Deborah S. Mallgrave


Deborah Mallgrave, chair of the firm’s Sexual Abuse and Human Trafficking Litigation practice, concentrates her practice on complex litigation matters and advocating for survivors of sexual abuse and assault.  Her extensive litigation experience includes a multitude of different business transactions, fraud schemes, unfair competition scenarios, real estate issues, intellectual property disputes, and trust litigation.  Ms. Mallgrave has also worked for years with individuals injured from sexual abuse and trafficking situations.  Ms. Mallgrave appears in courts throughout the nation, as well as arbitration proceedings, and has extensive e-discovery experience, having managed the collection and review of complex discovery databases, and preparation of efficient and time-saving review protocols.

Ms. Mallgrave is lead counsel in a high-profile human trafficking and civil RICO case against the global religious institution La Luz Del Mundo for sexual assault, forced labor, and other criminal acts.  The case has garnered national and international public attention. Ms. Mallgrave also represents other survivors of sexual assault in claims against individuals and institutions, including religious institutions and public school districts.

Representative Matters

  • Lead counsel for human trafficking and sexual assault survivor in litigation against the global religious institution La Luz Del Mundo for civil RICO and other criminal acts.
  • Lead counsel for multiple survivors of sexual assault against various individuals and entities, including schools and religious institutions.
  • Co-Counsel in lawsuit against City and County of San Francisco to end dangerous and illegal conditions in the Tenderloin Neighborhood and provide safe shelter to unhoused people
  • Defended educational institution in trademark infringement lawsuit where alleged damages were estimated to exceed $60 million. Obtained a favorable settlement after successfully defending a four day preliminary injunction evidentiary hearing.
  • Defended national retailers and merchandising company in multiple trademark infringement suits involving production and sale of merchandise using language similar to that in viral internet video, negotiating settlement for a fraction of claims.
  • Defended industry leader in baby products against multiple patent infringement lawsuits, obtaining favorable settlements and, in one case, prevailing on summary judgment and successfully invalidating the patent at issue.
  • Represented global leader in design and manufacture of heart valves in multiple patent infringement litigations, including mock trial and jury research projects.
  • Represented solar panel manufacturer in multiple patent infringement lawsuits against competing company, negotiating settlement agreement involving confidential business provisions.
  • Trial counsel for water park attraction company in action to compel former employee to assign patents and to correct inventorship, resulting in favorable decision following trial.
  • Trial counsel for defendants in two and half month jury trial involving claims for breach of contract and fraud arising out of purchase of semiconductor products from one of world’s largest semiconductor manufacturers. Defendants cross-claimed for damages, and jury found for defendants and rendered a seven-figure verdict in defendants’ favor.
  • Trial counsel for defendants in two month jury retrial following reversal on appeal involving breach of contract and fraud lawsuit to enforce real estate partnership, successfully reducing damage award from 80% of claimed partnership property to 15%.
  • Successfully defended individual owners and employees of import company in two week jury trial against fraud claims.
  • Prosecution of contract and fraud claims to enforce contract to design power supply for video displays against one of world’s largest television manufacturers, obtaining awards for discovery sanctions and ultimately settling on favorable terms.
  • Defended class actions brought against international clothing manufacturer for violation of consumer trade practices and unfair competition laws in multiple states, including development and implementation of refund program involving millions of consumers and millions of dollars.
  • Defended school district consultant and retirement plan administrator in class action by public school employees claiming defects in supplemental retirement plan, negotiating class-wide settlement on favorable basis.
  • Defended leading motor vehicle manufacturer in dispute arising from dealer termination, obtained stipulated dismissal with prejudice with no recovery by plaintiff.
  • Represented defendant in litigation to obtain support and property based on parties’ 19-year cohabitation, obtaining a favorable settlement.
  • Representation of defendants in shareholder dispute, successfully vacating prejudicial arbitration award ousting clients from control of company and disqualifying arbitrator in multi-jurisdictional dispute.
  • Defense of breach of contract, fraud, and breach of fiduciary claims brought against national title company in connection with fraudulent loan scheme by loan originators, settling on favorable terms.
  • Represented defendant in arbitration involving purchase of real property, resulting in negotiation and execution of settlement requiring immediate sale and transfer of property within 24 hours.
  • Trial counsel for shareholder in bench trial over shareholder dispute, involving breach of fiduciary claims, usurping of corporate opportunities, and dissolution.
  • Successfully defended corporate trustee against breach of trust, fiduciary, and elder abuse claims relating to trust administration and alleged modification of trust, settled with no recovery against trustee, and affirmatively recovered attorneys’ fees and additional compensation for trustee.
  • Prosecution of trust litigation against trustee for breach of fiduciary duty and conflicts of interest involving trust with assets worth approximately $60 million.
  • Lead litigator assisting client with trust administration and workout of claims against trust, including emergency loan financing for business owned by trust.
  • Represented successor co-trustee to trust in trust litigation and elder abuse litigation involving issues of incapacity and undue influence of trustor.

Awards & Recognition

  • Best Lawyer, Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs (2022)
  • Top Women Lawyers, Daily Journal (2020 – 2022)
  • California Trialblazer, The Recorder (2020)
  • Wiley W. Manuel Certificate for Pro Bono Legal Service, State Bar of California (2006, 2009-2015)
  • Attorney of the Year, Public Law Center (2009)

Professional & Community Activities

  • Public Law Center
    • Board of Directors (2013-2015, 2022)
    • Executive Board of Directors (2016 – 2021)
      • President (2020)
      • Vice President (2019)
      • Secretary/Treasurer (2018)
  • Federal Bar Association, OC Chapter, Board of Directors (2013-2019)
  • State Bar of California
    • Litigation Section
    • Business Law Section
    • Intellectual Property Law Section
  • Orange County Bar Association
  • Association of Business Trial Lawyers
  • The National Crime Victim Bar Association
Publications & Lectures
  • The Hidden Benefits of Pro Bono
    Author, ABA Woman Advocate Newsletter, Vol. 19, No. 1 | Fall 2013
  • Addressing Conflicts of Interest as In-House Counsel
    Speaker, Snell & Wilmer and Thomson Reuters Harbor Cruise, Newport Beach, CA | October 10, 2013
  • Hidden Pitfalls in Commonly Negotiated Provisions in Key Business Documents
    Co-Presenter, Association of Corporate Counsel (Southern California Chapter), Long Beach, CA | June 15, 2016
  • Pitfalls for Family Trustees
    Orange County Business Journal | May 2019
In the News
  • Attorney Journals Magazine Details the Rise of Greenberg Gross LLP in Feature Story
    Orange County Attorney Journal | December 2022 | Read Article
  • Five Greenberg Gross Lawyers Honored by The Best Lawyers in America 2023
    August 2022 | Read Article
  • Partners Sarah Kelly-Kilgore and Deborah Mallgrave Named Two of the Daily Journal’s Top Women Lawyers 2022
    News | May 2022 | Read Article
  • Mission Viejo High School (MVHS) Childhood Sexual Assault Lawsuit Filed
    March 2022 | Read Article
  • Daily Journal Again Names Greenberg Gross One of California’s Top Boutique Law Firms
    News | October 2021 | Read Article
  • Five Greenberg Gross Lawyers Honored by The Best Lawyers in America 2022, including Evan Borges as “Lawyer of the Year”
    News | August 2021 | Read Article
  • Deborah Mallgrave named one of Daily Journal’s 2021 Top Women Lawyers
    News | May 2021 | Read Article
  • Deborah Mallgrave named one of Daily Journal’s 2020 Top Women Lawyers
    News | November 2020 | Read Article
  • Partners Alan Greenberg and Deborah Mallgrave named 2020 California Trailblazers by The Recorder
    News | October 2020 | Read Article
  • Great-Granddaughter of Gucci Founder Files Child Sexual Assault Lawsuit Against Stepfather, Mother and Grandmother
    Press Release | September 2020 | Read Article
  • San Francisco and UC Hastings Announce Settlement Agreement Regarding Tenderloin in Lawsuit Filed by Greenberg Gross LLP
    Press Release | June 2020 | Read Article
  • Greenberg Gross Files Lawsuit to End Public Health Nightmare in San Francisco’s Tenderloin
    News | May 2020 | Read Article
  • Greenberg Gross Files Federal Human Trafficking and RICO Lawsuit Against Global Religious Institution La Luz Del Mundo
    News | February 2020 | Read Article
  • Greenberg Gross Announces New Partner Deborah Mallgrave
    Press Release | June 2019 | Read Article
Media & Broadcast Appearances
  • Deborah Mallgrave on Brian Ross Investigates Discussing Landmark Federal Human Trafficking and RICO Lawsuit Against La Luz del Mundo

    View Video
  • Deborah Mallgrave – Greenberg Gross Files Federal Human Trafficking and RICO Lawsuit Against La Luz Del Mundo

    View Video
  • Child Sexual Assault Lawsuit Brought Against Fullerton Joint Union High School District Under Child Victims Act

    View Video