Ginsberg v. Gamson (2012) 205 Cal.App.4th 873 (California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, Division Eight) [published] — Court of Appeal reverses and directs entry of judgment for GMSR’s client in lease dispute, holding that lease was not perpetual
Greenspan v. LADT, LLC (2010) 185 Cal.App.4th 1413 (Greenspan I) (California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, Division One) [published] — In an arbitration arising out of a real estate contract, GMSR’s client won an $8 million award. The defendants sought to vacate it on grounds that the award decided an unsubmitted issue, that the award was not rationally related to the parties’ contract, that the award was untimely, and that the arbitrator should have recused himself for potential bias. The Court of Appeal rejected all of these arguments. It emphasized the arbitrator’s power under the JAMS rules governing the arbitration to interpret the parties’ underlying contract, their arbitration agreement and the arbitration rules they agreed to follow. On the recusal question, it found that the basis of the bias claim—a lawsuit the defendants had filed against the arbitrator because of his conduct in another arbitration—simply represented judge-shopping and could not support recusal. The opinion is noteworthy for its extensive collection and detailed discussion of non-California authorities relevant to these points.
Jasmine Networks, Inc v. Superior Court (2009) 180 Cal.App.4th 980 (California Court of Appeal, Sixth Appellate District) [published] — The trial court dismissed a trade secrets misappropriation suit on the eve of trial, concluding that the plaintiff lost standing to pursue its claims when it sold what was left of the trade secrets to a third party but expressly retained its interest in the litigation. GMSR petitioned for a writ of mandate on behalf of the plaintiff. The petition argued that neither the California Uniform Trade Secrets Act nor any other authority requires a plaintiff to maintain ownership of its misappropriated trade secrets in order to recover for damages already incurred. The Court of Appeal agreed in a published opinion, holding that there is no “current ownership” requirement and ordering the trial court to reinstate the plaintiff’s suit.
Siebel v. Mittlesteadt (2007) 41 Cal.4th 735 (California Supreme Court)
An employee of Siebel Systs sued the head of the company, GMSR's client Tom Siebel, for sexual discrimination and wrongful termination. Through motions and a jury trial, he prevailed on every claim. While the plaintiff's appeal from the resulting judgment was pending, Siebel agreed to settle with her. Under the settlement agreement, the plaintiff paid the entirety of the cost judgment Siebel had recovered and dismissed her appeal, and she and Siebel exchanged mutual releases. However, the release did not extend to the plaintiff's lawyers; Siebel expressly reserved his right to sue them for malicious prosecution. This appeal arose from Siebel's malicious prosecution action against the lawyers. It raised a novel question concerning one of the requirements of a malicious prosecution suit: The malicious prosecution plaintiff must have obtained a "favorable termination" of the underlying case. In most cases, a settlement of the underlying case before judgment precludes a finding of favorable termination. However, there is virtually no law on whether or how that rule applies when the malicious prosecution plaintiff actually won the underlying case before settling. The Supreme Court addressed that question here, holding that "a post-judgment settlement constitutes a favorable termination when the malicious prosecution plaintiff received a favorable judgment in the underlying action, and settled without giving up any portion of the judgment in his favor."
Sargent Fletcher, Inc. v. Able Corp. (2003) 110 Cal.App.4th 1658 (California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, Division Four) [published] — The Court of Appeal affirmed a defense judgment for a client accused of stealing trade secrets, who alleged independent development of the disputed product. In a first-impression decision, the Court held that a defendant's allegation of reverse engineering does not cause the burden of proof to shift; rather, the plaintiff must prove lack of independent development.