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JOHN A. CASE, JR. IS PLEASED TO ANNOUNCE THAT HE IS OFFERING MEDIATION SERVICES. Please click on the following link: Mediation Services
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In 2021, Mr. Case celebrated 35 years as a practicing lawyer in the State of California. Among other specialties, Mr. Case has been actively involved in the rapidly changing field of Internet law since 1995.
Many of Mr. Case’s referrals come from out-of-state parties or lawyers looking for high quality legal representation in California, but wanting to avoid the high cost of major national law firms or larger local firms.
THE RESULTS PORTRAYED IN THE FOLLOWING CASES WERE DEPENDENT ON THE FACTS OF EACH CASE. THE RESULTS WILL DIFFER IF BASED ON DIFFERENT FACTS.
WE DO NOT GUARANTEE OUTCOMES, ESTIMATES, OR SUCCESSFUL RESULTS.
Please visit our News & Current Matters page for descriptions of some of our recent cases, deals, and representative clients. Our Links page contains many of our successful appellate decisions.
THIS SITE IS UPDATED WHENEVER WE HAVE GOOD NEWS TO ANNOUNCE.
TRADEMARK AND TRADE DRESS INFRINGEMENT: In July 2021 and again in March 2022, Mr. Case successfully brought to conclusion various lawsuits that he had filed to shut down his client’s former distributors who make and sell copycat products in violation of trademark and trade dress rights. The settlements included the former distributors’ agreement to stop making copycat products and to pay monetary settlements. In 2019, Mr. Case successfully settled a similar lawsuit, this time representing the defense, involving candy products.
SHAREHOLDER BUYOUT LITIGATION: In August 2021, Mr. Case successfully settled an eight-year lawsuit arising out of a shareholder buyout transaction. Midway through the case, Mr. Case’s clients obtained a $3,000,000 judgment against the opponents, who spent the next few years vigorously seeking to set aside the judgment. After various trial court proceedings and two appeals, Mr. Case’s clients were finally able to enforce the judgment without restriction. The case settled after Mr. Case obtained a court order appointing a receiver to sell the opponents’ properties to pay off the judgment.
SUCCESSFUL MOTION TO DISMISS APPEAL: It is generally difficult to obtain early dismissal of an appeal on a motion to dismiss, before appellate briefs are filed and appeals decided on the merits. In May 2021, the California Court of Appeal granted Mr. Case’s motion to dismiss an appeal on the ground that the appeal was untimely filed. The opponent had appealed an order granting Mr. Case’s motion for reconsideration of an earlier order, and also appealed an order denying the opponent’s own motion for reconsideration of the order granting Mr. Case’s motion. The Court of Appeal found that the appeal of the first order was filed late, and the appeal of the second order did not extend the time for appeal because the opponent failed to comply with statutory requirements. After the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal, the opponent filed for relief from dismissal, which was summarily denied. The dismissal of the appeal opens the way for Mr. Case to enforce a $3 million judgment against the opponent.
ACCOUNTANT MALPRACTICE: In March 2021, Mr. Case successfully settled a lawsuit against an auditor for failure to comply with GAAP in the preparation of financial statements. Claims against the tax accountants are still pending.
CRYPTOCURRENCY FRAUD: In January 2021, Mr. Case successfully settled a case against a blockchain startup that sold tokens to investors with false promises to launch an innovative cryptocurrency. Defendants had filed a motion to dismiss the case, arguing that investors cannot reasonably rely on “White Papers” in making investment decisions, among other things. On December 4, 2019, the U.S. District Court rejected these arguments, denying the motion to dismiss in a decision that substantially relied on Mr. Case’s arguments made in opposition. To read or download the decision, please click on the following link: Order denying motion to dismiss.
SUCCESSFUL OPPOSITION TO MOTION TO DISMISS UNFAIR PRACTICES ACT CASE: Mr. Case has brought to conclusion a case against a major computer manufacturer for violations of the California Unfair Practices Act and California Unfair Competition Law. The opponent had filed a motion to dismiss the case, arguing that Texas law applied, that a contractual limitation of liability precluded damages, and that the complaint failed to state a claim. On November 11, 2020, the U.S. District Court denied the motion to dismiss in a decision that substantially relied on Mr. Case’s arguments made in opposition. To read or download the decision, please click on the following link: Order denying motion to dismiss. In September 2021, the parties amicably resolved any differences they may have had.
COVID-19 SHUTDOWN LAWSUIT: In 2020, Mr. Case sued a former restaurant operator and its guarantors for abandoning and breaching a commercial lease, using COVID-19 as an excuse.
SUCCESS ON APPEAL, TRIAL COURT’S ERRONEOUS ORDER REVERSED: In February 2019, the California Court of Appeal reversed an order of the San Bernardino Superior Court vacating a default judgment. Mr. Case’s clients had amended a complaint to add a new cause of action, but defendants failed to respond to the amended complaint. Default was entered, but defendants did not seek relief from default for more than 180 days. Judgment was entered, and Mr. Case’s clients began enforcement efforts. Defendants belatedly sought relief from the trial court, which vacated default on the ground that no new answer was required to the amended complaint. The Court of Appeal reversed, holding that the trial court erred, because the addition of a new cause of action to the complaint requires a new answer as a matter of law.
SURPRISING SETTLEMENT: In 2019, Mr. Case obtained a very large settlement payment for his client, who did not start any lawsuit and was not looking for a fight. Instead, a big corporation originally sued Mr. Case’s client in an attempt to put his client out of business. That strategy backfired in a big way. Mr. Case defended vigorously and filed an aggressive countersuit in response. Mr. Case and his client refused to settle unless they received a very large payment, which they did. Mr. Case has obtained this type of settlement several times in his career.
SUMMARY ADJUDICATION GRANTED: In March 2018, Mr. Case won a motion for summary adjudication for his client, a well-known Southern California restaurateur, in litigation against a contractor in a dispute over the construction of leasehold improvements for a new restaurant. The ground for the motion was that the contractor was unlicensed as a matter of law, because it failed to carry workers compensation insurance for its employees. As a result, the contractor is required to disgorge all the money paid to it on the project, whether or not some money was paid out to subcontractors or for materials. UPDATE: This case was successfully settled in mediation after winning the motion.
$1.5 MILLION JURY VERDICT FOR FRAUD, UPHELD ON APPEAL:
In 2010, Attorney John A. Case, Jr. won a $1.5 Million jury verdict for the plaintiff in Santa Monica Superior Court. The jury found in favor of Mr. Case’s client on claims for fraud and quantum meruit in a case involving the acquisition and development of investment properties in West Hollywood, California. In 2012, the Court of Appeal upheld the jury verdict in all respects. The case settled during post-judgment enforcement. Mr. Case was the lead lawyer, first chair at trial, sole appellate lawyer, and sole collection lawyer. He was ably assisted in the jury trial by his longtime friend and colleague, Mary O’Neill, Esq., who gave a powerful closing argument. Please see the Links page for a copy of the appellate decision.
COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT CASES: Mr. Case represents a well-known concert photographer in litigation against defendants who profit from the client’s photographs without permission, whether on the Internet or by other means. Mr. Case successfully settled several of these cases.
MUSIC RIGHTS CASES: Mr. Case represents the estates of two famous songwriters – one from the Golden Age of American song and one from the Motown era – in music rights litigation to collect unpaid royalties and secure future rights. The case for the Golden Age songwriter involves litigation against the major U.S. music publishers and a French music publisher, with simultaneous litigation in California and France. In 2016, the California case was settled successfully, and the songwriter’s estate reacquired U.S. copyrights that had been lost for 40 years. The French proceeding was settled in 2020, and the songwriter’s estate reacquired all foreign rights. In the other case, Mr. Case obtained judgment in favor of the Motown songwriter’s estate in 2015 and successfully recovered the right to royalties that had been taken by a U.S. music publisher.
ENFORCEMENT OF NON-DISCLOSURE AGREEMENT: In 2020, Mr. Case successfully settled a lawsuit enforcing a non-disclosure agreement against a company’s former employee.
SHAREHOLDER BUYOUT LITIGATION: In 2018, Mr. Case successfully settled a lawsuit on behalf of former shareholders who sought to undo a defective shareholder buyout transaction.
FOUNDER/INVESTOR LITIGATION: In 2018, Mr. Case successfully settled a lawsuit between a founder of an Internet company and his principal investor regarding ownership of the company.
DISTRIBUTORSHIP DISPUTE: In 2017, Mr. Case successfully settled a dispute between a California distributor and an Italian orthopedic device manufacturer in a dispute over wrongful termination of the distributorship agreement. The case involved simultaneous arbitration and litigation and numerous multijurisdictional issues. Among other things, Mr. Case successfully defeated a motion to dismiss based on lack of personal jurisdiction brought by the Italian company’s CEO.
WEB SERVICES LITIGATION: In 2017, on behalf of a Georgia client, Mr. Case successfully settled an action filed in California court alleging breach of a web services agreement and online terms and conditions.
TRADE SECRETS/UNFAIR COMPETITION: In 2015, Mr. Case successfully settled a vigorously contested litigation between two competitors in the LED sign industry. Mr. Case entered the case one year after filing and used aggressive motion practice and discovery to obtain the settlement, three months before trial.
“KEY MAN” DIVORCE: Mr. Case was hired to help a company protect its business interests in the difficult situation arising from the divorce of one of its key owners. The heavily contested divorce led to a complicated Chapter 11 bankruptcy, where the main asset was the divorcing owner’s shareholder interest in the company. In 2015, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court approved the Chapter 11 reorganization plan, restructuring the divorce payouts in a manner more favorable to the key owner. Mr. Case brought in his longtime friend and colleague Howard N. Madris, Esq. to serve as lead bankruptcy counsel. UPDATES: In 2019, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the Bankruptcy Court decision, effectively ending all disputes over the plan. In 2021, the Bankruptcy Court issued the final decree ending the bankruptcy case.
EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION LITIGATION: In 2014, Mr. Case obtained a $400,000 judgment in favor of his client, an executive officer of a company, for breach of a written employment agreement.
VINE RIPE FARMERS MARKET: In 2013, Mr. Case successfully negotiated a global settlement for plaintiffs in consolidated cases involving a multimillion dollar bulk sale of a grocery market in the San Diego area, a related shareholder dispute, unpaid vendor claims of approximately $250,000, multiple defendants representing conflicting interests, and judgments totaling approximately $1,500,000. In a related case, Mr. Case succeeded in obtaining emergency dismissal of a defendant corporation’s improper bankruptcy filing.
POMONA SURGERY CENTER: In 2013, Mr. Case successfully resolved the last of numerous lawsuits involving a surgery center in Pomona. Mr. Case was hired to help the company clean up its balance sheet, to liquidate and realize value from the company’s assets worth millions, to resolve numerous liens against assets, and to resolve numerous claims and lawsuits by and against the company. Mr. Case was successful despite vigorous opposition by purported creditors and errant fiduciaries of the company.
RESTAURANT FRANCHISING: Mr. Case has been practicing franchise law since 1988. His clients include a leading restaurant franchisor with operations all over the United States. Among many other things, Mr. Case filed a lawsuit asserting that a shopping center fraudulently induced a restaurant to sign a commercial lease, by falsely promising a niche tenant mix among other things. The case was successfully settled soon after the lawsuit was filed.
GENERAL COUNSEL FOR LEADING FOOD PRODUCT DISTRIBUTOR: Mr. Case prepared numerous agreements including customer contracts, distributorships, and exclusive territory agreements with foreign suppliers. Mr. Case represented the company in disputes with competitors and developed collection strategies for slow-paying customers. Mr. Case provides similar services to other leading companies.
BIOTECH DISPUTE: In 2012, Mr. Case successfully settled a case for plaintiff seeking to recover more than $1 million in funds provided to two biotechnology ventures and an affiliated website, alleging breach of contract and fraud.
COPYRIGHT DISPUTE: In 2012, Mr. Case prepared an innovative lawsuit asserting copyright infringement against competitors stealing user-generated content from a popular website. Mr. Case was successful in deterring competitors from engaging in further thefts of intellectual property.
COLLECTION MATTERS: Mr. Case provides a variety of post-judgment collection services in high value cases involving difficult judgment debtors.
“ANTI-SLAPP” PROCEEDINGS: Mr. Case has successfully brought and opposed motions to strike under the “anti-SLAPP” statute, Code of Civil Procedure §425.16. This controversial law, originally intended to protect constitutional rights, is the subject of much abuse as a litigation tool.
In 2012, Mr. Case prevailed on a special motion to strike under the “anti-SLAPP” statute, Code of Civil Procedure §425.16. A client fired an attorney, and the attorney sued the client and the successor attorney for fraud and intentional interference with economic advantage based on the act of firing, among other claims. On Mr. Case’s motion, the court confirmed that a client’s decision to fire his or her attorney is protected by the California Constitution, and that the attorney could not show a probability of success on his claims against the client and the successor attorney. Accordingly, the court struck the offending causes of action from the case and awarded attorney fees.
In 2018, Mr. Case prevailed on a special motion to strike a malicious prosecution claim improperly brought as a cross-complaint in pending litigation. The court struck the claim from the case and awarded attorney fees.
Mr. Case also successfully opposed two special motions to strike under the “anti-SLAPP” statute, Code of Civil Procedure §425.16. Both opponents appealed the orders denying their motions to strike, and Mr. Case prevailed in both appeals.
In one of those appeals, Mr. Case filed an early motion to dismiss the appeal on grounds that the appeal was frivolous and solely intended to cause unnecessary delay. The California Court of Appeal granted that motion, dismissed the appeal, and expressly found that the appeal was frivolous and solely intended to cause unnecessary delay, before the trial court record was completed and before any appellate briefs were required to be prepared or filed. This outcome saved Mr. Case’s client considerable time and expense.
Many defendants file such motions to take advantage of a provision in the law staying discovery until both the motion and an appeal are resolved, even if the defendant loses at all stages. This procedural tactic can delay a plaintiff’s case for a year or more, except in exceptional cases providing grounds for early dismissal of an appeal. It is unusual for the Court of Appeal to grant a motion to dismiss, especially on grounds of frivolousness, but Mr. Case was successful in his efforts and was awarded attorney fees.
TICKETMASTER: In 2008, Mr. Case settled a lawsuit filed by Ticketmaster LLC in U.S. District Court against Mr. Case’s clients, in a dispute involving online ticket orders, computer technology, and the secondary market for ticket resales in the U.S.
LOVE’S BBQ: In November 2007, Mr. Case settled the last of numerous cases involving the beloved Southern California restaurant chain, Love’s Wood-Pit Barbecue®. There are no restaurants currently operating, but Love’s BBQ sauces and products can be purchased on the company’s website, www.LovesBBQ.com Mr. Case currently serves as General Counsel for the company.
EVEREST v. McNEIL – VICTORY AT TRIAL AND APPEAL: On April 16, 2007, the California Court of Appeal affirmed (on all grounds except one minor issue) the judgment in Everest Investors 8 v. McNeil Partners, entered after a 3-1/2 week bench trial conducted in Los Angeles Superior Court in 2005. In that trial, the court entered a $4.5 million judgment in favor of Mr. Case’s clients and against defendants, including punitive damages of $2.5 million against the controlling individual, involving a general partner’s breach of fiduciary duty to the limited partners in a merger transaction. The judgment was increased to $5 million on remand. The California Supreme Court denied defendants’ petition for review, and the California Court of Appeal denied defendants’ petition for rehearing. Previously, in 2003, the California Court of Appeal reversed a summary judgment granting in defendants’ favor, holding that limited partners had standing to pursue individual claims against general partners and were not barred by any alleged failure to bring a “derivative” lawsuit on behalf of limited partnerships. The 2003 decision was published. Please see the Links page for copies of the appellate decisions.
eUNIVERSE: On October 16, 2006, the U.S. District Court dismissed with prejudice all claims asserted against Mr. Case’s client, a corporate financial officer, wrongly accused of fraud and misrepresentation involving the audited financial statements of eUniverse, Inc. This case was the last in a series of shareholder lawsuits pending against the client and other officers and directors for 3-1/2 years. All cases were resolved successfully, by dismissal or settlement, in the client’s favor.
CRIME VICTIMS RIGHTS: In Kenna v. United States District Court, 435 F.3d 1011 (9th Cir. 2006), the first federal appeal court decision under the U.S. Crime Victims’ Rights Act, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the district court’s denial of a crime victim’s right to speak at the sentencing of a perpetrator of a massive $95 million financial fraud. Please see the Links page for a copy of that decision.
IF YOU ARE IN THE ENTERTAINMENT BUSINESS, PLEASE READ: Mr. Case does not act as an agent or manager, does not represent talent to producers or promoters, does not make pitches, does not find gigs, does not find investors, does not find money, and does not work on spec.
IF YOU ARE IN THE IMPORT/EXPORT BUSINESS, PLEASE READ: Mr. Case no longer provides legal services for import/export.
A Comment About The Newsletter: This website features an Intellectual Property Newsletter with dynamic content powered by Martindale-Hubbell. Mr. Case does not review the content in the Newsletter and does not vouch for its accuracy. The Newsletter addresses topics of general interest such as copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets, and the Internet. Although it may also talk about patents, Mr. Case is not a patent lawyer and does not give legal advice regarding patents, patent prosecution, or patent litigation.
MR. CASE DOES NOT PROMISE OR GUARANTEE THE FUTURE OUTCOME OR FUTURE SUCCESS OF ANY MATTER, AND NOTHING IN THIS WEBSITE MAKES SUCH PROMISE OR GUARANTEE. THERE IS NO LAWYER-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP UNLESS MR. CASE AGREES TO REPRESENT YOU, AND UNLESS AND UNTIL YOU APPROVE AND SIGN A WRITTEN LAWYER-CLIENT FEE AGREEMENT IN COMPLIANCE WITH CALIFORNIA LAW. THIS WEBSITE IS FOR GENERAL INFORMATION ONLY AND DOES NOT PROVIDE LEGAL ADVICE OR CREATE ANY LAWYER-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP.