Recent Wins

Court of Appeal affirms trial court’s denial of petition to compel arbitration in multimillion dollar attorney fee case

City of Santa Monica v. Baron & Budd, et al., (2007) 2007 Cal.App. Unpub. LEXIS 5185 (California Court of Appeal, Second District, Division 1) [unpublished]. GMSR’s clients, a group of lawyers, represented the City of Santa Monica in a toxic contamination claim. After the lawyers achieved what the City called a “landmark” settlement with the oil company defendants, the City refused to pay their contingent fee and instead sued them. After litigating the fee claim for 17 months, the City sought to compel arbitration on the basis of facts that pre-dated the the lawsuit. The trial court denied the City’s motion. The Court of Appeal affirmed, accepting GMSR’s arguments that the City had waived whatever right it might have had to arbitrate.”, “2007-06-26”, “publish”, “1”,
“Court of Appeal reverses jury verdict against GMSR client in scope-of-employment case”, “En route to inspect a facility for her employer, an employee saw some children she knew playing paintball. She spoke to them, asked to see one of their guns, decided to play a prank on another child, and ended up shooting that child in the eye. The child sued the employer for vicarious liability, claiming that the employee was acting within the scope of her employment at the time she shot the child. The jury agreed, but the Court of Appeal reversed, holding that the employee acted outside the scope of her duties as a matter of law. “, “2007-06-25”, “publish”, “1”,
“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”, “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.