chile in Santiago, Chile, and received a minor in Spanish Literature. He is fluent in Spanish.  While in law school, Mr. Katusian was a member of the law school’s Irving R. Kaufman Securities Law Moot Court Team, and served as a research assistant for Professor Fred Zacharias, USD Herzog Research Professor of Law. He also received his LL.M. in Taxation at the University of San Diego School of Law, in 2007, where he was a Graduate Law Merit Scholar and a student attorney at the University of San Diego School of Law’s Tax Clinic.

Employment Background

Prior to joining Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek, Mr. Katusian was an associate at Branton & Wilson.

Representative Matters

Tax

  • Advises clients regarding the local, state, federal and international tax consequences of a wide range of business and estate planning transactions
  • Forms business organizations, including limited liability companies, partnerships, and corporations
  • Represents entities and individuals, including lenders, borrowers, guarantors, developers, contractors, owners, investors, trustees, and fiduciaries in a wide variety of tax matters before governmental entities including the Internal Revenue Service, California State Board of Equalization, and California Franchise Tax Board
  • Represents companies in structuring tax-free reorganizations
  • Represented a non-exempt membership organization under Section 277 of the Internal Revenue Code (“Code”) in its $20.5 million sale.  Tax involvement included advice on the federal income tax treatment of the sale to the Association, and preparation of a Private Letter Ruling for filing with the Internal Revenue Service
  • Represented various subsidiary LLCs of a large Southern California Real Estate Developer in their acquisition of a multi-million dollar Jet Aircraft.  Tax involvement included obtaining an exemption from Sales & Use Taxes from the California State Board of Equalization.  Additionally, obtained Aircraft Registration from the Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”), and prepared and recorded an Aircraft Security Agreement with the FAA.  Also prepared various related agreements such as FAA-Compliant “Dry Lease” Agreement, Management Agreement, etc.
  • Represented a company in connection with the proposed division of the company pursuant to a marital dissolution.  Tax involvement included advice and structuring of a Code Section 355 “split-off”
  • Represented a public charity in connection with its grants to Guatemalan Organizations in order to assist earthquake victims.  Tax involvement included advising and structuring the program to avoid jeopardizing its tax exemption
  • Formed and obtained Income Tax Exemptions for numerous Private Operating Foundations formed for such purposes as providing resources and assistance to cancer victims and their families, and other purposes)
  • Represented a Homeowners’ Association regarding the availability of Federal Residential Energy Efficient Property Tax Credits to Association Members in connection with the proposed installation of Solar Panels
  • Represented a Homeowners’ Association in connection with the transfer of a Social Welfare Organization, under Section 501(c)(4) of the Code, from the Association Developer to the Association.  Involvement includes advice and guidance on jeopardizing the Social Welfare Organization’s exemption, “excess benefit transactions,” and private inurement

ERISA/Employee Benefits

  • Amended and restated numerous defined contribution plans (401(k), profit-sharing, and money purchase pension plans) for compliance with the Economic Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (“EGTRRA”)
  • Prepared Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (“QDROs”) for divisions of plan benefits in connection with marital dissolutions
  • Represented several companies and business owners in determining whether or not the Code’s “Controlled Group” Rules applied such that all qualified plans would be aggregated for various purposes
  • Amended and Restated the Cafeteria Plan and SPD of a mid-sized law firm to ensure compliance with Code Section 125 and the Regulations promulgated thereon
  • Advised a Third-Party Administrator in connection with the sale of one of its client’s Employee Stock Option Plans (“ESOP”).  Involvement/advice included: avoiding potential ERISA Section 404 fiduciary liability, determining ESOP Key Employees for testing purposes, obtaining an independent appraisal pursuant to Section 401(a)(28) of the Code, and ensuring the proper voting procedure for the ESOP sale was followed
  • Drafted and/or advised clients regarding Code Section 409A-Compliant Deferred Compensation Agreements for Key Executives
  • Represented a company in connection with the termination of its profit-sharing plan, and the subsequent transfer of non-publicly traded assets (promissory notes and limited partnership interests) to a “self-directed” IRA custodian.  Involvement included obtaining appropriate asset valuations, preparing satisfactory transfer forms, and advising on possible prohibited transaction implications

Professional Affiliations & Admissions

  • Certified Specialist-Taxation Law, State Bar of California, Board of Legal Specialization
  • State Bar of California (Tax Section)
  • United States District Court for the Central District of California
  • United States District Court for the Southern District of California
  • United States Tax Court
  • California Department of Real Estate, Licensed Real Estate Broker
  • San Diego County Bar Association
  • Western Pension and Benefits Council, San Diego Chapter

Community Affilitaions

  • Director, Aria Homeowners’ Association (2011-2012)

Publications & Speaking Engagements

  • Speaker/Presenter, “Ethics:  Ethical Issues in Tax Practice and Procedure,” for State Bar of California 2015 Annual Income Tax Seminar, University of San Diego School of Law, June 25, 2015
  • Speaker/Presenter, “Does your Employee Benefit Plan benefit more Employees than you thought it did?  Application of the Controlled and Affiliated Service Group Rules,” for Western Pension & Benefits Council, San Diego Chapter, April 21, 2015
  • Co-Author, Chapter 16 (Tax Compliance) to “Financing and Protecting California Businesses,” California Continuing Education of the Bar [“CEB”] (2012-2016 updates)
  • Author, “Additional Thoughts on Audit Reconsiderations,” California Journal of Tax Litigation (Q3 2015 Edition)
  • Author, “IRS Issues Guidance on Federal Tax Effects of United States Supreme Court decision United States v. Windsor, 1111 AFTR 2d 2013-2385 (133 S.Ct. 2675), 06/26/2013,” California Tax Lawyer (Volume 22, Number 4 – Winter 2014)
  • Annual Guest Speaker, University of San Diego School of Law’s Low Income Taxpayer Clinic
  • Volunteer Judge, 2010 University of California San Diego Mock Trial Tournament
  • Honorary Judge, 2010 University of San Diego School of Law’s McLennon Honors Moot Court Competition

Christine M. LaPinta Shareholder

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Ms. LaPinta is a shareholder with the firm. Her practice areas generally include defense of complex business litigation, construction defect, real and intellectual property, consumer protection, employment and bankruptcy matters. Ms. LaPinta also assists the trust and estates practice area in litigation arising out of those matters.

Education

In 1999, while serving in the United States Air Force in Okinawa, Japan, Ms. LaPinta received her Bachelor of Science from the University of Maryland University College, Asian Division. Ms. LaPinta received her Juris Doctorate from California Western School of Law in 2003.

Representative Matters

  • Represent various entities regarding trademark and intellectual property disputes
  • Represent multiple national retailers in cases arising out of the consumer protection laws, including the Federal and State Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the Karnette Act, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act
    •   In 2011, obtained defense verdict after jury trial on Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and Karnette Act and obtained award of all damages sought, including punitive damages on cross-complaint
  • Represents employee benefit plan of luxury hotel in ERISA litigation
  • Represents local developers, design construction managers and lenders in various matters involving litigation over property and development rights, contract disputes, construction defect claims and insurance matters
  • Represent clients in all manner of contract disputes, from complex multi-party business disputes to simple commercial contract actions and arbitrationsRepresents both debtor and creditor clients in various Chapter 11 proceedings
  • Represents employers in various types of employment litigation, including: discrimination, wrongful termination, retaliation, harassment, and benefit proceedings and disputes
  • Represent individuals and entities in trust and estates and probate litigation

Professional Affiliations & Admissions

  • Admitted to State Bar of California, 2003
  • United States District Court, Northern, Southern and Central Districts of California
  • United States Bankruptcy Court, Northern, Central and Southern Districts of California
  • United States District Court of Northern District of Oklahoma
  • United States Bankruptcy Court, Northern District of Oklahoma
  • Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal
  • San Diego County Bar Association
  • Association of Business Trial Lawyers, San Diego Chapter (Board Member 2013-present; Member of Leadership Development Committee 2011-2013)
  • American Inns of Court, Louis M. Welsh San Diego Chapter (Associate 2006-2007)

Personal

Ms. LaPinta served as a Communications System Operator aboard the E-3 Sentry in the United States Air Force. She also worked as a Case Manager for Big Brothers Big Sister.

Michael A. Leone Shareholder

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Phone:
Fax:
619.702.6832

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Mr. Leone practices in the areas of complex business litigation and defense of professional liability claims against lawyers.

Education

Mr. Leone received his B.A. from the University of California, San Diego in 1987. He earned his law degree from the University of San Diego School of Law in 1990. As a law student, Mr. Leone won the American Jurisprudence Award for both evidence and criminal procedure, as well as the Best Oral Advocate Award in the Honorable Jack R. Levitt Law & Motion Moot Court Competition. He also served as extern to Justice Gilbert R. Nares, California Court of Appeal, Fourth District, Division One.

Employment Background

Prior to joining Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek, Mr. Leone was an attorney with the law firm of McInnis Fitzgerald Rees & Sharkey in San Diego, California.

Representative Matters

  • Represented public employee pension system in public employee class action litigation regarding pension benefit funding, litigation with plan sponsors regarding pension funding liabilities, Securities and Exchange Commission Investigation, U.S. Department of Justice Investigation, State Attorney General Investigation, County District Attorney Investigation
  • Represented national energy trading company in antitrust and class action litigation
  • Defended large regional law firms in legal malpractice and fraud trials
  • Represented international real estate development and construction company in multi-million dollar real estate development trial
  • Represented consortium of European composites manufacturers in arbitration of intellectual property development and ownership dispute arising from construction of U.S. warships
  • Represented financial products company in fraud action against major commercial bank
  • Represented shipping logistics company in trade secret misappropriation action
  • Defended title insurance companies in home buyer class action litigation
  • Defended large specialty lines insurer in declaratory relief and unfair claims handling practices actions

Professional Affiliations & Admissions

  • State Bar of California
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern, Central Districts of California
  • U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • American Bar Association
  • San Diego County Bar Association

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 and 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)

 

Sandra Joan Morris Of Counsel

SCMV headshot Sandra Joan Morris cropped 240x240
Phone:
Fax:
619.702.6855

Practice Areas

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With a career of 44 years as a family law attorney, Ms. Morris has extensive experience in a broad range of family law issues both as a counselor and litigator, making it her goal to help each client through the process with dignity and ease. With extensive training and experience in mediation, collaborative law, arbitration and settlement negotiation, she serves as an advocate to family law clients who choose alternatives to traditional litigation in resolving their family law matters.

Ms. Morris has long been recognized as one of the preeminent family law attorneys in the United States.

  • Engaged in the private practice of family law since 1970
  • Pro Tem Judge of San Diego County Juvenile Court 1975-1980; and Superior Court 1977 to approximately 1998
  • Settlement Judge of San Diego Superior Court, Family Law Division, early 1980’s-2004
  • Adjunct professor of Juvenile Law California Western School of Law, 1979
  • California State Bar Board Certified Family Law Specialist since 1980
  • Fellow, American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers since 1981
  • Fellow, International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers since 1989
  • Diplomate, American College of Family Trial Lawyers since 1993
  • Mediation Training, USD Law School and American Arbitration Association, 1984; 40 hour Intensive Mediation Training, Center for Understanding in Conflict, 2011
  • Certified Arbitrator by American Arbitration Association and American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers since 1989; AAML Arbitration Training Faculty 1989-1993
  • Negotiation Training, Harvard Negotiation Training Project and American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, 2008
  • Certified Collaborative Law Attorney, 2010

Education

  • 1962–1965 University of Arizona, Bachelor of Arts, Philosophy, Scholarship, Honors
  • 1966–1967 University of Arizona School of Law, Scholarship, Honors
  • 1967–1969 California Western School of Law, Juris Doctor

Employment Background

Ms. Morris founded her own law firm in 1970, which she ran until joining Seltzer Caplan in November 2014.

Representative Matters

REPORTED APPELLATE CASES:

Appellate and/or Trial Counsel

In re James M. (1976)65 Cal.App.3d 254

Father’s conviction of murder of the children’s Mother did not necessarily constitute neglect nor deprive the children of a home for an extended period of time. Denial of Petition to free the children from Father’s custody and control, affirmed. Cited in multiple Appellate and Supreme Court decisions.

In re Nicole B. (1979) 93 Cal.App.3d 874

Court properly exercised jurisdiction over minor child where Mother’s boyfriend abused the child, even though Mother was not present at the time and boyfriend not permitted in the home. Test is welfare of child, not wrongdoing of parent.

In re Robert D. (1984) 151 CaLApp.3d 391

Order of trial court for ongoing grandparent visitation, affirmed.

In re Brendan P. (1986) 184 Cal.App.3d 910

Superior Court had exclusive jurisdiction over custody dispute involving abuse allegations because proceedings regarding it were filed there first and orders regarding custody and visitation had been entered in the matter.

In re Marriage of Harbach (1987) 195 Cal.App.3d 629

Stipulated modified decree providing support non-modifiable, properly extended when expectations of parties as expressed in the Stipulation were not met.

In re Marriage of Feldman (2007) 153 Cal.App.4th 1470

Trial Court properly ordered sanctions for husband’s failure to disclose material facts and information about assets and income. Wife was not required to show harm, or to move to compel disclosure or to preclude evidence.

Professional Affiliations & Admissions

  • Supreme Court of State of California, January 15, 1970
  • United States District Court Southern District of California, January 15, 1970
  • United States Court of Claims, April 1, 1970
  • United States Tax Court, April 28, 1970
  • United States Supreme Court, March 24, 2004

SAN DIEGO COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION ACTIVITIES:

Certified Family Law Specialists’ Committee

  • Member since 1981 (Year of Formation)
  • 1993–1998 Executive Committee
  • 1995 Chair-Elect
  • 1996 Chair
  • 1998 Counsel
  • 1981–Present Chaired various committees, including: Summer Seminar, Annual Retreat, Family Court Services, Settlement Judges Seminar. Frequent lecturer/demonstrator for over thirty years on variety of Family Law topics, most recently cross-examination, direct-examination, post nuptial agreements, Elkins rules, child custody under Elkins, presenting yourself in court, and litigation skills.
  • 2012 Lecturer and demonstrator of cross examination of a forensic expert, family law, College of Trial Advocacy.

INNS OF COURT:

Domestic Clinical Program

  • 1979 Faculty

Legislation Committee

  • 1977, 1978 Chaired Juvenile Legislation Subcommittee
  • 1979, 1980 Co-chaired Family Legislation Committee

Delegate, State Bar Convention

  • 1977, 1978, 1980, 1981, 1984, 1985

Youth and Law Committee

  • 1973–1975 Chaired film production re: Juvenile Court process; Technical advisor to production company
  • 1975 Chaired Committee when merged with Juvenile Law and Education Committee

Juvenile Law and Education Committee

  • 1970-1973 Chaired various subcommittees
  • 1974, 1975, 1976 Chaired Committee

CALIFORNIA STATE BAR ASSOCIATION ACTIVITIES:

Family Law Section

  • Member since 1987
  • 1987–1988 Executive Committee
  • 1992 Moderator, Hot Tips from the Experts Annual State Bar Conference
  • 1993 Lecturer, State Bar Conference

Convention Calendar Coordinating Committee

  • 1980, 1981 Member

California Continuing Education of the Bar

  • 1977 Panel member, Juvenile Justice Program
  • 1978 Panel member, Child Custody Program
  • 1981 Moderator, Child Custody Program
  • 1984 Panel member, Child Custody Program
  • 1985 Panel member, Fundamentals of Family Law Practice
  • 1986 Panel member, Child Custody Program
  • 1987 Panel member, Advanced Family Law Institute
  • 1989 Panel Member, Drafting Marital Settlement Agreements
  • 1990 Moderator, Ethics and Avoiding Malpractice
  • 1991 Moderator, Family Law Litigation
  • 1992 Moderator, Ethics and Avoiding Malpractice
  • 1992 Panel Member, Recent Developments in Family Law
  • 1993 Panel Member, Representing Clients in Spousal and Child Support Matters
  • 1994 Panel Member, Recent Developments in Family Law
  • 1995 Panel Member, Recent Developments in Family Law

Juvenile Justice Committee

  • 1976–1979 Member

OTHER LAW RELATED ACTIVITIES:

Alternatives to Litigation

  • 1973–1996 Family Law Arbitration/Mediation Panel member

American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers

  • Fellow since 1981

Offices held:

  • 1986–1987 Vice-President, Southern California Chapter (first year of Chapter’s existence)
  • 1987–1988 President, Southern California Chapter
  • 1987–1989 National Board of Governors
  • 1988–1989 Co-Chair, Arbitration Committee, which conducted first arbitration training program with American Arbitration Association at Stanford Law Center; faculty member November 1989-1993; Certificated Arbitrator since 1989
  • 1989–1991 Parliamentarian
  • 1989–1991 Chair, Recertification Committee
  • 1991–1992 Chair, Long Range Planning Committee
  • 1993–1994 National Board of Governors
  • 1994–1997 Treasurer
  • 1997–2000 Vice President
  • 1998–2006 Chair, Focus on Forever Committee
  • 1998–2000 Representative, National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws, Family Law Joint Editorial Board
  • 2000–2001 First Vice President
  • 2001–2002 President-Elect
  • 2002–2003 President
  • 2004–2005 Immediate Past President
  • 2004 Family Law Person of the Year Award, Southern California Chapter (“Normy” Award)
  • 2007–2008 Parliamentarian

Lectures Presented:

  • 1987 Panel member, “Transmutation of Property,” National Conference, Tucson, Arizona
  • 1988 Lecturer, “Sexual Abuse, The New Weapon,” National Conference, Maui, Hawaii
  • 1991–1992 Lecturer: “The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act and the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act,” National Conference, Chicago, Illinois
  • 1994 Lecturer, “Direct Testimony,” Regional Trial Institute, La Costa, California
  • 1994 Demonstrator, “Cross-Examination of a Psychological Expert,” National Conference, Chicago, Illinois
  • 1995 Demonstrator, “Direct and Cross-Examination of Witnesses,” Regional Trial Institute, Newport Beach, California
  • 1996 Panel Member, “Strategies for Obtaining High Maintenance Awards,” National Conference, Chicago, Illinois
  • 1997 Panel Member, “Litigating Complex Tax Issues in the Family Law Arena,” Regional Trial Institute, La Costa, California
  • 1997 Panel Member, “Trial Preparation: Expert Witness Preparation, Lay Witness Preparation, Trial Aids and Practical Tips,” National Conference, Cancun, Mexico
  • 2000 Panel Member, “Advanced Motion Practice – Hot Tips and Practical Approaches to Difficult Problems,” Regional Trial Institute, Coronado, California
  • 2002 Panel Member, “Advanced Motion Practice – Hot Tips and Practical Approaches to Difficult Problems,” Regional Trial Institute, Santa Monica, California
  • 2003 Panel member “Direct and Cross-Examination of the Expert Business Valuator,” Regional Trial Institute, La Costa, California
  • 2003  Lecturer: “Ethics and the Bounds of Advocacy,” Kentucky Chapter Annual Conference, Louisville, Kentucky
  • 2003  Lecturer: “Spousal Support and Maintenance,” Mountain States Chapter Annual Seminar, La Jolla, California
  • 2004  Panel member, “Advanced Motion Practice – Hot Tips and Practical Approaches to Difficult Problems,” Regional Trial Institute, Costa Mesa, California
  • 2008 Panel Member “Direct and Cross-Examination of Forensics in Financial and Custody Issues,” Regional Trial Institute, Santa Monica, California; and Annual National Conference, Chicago, Illinois
  • 2012 Panel Member, “Initial Client Interview and Case Assessment,” Regional Trial Institute, San Diego, California
  • 2014  Lecturer: “You’ve come a Long Way Baby—Or Have Your? A 40 year Retrospective of Gender Bias in the Family Law Courts,” Southern California Chapter Annual Retreat, Santa Barbara, California

American Bar Association

  • Member since 1973
  • 1977–1982 Vice-chair, Juvenile Law Committee of Juvenile Law Committee of Family Law Section
  • 1982, 1983 Executive Member, Juvenile Law Committee of Family Law Section
  • 1987–1993 Executive Member, Marital Property Committee of Family Law Section
  • 1989–1996 Lecturer, “Hot Tips from the Experts,” numerous National Conferences
  • 1990 Lecturer, “Transmutation of Property,” National Conference, Chicago, Illinois
  • 1991 Lecturer, “The Ultimate Trial Notebook,” National Conference, Vail, Colorado
  • 1992 Lecturer, “Dissipation of Marital Property,” National Conference, San Francisco, California
  • 1993 Lecturer, “Preparation of Demonstrative Exhibits,” National Conference, San Diego, California
  • 1994 Demonstrator, “Comparative Cross-Examination,” National Conference, New Orleans, Louisiana
  • 2001-2007 Permanent Faculty Member, Annual Family Law Trial Advocacy Institute, Houston Law Center, Houston, Texas

American College of Family Trial Lawyers

  • Diplomate since 1993
  • 1997 Panel Member, Mock Supreme Court Argument re Same-Sex Marriages, Annual Retreat, Laguna Nigel, California
  • 2001 Panel Member, Ethics Problems

American Psychology-Law Society

  • 1973–1992 (One of the founding members, San Diego Chapter)
  • 1979, 1980 Advisory Board

Attorney General’s Task Force on Juvenile Justice

  • 1978, 1979 Member, Advisory Commission on Family Law which drafted duly-enacted Domestic Violence Prevention Act, Conciliation Court Mediation laws, and joint custody legislation. Project completed and recommendations signed into law 1980.

California State Senate Subcommittee on the Administration of Justice

  • 1974, 1975  Representative of the San Diego County Bar Association

Association of Certified Family Law Specialists

  • Member since 1983
  • 2014 Panel Member, “Here, There, But Not Everywhere: Unique Problems Involving Fiduciary Duties,” Annual Spring Seminar, Palm Springs, California

California Western School of Law

  • 1970’s Adjunct Professor, Juvenile Law
  • 2006 Lecturer, “Ethical Issues in Family Law”

California Women Lawyers

  • Member since inception

Collaborative Family Law Group of San Diego

  • Member since 2012
  • 2013 Member of By-Laws, Standard Forms and Retreat Committees

International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers

  • Fellow since 1989
  • 1997 Board of Governors, U.S. Chapter

Judicial Council of California Administrative Office of the Courts’ Elkins Family Law Task Force

  • 2008–2010 Member. Project completed and recommendations signed into law 2010.

Lawyers’ Club of San Diego

  • Member since 1972 (One of the “Founding Mothers”)
  • 1972  Chaired various committees
  • 1973  Member, Board of Directors
  • 2008–present Member, Bradley Bunch
  • 2013 Panel Member, Work/Life Balance in the Practice of Law

San Diego Family Law Bar Association
(Formerly Certified Family Law Specialists Committee of the San Diego County Bar Association)

  • Member since 2013 (Year of Formation)
  • 2013 Member, Alternative Dispute Resolution Panel

Community Affiliations

San Diego Regional Criminal Justice Planning Board

  • 1979 Member, Committee on Rape, Domestic Violence and Child Abuse

Children’s Hospital and Health Center Human Research Committee/Institutional Review Board

  • 1977–1992 Attorney member; patient/child advocate

Rape Crisis Center of San Diego

  • 1973 Original consulting attorney

Townhouse Foundation, Inc.

  • 1973, 1974 Member, Board of Directors of adolescent residential treatment center

San Diego Community Child Abuse Coordinating Council

  • 1972–1985 (One of the original members) Representative of the San Diego County Bar Association; chaired various task forces
  • 1977 President of Council
  • 1978 Member, Board of Directors
  • 1978 Representative to California Consortium of Child Abuse Councils

Publications & Speaking Engagements

  • “New Developments in Juvenile Law, “Dicta, San Diego County Bar, September, 1976
  • Book review, Criminal Justice Journal, Western State University Law Review Spring, 1978
  • “Rights of Putative and Natural Fathers,” Trial Bar News, San Diego Trial Lawyers Association, May, 1984
  • “Sexual Molest – Which Court’s on First?” Trial Bar News, San Diego Trial Lawyers Association, August/September, 1985
  • “Abuse Allegations – A Child’s Story, A Lawyer’s Nightmare,” The Complete Lawyer, American Bar Association Section of General Practice Summer, 1986
  • “Overview of Pension Law,” Journal of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, Volume 3, 1987
  • “Sexual Abuse Allegations in Divorce/Custody Cases,” Journal of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, Volume 5, 1989
  • “Grandparents, Uncles, Aunts, Cousins, Friends: How is the Court to Decide Which Relationships Will Continue?” Family Advocate, American Bar Association Family Law Section, Volume 12 No. 2, Fall, 1989

Ms. Morris has lectured extensively, provided demonstrations of methods and techniques, and conducted workshops on subjects including family law, fiduciary duty, ethics, litigation, negotiation, valuation, asset division, support, gender bias, and child abuse at the local, state, national and international levels; and served as consulting legal expert to Urban and Rural Systems Associates, which was funded by HEW to provide training materials for medical and mental health experts in the field of child abuse.

Professional Awards & Honors

  • Best Lawyers in America, 1995 through current Edition
  • Who’s Who Among San Diego Women: The Power Source
  • Who’s Who in America, 50th Edition through current Edition
  • Who’s Who in American Law, 2nd through current Edition
  • Who’s Who of American Women
  • Who’s Who in California
  • Who’s Who in the West, 33rd Edition through current Edition
  • Who’s Who in the World, 23rd Edition through current Edition
  • “San Diego’s Sharpest Divorce Lawyers,” San Diego Magazine, April, 1983
  • “The Top Lawyers in San Diego,” San Diego Magazine, November 1996
  • “The Best Lawyers in San Diego,” San Diego Magazine, September 2001; April
  • 2005 and each year to present
  • “Top 50 Lawyers” “Top 25 Women Lawyers” – May 2007; “Super Lawyers – Family Law” – each year 2007 to present; “Super Lawyers – Alternative Dispute Resolution” – 2014 (only San Diego family law attorney in this category,) Super Lawyers – Southern California
  • “San Diego Family Law Attorney of the Year,” Best Lawyers, 2010
  • “Top Lawyers in San Diego,” Metropolitan Magazine 2010
  • “Best Lawyers – First Tier Law Firms,” US News & World Report, 2010 to present
  • “Best Matrimonial firm of the Year, USA,” Finance Monthly, 2011
  • AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell since 1984; AV Preeminent Peer Review Rated Lawyer
  • “Top Lawyers in California,” The Legal Network, 2016

Andrea N. Myers Shareholder

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Ms. Myers is a shareholder with the firm. Her practice emphasizes complex business litigation, real property disputes, professional liability defense, and employment litigation.

Education

Ms. Myers received her B.A. in economics and government from Claremont McKenna College in 2003, and her J.D. from the University of San Diego School of Law in 2008. While in law school Ms. Myers received multiple honors in legal research and writing, and the award for excellence in oral advocacy. She was also the recipient of the CALI Excellence for the Future Award in Law of the American Democracy.

Employment Background

Prior to joining Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek, Ms. Myers worked as an analyst for Mercer Consulting. Ms. Myers was a summer associate at Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek in 2007.

Representative Matters

  • Commercial contract dispute- represented an international corporation in an action through trial and obtained a successful defense verdict
  • Commercial real property dispute- represented a developer against a large international corporation in an action through the first phase of trial and obtained a successful settlement
  • Commercial lease dispute- defended a corporate tenant through the first phase of trial and obtained a successful settlement
  • Federal and State Fair Debt Collection Practices- defended a national retailer in a consumer protection action involving and obtained a defense verdict after jury trial and an award of punitive damages on a cross-complaint
  • Complex business disputes- represented various clients from Fortune 500 companies to local companies in trial and arbitration
  • Commercial real property disputes- represented several local developers, business owners, individuals, and lending institutions in various real property litigation matters ranging from landlord / tenant disputes, commercial leases, title disputes, mechanic’s lien matters, and commercial unlawful detainer
  • Secured lending disputes- represented financial institutions, business owners, and individuals in judicial and non-judicial actions
  • Defense of guaranty enforcement actions and proceedings
  • Defense of professional malpractice and malicious prosecution claims
  • Employment matters, including: discrimination, wrongful termination, retaliation, and harassment lawsuits; administrative litigation; and general labor relations matters

Professional Affiliations & Admissions

  • State Bar of California
  • S. District Court, Southern and Central Districts of California
  • Association of Business Trial Lawyers
  • American Inns of Court, Louis M. Welsh San Diego Chapter

Community Affiliations

  • Junior League of San Diego, Fund Development Director
  • The Bishop’s School Alumni Association

Professional Awards & Honors

  • 2016 Tribute to Women & Industry (TWIN) Award Honoree, YWCA
  • Super Lawyers Rising Star (Business Litigation), Finalist, Super Lawyers (2015-2016)
  • 2014 Top Young Attorney, Semi-Finalist, San Diego Daily Transcript
  • 2014 Young Influential, Semi-Finalist, San Diego Daily Transcript
  • 2014 “Law and Junior League Cast a Spell Over Andrea Nelson Myers,” La Jolla Light
  • 2013 Woman Who Moves the City, San Diego Magazine
  • 2013 Woman of the Year, Finalist, San Diego Magazine
  • 2013 Top Young Attorney, Semi-Finalist, San Diego Daily Transcript

Michael G. Nardi Shareholder

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Mr. Nardi is a shareholder of the firm and his practice emphasizes business, commercial, employment and appellate litigation.

Education

Mr. Nardi received his B.S., 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 Award for Property, Criminal Procedure, Commercial Paper and Conflict of Law. Mr. Nardi was a member of the Maryland Law Review from 1984-1985 and the Notes and Comments Editor from 1985-1986.

Employment Background

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

Professional Affiliations & Admissions

  • State Bar of California
  • San Diego County Bar Association
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California
  • U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

Laura Lamb Nichols Of Counsel

SCMV Laura Lamb headshot cropped 240x240 8-14
Email:
Phone:
Fax:
619.702.6824

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Mrs. Nichols is Of Counsel with Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek. She is a Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization. Mrs.Nichols has assisted multiple generations in their family estate planning matters and provides guidance and counsel to clients in this specialized area of law. She finds her work personally satisfying as she helps clients work through and solve difficult problems connected with the administration of the estate or trust after one’s passing.

Education

Mrs. Nichols received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Southern California in 2002. She attended California Western School of Law and earned her Juris Doctor in 2004.

Employment Background

Prior to joining the firm, Mrs.Nichols was an attorney with the San Diego firm of Showley & Thompson, LLP. In addition to practicing law, Mrs. Nichols is an Adjunct Professor at California Western School of Law where she teaches “The California Pre-Bar Program” and “Advanced Legal Analysis.”

Representative Matters

  • Assists clients in estate planning including wills, revocable living trusts, advanced health care directives, financial powers of attorney, irrevocable gift and insurance trusts, charitable trusts, qualified personal residence trusts, family limited partnerships and limited liability companies
  • Represents trustees, executors and administrators during the administration of a decedent’s estate

Professional Affiliations & Admissions

  • United States District Court for the Southern District of California
  • Certified Specialist-Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law, State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization (2013)
  • State Bar of California (Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law Section)
  • San Diego County Bar Association (Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law Section, Former Chair of the New Lawyer Division)
  • Estate Planning Council of San Diego and North County (Member)
  • Provisors (Member)

Community Affiliations

  • KPBS Planned Giving Advisory Committee
  • Rotary Club 33 (Member)
  • Scripps Health Gift Planning Advisory Board (Member)

Publications & Speaking Engagements

Speaker for professional groups on topics of Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Administration

Neal P. Panish Shareholder

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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
  • S. District Court, 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)

 

David P. Ruth Of Counsel

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Mr. Ruth is Of Counsel with Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek. His practice emphasizes taxation and business law.

Education

Mr. Ruth received his Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from University of Delaware, cum laude, in 1982 and his Juris Doctor from the University of San Diego School of Law, magna cum laude, in 1991. He received his LL.M., in Taxation, summa cum laude, from the University of San Diego in 1997.

Employment Background

Prior to joining Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek, Mr. Ruth was a shareholder in the law firm of Branton & Wilson in San Diego.

Publications & Speaking Engagements

  • Editor-in-Chief San Diego Law Review
  • Contributor The California Regulatory Law Reporter

J. Scott Scheper Shareholder

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Mr. Scheper is a shareholder in the Litigation Department of the firm. He applies a deeply strategic and aggressive yet intelligent approach to maximize success in litigation. He works closely with his clients to tailor a case-specific representation that harmonizes client needs and goals to the situations presented.

Mr. Scheper puts his personal approach to work in a broad range of practice areas. Most of his representation involves business and contract-related litigation, with emphasis in construction, real property, and employment matters. He tries cases and represents clients in civil litigation matters in state and federal trial courts, in adversary proceedings in bankruptcy courts and in appellate proceedings. Mr. Scheper represents real property owners, developers and contractors in various stages of development and construction; those efforts encompass consultation on ever-changing legislation, pre-execution contract review and negotiation, informal dispute resolution and litigation. He provides a spectrum of employment-related representation that includes litigation, consultation regarding trade secret and non-compete restrictions, guidance in ERISA matters, conducting wage and hour assessments and providing work place conduct seminars.  In addition, Mr. Scheper has provided sports-related representation in a number of matters, representing professional sports franchises, individual owners, and clients with sports-related intellectual property issues. In all matters, he brings a fierce dedication and commitment to helping his clients when they need him.

Education

Mr. Scheper received his B.A., summa cum laude, in 1988 and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa at Case Western Reserve University, where he played varsity football. He earned his law degree, cum laude, in 1991 from Harvard Law School, at which time he also was a member and President of the Harvard Boxing Club and trained for and competed in Golden Gloves.

Representative Matters

  • Represented design construction manager in multi-party construction claims litigation and related matters arising out of a nearly $200 million public works project
  • Represented developer in construction contract review and negotiation for development of high-end resort property and represents local developers in various matters involving litigation over property and development rights, contract disputes, construction defect claims and insurance matters
  • Represented multiple homeowner plaintiffs in construction litigation leading to settlements collectively worth in excess of $20 million
  • Tried month-long adversary proceeding in U.S. Bankruptcy Court involving issues of construction lending and funding, accounting and fiduciary partnership obligations stemming from multi-million dollar investment in multiple-unit residential real estate developments
  • Represented owner to resolve claims with general contractor of hospital construction project
  • Represented local health care organization in litigation by public entity to void long-term lease of local hospital and its assets in proceedings before the California Superior Court, Court of Appeal, and Supreme Court
  • Represented federally-recognized Indian Tribe in diverse matters implicating issues of sovereign immunity and the rights, control and governance over Tribal lands; also represented members of several sovereign Indian Tribes, as board members of a multi-Tribal entity operating a health care facility in litigation implicating Tribal sovereign immunity with respect to a transaction that would facilitate development of a Tribal gaming operation
  • Represented national defense industry contractor in litigation related to military equipment contracts for the federal government
  • Represented provider of heavy manufacturing products, technology, and services in contract disputes and litigation involving coordinated efforts in North America, Europe and Asia
  • Represented local recreational and motor vehicle businesses in litigation, regulatory compliance and licensing, and employee training and contracting matters
  • Represented commercial airline operating domestic, international and transoceanic flights, in employment litigation involving maintenance and operational flight safety issues
  • Represented employee benefit plan of luxury hotel in ERISA litigation
  • Represented publicly-traded internet sports-memorabilia company in securities and employment litigation involving promotional relationships with several high-profile former Major League Baseball players
  • Represented securities brokerage and brokers in NASD arbitration asserting tortious interference claims and involving complex claims of trade secret misappropriation
  • Represented regional specialty and health food store chain in trademark litigation in federal district and appellate courts
  • Represented public telecommunications company in dispute regarding rights and obligations of Olympic-sponsorship affiliation and sponsorship of professional sports franchises and sports facilities
  • Represented minority owner of professional sports franchise in transactional negotiations involving ownership rights and interests
  • Represented professional sports franchise in protecting its creditor interests in bankruptcy proceedings

Professional Affiliations & Admissions

  • State Bar of California
  • San Diego County Bar Association
  • San Diego Inns of Court
  • American Inns of Court, Louis M. Welsh San Diego Chapter
  • American Business Trial Lawyers
  • California Supreme Court
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • U.S. District Court, Southern, Northern and Central Districts of California
  • U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern and Central Districts of California

Community Affiliations

  • RedCoat Committee Member,  San Diego Bowl Game Association (Holiday Bowl and Poinsettia Bowl)
  • San Diego County Coastal Tritons Youth Football Head Coach/Board Member (Special Liaison)
  • Former Member and Board of Directors, San Diego Alumni Chapter, Case Western Reserve University

Publications & Speaking Engagements

  • Author, “States Rights,” Tunnels and Tunneling, December – January 2015 issue
  • Panelist, Construction Day, San Diego Daily Transcript (2014)
  • Speaker, Forensic Expert Witness Association (FEWA), “What to Expect from an Expert Witness” (2012)
  • Speaker, Forensic Consultants Association (FCA), “Bridging the Gap – Working with Lawyers for Effective Experts” (2012)
  • Presenter, Forensic Consultants Accounting, “What to Expect From an Expert Witness” (2012)
  • Panelist, California Continuing Education of the Bar program, “Civil Litigation Practice: Annual Recent Developments” (2004-2007)
  • Author, “Home Security Issues,” Today’s Changing Times, SCMV Newsletter (2001)
  • Panelist, California Continuing Education of the Bar program, “Discovery Planning:  Strategies, Tools and Tactics” (2001)
  • Periodic On-Air Legal Analyst for Fox 6 Morning News (2000-2001)
  • Panelist, California Continuing Education of the Bar program, “Strategic Tips for Successfully Propounding and Opposing Written Discovery” (2000)
  • Panelist and Moderator, Continuing Education of the Bar program, “Expert Witnesses” (2000)
  • Speaker and Contributing Author, “Legal Ethics in California” seminar, Lorman Education Services (2000)
  • Panelist, California Continuing Education of the Bar program, “Discovery Strategies and Tactics for Success” (1999)
  • Discrimination in Employment

Professional Awards & Honors

  • AV-Peer Review Rating (5.0 out of 5.0) on Martindale™
  • San Diego (and Southern California) Super Lawyers™  (2012 – 2015, Business Litigation)
  • Top Rated Lawyer in Labor & Employment Law (The American Lawyer, 2012; Fortune Magazine, 2014)
  • Top Lawyers in San Diego (San Diego Magazine, 2013 – 2015) and Top Lawyers of Southern California (Los Angeles Magazine, 2013 – 2015)
  • Top Attorney (San Diego Daily Transcript, 2015)

Erik L. Schraner Shareholder

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Erik Schraner is a shareholder of the firm. His practice emphasizes land use and environmental law.

Education

Mr. Schraner received his B.A. degrees in political science and environmental studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 1996 and his J.D. from the University of San Diego School of Law in 2000.

Employment Background

Prior to joining Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek, Mr. Schraner was an associate at law firms in Solana Beach, California.

Professional Affiliations & Admissions

  • State Bar of California
  • U.S. District Court, Southern and Central District of California

Brian T. Seltzer Chief Operating Officer and Shareholder

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Mr. Seltzer is a shareholder and chief operating officer of the firm whose practice encompasses real property, business law and commercial financing, with a particular emphasis in real property transactions.

Education

Mr. Seltzer received his B.A., cum laude, from California State University, San Diego in 1974. He earned his law degree from the University of San Diego School of Law in 1977.

Representative Matters

Mr. Seltzer has represented parties in the active structuring, negotiation and preparation of documentation for transactions of the following types:

  • The financing of apartments, commercial buildings, hotels, mobile home parks, land tracts and historic buildings
  • The purchase and sale of apartments, commercial buildings, hotels, mobile home parks, land tracts and historic buildings
  • The acquisition of secured debt pursuant to discounted transactions
  • Deed in lieu transactions and loan modifications and settlements
  • Commercial leases and financeable ground leases
  • Mezzanine debt
  • The formation of multiple entities, with various tiered structures and institutional investments
  • The purchase and sale of businesses, including distributors, subcontractors, automotive dealerships and high-tech manufacturers
  • Governmental disposition and development agreements and exclusive negotiating agreements
  • The development of urban, mixed-used mid-rise and high-rise projects, including the preparation of multi-tier project (condominium) documents
  • The acquisition, entitlement and financing of assisted living facility sites
  • Operational and ownership issues for hotels, a multi-state wholesale distribution company and high-tech manufacturers
  • The conveyance and development of a military base subject to closure and reuse
  • The contested acquisition of the leasehold interest in a high-rise office building
  • Legislation to limit rent control
  • Legislation relating to transient occupancy taxes

Professional Affiliations & Admissions

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

Community Affiliations

  • University of San Diego School of Law Board of Visitors (Member)
  • Greater San Diego Chamber of Commerce (Past Chairman)
  • San Diego Convention Center Corporation (Past Chairman)
  • University of San Diego School of Law Alumni Association (Past Director)
  • Burnham Moores Real Estate Institute, University of San Diego (Former Member of Policy Advisory Board)
  • University Club (Member of Board of Governors)
  • San Diego United Service Organizations (USO) (Past Director)
  • Museum of Photographic Arts (Past Director)
  • Mercy Hospital and Medical Center (Past Member of Planned Giving Committee)
  • San Diego Jewish Academy (Former Officer and Director)

Publications & Speaking Engagements

  • Lecturer for the University of California Continuing Education of the Bar in timeshare financing, commercial leasing and real property purchase and sale transactions

Professional Awards & Honors

  • Recognized as one of the best real estate law attorneys in the country in The Best Lawyers in America (2007-2016)
  • Recognized in San Diego Super Lawyers magazine for Real Estate law (2007-2016)
  • Named one of San Diego’s Top Attorney’s” by the San Diego Daily Transcript in the Real Estate/Construction Transactional Law areas (2010, 2011 and 2013)
  • Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rating of AV Preeminent

Media

Matthew D. Seltzer Shareholder

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Mr. Seltzer is a shareholder with the firm. His practice encompasses real estate and business transactions.

Education

Mr. Seltzer received his B.S. from the University of Southern California in 2004. He earned his J.D. from the University of San Diego School of Law in 2007.

Representative Matters

  • In 2013, represented lenders and borrowers in documentation, negotiation and closing of over 100 loan transactions involving total loan proceeds in excess of $600 million
  • In 2013, represented landlords and tenants in documentation and negotiation of over 80 commercial lease transactions involving in excess of 1,600,000 square feet of commercial space
  • In 2013, represented residential and commercial real estate developers and owners in the documentation, negotiation and closing of over 25 real estate purchase and sale transactions involving total consideration in excess of $600 million
  • Represents residential and commercial real estate developers and owners in documentation, negotiation and closing of real estate purchase and sale transactions, leasing transactions and real estate finance transactions
  • Represents interests of companies engaged in residential and commercial real estate investment and development transactions
  • 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 lenders and borrower in connection with deed in lieu transactions and loan modifications and settlements
  • Represents borrowers in documentation, negotiation and closing of commercial real estate-secured loan transactions
  • Represents landlords and tenants in documentation, negotiation and execution of office, retail, commercial and industrial real estate leasing transactions
  • Represents purchasers and sellers in documentation, negotiation and closing of business and asset purchase and sale transactions
  • Represents real estate interests of companies and individuals engaged in business and asset purchase and sale transactions

Professional Affiliations & Admissions

  • San Diego County Bar Association
  • State Bar of California
  • Licensed Real Estate Broker

Media

James H. Siegel Shareholder

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Mr. Siegel is a shareholder of the firm.  He is certified by the State Bar of California as a Specialist in Probate Law. Mr. Siegel’s practice emphasizes estate planning, trust administration, probate administration, guardianship and conservatorship administration.

Education

Mr. Siegel received his Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University at Northridge, magna cum laude, in 1976 and his Masters from the California State University at Los Angeles in 1977. He received his Juris Doctor from the University of California School of Law in 1986.

Employment Background

Prior to joining Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek, Mr. Siegel was a partner in the law firm of Branton & Wilson in San Diego.

Professional Affiliations & Admissions

  • State Bar of California
  • Certified Specialist-Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law, State Bar of California, Board of Legal Specialization

Jacob T. Spaid Associate

Spaid headshot 1-15
Phone:
Fax:
619.702.6851

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Mr. Spaid is an associate of the firm in the litigation department. Mr. Spaid represents clients in state and federal courts primarily in the areas of employment, insurance, contractual disputes and general civil litigation. His main focus is working with employers to develop the best practices within their businesses to avoid litigation and maximize the value of the employer-employee relationship.

Education

Mr. Spaid graduated from San Diego State University with a Bachelor of Science, magna cum laude in 2009 and was elected the most outstanding student of his class. He also received a Master of Business Administration, magna cum laude, from San Diego State University in May 2014. Mr. Spaid attended California Western School of Law and received his Juris Doctor, magna cum laude in May 2014. While in law school, Mr. Spaid was named to the Dean’s list and served as Senior Editor of Law Review. Mr. Spaid received the Diane Ethics award and the Law Review Outstanding Editor award, and received the top grade in Civil Procedure I & II, Legal Skills I & II, STEPPS I & II, ERISA, Business Organizations, and FDA Law. Through his second and third year in law school Mr. Spaid also served as the Honors Instructor for Legal Skills I & II, Constitutional Law I, and Torts II.

Employment Background

Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Spaid served as a judicial Intern for the Honorable Steven R. Denton in the California Superior Court, and as a judicial Extern for the Honorable Ruben B. Brooks in the Southern District of California.

Representative Matters

  • Expertise in employment-related matters including representation of clients with wage, discrimination, and wrongful termination disputes
  • Representation of national insurance companies against claims of bad faith and breach of contract

Professional Affiliations & Admissions

  • State Bar of California
  • Southern, Central and Eastern Districts of California
  • San Diego County Bar Association
  • Association of Business Trial Lawyers
  • American Inns of Court, Louis M. Welsh San Diego Chapter (Associate)

Personal

Mr. Spaid plays four different instruments and enjoys surfing, bicycling, and painting.

Thomas F. Steinke Shareholder

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Mr. Steinke is a shareholder of the firm practicing real property, land use, environmental, administrative and governmental law.

Education

Mr. Steinke attended the University of Wisconsin where he received a Bachelor’s of Applied Science and Engineering in 1968 and a Master of Science degree in 1970. He received his J.D. from the University of San Diego School of Law in 1975.

Employment Background

Mr. Steinke joined Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek after nearly 13 years in the Planning and Property Division of the San Diego City Attorney’s Office. He was the advisor to the City Council Transportation and Land Use Committee, Planning Department, Environmental Quality Division and Building Department. Mr. Steinke also represented the City Purchasing Department, which dealt with contracts and contract disputes. While working in the City Attorney’s office, Mr. Steinke was instrumental in drafting and negotiating the City of San Diego’s Local Coastal Program applicable in the Coastal Zone for the California Coastal Commission, the City’s Resources Protection Ordinance, the City Council’s No-Growth Initiative and approximately twenty development agreements by and between the City of San Diego and representatives of the development community.

Representative Matters

  • Prepares and processes agreements regarding property development and project financing including development agreements and related agreements with school districts, fire and life safety districts, municipal water districts, municipal, county, state and federal agencies
  • Represents developers, landowners, contractors, subcontractors and users in connection with development and construction activities
  • Advises in the preparation of environmental impact reports, development of strategies for compliance with federal, state and regional environmental legislation such as habitat conservation plans; Native American consultations and negotiations; and preparation of specific plans and related environmental documents and findings
  • Processes development entitlements including general plan amendments, master plans, specific plans, subdivision maps, zone changes, conditional use permits, variances and coastal development permits

Professional Affiliations & Admissions

  • American Bar Association
  • State Bar of California (Business Law, Environmental Law, Real Property Law Sections)
  • San Diego County Bar Association
  • Registered civil engineer in the State of California
  • Former Commissioner of the City of San Diego’s Housing Commission

Robert M. Traylor Shareholder

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Mr. Traylor is a shareholder of the firm working in the Litigation Department. His practice emphasizes general civil litigation.

Education

Mr. Traylor earned his law degree from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law in 1998 where he was named to the Order of the Coif. He attended Princeton University, receiving an A.B. from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs in 1989. Mr. Traylor graduated from La Jolla’s Bishop’s School in 1985.

Employment Background

Prior to joining Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek, Mr. Traylor served as a law clerk for the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals for the Hon. E. Grady Jolly (1999-2000). He also clerked for the U.S. District Court, Southern District of California, for the Hon. Rudi M. Brewster (1998-1999). Prior to law school, Mr. Traylor spent nearly six years on Capitol Hill, serving as legislative director for Rep. Glenn M. Anderson and Rep. Stephen Horn. His legislative experience focused on transportation, environmental and health care issues.

Professional Affiliations & Admissions

  • State Bar of California
  • San Diego County Bar Association

Professional Awards & Honors

  • San Diego Super Lawyers – 2015 (Litigation)

Rebecca L. Van Loon Associate

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Ms. Van Loon is an associate with Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek. Her practice emphasizes estate planning, trust and probate administration, and taxation.

Education

Ms. Van Loon received her Bachelor of Arts degree, cum laude from Gonzaga University in 2007. She earned her Juris Doctor, cum laude, from Willamette University College of Law in 2010 and her LL.M in Taxation, magna cum laude, from the University of San Diego School of Law in 2011. While in law school, Ms. Van Loon participated in the Trusts and Estates Legal Clinic and competed in the Jessup International moot court competition. While in college and law school, Ms. Van Loon also studied abroad in Spain, Italy, and Germany.

Employment Background

Prior to joining Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek, Ms. Van Loon was an associate at an estate and tax planning law firm in Carlsbad, California.

Representative Matters

  • Estate planning, including drafting wills, revocable trusts, advance health care directives, and financial powers of attorney
  • Gift and estate tax planning, including drafting irrevocable trusts, life insurance trusts, grantor retained annuity trusts, qualified personal residence trusts, qualified subchapter S trusts, and electing small business trusts
  • Charitable gift planning, including outright gifts, drafting charitable remainder trusts, charitable lead trusts, and testamentary private foundations
  • Property tax planning, including parent-child exclusion transfers, spousal transfers, and transfers of real property to or from an entity
  • Trust administration, including representing trustees during inter vivos trust administration and administration of a decedent’s revocable trust
  • Estate administration and probate proceedings, including representing executors and administrators during administration
  • Estate, gift, and generation skipping tax, including portability elections and estate and gift tax return preparation
  • Representation of trustees, executors, administrators, fiduciaries, and beneficiaries, including preparation of settlement agreements and modifications or terminations of irrevocable trusts

Professional Affiliations & Admissions

  • State Bar of California
  • San Diego County Bar Association – Estate Planning & Probate Section
  • North County Bar Association
  • Lawyers Club of San Diego

Community Affiliations

  • Member, San Diego Blood Bank Financial Resource Development Committee (2012 – present)
  • University of San Diego Alumni Association (2011 – present)

Personal

Ms. Van Loon is an avid fan of the San Diego Symphony and enjoys running, golfing, traveling, and college basketball.

Gregory A. Vega Shareholder

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Mr. Vega is a shareholder of the firm and focuses on complex business matters, including representing clients before all federal, state and local regulatory agencies; implementing and evaluating corporate compliance issues; conducting corporate internal investigations; representing clients in civil tax controversy litigation; and white-collar criminal defense.

Education

Mr. Vega received his B.S. from Indiana University in 1975. He earned his law degree from Valparaiso University School of Law in 1980 where he was a staff member of the Valparaiso University Law Review.

Employment Background

Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Vega was the U.S. Attorney, Southern District of California. He was also Assistant U.S. Attorney with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Indiana and Southern District of California 1983-1999 and was a tax attorney for the Chief Counsel’s Office, Internal Revenue Service 1980-1983.

Representative Matters

  • Represented corporate executive in FCPA investigation of major retailer in Mexico
  • Represented former CEO in shareholder derivative action resulting from government FCPA investigation
  • Served as Department of Health and Human Services-approved Independent Review Organization (IRO) for publicly traded pharmaceutical company
  • Obtained dismissal of indictment for individual charged with filing false tax returns
  • Obtained dismissal of complaint for client in Federal Election Commission investigation
  • Obtained dismissal of indictment for publicly traded utility company in Federal environmental crimes prosecution
  • Successful defense verdict at trial of magazine publisher for breach of fiduciary duty
  • Conducted internal investigation for multi-national corporation headquartered in Oslo, Norway
  • Conducted internal investigation for major international retailer
  • Successful representation of Tribal Chairperson of federally recognized Indian tribe in investigation by Federal government (prosecution declined)
  • Successful defense of Los Angeles-based law firm in qui tam action filed in California state court (complaint dismissed)
  • Represented Media Captioning Services, Inc. in contract dispute with national media company related to issue of Federal Communications Commission closed-captioning requirements
  • Represented aircraft chartering company in $3 million breach-of-contract cause of action
  • Investigated and prosecuted member of the San Diego City Council for failing to report gifts on state-required financial disclosure forms.
  • Investigated and prosecuted a Lake County, Indiana, Judge Pro Tem for judicial corruption
  • Tax litigation before the U.S. Tax Court
  • Investigated and prosecuted numerous bank fraud and tax fraud cases in U.S. District Court
  • Represented Sweetwater Union High School District in San Diego County grand jury investigation
  • Represented deputy district attorneys before San Diego County Civil Service Commission

Professional Affiliations & Admissions

  • State Bar of California
  • State Bars of Indiana and Illinois
  • U.S. Seventh and Ninth Circuit Courts of Appeals
  • U.S. Tax Court
  • Attorney General’s Advisory Committee (1999-2001)
  • White Collar Crime Subcommittee, Attorney General’s Advisory Committee (Co-Chair, 1999-2001)
  • Hispanic National Bar Association (President, 1997-1998)
  • Board of Legal Specialization, State Bar of California (1993-1996)
  • Criminal Law Advisory Commission, State Bar of California (Chairman, 1992-1993; Member, 1989-1992)
  • Merit Selection Panel, U.S. District Court, Southern District of California (2009)
  • Federal Judicial Selection Committee, Southern District of California (2004-present)
  • National Association of Former United States Attorneys (NAFUSA) (Member, 2001-present; President, 2015-2016)

Community Affiliations

  • Selected and unanimously confirmed as a Commissioner on the inaugural City of San Diego Ethics Commission (2001-2005)
  • San Diego County Regional Security Commission (2002-2005)
  • National Conflict Resolution Center, Board of Directors (2004-2014)

Publications & Speaking Engagements

Published Opinions:

  • Lee v. C.I.R., 43 T.C.M. (CCH) 374 (1982)
  • Fishman v. C.I.R., 45 T.C.M. (CCH) 765 (1983)
  • Pfeifer v. C.I.R., 46 T.C.M. (CCH) 857 (1983)
  • Estate of Shantz v. C.I.R., 47 T.C.M. (CCH) 614 (1983)
  • United States v. Bailey, 728 F.2d 967 (7th Cir. 1984)
  • United States v. Dack, 747 F.2d 1172 (7th Cir. 1984)
  • United States v. Barreda, 607 F.Supp. 419 (N.D.In. 1985)
  • United States v. Dominguez, 783 F.2d 702 (7th Cir. 1986)
  • United States v. Rodriguez, 636 F.Supp. 1522 (N.D.In. 1986)
  • United States v. Hayes, 646 F.Supp. 146 (N.D.In. 1986)
  • United States v. Anderson, 809 F.2d 1281 (7th Cir. 1987)
  • United States v. Washington, 669 F.Supp. 1447 (N.D.In. 1987)
  • United States v. Rodriguez, 831 F.2d 162 (7th Cir. 1987)
  • United States v. Ramos, 832 F.2d 85 (7th Cir. 1987)
  • United States v. Zambrana, 841 F.2d 1320 (7th Cir. 1988)
  • United States v. Zambrana, 846 F.2d 1494 (7th Cir. 1988)
  • United States v. Doering, 909 F.2d 392 (9th Cir. 1990)
  • United States v. Mal, 942 F.2d 682 (9th Cir. 1991)
  • Herring v. Teradyne, 256 F.Supp.2nd 1118 (S.D.Ca. 2002)

Professional Awards & Honors

  • Named a Metro Mover by San Diego Metro Magazine (2016)
  • Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America (2012, 2013 and 2014)
  • Recognized in San Diego Super Lawyers magazine for Criminal Defense:  White Collar (2013 -present)

Reginald A. (Reg) Vitek Shareholder

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Mr. Vitek practices in the area of complex business litigation.  He also has considerable experience in defense of professional liability claims against lawyers and is certified by the State Bar of California as a Legal Malpractice specialist.

Education

Mr. Vitek received his B.A. from San Diego State College in 1964. He earned his law degree from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1967.

Representative Matters

  • Represented several former officers and directors of failed banks in defense of litigation prosecuted by the FDIC and RTC
  • Represented several banks and financial institutions in defense of lender liability cases
  • Represented several law firms and individual attorneys, through trial, in defense of professional malpractice claims
  • Represented several Japanese-owned entities in resolution of problem investments in California and Arizona properties—including the obtaining of a defense jury verdict in favor of two Japanese-owned corporations against a $30 million claim of fraud and breach of contract
  • Represented several companies in cases involving claims of trade secret misappropriation
  • Represented many Superior Court judges in proceedings before the Commission on Judicial Performance
  • Represented San Diego City Employees’ Retirement System (“SDCERS”) in a multitude of civil lawsuits and governmental investigations arising out of San Diego’s pension under-funding crisis
  • Represented military defense contractors in diverse civil lawsuits involving claims such as trade secret misappropriation, defects in military combat aircraft and bribery in the military procurement process
  • Served as lead counsel for a national professional organization in defense of an anti-trust suit involving the right of a professional medical specialty society to regulate advertising and promotion by its members
  • Represented a national bank in the prosecution and trial of a civil RICO claim in U.S. District Court arising out of judicial corruption in another court system
  • In one of the longest civil jury trials in San Diego history (six months), successfully defended a major aircraft manufacturer against charges that the ventilation system in hundreds of commercial airliners was defectively designed so as to permit the accumulation of toxic gases in the cockpit
  • Served as lead trial counsel for a group of plaintiffs in a Warsaw Convention case tried in U.S. District Court in New York arising out of the terrorist hijacking of Pan American Flight 73 in Karachi, Pakistan

Professional Affiliations & Admissions

  • Admitted in several U.S. District Courts throughout the country
  • U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Tax Court
  • American Bar Association
  • State Bar of California
  • Certified Specialist-Legal Malpractice, State Bar of California, Board of Legal Specialization
  • San Diego County Bar Association
  • Federal Bar Association
  • Association of Trial Lawyers of America
  • Association of Business Trial Lawyers, San Diego Chapter (Founding Member of the Board of Governors)
  • ABA Committee on Commercial Litigation, Litigation Section (Former Co-Chair)
  • American Inns of Court, Louis M. Welsh San Diego Chapter (Master, Member of Executive Board)
  • Founding member of California State Bar Legal Malpractice Advisory Commission

Publications & Speaking Engagements

  • Panel member on California Continuing Education seminar on “Suits Against Business Entities”
  • Panel member on ABA/PLI seminar on “Competence in the Law Firm”
  • Panel member on Professional Liability Underwriting Society seminar on professional liability
  • Lecturer for the National Institute of Trial Advocacy
  • Participant in several ABTL trial demonstrations
  • Panel member in several ABA National Legal Malpractice Conferences

Professional Awards & Honors

  • Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers
  • Listed, since 1995, in The Best Lawyers in America specializing in Bet-the-Company Litigation and Commercial Litigation
  • Listed in Super Lawyers since 2007, including as one of San Diego’s top 50 lawyers (2008-2016) and as one of San Diego’s top 10 attorneys (2009-2010)

Parisa F. Weiss Associate

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Ms. Weiss is an associate at Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek. Her practice focuses in the areas of Estate Planning, Probate, Trust Administration and Conservatorship Administration.

Education

Ms. Weiss received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Kansas in 2001. She attended Thomas Jefferson School of Law and earned her Juris Doctor in 2004.

Employment Background

Prior to joining Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek, Ms. Weiss was a principal in the law firm of Farokhi Law Firm, APC in San Diego.

Representative Matters

  • Advises individuals with diverse financial, tax, asset protection and benefit retention requirements and prepares related documents including revocable trusts, special needs trusts, irrevocable trusts, wills, powers of attorney and advance healthcare directives
  • Advises fiduciaries and individual trustees regarding the proper administration of trusts and probates
  • Advises beneficiaries of trusts and estates with respect to their rights
  • Represents clients in estate, trust and conservatorship litigation

Professional Affiliations & Admissions

  • Iranian American Bar Association, San Diego Chapter, Board Member (2014-2015)
  • State Bar of California – Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Section
  • North County Bar Association – Co-Chair of the Trust & Estate Section (2011 and 2012)
  • San Diego County Bar Association – Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Section
  • San Diego County Bar Association, New Lawyer Division – Section Chair of the Estate Planning, Trust and Probate
  • Rancho Santa Fe Business & Professional Women – Greeter (2012)
  • Lawyers Club of San Diego, North County Chapter – Vice President (2008-2009)

Publications & Speaking Engagements

  • Moderator and Presenter, The Basics Seminar: Estate Planning, for Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB), September 2014
  • Moderator and Presenter for Conservatorships:  The Basics, for Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB), UCLA Extension, April 11, 2014
  • The Salk Institute, La Jolla, California, “Special Needs Trusts,” 2012
  • Speaker and panelist for University of San Diego Law School for law student groups

Professional Awards & Honors

Best of the Bar (San Diego Business Journal, 2015-2016)

Top Attorney (San Diego Daily Transcript, 2014)

Dennis J. Wickham Shareholder

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Mr. Wickham is a shareholder of the firm whose practice emphasizes bankruptcy, and business and real property litigation.

Education

Mr. Wickham received his B.A. from San Diego State University in 1976. He earned his law degree from the University of California, Davis School of Law in 1979, where he was a member of Phi Delta Phi and Order of the Coif. In law school, Mr. Wickham participated in the Law Review and the Moot Court Board.

Professional Affiliations & Admissions

  • State Bar of California
  • San Diego County Bar Association
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Claims Court
  • U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • U.S. District Court (all California Districts)
  • American Bankruptcy Institute
  • Federal Bar Association
  • San Diego Bankruptcy Forum (Secretary, 1997; Director, 1995-97)
  • Thomas More Society (President, 1992; Director, 1990-96)
  • Lawyer representative to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference (1994-96); Chair of District Delegation (1995-96)
  • Judge Pro Tem, San Diego Superior Court

Professional Awards & Honors

  • Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America (2007 – present)
  • Recognized in San Diego Super Lawyers magazine for Bankruptcy law (2007 – present)
  • Mediator of the Year, U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of California (1995, 2002)

Media

G. Scott Williams Shareholder

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Mr. Williams is a shareholder of the firm. His practice focuses on environmental, land-use and commercial litigation, and assisting private clients with land-use and environmental issues during the entitlement process and in real property transactions.

Mr. Williams has extensive experience litigating environmental and land-use matters in state and federal courts.  While at Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek and in his previous position as a senior attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., Mr. Williams has handled complex civil litigation under major federal and state environmental statutes, including CEQA, the Subdivision Map Act, the Polanco Act, CERCLA, RCRA, NEPA, the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act.

In addition to his litigation experience in environmental and land-use matters, Mr. Williams advises developer clients and leads negotiations with government agencies regarding environmental and entitlement issues.  Mr. Williams has helped resolve issues under CEQA, NEPA, the Subdivision Map Act, the California Coastal Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act on many projects, including housing developments with hundreds of new homes, correctional facilities with thousands of beds, destination resorts, high-rise condominiums, cultural institutions, and commercial and industrial facilities.  He has also assisted clients in such matters as zoning and general/specific plan issues, remediation of contaminated properties, the creation of habitat preserves for project mitigation, the demonstration of adequate water supplies for large-scale projects, and compliance with new stormwater regulations and emerging greenhouse gas emissions requirements.

Mr. Williams’ litigation experience also encompasses a variety of additional civil and commercial matters, including, for example, defense of a class action against a nationwide service company, defense of a law firm accused of improper conduct during the course of precedent-setting litigation, disputes over ownership and control of stock in public and privately-held companies, and sophisticated commercial disputes involving large-scale private and public entities.

Education

Mr. Williams received his B.A., magna cum laude, from Harvard College, in 1983. He received his J.D. from Columbia University School of Law in 1988, where he was Articles Editor of the Columbia Law Review.

Employment Background

Mr. Williams served as a senior attorney in the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the United States Department of Justice, and as a trial attorney in the Commercial Litigation Branch of the Civil Division, where he conducted affirmative and defensive commercial and contract litigation on behalf of numerous federal agencies.

Before joining the Department of Justice, Mr. Williams clerked for Hon. Dolores K. Sloviter of the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals.

Representative Matters

  • Represented private developers in CEQA lawsuits and related land-use litigation brought by environmental and community organizations seeking to derail approved projects
  • Defended manufacturer in Polanco Act litigation brought by community development agency seeking to recover cleanup costs for property formerly owned by client
  • Represented private landowners identified by EPA as potentially responsible parties at Superfund site
  • Represented the federal government in multimillion-dollar CERCLA cost recovery actions by leading mining and manufacturing companies, a shipyard and a paint recycling facility
  • Defended EPA rulemakings of national significance challenged in the U.S. Court of Appeals, including regulations addressing regional ozone pollution and hazardous air pollutants under the Clean Air Act; the long-term disposal of radioactive waste; and hazardous waste disposal in the petrochemical industry
  • Defended permitting and associated regulatory activity by federal agencies under the Clean Water Act, including state water quality standards approved by EPA and dredge-and-fill permits issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • Handled affirmative claims arising from financing and subsidy contracts between the United States and public and private entities, including misapplied federal grants and large financing contracts with a shipbuilder, an ethanol plant, an airline and a tribally-owned casino
  • Defended contract claims in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims and on appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, including bid protests, construction delay claims, and challenges to contract termination

Professional Affiliations & Admissions

  • State Bar of California
  • Bar of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
  • S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
  • S. Court of Federal Claims

Angela A. Woolard Associate

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Phone:
Fax:
619.702.6843

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Ms. Woolard is an associate with the firm. Her practice focuses exclusively on Family Law matters, including assistance with dissolution of marriage proceedings and family law appeals, as well as the preparation and negotiation of prenuptial agreements.

Education

Ms. Woolard received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology, with Distinction, from San Diego State University in 1994, where she earned academic honors and served as a teaching assistant and tutor in advanced statistics.  She earned her law degree from California Western School of Law in 2001. While in law school, Ms. Woolard received three academic achievement awards for legal writing and participated in the Traynor Moot Court team.

Employment Background

Ms. Woolard joined Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek in 2003. Prior to joining the firm, Ms. Woolard worked as an associate attorney at another family law firm in San Diego. She also served as a Panel Attorney for Appellate Defenders, Inc., representing indigent clients in criminal appeals. During law school, Ms. Woolard was a teaching assistant and tutor in legal research and writing, and a student investigator in the pilot program of the California Innocence Project.  In addition, Ms. Woolard held a position as a judicial intern at the San Diego Superior Court, Family Law Division, performing legal research and case analysis to assist a Superior Court judge in marital dissolution proceedings.

Representative Matters

  • Assisting clients with dissolution of marriage proceedings, including temporary and permanent child and/or spousal support orders, child custody and visitation and characterization/division of property
  • Post-judgment modifications of child support, spousal support and child custody and visitation orders
  • Analysis of complex issues of law and preparation of memoranda, appellate and trial briefs
  • Drafting and negotiation of prenuptial agreements in cases involving extensive assets and/or unique factual situations
  • Preparation and negotiation of Marital Settlement Agreements
  • Providing advice to clients engaged in the mediation process

Professional Affiliations & Admissions

  • San Diego County Bar Association (Family Law Section)
  • State Bar of California

Katrina W. Wu Associate

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Ms. Wu is an associate in the firm’s tax department. Her practice emphasizes tax planning and estate planning and administration.

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

  • The Google Art Project: An Analysis from a Legal and Social Perspective on Copyright Implications, JOURNAL OF THE PATENT AND TRADEMARK OFFICE SOCIETY (Dec. 2014).
  • YouTube Marketing: Legality of Sponsorship and Endorsement in Advertising, JOURNAL OF LAW, BUSINESS AND ETHICS (Forthcoming, Spring 2016).

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.