Victory for Santa Monica Business Owner in Partnership Dispute.
We were retained by a 50% partner of a retail business generating seven figures in annual revenue. Our client was concerned that his partners were intentionally harming his business and diverting sales to competing operations they commenced without him. When our client consulted with us, he was understandably in an emotionally charged state. His financial well-being was at risk; he was concerned his business would be ruined and he would not be able to provide for his family. He was angry because his long-time partners were trying to steal his business.
Thanks to our in-depth knowledge of business law, we were able to ask the right questions to immediately identify that his partners were illegally stealing corporate opportunities, misappropriating company funds and trade secrets for their personal benefit, and deceiving our client about their intentions. This was clearly an urgent matter because any delay in resolving the matter could irreparably harm his retail business operations, and our client was not in a position to endure a lengthy and expensive lawsuit.
We thoroughly explained the legal issues to our client and probed our client to learn what he viewed as his best possible outcome. With our client’s objective in mind, we focused on developing a strategy that would result in a low-cost and fast result. We then took immediate action. Just one month later, our strategy worked. Our client’s partners decided it was in their best interests to walk away from the business, leaving our client with 100% ownership and control of the business. We achieved this result without ever filing a lawsuit.
Interim Victory for HOA Owners in Shareholder Derivative Action.
We were retained to represent an owner and resident of Ocean Towers Housing Corporation (the “HOA”) located at 201 Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica, California 90401 to commence a shareholder derivative lawsuit against the HOA’s board of directors and third parties in relation to a scheme to misappropriate HOA funds for directors’ personal benefit. The defendants sought to dismiss the action under Corporations Code § 800 on grounds of standing. We successfully opposed the defendants’ demurrer. The defendants then re-filed the same demurrer before a newly assigned judge. We successfully obtained an order striking that demurrer as being in contravention of the laws of the State of California.
Interim Victory for Tenant in Retaliatory Eviction Lawsuit.
After we filed a shareholder derivative lawsuit against the HOA’s directors, the directors retaliated against our client by way of wrongful eviction. Specifically, the directors purported to vote to terminate our client’s ownership interest and kick him out of the HOA. We filed a timely retaliatory eviction lawsuit and immediately sought to enjoin the directors’ from evicting him. We successfully obtained a preliminary injunction on behalf of our client.
Victory for Client in Obtaining Injunction Against the HOA Directors in Shareholder Derivative Lawsuit.
We successfully obtained an order enjoining the HOA’s board of directors from violating California law and the HOA’s governing documents, and ordering the directors to adopt uniform and objective standards for the approval of sales, leases and remodeling of HOA units. The Injunction Order also mandated other acts and prohibitions to protect the HOA from further harm by the directors during the pendency of the lawsuit.
Victory for Venice Business Owner in Real Estate Fraud Lawsuit.
Our client rented commercial space to operate her business for many years. Her long-time landlord took steps to lull her into believing she could trust and rely upon him, and she placed her confidence in him. The landlord approached her to purchase the property leading our client to believe she was getting a fair deal, and in doing so advised our client that she did not need a lawyer because he would take care of her. Once the real estate transaction closed, the Landlord began to make unreasonable demands on our client and eventually sued our client for breach of contract. When we were brought into the case, we put our skill and experience to work to uncover serious breaches of fiduciary duty by way of dumping a valueless property on our client at a price far above legitimate market value. We worked with client to develop a strategy designed to achieve our client’s goals. We then filed a cross-complaint seeking to rescind the transaction. By employing a well-thought out strategy, we obtained a settlement for our client including a stipulated judgment that fully rescinded the purchase and had the effect of compensating our client in full for all funds expended on the matter including attorneys fees and expenses.
Defense Victory for Clients in Employee Sexual Harassment Lawsuit.
We defended a company and its chief executive officer against a frivolous sexual harassment lawsuit resulting in was amounted to a walk-away deal signed six months after the plaintiff commenced the lawsuit. To achieve this excellent result, we thoroughly investigated the allegations in the complaint and the plaintiff’s background, interviewed numerous witnesses, subpoenaed the plaintiff’s former health care professionals, and uncovered many prior bad acts of violence and dishonesty by the plaintiff. Our investigative skills and ability to develop and execute upon a cohesive and effective defense strategy established that the case had no merit and ended quickly, inexpensively and efficiently while ensuring as little distraction to our client’s business as possible.
Victory for Investors Against Wall Street Law Firm and Investment Bank In Securities Fraud Lawsuit.
We represented a high net worth married couple who had been persuaded to invest over a million dollars into a start-up, alternative energy company. Although our clients were educated, trained and highly skilled real estate moguls, their experience did not translate well to conducting due diligence on this type of investment. Our clients not believe they needed to hire an attorney to vet the investment opportunity prior to making their investment. (Had they hired us before making the investment to conduct due diligence, we would have opened their eyes to several red flags.) Approximately one year after making their investment, the company began to announce massive losses and eventually became defunct. Our clients were suspicious and sought our counsel. We investigated the matter and concluded that the entire deal had been a scam and the securities offering documents were filled with material misrepresentations and omissions. During our investigation we even uncovered that the founders of the defunct company had used names of oil and gas industry experts in their offering memorandum without the knowledge or consent of the experts that were represented to be advisors to the company. The problem in this case was that the founders were not collectible; even though each of them claimed to be highly successful businessmen and woman at the outset of the securities offering, none of them had any assets to collect upon. Nonetheless, we commenced a lawsuit against the founders, conducted several days of depositions and other discovery methods focused on uncovering evidence that an international investment bank and white-shoe, international law firm had aided and abetted the founders. That led us to direct evidence that the investment bank and law firm did in fact aid and abet the founders. We therefore added the investment bank and law firm as defendants to the complaint and proceeded to prosecute the action against them. As expected, the investment bank and law firm sought to have our case dismissed on demurrer. We won that battle. Ultimately our clients recouped a substantial portion of their seven figure investment through settlements thanks to our intimate familiarity with the securities laws and securities industry.
Victory for Elderly Couple Against Financial Advisor in Stock Fraud and Elder Abuse Lawsuit.
Wittenberg Law represented an elderly couple in their late eighties who had their life-savings decimated by their financial advisor advisors gross abuses. The elderly couple was afraid, confused and anxious when they first contacted us. We comforted our clients by explaining precisely what had happened and working with them to devise the strategy that we would use to get their money back. We commenced arbitration in FINRA against the broker dealer and financial advisor. Six months later, the defendants agreed to a settlement payment that returned the elderly couples life-savings, confidence and self-esteem.
Victory for Employee Against Employer for Wrongful Termination and Failure to Pay Wages.
We were retained by a client who had been wrongfully terminated by his employer without payment of wages. When we were asked to step in, the client had already tried, unsuccessfully, to negotiate a deal with the employer. Shortly after we drafted and delivered a demand letter to the employer, the employer agreed to settle the matter with fully payment of back wages to our client.
Victory for Employee Against Employer for Failure to Pay Wages.
Our client had worked for years for an employer who suddenly fired him and refused to pay his wages. The defendant employer took the position that our client was not an employee, but instead was an independent contractor who failed to perform work competently. Through our highly skilled investigation of the matter, we obtained evidence clearly demonstrating that the defendant employer was not being honest. We filed a lawsuit, engaged in the discovery process, and soon thereafter obtained a settlement payment for our client that included all of his back wages.
Victory for Retiree Against Real Estate Agent in Broker Fraud Lawsuit.
We were asked to represent a seller of a HOA unit who inherited the property, and then entered into a contract for sale to sell through a real estate broker. Upon information that the broker had advised our client to sell far below market value, we conducted a vigorous investigation. We uncovered that the broker has misrepresented dual agency (i.e, the fact that he represented both the buyer and the seller in the same transaction) to our client — the broker lied on the transaction documents to make it appear as if there were two different brokers and agents on the deal. We also established that the HOA unit did in fact have a significantly higher market value. We notified the buyer that our client exercised her right to rescind the contract. The buyer then filed a lawsuit seeking specific performance. We filed a cross-complaint against the broker and agents for fraud and misrepresentation regarding dual agency. We also caught the opposing party red-handed fabricating a bank document, which we were able to do because of our special knowledge of the securities and investment banking industry. Through our efforts, the client settled the case for a substantially higher purchase price than what she had originally agreed.
Victory for Registered Investment Advisor Against Wall Street Investment Bank in Bond Trade Dispute.
Wittenberg Law was asked to represent a billion dollar financial advisory firm against one of the world’s largest investment banks in a trade dispute. The parties had exchanged emails negotiating the price of the bond trade with the final email simply stating: “done.” Within one minute after the “done” email, the investment bank sent an email to our client backing out of the trade. Most lawyers believed this was an unwinnable case. We knew otherwise because of our experience in the securities industry. Because of our deep knowledge of the financial markets, we took the case that other lawyers said was impossible to win. We won. We successfully explained that the proper and efficient functioning of the securities markets are dependent upon certainty and that “done” equates to a binding contract in securities trading parlance. Our expert witness was unimpeachable, and we were able to cross-examine the defendant’s witnesses to establish that their position was untenable and wrong. The three arbitrators on the panel unanimously found that the defendant bank had breached its agreement and awarded substantial damages to our client.
Victory for Retiree in Legal Malpractice Lawsuit.
Wittenberg Law was asked to represent a former executive of a well known local city in a legal malpractice lawsuit against a large law firm. During our investigation of the matter, we uncovered serious abuses of the law firm’s fiduciary duties but the client’s other former lawyer had run afoul of the statute of limitations. Wittenberg Law commenced an action against that lawyer and within four months the defendant agreed to pay our client a substantial settlement payment.
Victory for Retiree in Securities Fraud, Negligence and Elder Abuse Lawsuit.
A financial adviser referred a client to us because of a concern that the client’s former adviser engaged in conflicts of interest transactions. We investigated the case and uncovered that the former adviser had sold the client purely house-driven products (meaning investment products that were originated and sold by the adviser’s firms so that the firm could capture large fees and commissions). We commenced arbitration against the former adviser and his firm (a well-known, world-wide investment bank). Within eight months, we forced the defendants to rescind the trade and pay a substantial settlement amount to our client. This case was challenging because the client had a criminal background, which the defendants sought to leverage in unsuccessfully having the case dismissed. We successfully overcame the improper defense argument by demonstrating that the defendant’s’ misconduct is completely unrelated to our client’s prior life event, and that the defendant’s misconduct caused financial harm.
Victory for Arbitrators Wrongfully Terminated by FINRA.
Three arbitrators were terminated by FINRA after they awarded a customer substantial damages against one of the world’s most well known securities firms. Wittenberg Law agreed to represent two of the arbitrators against FINRA on a pro bono basis. We then developed a strategy designed to achieve our client’s’ most important goal: to have their reputation restored. We did just that, and we did it within a matter of three months. We succeeded in obtaining an apology letter from FINRA and reinstatement of our clients as arbitrators. We gracefully navigated through FINRA’s complex bureaucracy, laws and regulations all favoring FINRA, and we turned a barrage of press inquiries into a positive outcome for our clients by guiding the matter to an efficient, quick and favorable resolution — not just for our clients, but also for FINRA.
Victory for Client in Arbitration Regarding Partnership Dispute.
We represented a 50% percent owner of a medical practice in a partnership dispute. Our client had previously hired another lawyer, but because that was not going well, our client terminated that other lawyer and retained us. We were able to fix the problems caused by the other attorney, and change the landscape of the battleground to favor our client within just months of being retained. We immediately went to work asserting our client’s rights and changing the dialogue in a manner that put our client in a position to win. That’s exactly what happened. After a lengthy arbitration before a panel of three judges, our client was awarded a substantial financial victory.
Victory for Angel Investor Against Founder of a Startup.
We counseled an angel investor in making several venture capital investments. For one of these deals, we drafted the deal documents for our client who was the lead investor. Within one year after our client closed the investment, the founder attempted to oust our client from the venture in breach of his fiduciary duties and contract. Having drafted and negotiated the deal documents, we were in a position to immediately seize company assets. In doing so, we successfully negotiated the full return of our client’s investment and payments of legal fees and interest in exchange for returning the company’s assets to the founder.
Victory for Ousted Partner.
Our client came to us in an emotional distressed state of mind, explaining that her partners of ten years had just kicked her out of the business. Because our client had only one experience hiring an attorney, and it was a bad experience, she was not sure whether it was worth investing in a lawyer to fight for her rights. After spending time consulting with her and investigating the matter, we developed a strategy to achieve her objectives that also demonstrated her control over the matter in order to reduce her anxiety. We explained the process and kept her informed on all steps. We prepared and sent a strong demand letter to the opposing parties. Because of our upfront investigation and familiarity with applicable law, we were able to force the opposing parties to settle the matter without filing a lawsuit. My client received a settlement payment that was beyond her expectations far more quickly and efficiently than she ever thought possible.
Victory for Elderly Woman Against Financial Adviser.
An widowed woman in her eighties had lost a substantial portion of her net worth while working with financial adviser X. She then hired financial adviser B to help her going forward. Financial adviser B asked us to investigate her account to determine if financial adviser A had engaged in misconduct and/or been negligent. We quickly discovered that financial adviser A had been both negligent and acted for his own personal interest in selling high commission products while placing his widowed elderly client in risky investments. We positioned the case by doing the upfront research and investigation, discussed our client’s goals and developed a strategy to achieve those goals. Within six months the defendants agreed to settle the case by paying our client the funds that were dissipated by the wrongful conduct.
Victory for Businessman Duped by Investment Adviser.
We were contacted by another lawyer asking us to help his client on a securities matter. That other lawyer had written demand letters to the client’s investment adviser, but had been unsuccessful and made no progress. We investigated the claims and quickly determined that the case had merit. We immediately prepared and filed arbitration and served the defendant with the lawsuit. The defendant agreed to settle on terms highly favorable to our client without even responding to our arbitration papers.
Victory for Controlling Shareholders in Shareholder Dispute.
We represented controlling shareholders against a minority shareholder who was disrupting the company’s operations, making unsupportable complaints against management, and trying to take control of the company. We went to work investigating the case and immediately uncovered evidence that was damning to the minority shareholder. We therefore were able demand that the minority shareholder sell his shares back to the company for a price favorable to our clients and ensure the minority shareholder was no longer a threat to the company.
Successful Closings of Client Hospice and Home Health Care Acquisition.
Wittenberg Law represented the buyer of a hospice including the negotiation of the letter of intent, due diligence and drafting and negotiation of the definitive deal documents. Through our extensive knowledge of mergers and acquisitions, we successfully navigated our client through the acquisition process and in doing so our client’s purchase price was far less than he originally anticipated (resulting in, for all intents and purposes, free legal counsel because the reduced purchase price was in excess of legal fees paid by our client).
Successful Closing of Client Dry Cleaner Acquisition.
We successfully advised our client in the acquisition of a dry cleaning business while navigating through a morass of regulation and other unique deal complexities.
Successful Closing of Registered Investment Advisor Acquisition.
We successfully counseled our client, a long-time securities trader and investment adviser, through a complex transaction involving the sale of this business, employment agreement and retention of a portion of future profits, all while proportioning liabilities in a manner highly favorable to our client.
Victory for Manufacturing Business in Email Spoof Fraud Matter.
We were contacted by a client who was defrauded by a spoof email claiming to be a supplier requesting payment of a recent order. Our client wired funds to the perpetrator not knowing it was not the real supplier, but a thief deceptively pretending to be the supplier. The funds were wired internationally and a large portion ended up at one the largest banks in the United States. Thanks for our wide network of contacts in the banking industry, we were able to stress the grave importance of the matter to the right people at the bank. Within weeks, we successfully worked with the bank to have a large portion of the stolen funds returned to our client.
Successful Closing of Lease Transactions.
We routinely advise business clients on entering into commercial leases. In doing so, we have been able to obtain far more favorable terms than what the landlords initially insist upon.
Successful Closing of Equity and Debt Investment.
Our client asked us to advise on an investment opportunity he had been asked to consider. We counseled our client on structuring the deal in a manner to gave him the strongest protection. We drafted and negotiated the transaction documents leading to a successful closing of the investment.
Successful Performance of Due Diligence on Private Investment Transactions.
We are often asked to counsel clients on prospective investments in private companies. In doing so, we review the offering documents and conduct due diligence. Our goal is to ensure that our clients have eyes wide open about the prospective investment. Unfortunately, the investment promoters make representations that are not accurate and misrepresent the investment in one way or another. Because of our diligence and securities expertise, we have guided our clients to avoid questionable investment opportunities and ensure they invest in legitimate deals.