Los Angeles — Medical device manufacturer OrthoTec, LLC significantly advanced its legal battle against New York-based private equity firm Healthpoint Capital, LLC and its principals John Foster and Mortimer Berkowitz. Last week, following a month-long trial in Los Angeles, OrthoTec obtained a fraud verdict against Surgiview, S.A.S., a Healthpoint portfolio company. OrthoTec’s theory of the case was that Foster, Berkowitz, and Healthpoint had orchestrated a fraudulent transfer of assets to Surgiview to prevent OrthoTec from collecting on a debt. The jury unanimously found for OrthoTec, awarding it $48 million, plus pre-judgment interest. OrthoTec estimates that, with interest, the award will total $75 million. OrthoTec CEO Patrick Bertranou commented that he is “a great believer in the jury system. The jurors really took our case to heart, and for that we are grateful.” Bertranou asserted that OrthoTec will now look to New York, where the same issues are slated to be tried later this year against Foster, Berkowitz, and Healthpoint. OrthoTec was represented at trial by Pete Ross and Ben Scheibe of the prominent business litigation boutique Browne George Ross LLP, with offices in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Surgiview was represented by Brad Brian of Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP.
The Daily Journal today named a $65 million win by Browne George Ross to its list of the Top 10 Verdicts of 2013. In the case, BGR represents Fantasy Springs Acquisition, LLC, the holder of a note issued by the Cabazon Band of Mission Indians, and Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., the trustee under an indenture related to the note. The Band ceased debt service on the note, claiming economic hardship, and its casino commenced monthly distributions of $668,000 directly to the Band rather than through Wells Fargo. Fantasy Springs Acquisition retained BGR to sue the Band for breach of contract and to obtain an injunction requiring the casino’s distributions to the Band to be made through Wells Fargo. The Band defended on the ground that a judgment would violate federal Indian law and that the note requires unenforceable liquidated damages. BGR obtained summary adjudication of its breach of contract claim – securing the right to a judgment for more than $65 million (including principal of over $62 million and prejudgment interest). Eric M. George and Ira Bibbero are the lead BGR attorneys on the case.
California Court of Appeal Ruling in Favor of Browne George Ross Clients Ensures They Have Their Day in Court
BGR represents minority shareholders of ImaginAsian Entertainment in a breach of fiduciary duty lawsuit against ImaginAsian’s majority shareholder, Korean entertainment giant CJ Corp. After the suit had been pending for six months, CJ asked the trial court to send the case to arbitration, citing an arbitration provision in the purchase agreement between the parties. The trial court denied CJ’s request, holding that CJ had waived the right to arbitration through its participation in litigation. On December 18, 2013, the Second District Court of Appeal published an opinion affirming the trial court’s ruling in favor of BGR’s clients. The appellate court confirmed that a judge, not an arbitrator, should decide whether a party has waived its right to arbitration through litigation conduct. The court went on to affirm the finding of waiver against CJ. A Daily Journal article profiling the decision quotes BGR lead counsel Eric M. George as saying “You can’t spend six months litigating in court and then turn around and say this should have been arbitrated.” Assisting George in both the trial court and on appeal were BGR attorneys Benjamin D. Scheibe and Lauren Woodland.
An article in the December 2013 edition of Vanity Fair magazine references Browne George Ross partner Eric George. The article, entitled “Relationship Status: Call My Lawyer”, describes the ongoing ordeal of TechCrunch founder and BGR client Michael Arrington in confronting widely disseminated defamatory online posts of a former girlfriend. George’s efforts on behalf of Arrington, including the filing of a pending federal court defamation suit, are described in detail in the article.
San Diego Federal Court Jury Awards $1 Million Verdict in Favor of Browne George Ross Client Brighton Collectibles
Following a four-day trial, a federal court jury found in favor of BGR client Brighton Collectibles on its claim that defendant AIF Corporation d/b/a Time World and Global Time sold knockoff watches that infringed upon Brighton’s copyrighted designs. During the trial, AIF denied infringement and claimed that it had sold only about $25,000 of the accused watches. BGR lead trial counsel Peter W. Ross, however, argued to the jury that AIF had failed to produce adequate, reliable evidence of its infringing sales. The jury agreed, awarding Brighton $1 million. This verdict is the latest in a series of trial victories by Ross and BGR partner Keith Wesley in their continuing efforts to protect Brighton against knockoffs. Prior wins include a $10.8 million verdict against Marc Chantal and an $8 million verdict against Coldwater Creek.
Browne George Ross LLP filed a complaint today in Los Angeles Superior Court on behalf of world renown entertainers Kim Kardashian and Kanye West. The suit stems from the online posting of an unauthorized video of West’s recent marriage proposal to Kardashian. According to the suit, the defendant, YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley, “finagled entry into an exclusive event to which he had not been invited, and which involved two people (Kardashian and West) whom Hurley had never before met.” The suit goes on to allege that Hurley agreed that he would not publish any aspect of the event, yet he immediately breached his promise by posting a video of the event on his new business’s website. The suit has been covered by, among others, CNN, TMZ, US Weekly, Rolling Stone, and The Hollywood Reporter. BGR attorneys Eric M. George, Russell F. Wolpert, and Ira Bibbero represent Kardashian and West.
Browne George Ross LLP Opens San Francisco Office — Business litigation firm adds three attorneys to open new office
SAN FRANCISCO – Business litigation firm Browne George Ross LLP has opened its San Francisco office. Former U.S. Attorney for the District of Northern California, Joe Russoniello, will launch the office, along with attorneys Andrew August and Kevin Rooney. Collectively, they bring more than 75 years of business trial experience to Browne George Ross.
“Throughout the Firm’s almost 30-year history, we have litigated and tried many cases in San Francisco and throughout Northern California,” said Managing Partner Eric George. “With the opening of this office and with the depth of experience Joe, Andrew and Kevin bring, we look forward to strengthening our commitment to San Francisco and its legal community.”
A veteran litigator, Mr. Russoniello previously served as senior counsel to Cooley Godward Kronish. Prior to joining Browne George Ross, Mr. August was co-founder and co-managing partner of Pinnacle Law Group focusing on complex business and real estate litigation, including trials and appeals. Mr. Rooney was also with Pinnacle Law Group specializing in commercial and business litigation. Browne George Ross LLP regularly represents clients from Fortune 500 businesses to entrepreneurs, professionals and individuals involved in entertainment, technology, media, real estate, financial services and consumer matters throughout the country. The Firm’s practice involves business disputes of all types relating to commercial transactions, intellectual property, unfair competition, entertainment, class actions, defamation, false advertising, First Amendment rights, employment, insurance, professional liability, federal Indian gaming law, art law and real estate.
United Medical Devices is the exclusive worldwide licensee for the Playboy trademark on condoms. A disgruntled ex-distributor, Playsafe, LLC, sued United Medical for breach of contract and fraud and sought $10.5 million in damages. United Medical retained Browne George Ross to defend it and to bring a counterclaim against Playsafe. Following a two-week trial, a Santa Monica jury found 12 to 0 against Playsafe on all its claims and awarded United Medical the full $700,000 sought on its claim. United Medical will also seek its attorney’s fees, which should push the judgment to over $1 million. United Medical was represented at trial by BGR partner Peter W. Ross
CLICK HERE FOR FULL ARTICLE: Los Angeles litigation firm Browne George Ross LLP will open a new office in San Francisco July 1 featuring former U.S. attorney Joseph P. Russoniello, along with Andrew A. August and Kevin F. Rooney of the soon-to-be-dissolved Pinnacle Law Group LLP in San Francisco
CLICK HERE FOR FULL ARTICLE: Los Angeles litigation boutique Browne George Ross is opening a San Francisco office with former U.S. Attorney Joseph Russoniello as its marquee name. Business litigators Andrew August and Kevin Rooney of San Francisco’s Pinnacle Law Group will also be joining the firm.