Best Law Firms Rankings

Payne & Fears LLP

7 Metro Rankings

Significant Matters

Payne & Fears LLP Wins Five-Year Battle on Behalf of Client Medway Plastics Corporation

Payne & Fears LLP won a five-year battle on behalf of client Medway Plastics Corporation, ending with the California Court of Appeal upholding dismissals by the arbitrator and trial court.Two former employees of Medway filed their complaint in 2013. We moved swiftly to compel arbitration, which the trial court denied. We appealed, and the Court of Appeal agreed with us and ordered arbitration. When Plaintiffs waited more than a year to file their complaint in arbitration, we moved to dismiss their claims as untimely. This argument was accepted by the arbitrator, who dismissed the case.  Plaintiffs then appealed, first to the trial court (who agreed with us and the arbitrator) and then to the Court of Appeal.In its 22-page decision, the Court of Appeal upheld the decisions of the arbitrator and the trial court to dismiss the case. Medway Plastics Corporation was defended by Phil Lem, who prepared the briefings and argued successfully before the arbitrator, the trial court and twice at the Court of Appeal.

Payne & Fears LLP Recovers Almost $1,000,000 in Insurance Proceeds for a Fortune 500 Homebuilder

Irvine office partner Scott S. Thomas and Las Vegas partner Sarah J. Odia recently recovered almost $1,000,000 in insurance proceeds for a Fortune 500 homebuilder. Several liability insurers that insured the homebuilder as an additional-insured under policies issued to the homebuilder’s subcontractors refused to defend the homebuilder in two multi-plaintiff construction defect actions in Clark County, Nevada. One of the insurers filed a motion to dismiss the homebuilder’s insurance recovery complaints, citing the “ongoing operations” language in its additional insured endorsements as a defense to coverage. The Court in both actions denied the insurer’s motion, holding that the insurer’s “ongoing operations” endorsement obligates the insurer to defend its additional insured so long as there is a potential for an award of damages for property damage “arising out of” the subcontractor’s operations. See Centex Homes v. Zurich American Ins. Co., 2017 WL 4349016 (D. Nev. Sept. 2017); Centex Homes v. Everest Nat’l Ins. Co., 2017 WL 4349017 (D. Nev. Sept. 2017). Payne & Fears recovered 100% of the homebuilder’s defense costs in the underlying action and 100% of Payne & Fears’ costs incurred pursuing the recovery actions.

Payne & Fears Secures Preliminary Injunction Against Former E*TRADE Employee

Payne & Fears obtained a victory in favor of client E*TRADE in an action brought against a former employee. In the case E*TRADE Financial Corporation v.  Eaton, 305 F. Supp. 3d 1029 (D. Ariz. 2018), the former employee testified that he contacted his former employer’s clients, by telephone, to announce his new position and provide his new contact information. The former employee claimed that he was required, by certain rules applicable to certified financial planners, to provide his new contact information to the clients he previously serviced. The former employee admitted, however, that if he was unable to speak with a client in “real-time,” he did not send that client an e-mail, letter, flyer, or some other written communication to provide his new contact information. The court found that by insisting on conveying his switching firms only in a live and real-time conversation and never following up to provide his new contact information to those former clients who did not assent to a telephone call, “[the former employee’s] primary purpose was to solicit their business to him and away from [his former employer].” This, the court held, constituted improper solicitation in violation of the agreement between the former employee and employer. Rod Sorensen and Rhianna Hughes defended the case on behalf of E*TRADE.  This case expanded the definition of client solicitation under Arizona law.  Now, not only is the content of the former employee’s communications relevant, but so is the manner in which the communication occurs.

Federal Court Grants Judgment in ERISA Case in Favor of Our Clients Before Trial Begins

In an employee benefits case brought in federal court under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) against our client, a national retailer, and its group health insurance plan for denial of an expensive surgery as not medically necessary, the court granted judgment in favor of our clients at the time of trial. The court ordered trial briefs from both parties in advance of trial, which plaintiff provided. Payne & Fears went a step further and in conjunction with our trial brief, moved for judgment on partial findings pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 52(c) based on an undisputed administrative record. Under Rule 52(c), a federal court has discretion to enter judgment when a party has been fully heard on an issue, but can decline to render judgment until the close of evidence. Having received our motion and plaintiff’s opposition, and having previously ruled in the plan’s favor that the abuse of discretion standard of review applied, the court took the matter under submission, took the trial date off calendar, and entered judgment in defendants’ favor. The court thus upheld the decision of the plan administrator to deny coverage for the surgery without conducting a trial. Eric C. Sohlgren defended the case on behalf of the plan and prepared the motion for judgment, with Andrew K. Haeffele assisting.

P&F Prevails on Summary Judgment in a Race Discrimination / Retaliation Case

Payne & Fears LLP was recently retained as trial counsel in a hotly contested race discrimination and retaliation case. At mediation, Plaintiff was demanding $6 million to settle and prior counsel had been unable to resolve the case. The trial team of Dan Fears, Jeff Brown, Ray Boggess and Sean O'Brien quickly transitioned into the case and assisted prior counsel in preparing a motion for summary judgment. Following oral argument by Dan Fears, the Court issued a 15-page decision granting total summary judgment as to all 10 claims and all defendants. Payne & Fears attorneys saved the client from having to go through an expensive and time-consuming trial that would have exposed the client to considerable risk of damages, including punitive damages.