Significant Matters

RARE CRIMINAL MATTER

For the first time in over 20 years, Klein & Wilson found itself defending a rare criminal matter.  The case arose from false accusations against a long time client who insisted Klein & Wilson take the lead on the case rather than criminal counsel.  The case was closely related to a pending insurance dispute between the client and its workers compensation carrier.  To put more leverage on the client to resolve the case, the insurance carrier turned the matter over to the district attorney.  Klein & Wilson made repeated visits to the district attorney to convince him not to press charges but the district attorney’s office felt compelled to press charges for “political” reasons.  Against the initial instincts of criminal counsel, Klein & Wilson decided to present an aggressive defense at the preliminary hearing to exonerate the clients rather than wait for trial which is the typical approach most criminal attorneys take.  After filing a detailed preliminary hearing brief and motion to dismiss, the district attorney saw the writing on the wall and voluntarily dismissed the criminal case.  While the firm has had some big cases, this result was the most satisfying result it ever had because of the high stakes of the claim.

STOCK DISPUTE

            Klein & Wilson represented a client who invested $250,000 in a start-up operation.  This start-up company had made serious misrepresentations about its financial situation to get the client to invest.  After a brief discovery battle, the firm convinced opposing counsel to refund the investment. 

COMMERCIAL LEASE DISPUTE

            Klein & Wilson represented a long time client that had acquired a large agricultural company.  It was poorly represented by transactional counsel in the acquisition and the client found itself facing a number of lawsuit arising from successor liability claims.  One of the claims arose out of a lease of premises by the seller of the assets, which the client inherited.  The landlord of the premises claimed over a half million dollars of damages.  Klein & Wilson was able to turn lemons into lemonade by convincing opposing counsel to create a new lease which would be a win-win for both parties.   

DEFENSE OF UNLICENSED CONTRACTOR

            Klein & Wilson represented a client which found itself in trouble for providing construction services for which it was not licensed.  Regrettably, there was no substantive defense to the case.  Nevertheless, Klein & Wilson initiated a strong procedural attack on the case and moved for summary adjudication of the unlicensed contractor claim based on the statute of limitation.  That motion was granted.  Once the motion for summary adjudication was granted, Klein & Wilson aggressively attacked the remaining breach of contract claim which had no basis other than the fact the client was unlicensed at the time services were provided.  At trial, the court found merit to the firm’s motion in limine which would have greatly restricted damages.  After seeing the writing on the wall at the end of the court day, the case settled for less than what it would have cost to take the case to verdict.

KLEIN & WILSON PROTECTS CLIENT’S TRADE SECRETS

Few trade secrets cases go to trial.  For those cases that do go to trial, it is usually an uphill battle for the party trying to prove trade secret theft.  Klein & Wilson represented a printing and mailing house in a niche industry.  The client’s employee left the company to join a competitor.  Upon leaving, the employee stole the client’s trade secrets.  

When the former employee joined her new employer, she used the client’s trade secrets to convince her former customers to join her new employer and had at least one successful client acquisition.  Klein & Wilson prevailed at trial.  The trial court found the employee’s theft of trade secrets was willful and malicious and awarded punitive damages.  While the damages at issue were comparatively small because the client had filed a lawsuit promptly, the court issued an injunction and awarded the client its attorneys’ fees.  

The moral of this story is companies must react quickly and have competent legal advice whether they are victims of trade secret violations or the target of a trade secrets lawsuit.  Klein & Wilson has the expertise to advise clients to make the proper legal decisions when confronted by these issues and try a trade secrets case to verdict when trial becomes the only option. 

KLEIN & WILSON SETTLES AN EMPLOYMENT DISPUTE 

Klein & Wilson is routinely being asked to represent highly compensated employees in their employment disputes with former employers.  In one case, a client hired the firm to pursue a breach of employment agreement claim.  After the firm was retained, the firm presented the client’s position to the former employer and negotiated a $2.8 million settlement, before taking a single deposition. 

KLEIN & WILSON PROTECTS CLIENT 
    FROM DISGRUNTLED PARTNER


One of the firm’s areas of expertise is partnership disputes involving general partnerships, limited partnerships, limited liability companies, and other business entities.  Klein & Wilson defended a company owned by a billionaire family involving a real estate syndicate in San Diego County.

The plaintiff claimed Klein & Wilson’s clients breached various contractual obligations and fiduciary duties, effectively making the plaintiff’s partnership interest worthless.  Plaintiff hoped to take advantage of the “wealth card” to convince the trier of fact that it was unfair to cheat the plaintiff out of millions of dollars promised to him for years of hard work.  Klein & Wilson presented evidence showing the plaintiff was a double dealing individual who had preyed on several former partners.  Klein & Wilson proved plaintiff was a sophisticated real estate professional who enticed Klein & Wilson’s client into investing with him.

The firm showed that if anyone breached a fiduciary duty on the contractual provision, it was plaintiff himself.  After almost three weeks of testimony, Klein & Wilson moved for judgment at the close of plaintiff’s case and won, without having to put on any evidence.  The court dismissed plaintiff’s $5 million claim and entered judgment in favor of Klein & Wilson’s client.  

KLEIN & WILSON PROTECTS CLIENT 
     FROM PREDATORY VENDOR


Klein & Wilson represented a golf club against a uniform and linen service in a binding arbitration.  These services are notorious for compelling their customers to sign onerous contracts with hidden terms and then collecting unfair liquidated damages if the customer breaches.  Klein & Wilson prevailed at arbitration in a case where the linen service claimed damages and attorneys’ fees.  The firm convinced the arbitrator the contract was unconscionable, unenforceable, and the vendor forged a critical piece of evidence.

BUSINESS FRAUD

Klein & Wilson represented a client defrauded by a family member.  After Klein & Wilson won key motions to compel and uncovered a scheme to secretly discharge the debt in bankruptcy proceedings, the defendants agreed to pay the client over $1 million.

SUCCESSOR LIABILITY

Klein & Wilson represented a client who purchased almost all of the assets of one of the largest agricultural growers in the United States.  Soon after, the client faced multiple lawsuits for successor liability, including one claim for $25 million arising from the selling corporation’s failure to pay wages.  Klein & Wilson was able to get one of the cases dismissed altogether and resolved the other cases for pennies on the dollar.  But for these favorable results, the client would not have survived.