BANKRUPTCY CLAIMS OBJECTION LITIGATION
Representation of a leasing company in a claims objection filed by the Bankruptcy Trustee. The client’s claim exceeded $250,000 and the Trustee’s objection included technical objections to the underlying contract. I was successful in convincing the Trustee without the necessity of taking the matter to hearing that the objections were not well founded.
Representation of a consultant and teacher in a claims objection filed by the Bankruptcy Trustee. The Trustee had objected to every claim filed in the entire case! At hearing on the objections, Ms. Grosberg’s client was one of only a few whose claims the Court held valid.
BANKRUPTCY FRAUDULENT TRANSFER LITIGATION
Representation of two of 28 participants in high stakes poker games. Another of the participants had been stealing funds from his investment business and using some of the funds to pay his poker debts. A number of the investors forced the investment business into bankruptcy. The bankruptcy trustee sued all of the poker players for return of all funds paid to them by the owner of the investment company. While the poker players had not been involved in any illegal activity, the bankruptcy law allowed the trustee to recover 100% of all funds paid to the players by the owner of the investment company. The issues involved the law of ponzi schemes, tracing of ill gotten gains, constructive trust and bankruptcy. Ms. Grosberg negotiated settlement for less than half of what the trustee would have recovered for the bankruptcy estate had the matter gone to trial.
BANKRUPTCY PREFERENCE LITIGATION
Bench Trial: Representation of the ex-wife of a bankruptcy debtor in a preference action with 15 million potential exposure. In the divorce proceedings, the ex wife was awarded over 100 parcels of real property. The Bankruptcy Trustee alleged that these parcels of property were wrongfully transferred to the ex wife and should be returned to the debtor. During trial, the case was settled for $125,000 and the transfer of one parcel of real property.
Representation of a leasing company in negotiations over a potential preference action in which the exposure exceeded 2 million. The leasing company had been paid over 2 million within the preference period. By careful document production, Ms. Grosberg was able to show the Creditors’ Committee that the payment was a valid exchange for business purposes. The client was not required to return any portion of the payment.
BUSINESS LITIGATION – CONTRACT
Bench Trial: Co-Representation of the owners of a newspaper stand sued by a magazine distributor alleging over $120,000 due for periodicals delivered over a twelve year period. There were over 5000 documents and through these documents it was proved at trial that in fact, the distributor was in debt to the owners of the newspaper stand in an approximate sum of $12,000.
Bench Trial: Representation of a son and his wife on one hand, and the son’s parents on the other hand alleging that what the son and his wife considered a gift, was a loan to be repaid. The son and wife prevailed at trial.
BUSINESS LITIGATION – CREDITOR PRIORITY
Representation of a bank in San Francisco in dispute between financial institutions as to whether my client was required to return to another bank funds it received in repayment from an employee who had embezzled $300,000: The issue was whether the other bank held a constructive trust on the funds since the repayment funds to my client were themselves embezzled funds by the same employee at the employee’s next place of employment (the other bank) Before the matter could be settled, the embezzler was deposed in federal prison. This matter was settled without trial with a return of only a portion of the funds the San Francisco bank had received.
BUSINESS LITIGATION – UNFAIR COMPETITION
Represented an investment banking company against a former employee for unfair competition resulting from the former employee’s unauthorized theft and use of the investment banker’s customer lists. A restraining order was issued against the former employee and the case settled immediately in favor of the investment banker.
Employee: Co-representation of three plaintiffs/employees in a wrongful termination action against a university. Prior to retaining counsel, the plaintiffs proceeded in the administrative hearings. When the university found against them, they retained Ms. Grosberg and another counsel. The case was resolved by summary judgment against Plaintiffs on a procedural issue. Plaintiffs appealed the procedural issue. The appeal was settled.
Employer: Defended a man charged with sexual harassment by a co-worker at a large national telephone company. The matter settled after the depositions of the client and the plaintiff were taken for less than 20% of the plaintiff’s demand.
EMPLOYMENT SEVERENCE NEGOTIATION
Negotiated a severance package for an employee who was terminated when management changed. Originally, there was no offer of any severance. The employee was ultimately paid for six months and retained health benefits.
Jury trial in a personal injury case. Ms. Grosberg’s client, the plaintiff was a passenger in an automobile. Plaintiff literally had every bone in her face broken during the accident. The driver of the car settled with the plaintiff, however, the case was tried as to the issues of whether there was dangerous condition of public property against Orange County. Judge Tenner presided over trial in the Orange County Superior Court. Ms. Grosberg was sole counsel. Defendant County was not held liable to the plaintiff because there was a question as to whether the driver had been driving in an unsafe manner.
REAL ESTATE BROKER/AGENT LITIGATION
Bench Trial: Representation of a real estate broker in a dispute by a former real estate agent against his former broker alleging that the broker was liable in negligence to the agent for sums the agent paid to a buyer the agent represented: The underlying action was for negligence against the agent, and when the agent tendered defense to the broker, the broker informed the agent that there was no errors and omissions insurance coverage for the broker or the agent. The broker was dismissed out of the underlying action without any payment to the buyer. The agent then sued the broker and others for misrepresentation regarding the existence of insurance coverage. Prior to trial, all defendants except the broker settled. The broker was found liable for the way in which he advised the agent of the absence of errors and omissions coverage. However, the agent sought over $90,000 in damages. In this stage of the trial, Ms. Grosberg was successful in proving that the damages did not exceed $24,000. The case then settled for $12,000.
REAL ESTATE CONSTRUCTION DEFECT LITIGATION
Representation of homeowners suing an unlicensed contractor who claimed he was a custom window and door installer. Every one of the installed doors and windows leaked. The action alleged fraud and breach of contract. There was a cross-complaint filed by the unlicensed contractor against the homeowners alleging intentional infliction of emotional distress. The homeowners settled the action for $55,000. The unlicensed contractor received nothing on his allegation of intentional infliction of emotional distress.
REAL ESTATE ESCROW LITIGATION
Representation of buyers of real property against sellers in an escrow dispute regarding the true price of a parcel of property: The parties were at odds as to whether the price included or excluded certain building plans. The sellers believed that the plans were the subject of a second escrow. The sellers refused to close escrow, after the buyers had paid a $100,000 trust deed lien against the property to prevent foreclosure. The matter was settled without trial in favor of buyers.
REAL ESTATE FORECLOSURE LITIGATION
Representation of a company that posts and publishes foreclosure notices sued by the foreclosed property owner (borrower) on claims of fraud and wrongful foreclosure. Borrower was continually delinquent in mortgage payments, and after Borrower’s breach on the fourth forbearance agreement, the lender foreclosed. Borrower sued the lender, the title insurance company which issued a preliminary Trustee’s Foreclosure Guaranty, the foreclosure Trustee, an entity which employed the Trustee, and the foreclosure posting and publishing company. In response to the lawsuit, I filed a motion (demurrer) to dismiss the posting and publishing company and the title insurer and entity which employed the posting and publishing company did the same. All three demurrers were successful. The potential exposure exceeded $150,000. The lender and foreclosure trustee were successful on their motions for summary judgment. Plaintiff then appealed the judgment. Oral argument on the appeal was heard September 12, 2005, and the opinion rendered September 26, 2005 affirmed the trial court.
Bench Trial: Representation of a bank sued for wrongful foreclosure by the property owner who claimed my client, one of the three lenders, failed to properly credit payments made on the loan. The issue of when and to whom payments were made and on which loan was complicated by the fact that my client had merged with a bank holding one of the other two loans. After the bank merger, a new servicing agent was collecting the payments on two of the loans. The bank prevailed at trial, and Plaintiff appealed. The judgment was affirmed on appeal.
REAL ESTATE FRAUD LITIGATION
Representation of homeowners against a broker who sold his own home to the clients for a highly inflated price. The broker failed to advise the clients of several construction defects of which the broker was aware, and the broker fraudulently advised the clients that there were rental units behind the house that could be brought up to code for a minimum price. The truth was that the units could never be used as rental units. The matter settled for $50,000.
Representation of the seller of real property sued by buyers more than one year after the sale had been completed claiming the seller failed to disclose mold and a termite infestation that the seller knew about during the sale transaction. The matter settled for less than 5% of what the buyers sought.
REAL ESTATE PARTITION LITIGATION
Representation of a plaintiff in a partition action filed against her former boyfriend. The couple had purchased a home together. After the couple parted, disputes arose regarding the accounting of assets acquired by the couple and how they should be accounted for in determining what sums would be due each party from the proceeds of sale of the real property. The case was settled in a sum exceeding the defendant’s offers.
Representation of a partner in a partition action filed against his other two partners. The partnership was formed to develop unimproved land. The client and his partners learned after the client invested his money that the city was going to require that any development include street paving, sewers and other utilities. Thus the cost of development became unreasonable and the property was never going to be developed by the partnership. The other two partners refused to return the investment to the client or sell the property. Ultimately, the court ordered the property sold, but only after one of the other partners twice breached the settlement agreement.
REAL ESTATE TITLE INSURANCE LITIGATION
Representation of a lender in a title insurance dispute between the lender, its borrower and title insurer regarding real property on which the lender had taken from the borrower in foreclosure. After the foreclosure, the lender attempted to sell the property and only then learned that the title insured failed to note numerous building and safety code violations. Had the lender known, it would never have approved the loan which the previous owner had obtained to purchase the property. The matter settled before trial in favor of the lender.
Representation of a majority shareholder in the negotiations to purchase the shares of the other six shareholders. An agreement was negotiated and the majority shareholder achieved his goals.
EMOTIONAL DISTRESS & MALICIOUS PROSECUTION
Representation of a lesbian couple alleging that a neighbor vandalized their property on numerous occasions over a period of 2½ years because of their sexual identity. Prior to the civil action there was a criminal trial in which the neighbor was charged with petty theft and hate crimes. The neighbor was convicted of all the theft charges, but acquitted of the hate crimes. In response to the couple’s civil complaint alleging emotional distress and seeking an order that the neighbor remain away from them, the neighbor filed a cross-complaint alleging malicious prosecution. He claimed that the couple misled law enforcement in their reports of his conduct, and those misrepresentations were the reason for the hate crime charges. The trial began March 27, 2006 and ended April 24, 2006 with a verdict for the neighbor on malicious prosecution.
TRUST ADMINISTRATION LITIGATION
Representation of trust beneficiary against claim of decedent’s brother that beneficiary exercised undue influence over decedent for twenty years and that for final four years beneficiary lacked capacity to amend trust to benefit beneficiary. The beneficiary had been a close friend of decedent and had lived with decedent. The brother filed four unsuccessful motions/petitions to prevent the beneficiary from using any of the estate left to him. Ultimately, on the eve of mediation, the brother filed a fifth petition and tried to show that the beneficiary had engaged in elder abuse simply on the basis that neither the beneficiary or the decedent kept good financial records. The matter was settled at mediation with the beneficiary sharing the estate left to him with the brother’s two daughters.