Representative Matters



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 (Cal. Super. Ct. Los Angeles Cnty.).  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 under Testimonials.
  • Doe Shipping Company v. John Doe ( Super. Ct. San Diego Cnty.). 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.
  • Liebsohn, et al. v. Augme Technologies, Inc., et al., Case No. 13-2-40007-3 SEA (Wash. Ct. King Cnty.).  Johnson Fistel represented a group of 47 high net worth investors who were defrauded into trading their stock in a privately-held company for stock in a publicly-traded company. After defeating several motions to dismiss and a petition for discretionary review by the Washington Court of Appeals, Johnson Fistel obtained a highly-favorable confidential settlement from the defendants’ insurance carrier on February 2, 2016.
  • John Doe v. Doe Hedge Fund ( Super. Ct. San Diego Cnty.).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 (Cal. Super. Ct. San Diego Cnty.).  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 seven-figure verdict in favor of J Johnson Fistel’s client, including actual and punitive damages.  See testimonial from the firm’s client under Testimonials.
  • 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 Cnty. 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 ( Super. Ct. San Diego Cnty.).  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 Powerwave Technologies, Inc., Case No. 13-10134 (MFW) (Bankr. D. 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 (Cal. Super. Ct. San Diego Cnty.).  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.”
  • In re Southern Company Shareholder Derivative Litigation, No. 1:17-cv-00725-MHC (N.D. Ga.).  On behalf of a shareholder client, Johnson Fistel filed a shareholder derivative action in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia against certain of The Southern Company’s current and former officers and directors for breaches of fiduciary duties, unjust enrichment, and corporate waste. The Court appointed Johnson Fistel as Lead Counsel in the pending action.
  • In re HD Supply Holdings, Inc. Derivative Litigation, Lead Case No. 1:17-cv-02977-MLB (N.D. Ga.).  Johnson Fistel was appointed Co-Lead Counsel in a stockholder derivative action brought on behalf of HD Supply alleging, among other things, that certain executives and directors of HD Supply violated federal and state law by making false and misleading statements to investors, thereby artificially inflating the stock price. The complaint filed in the action also alleges that while the price of HD Supply stock was artificially inflated, certain corporate insiders engaged in unlawful insider trading of their personally-held HD Supply stock holdings.  Plaintiffs seek damages and disgorgement from the alleged wrongdoers on the company’s behalf, as well as corporate governance reforms to prevent the recurrence of similar misconduct in the future.
  • Whitten v. Clarke, et al., Case No. 1:17-cv-02585-LMM (N.D. Ga.) (FleetCor Technologies, Inc. Derivative Litigation). Johnson Fistel was appointed Lead Counsel in a stockholder derivative action brought on behalf of FleetCor Technologies, Inc. alleging, among other things, that certain executives and directors of FleetCor violated federal and state law by making false and misleading statements to investors, thereby artificially inflating the stock price.  The complaint filed in the action also alleges that while the price of FleetCor stock was artificially inflated, certain corporate insiders engaged in unlawful insider trading, unloading approximately $108 million worth of their personally-held FleetCor stock holdings.  Plaintiff seeks damages and disgorgement from the alleged wrongdoers on the Company’s behalf, as well as corporate governance reforms to prevent the recurrence of similar misconduct in the future.
  • In re CoreCivic, Inc. Shareholder Derivative Litigation, Lead Case No. 3:16-cv-03040 (M.D. Tenn.).  Johnson Fistel was appointed Co-Lead Counsel in a shareholder derivative action brought on behalf of CoreCivic, Inc. alleging, among other things, that certain officers and directors of CoreCivic violated federal and state law by making false and misleading statements to investors concerning CoreCivic’s history of quality, savings, and compliance at Federal Bureau of Prisons facilities, causing its common stock to be traded at artificially inflated levels. On CoreCivic’s behalf, Plaintiffs seek damages and disgorgement from the alleged wrongdoers.
  • In re United States Steel Corporation Derivative Litigation, Lead Case No 2:17-cv-01005-CB (W.D. Pa.). Johnson Fistel was appointed Co-Lead Counsel in a shareholder derivative action brought on behalf of United States Steel Corporation, alleging, among other things, that certain officers and directors of US Steel violated federal and state law by causing the company to make false and misleading statements to investors which concealed that U.S. Steel failed to implement necessary maintenance measures at its facilities and that the Company did not have the capacity to meet then-current market demand, causing its common stock to be traded at artificially inflated levels.  On US Steel’s behalf, Plaintiffs seek damages and disgorgement from the alleged wrongdoers.
  • In re: Twitter, Inc. Shareholder Derivative Litigation, A. No. 18-062 (D. Del.). Johnson Fistel was appointed Co-Lead Counsel in a shareholder derivative action brought on behalf Twitter, Inc., alleging, among other things, that certain officers and directors of Twitter caused the company to make false and misleading statements concerning the metrics used by the company to measure user growth and engagement, causing its common stock to be traded at artificially inflated levels.  In addition, the complaint filed in the action alleges that while the price of Twitter stock was artificially inflated, certain corporate insiders engaged in unlawful insider trading, unloading approximately $281 million worth of their personally-held Twitter stock holdings.  On Twitter’s behalf, Plaintiffs seek damages and disgorgement from the alleged wrongdoers.
  • In re TrueCar, Inc. Shareholder Derivative Litigation, Lead Case No 1:19-cv-00617 (D. Del.). Johnson Fistel was appointed Lead Counsel in a shareholder derivative action brought on behalf of TrueCar, Inc., alleging, among other things, that certain officers and directors of TrueCar violated federal and state law by causing the company to make false and misleading statements, which concealed that TrueCar’s most important “affinity partner,” USAA, had decided to make critical changes to the co-branded car buying site that it shared with TrueCar, and that such changes would have a material adverse effect on the volume of car sales on the site generated by TrueCar.  The complaint filed in the action also alleges that while the price of TrueCar stock was artificially inflated, certain corporate insiders engaged in unlawful insider trading, unloading more than $16 million worth of their personally-held TrueCar stock holdings.  On TrueCar’s behalf, Plaintiffs seek damages and disgorgement from the alleged wrongdoers.

Corporate Takeover Litigation

  • Azar v. Blount International, Inc., et al., 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 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 recently settled resulting in millions of dollars in additional consideration for Blount’s shareholders and is pending final approval.
  • Englehart v. Brown, Case No. 13-2-33726-6-KNT (Wash. Super. Ct. King Cnty.). As discussed further below under the heading Noteworthy Success Stories, Johnson Fistel was appointed as Co-Lead Counsel in a case arising out of the 2014 acquisition of Flow by American Industrial Partners which resulted in a $12.75 million settlement, believed to be the largest recovery ever obtained in a class action challenging the price of a merger or acquisition of a public company in a Washington court.

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., No. 1:16-cv-11082-DJC (D. Mass.). Johnson Fistel served as co-lead counsel and represented the lead plaintiff in a securities class action alleging violations of Sections 11 and 15 of the Securities Act of 1933. The complaint alleged that defendants made false and misleading statements in connection with the company’s IPO regarding the company’s business and the prospects for approval of a pharmaceutical drug.  A class-wide settlement in the amount of $18.75 million was approved on June 27, 2019.
  • In re Flowers Foods, Inc. Securities Litigation, No. 7:16-cv-0022-WLS (M.D. Ga.). In a securities class action case alleging violations of §§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 labor strategy.  As a result of these false and misleading statements, Flowers Foods stock traded at artificially inflated prices during the Class Period.  A settlement-in-principle was recently reached and is pending approval from the Court.
  • Mohanty v. Avid Technology, Inc., et al., No. 1:16-cv-12336-IT (D. Mass.). Johnson Fistel served as lead counsel and represented the lead plaintiff in a securities class action alleging violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.  The plaintiff alleged that the defendants made false and misleading statements concerning the company’s business, operations, and financial outlook.  A class-wide settlement in the amount of $1.325 million was approved on May 2, 2018.
  • Crystal v. Medbox, Inc., et al., No. 2:15-cv-00426-BRO-JEM (C.D. Cal.). Johnson Fistel served as lead counsel and represented the lead plaintiffs in a securities class action alleging violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.  The complaint alleged that defendants made numerous and repeated false and misleading statements concerning Medbox’s accounting, finances, internal controls, business, prospects, and outlook throughout the Class Period.  A class-wide settlement in the amount of $1.850 million in cash and 2.3 million shares of company stock was approved on May 2, 2018.

Consumer Class Actions

  • Baker v. Visa International Corp., Case No. 06cv0376 (Cal. Super. Ct. San Diego Cnty.).  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.
  • Giancola v. Lincare Holdings Inc., Case No. 8:17-cv-2427-T-33AEP (M.D. Fla.). Serving as Class Counsel in this action, Johnson Fistel represented a class of current and former employees of Lincare, who were exposed to an unlawful data breach and the potential disclosure of their personal information.  After Johnson Fistel filed an amended complaint and engaged in preliminary discovery, the parties agreed to mediation.  Johnson Fistel was ultimately able to achieve a class-wide settlement that provided multiple forms of relief to class members, including: (i) a Settlement Fund totaling $875,000 in cash that was used to pay claims of class members impacted by the data breach; (ii) enhanced credit and identity monitoring protection services for the class, which was valued at more than $972,000; and (iii) Lincare’s agreement to implement certain enhanced data security measures to protect the company from future data breaches and safeguard the personal information of its employees.
  • In re: Apple Inc. Device Performance Litigation, Case No. 18-md-02827-EJD (N.D. Cal.).  In December 2017, Johnson Fistel filed a class action complaint against Apple Inc. (“Apple”), alleging that Apple knowingly designed the batteries of certain iPhones to prematurely degrade, causing them to unexpectedly shut down.  After the matter was consolidated with numerous other lawsuits filed against Apple for similar alleged misconduct, Johnson Fistel was appointed to the Steering Committee of the consolidated action.  The litigation concerns one of the largest consumer frauds in history, affecting hundreds of millions of mobile devices around the world.  The parties are currently engaged in discovery in this action.