Noteworthy Cases

Ninth Circuit Reversal in $10 Million Tax Case

Evan Borges won a Ninth Circuit appeal for former ad agency executive Thomas Rubin against the Internal Revenue Service.  Borges successfully argued that Rubin is entitled to pursue a $10 million tax refund because he had complied with a legal requirement to report inconsistencies between his personal tax return and his company’s tax return.  The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court’s dismissal of Rubin’s lawsuit against the IRS for denying him the tax refund. Rubin’s tax refund litigation, which the court allowed to proceed, arose out of changes in law related to a bankruptcy trustee’s treatment on the corporate return of a claimed $67 million of cancellation of indebtedness income.

$17 Million Settlement in Nationwide Real Estate Kickback Class Action

Evan Borges and Wayne Gross obtained a $17 million settlement on behalf of a class of consumers in a case against real estate services companies PHH Corporation and Realogy Holdings Corp. under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act.  The case alleged that the two companies had improperly paid kickbacks, referral fees, or other things of value in connection with the referral of title insurance and other settlement services.  After over a year of intensive litigation and discovery, the parties reached a settlement that was ultimately approved by the federal judge overseeing the case.

Plaintiff’s Verdict in Whistleblower Retaliation Case

Greenberg Gross LLP obtained a multi-million dollar jury verdict for the former Superintendent of Schools for the Montebello Unified School District (MUSD), in a whistleblower retaliation lawsuit against both MUSD and certain members of its board.  The board had terminated our client after she exposed fraudulent conduct by an executive of the school district.  Following a seven-day trial, the jury awarded our client $2.8 million in compensatory damages, as well as punitive damages; the verdict may also lead to a recovery of millions of dollars in attorneys’ fees.

Defense Verdict for Major Law Firm Client in RICO Case

Alan Greenberg, Wayne Grossand Claire-Lise Kutlay won a complete defense verdict for our client, an AmLaw 200 law firm, in a $150 million RICO and fraud case brought by the heirs to the Alta Dena Dairy fortune.  The plaintiffs claimed that a close family friend conspired with a former law firm partner to gain control of the heirs’ estate and siphon off millions of dollars in the guise of implementing a highly complex estate plan.  After a four-week trial, the judge dismissed a number of the claims and the jury rejected the rest, resulting in a complete victory after more than eight years of litigation.  The client’s CFO credited the Greenberg Gross team’s “superb work,” describing them as “strategic, tenacious, and in consummate command of the evidence and the law.”

Dismissal of False Advertising Class Action Against Lowe’s Home Centers

Evan Borges successfully defended Lowe’s Home Centers, LLC in a putative class action alleging false advertising, by prevailing on a demurrer and a motion to strike.  The ruling was the firm’s latest victory on behalf of Lowe’s and two other companies targeted by the same group of plaintiffs for years.  In prior decisions, the firm had persuaded both trial and appellate courts that the plaintiffs could not properly certify a class and that the obscure statute that the plaintiffs had invoked did not apply to the products at issue.

SpaceX Engineers Rely on Greenberg Gross in Trade Secret Dispute with Broadcom

SpaceX tapped Greenberg Gross to defend five engineers hired by the rocket company against claims asserted by their prior employer, Broadcom, that they misappropriated trade secrets related to chipsets for satellite communications.  On March 24, 2016, Greenberg Gross defeated Broadcom’s application for a temporary restraining order barring the engineers from working at SpaceX.

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$600 million RICO claim against major law firm dismissed on eve of trial

On behalf of a prominent, large law firm, Greenberg Gross obtained the dismissal of a complex lawsuit prior to commencement of trial, resulting in a complete victory for the law firm. Plaintiffs had alleged seventeen causes of action, including fraud, conspiracy, and violation of RICO, in a 500-page complaint seeking more than $600 million in damages. The action involved highly complex trust and estates issues, dozens of plaintiffs, dozens of defendants, and financial transactions and investments spanning a decade. Greenberg Gross’s motion directly resulted in a pre-trial dismissal of the entire action as to the law firm client as well as other defendants.

International engineering firm wins punitive damages on counterclaim in M&A litigation

Following a seven-week jury trial in which it represented the defendants, Greenberg Gross obtained a complete defense verdict and also obtained a multimillion-dollar verdict on a counterclaim against the plaintiffs, including an award of punitive damages and the right to recover attorneys’ fees. The plaintiffs claimed that the firm’s client, a subsidiary of a Switzerland-based global engineering firm, owed more than $3 million in connection with the client’s purchase of a business from the plaintiffs. The client, Cavotec Inet US Inc., not only prevailed on that claim, but also prevailed on a counterclaim for breach of fiduciary duty and punitive damages in the amount of $3.3 million, plus attorneys’ fees.

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AIG turns to Greenberg Gross to defend securities lawsuit by PIMCO

Greenberg Gross, along with Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, represents insurance and financial giant American International Group, Inc. against allegations by PIMCO, the Newport Beach-based global investment manager, that AIG made false and misleading public statements about AIG’s exposure to the subprime mortgage market between 2006 and 2008 in violation of federal securities laws.

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Global investment company obtains injunction against billion-dollar private equity fund

Greenberg Gross represents a London-based investment adviser that oversees billions of dollars in assets worldwide. The firm is prosecuting an investment fraud suit in New York against a billion-dollar private equity fund and its senior managers, alleging multiple breaches of fiduciary duty and tortious inducement of a $50 million investment commitment. In 2014, Greenberg Gross partner Evan Borges obtained a preliminary injunction that prohibits the fund from calling capital from the client.

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Chief Operating Officer obtains verdict on fraud claim arising out of $43 million sale of dialysis centers

Greenberg Gross obtained a multimillion-dollar jury verdict on behalf of the former chief operating officer of a chain of dialysis centers. Following a two-week trial, the jury found the defendant liable for fraud, breach of oral contract, and breach of written contract arising from the defendant’s failure to pay the COO a share of the $43 million sale of the centers.

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Bank executives sued by the FDIC obtain no liability settlement

Greenberg Gross obtained a no-liability settlement for the former CEO and chief credit officer of Pacific Coast National Bank in a lawsuit filed against them by the FDIC. The FDIC alleged that the executives breached their fiduciary duties by negligently approving various loans during the period from 2006 to 2008. After more than two years of hard-fought litigation, the FDIC agreed to dismiss the case with no payment by the firm’s clients and no finding of any negligence or wrongdoing whatsoever.

Lowe’s Home Improvement wins summary judgment in consumer class action

Greenberg Gross obtained summary judgment to end a putative class action alleging violation of a criminal statute by Lowe’s Home Improvement in the sale of portable heaters to consumers.

Automobile Club of Southern California defeats Fair Credit Reporting Act class action

Greenberg Gross obtained summary judgment on behalf of the Automobile Club of Southern California and the Automobile Association of America to end a putative nationwide class action filed by job applicants and employees who failed criminal background checks. The lead plaintiff alleged violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. In granting summary judgment, the court agreed with Greenberg Gross that the Auto Club and AAA did not violate the Act.

Former CEO of Automobile Club of Southern California obtains dismissal of fraud claim

Greenberg Gross obtained the dismissal of a fraud lawsuit filed against the former chief executive officer of the Automobile Club of Southern California. The plaintiff, an auto insurance policyholder, claimed material omissions in company correspondence. The court, in granting Greenberg Gross’s motion, not only dismissed the suit but also awarded attorneys’ fees and costs to the client.

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Leading digital marketing company vindicated by jury verdict

Following a nine-day jury trial, Greenberg Gross obtained a defense verdict for a leading digital marketing company in a lawsuit brought by the Costa Mesa Conference and Visitor Bureau alleging fraud and breach of contract.

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Defense verdict in securities fraud trial involving $30 million in life insurance

Following a court trial, Greenberg Gross obtained judgment for the defense in a multimillion-dollar lawsuit alleging securities fraud and insurance law violations involving “life settlements.”

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Malicious prosecution action dismissed and attorney fees awarded

On behalf of Highwinds Network Group, Inc., a content delivery network provider, Greenberg Gross filed a successful anti-SLAPP motion to strike a malicious prosecution complaint, obtained a dismissal, and recovered an award of attorneys’ fees and costs for Highwinds.

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Successful defense of elder abuse case involving $100 million estate

Greenberg Gross successfully defended the estranged spouse of a wealthy publisher against charges of elder abuse. The lawsuit raised cutting-edge trusts and estates issues.

U.S. Attorney’s Office declines to pursue CEO of Medical Capital Holdings

Greenberg Gross secured a declination from the U.S. Attorney’s Office on behalf of the CEO of Medical Capital Holdings. Federal authorities investigated Medical Capital and its executives for allegedly engaging in the largest Ponzi scheme in Orange County history involving alleged losses of close to $1 billion.

Read the Orange County Register Story

Corinthian Colleges taps Greenberg Gross for counsel

Greenberg Gross served as lead counsel to for-profit educator Corinthian Colleges in connection with inquiries by the U.S. Department of Education, the Department of Justice, and the attorneys general of several states. The firm also represented Corinthian in a civil action filed by the State of California.

Chapter 11 trustee of national debt relief services company looks to Greenberg Gross for counsel

Greenberg Gross represented the Chapter 11 trustee, John C. Hueston, in an investigation and related litigation involving Morgan Drexen Inc., a national debt relief and bankruptcy services company. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau sued Morgan Drexen in 2013, alleging that the company deceived 14,000 consumers into paying illegal upfront fees. Greenberg Gross, in conjunction with the trustee, conducted an expedited investigation and shut the company down, enabling the recovery of assets for creditors.

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Former C-Suite executive taps Greenberg Gross to defend against multi-million dollar lawsuit

Greenberg Gross represents the former chief information officer of an international sportswear company against accusations of receiving millions of dollars in purported kickbacks, among other claims. The case is set for arbitration in 2016.

Biotechnology executive obtains declination from the SEC in insider trading investigation

Greenberg Gross obtained a declination from the Securities and Exchange Commission on behalf of a biotechnology company official in connection with an insider trading investigation. As a result, the official was not named in an SEC enforcement action for insider trading against three other individuals related to a corporate acquisition by a Fortune 100 conglomerate.

Former top attorney brings high-stakes gender discrimination lawsuit against Broadcom

Greenberg Gross represents Broadcom’s first in-house employment lawyer in a multimillion-dollar lawsuit alleging that Broadcom illegally discriminated against her on the basis of gender and retaliated against her for reporting misconduct of a male executive. The lawsuit also accuses Broadcom of maintaining institutional barriers to the advancement of female employees.

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Investment advisor for professional athletes turns to Greenberg Gross to assist in SEC investigation

Greenberg Gross represents a prominent investment advisor in an SEC investigation involving allegations concerning investments made by high-profile professional athletes.

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