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Case Summaries - Business

The attorneys at Snyder Miller & Orton LLP have handled numerous complex business matters throughout California's state and federal courts. Below, please find summaries of some of our notable cases and see our business litigation page for more information about this area of our practice. To speak with us about your business's case, contact us to schedule a consultation.

Palm Desert National Bank ERISA Class Action

Peter Meringolo and Rebecca Kassekert recently filed a Class Action Complaint with the United States District Court for the Central District of California, Riverside Division on behalf of a group of participants in the Palm Desert Investments Employee Stock Ownership Plan and Trust. The Complaint alleges violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act ("ERISA"). In particular, the Complaint alleges that Palm Desert Investments, Palm Desert National Bank, the Trustee and the Administrator of the Plan breached their fiduciary duties in their failure to prudently and loyally manage the assets of the Plan by investing the assets in company stock when it was no longer a prudent investment for the Plan participant's retirement savings.

PDNB Final Order and Judgment for Settlement Approval

Hopkins v. Plant Insulation Co. (The Flintkote Case)

SMO is currently representing The Flintkote Company in a lawsuit seeking damages and declaratory relief against Imperial Tobacco Company of Canada. The lawsuit alleges that Imperial stripped Flintkote in a 1980s hostile takeover, engaged in fraudlent transfers in an effort to prevent asbestos creditors from reaching corporate assets, and that Imperial is liable to Flintkote asbestos victims as an alter ego. Trial phases are ongoing.

Heller Ehrman Fraudulent Conveyance Litigation

SMO is currently representing law firm clients against claims in adversary proceedings in the Heller Ehrman bankruptcy. The administrator liquidator of the Heller bankruptcy estate, under "Jewel v. Boxer" and fraudulent transfer law, is seeking to recover the value of the "unfinished business" that Heller clients moved to new law firms. This case is in the preliminary stages of litigation.

Met Life Conspiracy Litigation

SMO served as co-counsel in a five asbestos cases against Metropolitan Life. Plaintiffs alleged Metropolitan Life aided and abetted Johns-Manville Corporation in committing the intentional torts of battery and fraud on Johns-Manville factory employees, and that Metropolitan Life negligently discharged duties it undertook to Johns-Manville. These cases were settled after a bench trial.

City of Oakland/Ed DeSilva Lawsuit (Oakland Raiders)

Jim Miller represented Edwin O. DeSilva in litigation brought against Mr. DeSilva, the City of Oakland, the County of Alameda, and others, in connection with the relocation of the Raiders Football Team from Los Angeles to Oakland in 1995. The case resulted in a verdict and judgment in favor of Mr. DeSilva.

Homestore, Inc. Securities Cases

Jim Miller and Luther Orton defended Homestore, Inc., and, Inc., in these two securities lawsuits. First, Jim and Luther defeated Brody's attempt to force the trial court to remand Brody to state court by arguing successfully in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which resulted in Brody's petition being denied. Subsequently, Jim and Luther moved successfully to dismiss the Pyfrom case, and for summary judgment in Brody. They obtained dismissals with prejudice of both cases, producing final judgments in Homestore's favor.

LG Electronics Attorney Disqualification Case

Jim Miller and Luther Orton represented LG Electronics, Inc., in this lawsuit about an International Chamber of Commerce arbitration. The suit filed by LG Electronics was to prohibit a law firm from representing LG's adversary in the ICC arbitration, which addressed important licensing issues. On a time-critical basis, Jim, Luther, and co-counsel from Atlanta's Alston & Bird law firm sought and obtained a temporary restraining order and protective order, conducted expedited discovery, and briefed and argued in support of a preliminary injunction. The Court granted the application and issued the preliminary injunction, which became final when the law firm elected not to appeal.

Tri Valley Growers

Before Jim Miller's involvement, the Court had certified a class action asserting that the CEO of an agricultural co-op had defrauded farmers during an equity restructuring of the co-op. Entering the case on behalf of the CEO after years of litigation, Jim obtained a dramatic limitation on the scope of claims to be tried as class claims. Jim negotiated a resolution of the case for his client funded entirely with D&O insurance proceeds.

Consolidated IP Holdings vs. Vertical Communications & US Bank

In this case, SMO filed a complaint for its client, Consolidated IP Holdings, asking for monetary damages, specific performance of the contract, and declaratory relief. Our clients argued that the defendants were failing to perform their obligations under an Asset Purchase Agreement signed by the parties. This complex case was resolved through settlement.