Recent Wins: Irving H. Greines
GMSR obtains dismissal of appeal challenging probate court order of instructions to trustee
October 26, 2012
Wells Fargo Bank v. D. Sprott (2012) 2012 Cal.App. Unpub. LEXIS 7824 (California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, Division One) [unpublished]. In the probate court, GMSR’s client—Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., acting as trustee of a testamentary trust—obtained an order instructing it how to implement a trust provision. Three objectors appealed. On appeal, GMSR argued that even though the objectors had litigated their objections to the order in the probate court, they were not aggrieved by the order and that they therefore lacked standing to pursue an appeal from that order. The Court of Appeal agreed and dismissed the appeal.
Wells Fargo Bank v. D. Sprott (2012) 2012 Cal.App. Unpub. LEXIS 7824
Court reverses default judgment, quashes service of process on GMSR client
June 30, 2011
Leontaritis v. Koursaris (2011) 2011 Cal.App. Unpub. LEXIS 5041 (California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, Division Seven) [unpublished]. No one is supposed to be subjected to judgment without first duly being brought under the jurisdiction of the court. But the superior court refused to set aside a default judgment entered against GMSR’s client in a fraudulent conveyance lawsuit or to recognize that the service of process on her failed to comply with statutory requirements. The Court of Appeal reversed with directions, commanding the superior court to enter a new order vacating the default and default judgment and quashing service of summons and complaint.
Leontaritis v. Koursaris (2011) 2011 Cal.App. Unpub. LEXIS 5041
In first-impression case, Court of Appeal holds that a renewed judgment includes accrued post-judgment interest; and that interest accrues on the total renewed judgment
November 13, 2008
OCM Principal Opportunities Fund v. CIBC World Markets (2008) 168 Cal.App.4th 185 (California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, Division Four). [published]. GMSR co-counseled with Hennigan Bennett & Dorman in this second appellate victory for the prevailing plaintiffs and respondents in a case of first impression involving the accumulation of interest on a multi-million dollar judgment. In prior cross-appeals from the judgment, also co-counseled by GMSR, the Court of Appeal upheld plaintiffs' $31 million jury verdict and reversed the trial court's denial of plaintiffs' request for prejudgment interest. While the cross-appeals were pending (they took several years), plaintiffs applied for renewal of the judgment. The clerk followed statutory procedures and entered a renewed judgment in an amount equal to the prior judgment plus post-judgment interest that had accrued at 10% per annum for the prior three and a half years. Defendants moved to vacate the renewed judgment on the ground that it violated the state constitutional provision specifying that judgments bear interest at 10% per annum. Defendants argued, among other things, that adding accrued interest to the amount of the judgment and then computing future interest at 10% on the aggregate amount impermissibly compounded interest at more than the 10% rate set by the constitution. The trial court denied defendants' motion to vacate the renewal, and defendants appealed again.
The Court of Appeal affirmed in favor of GMSR's clients. By statute, the Court ruled, a judgment is enforceable for ten years; it can be renewed any time within the ten-year period, even while an appeal is pending, but not again for five years; the renewed judgment includes the amount of the original judgment plus accrued interest. The Constitution does not expressly prohibit compounding of post-judgment interest, nor does it specify that 10% interest is limited to simple interest. Bowing to the Legislature's interpretation, the Court held that permitting renewal of the judgment once every five years does not "positively and certainly" offend the constitution.
OCM Principal Opportunities Fund v. CIBC World Markets (2008) 168 Cal.App.4th 185
In securities fraud action, appellate court affirms $32.1 million judgment for GMSR's clients and remands for additional award of prejudgment interest
December 5, 2007
OCM Principal Opportunities Fund v. CIBC World Markets (2007) 2007 Cal.App. LEXIS 1995 (California Second District Court of Appeal, Division Four). [published]. Plaintiffs brought an action for fraud and securities law violations against an investment banker, alleging that the defendant banker had aided and abetted the marketing of the promissory notes knowing that the issuer was on the brink of extinction. The original sale of the notes enabled the defendant to recover its own investment in the company, leaving subsequent note purchasers, including plaintiffs, with virtually worthless pieces of paper. The $32.1 million judgment reflected the jury's $52 million verdict adjusted for settlements that the plaintiffs received from other sources.
In the appeal, GMSR co-counseled with plaintiffs' trial counsel, Hennigan, Bennett & Dorman. The Court of Appeal affirmed the judgment against the defendant. In a 63-page published decision, it rejected the defendant's attack on the sufficiency of the evidence to support the jury's findings, as well as the defendant's arguments that it owed no duty to the plaintiffs because the plaintiffs purchased the notes on the open market and that the judgment included twice the amount of damages the jury intended to award. On plaintiffs' cross-appeal, the court reversed the trial court's denial of prejudgment interest, holding that interest must be awarded when a defendant has willfully violated state securities laws.
Court of Appeal reverses most of $10 million judgment, blocks new trial and rejects most of cross-appeal
July 11, 2007
Pointe San Diego Residential Community v. W.W.I. Properties (2007) 2007 Cal.App. Unpub Lexis 5649 (California Court of Appeal, Fourth District, Division 1). This hotly-contested case arose out of a complex real estate development venture. It involved a wide range of claims and counterclaims, including breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, accounting, trespass, conversion and shareholder derivative claims. Following a two-phase trial that lasted 5 weeks, the court awarded about $10 million in compensatory and punitive damages. Then, the court granted a new trial on plaintiffs' claim that the judgment should have been many millions of dollars more. Representing the primary defendants, Irving Greines and Barbara Ravitz secured a reversal of most of the judgment, as well as the new trial order. They also successfully defended against the bulk of plaintiffs' cross-appeal, which sought an additional $40 million.
The California Supreme Court reinstates the NFL's judgment against the Oakland Raiders and clarifies the law regarding appellate review of new trial orders
July 2, 2007
The Oakland Raiders v. National Football League (2007) 41 Cal.4th 624 (California Supreme Court). Irving Greines and Feris Greenberger were integral players on the legal team that secured a Supreme Court decision reinstating the NFL's jury verdict in its hard-fought litigation with the Oakland Raiders. The Raiders sued the NFL over disputes connected with aborted plans for the team to return to Los Angeles. Following a lengthy trial, the jury returned a verdict for the NFL. The Raiders moved for a new trial on the ground of juror misconduct, and the parties submitted sharply conflicting declarations concerning what occurred in the jury room. The trial court ordered a new trial, but it failed to file the statement of reasons required by Code of Civil Procedure section 657. Although ordinarily appellate review of a new trial order is limited to a deferential evaluation of whether the trial court abused its discretion, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that this situation required independent appellate review, and it agreed with the NFL that the trial court’s order could not survive that close scrutiny.
California Supreme Court rules that Commercial Code provisions preempt common law causes of action against bank and require customer's prompt objection to bank's allegedly unauthorized funds transfers
June 4, 2007
Zengen, Inc. v. Comerica Bank, (2007) 41 Cal.4th 239 (California Supreme Court). Marc Poster and Irving Greines assisted co-counsel (Robert Addison and Jeffrey Wruble of the Buchalter Nemer firm) in drafting Comerica's victorious brief on the merits in the Supreme Court and in preparing for a successful oral argument. Zengen's chief financial officer allegedly embezzled $4.6 million by forging orders to wire transfer funds from a Zengen account at Comerica Bank. Zengen sued Comerica, claiming breach of contract and other common law claims as well as violation of California Commercial Code provisions regarding commercial funds transfers. The Supreme Court adopted Comerica's contentions that (1) specific provisions of the Code, which allocate responsibilities for such unauthorized transfers, preempt all common law causes of action, and (2) because a bank is not necessarily responsible for all unauthorized funds transfers, Comerica was entitled to prompt notice that the customer intends to hold the bank responsible.
Court of Appeal affirms judgment under "law of the case" doctrine
March 19, 2007
Frankston v. Glenn (2007) 2007 Cal.App. Unpub. LEXIS 2200 (Second District [Los Angeles], Division 4.) [unpublished]. In a previous appeal, Irving Greines and Marc Poster obtained the reversal of a multi-million-dollar judgment and and order directing entry of judgment for the defendants. Frankston v. Glenn (2003) 2003 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 8951 (Second District [Los Angeles], Division 7).
After the trial court followed the Court of Appeal's direction and entered judgment in defendants' favor, the plaintiff moved for a new trial on grounds that he had newly-discovered evidence and that the Court of Appeal's decision was wrong and denied him due process of law. The trial court denied plaintiff's motion.
Plaintiff appealed. Irving and Marc again successfully represented the defendants, arguing that the judgment and order denying the plaintiff's new trial motion should be affirmed because plaintiff's contentions were barred by the doctrine of "law of the case" and because plaintiff's so-called newly-discovered evidence was in fact not new.