Freeman, Freeman & Smiley LLP
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Service Details

Litigation and Alternative Dispute Resolution

The Litigation Department represents a diverse clientele over a wide range of industries. Our clients range from Fortune 500, national, and international companies to local small businesses, partnerships, joint ventures, real estate investment and other trusts, and individuals. We represent those clients in all aspects of litigation and dispute resolution in trial and appellate courts throughout the country at the state and federal level, as well as arbitral forums such as JAMS, AAA, FINRA and the SEC. That representation spans a broad cross-section of litigation matters, including: Business, Real Estate, Construction, Insurance Coverage Disputes, Tax, Employment, Financial Services, Securities and Regulatory Law; and Intellectual Property, Entertainment and New Media, including Copyright, Trademark, and Patent Litigation Matters.

We have long maintained a cost-effective, results-oriented philosophy. We provide efficient and pragmatic representation focusing on attention to detail, personal service and, most importantly, identifying our clients’ objectives and directing our efforts to achieving them on a cost-effective basis. That accountability based approach – which demands the ongoing re-evaluation of the client’s best interests in every case and at each level of litigation – has served us well over the years. Simply put, our principal barometer of success is the satisfaction of achieving our clients’ litigation goals in a cost-effective manner.

Specific examples of the matters we routinely handle include:

  • Antitrust
  • Banking law and lender liability actions, including large collection actions, involving writs of attachment, injunctions, restraining orders and other provisional remedies
  • Breach of contract disputes
  • Business torts
  • Defamation and trade disparagement
  • Entertainment industry disputes, including producer/talent disputes and licensing disputes
  • Insurance coverage and bad faith litigation
  • Intellectual property disputes, including claims of patent, trademark, trade dress, and copyright infringement
  • Employment disputes, including wage and hour, discrimination, retaliation, harassment, wrongful termination, as well as the defense and prosecution of employment disputes arising in the securities industry and the representation of securities professionals in proceedings initiated by regulatory enforcement agencies.
  • Real estate litigation, including landlord-tenant disputes, breach of real estate agreements, title dispute matters, foreclosure, and quiet title, among others
  • Securities controversies
  • Tax controversies, including income tax claims and property tax assessment appeals
  • Trade secret litigation
  • Unfair competition and false advertising
  • Unfair trade practices

Representative Clients and Matters

  • Won summary judgment and successfully represented Fortune 500 client in meal and rest break class action litigated before the California Supreme Court.
  • Represented casino in defeating certification of class action involving thousands of class members. Developed unique defense strategy that was later adopted by other casinos.
  • Successfully defended national retail store operator in wage and hour class action litigation.
  • Represented national law firm in obtaining summary judgment on significant employment discrimination claims.
  • Successfully defended Fortune 500 client in $30+ million software patent infringement claim.
  • Represented nationally known franchisor in defeating action brought by a majority of the franchisees in a "bet-the-company" case seeking dissolution of the franchise agreements.
  • Created and coordinated the implementation of numerous reductions in force and plant closings for national companies.
  • Obtained highly favorable settlement for a nationally known retailor following the destruction of its corporate headquarters due to construction defects.
  • Obtained restitution in NASD securities fraud action on behalf of internationally renowned actors.
  • Successfully represented marina operator in development dispute and environmental contamination action involving the Sacramento Delta.
  • Obtained $10+ million judgment on behalf of a bank in connection with loan dispute.
  • Lead counsel in multiple complex coverage/bad faith cases for U.S., London, European and Asian insurance markets.
  • Defended multiple wrongful death and personal injury claims arising from casualties during construction and transportation accidents.
  • Obtaining a favorable arbitration award that adopted a valuation of shares required to be repurchased by our client under shareholder’s agreement that was millions less than the price sought by the opposing party, which was affirmed by the trial court.
  • Successful defense of over $40 million in claims for breach of an alleged partnership agreement, fraud and breach of fiduciary duty against a large Southern California homebuilder in a multi-state litigation, including a six week jury trial, two state court appeals, a Ninth Circuit appeal, an Idaho state court action and appeal to the Idaho Supreme Court.
  • Representation of minority shareholders in home healthcare franchising companies in various state court litigation involving breach of fiduciary duty, breach of a shareholders’ agreement, fraud and other tort claims, including successfully prosecuting charges for violation of court orders freezing millions of corporate funds, resulting in a civil contempt judgment that included a jail sentence.
  • Following a 10-day JAMS arbitration, defeated a $32,000,000 claim brought against a client, secured a monetary award of nearly $800,000, and confirmed the client's ownership interest in an entity (which interest the opposing parties valued at $3,000,000, and sought to strip from the client in the arbitration). The award was subsequently confirmed in full by the Superior Court.
  • Successfully represented financial advisors in claims involving major Wall Street securities firms and obtained millions of dollars in compensatory and, in some cases, large punitive damage awards on behalf of the clients.
  • Successfully defended a highly publicized FINRA enforcement proceeding prosecuted against our financial advisor client, arising out of unfounded claims brought on behalf of a number of very high profile professional athletes against the client. 
  • Tried and defeated claims of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty and declaratory relief brought by plaintiffs who sought to both obtain control of the clients' intellectual property rights and secure a large monetary award.
  • Obtained recovery of over $450,000 plus all attorneys' fees incurred on behalf of a real estate investment firm that was defrauded during the purchase of a commercial property.
  • Obtained recovery of over $1,000,000 on behalf of an ice cream manufacturer in a breach of contract action arising from a dispute involving a distribution agreement.
  • Defeated the most critical prong of a class certification motion which sought to certify a large group of salespersons in an action brought against a national furniture company.
  • Secured a judgment of dismissal following a motion for terminating sanctions in a fraud action brought against a real estate agent and broker.
  • Successful representation of a wine distributor in a series of lawsuits initiated in San Francisco and Napa that asserted claims of breach of contract, violation of the Lanham Act, unfair competition and fraud.
  • Obtained summary judgment in favor of a savings and loan in an action brought by former borrowers who asserted a series of lender liability and fraud claims.
  • Successful representation of a private equity group, which, after acquiring a champagne house in France, was sued in California for breach of an alleged nationwide exclusive distribution agreement.
  • The defense of employment claims for harassment and discrimination brought by various employees against the firm's employer clients in Southern California.
  • Handled major trademark related dispute concerning rights to a mark in the direct marketing industry. The dispute specifically involved competing applications for the same mark to the USPTO and, by extension, questions regarding the priority of use of the mark in connection with pre-sale activities by the user of a mark. The case was ultimately settled on very favorable terms for the client.
  • Defended complex copyright infringement dispute involving previously un-decided issues concerning the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and the extent to which a foreign-based copyright owner must establish appropriate chain of title, and whether, and under what circumstances, the foreign owner is entitled to the presumption of validity of its copyright.

Presentations & Publications