Johnson Fistel aggressively pursues complex litigation matters for both plaintiffs and defendants on an hourly or contingency fee basis depending upon the circumstances of the matter. Below are just a few of the cases the firm has undertaken. To respect the privacy of some of the firm’s clients who prefer we do not mention their names involved in litigation, their matters are described below without identifying the parties’ names.
Business and Commercial Litigation
- International Real Estate PLC v. Oaktree Capital Management, LLC, Case No. BC 324973 (Los Angeles Superior Court). International Real Estate (a public company with shares listed on the London Stock Exchange) retained Johnson Fistel to pursue claims for breach of fiduciary duty against former directors of a joint venture company. That case involved alleged damages of approximately $20 million, and after years of aggressive litigation and a mediation, ultimately settled on favorable terms to International Real Estate. See testimonial from the firm’s client, Rolf L. Nordstrom.
- Doe Shipping Company v. John Doe (San Diego Superior Court). A national shipping company retained Johnson Fistel after a former employee left the company with customer lists, other employees, and other confidential information. Johnson Fistel filed a complaint alleging claims for fraud, breach of contract, and misappropriation of trade secrets, among others. After a series of depositions and the threat of putting the defendants out of business, Johnson Fistel assisted the company in obtaining a resolution that restricted the former employee from doing business with certain of the company’s clients, protected the company’s trade secrets, and provided for a significant monetary payment to the company.
- John Doe v. Doe Hedge Fund (San Diego Superior Court). Johnson Fistel defended one of the world’s most successful hedge funds and its manager against meritless claims of fraud. After aggressively defending the matter, the plaintiff accepted a nuisance value settlement that was less than the cost of defense.
Trials & Arbitrations
- Healthy Life Marketing, LLC, et al. v. Jaime Brenkus’ Sound Body, Inc., Case No. GIC822927 (Superior Court for the State of California, County of San Diego). On behalf of a marketing firm, Johnson Fistel pursued claims for breach of contract and fraud against the manufacturer of a weight loss product. After a week-long jury trial, the jury returned a 7-figure verdict in favor of Johnson Fistel’s client, including actual and punitive damages. See testimonial from the firm’s client, Ronald T. Fricke.
- DCI Solutions v. Urban Outfitters, (S.D. Cal). Johnson Fistel represented a small local consulting firm in a case against one of the nation’s largest clothing retailers in a matter that would have forced the company into bankruptcy if it lost. Following a week-long trial in federal court, the jury returned a verdict rejecting the retailer’s $1.5 million damage claim in its entirety. Johnson Fistel also prevailed on all of Urban Outfitter’s post-trial motions.
- Timeshare Resale Alliance v. Fleming, et al. (San Diego Arbitration). Johnson Fistel successfully defended a real-estate broker accused of stealing her former employer’s alleged trade secrets. Following a week-long arbitration, the arbitrator issued an order completely exonerating Johnson Fistel’s client.
- Mary Joe v. Jane Doe (San Diego Superior Court). Johnson Fistel represented the minority shareholder of a small family corporation to pursue claims against the other shareholders who wasted millions of dollars of corporate assets by using those assets’ to pay for their personal expenses. The client retained Johnson Fistel to substitute into the case just two months before trial. On day four of a five-day trial, defendants agreed to settle the case.
Shareholder Derivative Actions
- In re Motorola, Inc. Derivative Litigation, Case No. 07CH23297 (Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois). Johnson Fistel was appointed Co-Lead Counsel in a shareholder derivative action filed against current and former officers and directors of Motorola, Inc. The derivative claims charged certain officers with making misrepresentations about the company’s financial statements and prospects of success in order to artificially inflate the company’s stock price while they personally sold shares and while causing the company to simultaneously purchase shares on the open market. After six years of hard fought litigation the action settled on terms that required the implementation of significant corporate therapeutic changes throughout the company, changes that were valued by one expert at over $1 billion.
- In re Powerwave Technologies, Inc., Case No. 13-10134 (MFW) (Bankr. D. of Del.). On behalf of a shareholder client, Johnson Fistel filed a shareholder derivative action in a California Superior Court alleging that certain of Powerwave’s officers and directors had affirmatively engaged in improper accounting to conceal the company’s true financial condition. Shortly after filing this action, Powerwave filed for bankruptcy and the United States Bankruptcy Court appointed a Chapter 7 Trustee. The Bankruptcy Court appointed Johnson Fistel as special counsel to represent the Trustee to prosecute these claims as assets of the estate. After nearly two years of litigation, Johnson Fistel secured a settlement that included payment of $5.5 million for the benefit of the estate in bankruptcy.
- Rubin v. Reinhard, Case No. 37-2008-00091039-CU-NP-CTL (San Diego Superior Court). Johnson Fistel was sole lead counsel in this derivative lawsuit. After the company filed a petition for relief under Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code, the Bankruptcy Trustee retained Johnson Fistel as special litigation counsel to prosecute claims for breach of fiduciary duty against certain officers and directors. After several years of hard fought litigation, the Estate in Bankruptcy settled recovering $3 million. In approving the settlement, the Bankruptcy Court judge remarked: “The Court thanks [Johnson Fistel] for its outstanding work on behalf of the Chapter 7 Trustee and the Estate.”
Corporate Takeover Litigation
- Azar v. Blount International, Inc., No. 3:16-CV-00483-SI (D. Or.). Johnson Fistel was appointed as Co-Lead counsel in a case arising out of the 2016 acquisition of Blount International Inc. by a group comprised of a private equity firm, Blount’s largest stockholder, and two Blount insiders. The plaintiffs allege, among other things, that the proxy statement that Blount disseminated in connection with the deal failed to disclose a set of financial projections that best reflected Blount’s long-term prospects and, instead, disclosed only later, artificially reduced projections. The plaintiffs allege that misleading proxy statement tainted the stockholder approval of the merger, and they are seeking an unspecified amount of monetary damages. This matter is pending.
Securities Class Actions
- Desrocher v. Covisint Corporation, et al., Case No. 1:14-CV-03878-AKH (S.D.N.Y.). In a case alleging violations of §§11 and 15 of the Securities Act of 1933, the Court appointed Johnson Fistel Co-Lead Counsel and certified the firm as Co-Lead Class Counsel. The class action complaint alleged that there were misrepresentations or omissions in documents filed with the SEC in connection with the company’s IPO. Under the settlement, defendants agreed to create an $8 million common fund to compensate Covisint stockholders who were harmed by the alleged misrepresentations or omissions, which amount represented a substantial percentage of the maximum potential recovery. The Court approved the settlement in its entirety on December 13, 2016.
- Gerneth v. Chiasma, Inc., et al., Case No. 1:16-cv-11082-DJC (D. Mass.). In a securities class action case alleging violations of §§11 and 15 of the Securities Act of 1933 and §§10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, Johnson Fistel’s client was appointed lead plaintiff and the firm was appointed Co-Lead Counsel under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The complaint filed in the action alleges that defendants made false and misleading statements in connection with the Company’s IPO and following the IPO regarding the Company’s business and the prospects for approval of a pharmaceutical drug. As a result of these false and misleading statements, Chiasma stock traded at artificially inflated prices during the Class Period. This matter is currently pending.
Consumer Class Actions
- Baker v. Visa International Corp., Case No. 06cv0376 (San Diego Superior Court). Johnson Fistel was appointed Co-Lead Counsel for this nationwide consumer class action that was filed in 2006 against Visa International Corp. for wrongfully assessing undisclosed fees on consumers by manipulating the currency conversion rates when consumers used their Visa Card for purchases in other countries. This matter was removed to federal court, and transferred by the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation to the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York to be coordinated with the In re Currency Conversion Fee Antitrust Litigation. The Court approved a settlement that provided for $336 million for the class members. While the Baker case was not the driving force leading to the $336 million for the class members, it was coordinated with that matter and the firm played a material role in the ultimate settlement.