Joe the Mediator

Case Histories

A sample of the varied nature of Joe’s practice follows:

ITSI Development Corp v. California Authority of Racing Fairs (“CARF”)
Joe represented CARF in an action brought by the plaintiff to establish that it had a copyright in the simulcasting of horse racing at various county fairs around the state. In a federal jury trial, the defendant established that, even though the plaintiff did hold the copyright, an implied license had been granted to CARF and that the plaintiff was estopped to deny the license, in equity. The case was affirmed on appeal by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Bank of America v. KMPG Peat-Marwick
Joe represented the Bank of America against KMPG for accounting malpractice. The bank had extended a loan to a mortgage banker in reliance on the audited financial statement prepared by KMPG. The bank was successful in a state court jury trial winning for the bank all of its losses together with a jury verdict for punitive damages in favor of the Bank.

California State Lottery v. High Integrity Systems, Inc. (HISI)
In this case Joe represented High Integrity Systems, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Equifax, defending a case brought by the California State Lottery claiming a breach of the HISI contract to automate lottery ticket sales and to supply back-office functions to the State Lottery. HISI cross-complained for damages and, after extensive discovery, the case was settled. HISI prevailed on its cross-complaint. In a mediated settlement the Lottery agreed to an initial payment of $25 million with 66 months of revenue guaranteed to HISI, the anticipated total revenue stream being well in excess of $100 million.

Delta Investment Company v. Union Bank
In this case Joe represented a wealthy local businessman who guaranteed a loan from Union Bank to a company of which he owned 50%. Union Bank was represented at trial by Morrison & Forester and on appeal by Joseph Ball of Ball, Hunt, Brown & Baerwitz. After a six-month jury trial, Joe’s client was exonerated from his guarantee and awarded all of his lost investments in the company and punitive damages against the Bank. The case was settled on appeal.

California Fair Political Practices Commission v. Dianne Feinstein
In this case Joe represented Senator Feinstein in resisting an enforcement proceeding brought in connection with her campaign for Governor of the State of California. Joe was able to settle the matter for a small fraction of the claim made against her.

Sacramento Savings Bank v. B&B and Sons Enterprises, Inc., et al.
For more than eight years Joe served as lead counsel representing Sacramento Savings Bank and its successor-in-interest, Alleghany Properties in a vehemently disputed joint venture dissolution involving B&B and Sons Enterprises, Inc., and the ownership of approximately 700 acres of real estate located in the Natomas area of Sacramento.   Values varied among the parties between $30 million and $160 million.
The matter was arbitrated twice. The initial arbitration was held before former U.S. District Judge Raul Ramirez, former Court of Appeal Judge George Paras and former San Francisco Superior Court Judge Victor Campalongo. Following a successful decision by the arbitrators and a subsequent success at the Court of Appeal for the Third Appellate District, litigation was renewed by B&B and Sons Enterprises, Inc.  In spite of the successful appeal, the matter was once again compelled into arbitration. This time the arbitration was held before former judges Ramirez and Paras and former San Francisco Superior Court Judge Ira Brown. The arbitrators once again ruled in favor of Sacramento Savings Bank and its successor-in-interest Alleghany Properties on all issues. Joe’s clients recovered their costs of suit and attorney’s fees as well.

Woodland Production Credit Association v. Nicolai Nicholas
Joe’s client Nicolai Nicholas was a cattle breeder who had his herd foreclosed upon by the Woodland Production Credit Association (WPCA). Nicholas contended that the WPCA loan was a capital loan and could not be called when cattle prices dropped pursuant to the normal cattle cycle. After a six-month jury trial, the jury found in favor of Nicholas on the defense of the complaint and on the cross-complaint giving him all of his compensatory damages plus $500,000 in punitive damages. The trial judge struck the punitive damages. The matter was affirmed on appeal.

Shuper/Gumps Arbitration
In this matter Joe represented the Shuper family. The Shupers owned the building on Post Street in San Francisco which, at the time, housed the Gumps store. The lease between the Shupers and Gumps had expired and the arbitrators were to determine the fair rental value of the property for the renewal lease term. The matter was arbitrated in San Francisco before three commercial real estate brokers with a result satisfactory to the Shupers.

Bank of America v. State of California
In this case Joe represented the Bank of America against the State of California. It was a contractual indemnity case arising out of the settlement by the Bank of a qui tam action brought against the bank claiming the bank had failed to escheat millions of dollars in unclaimed bond funds to the State. The settlement amount was $187 million in return for which the bank received the State’s agreement to indemnify against future claims. Alaska made such a claim resulting in this action which was ultimately mediated and settled favorable to the bank.

Hird & Hawes v. Michael Best & Friedrich, et al.
In this case Joe represented Michael Best & Friedrich, a law firm based in Milwaukee which represented Harley Davidson.  In an earlier action, Harley Davidson had been the plaintiff in a matter which arose out of its commitment to a local company to develop a process for decorating Harley Davidson products. The contract called for a substantial investment by Harley Davidson.  It developed that the investment was fraudulently obtained. In its complaint, Harley Davidson sued, among others, the plaintiffs in this action and Hird & Hawes. Subsequent to the conclusion of that action, Hird & Hawes filed this action for malicious prosecution against Harley Davidson and its attorneys, among others. After extensive discovery and motion practice, the court granted the motion for summary judgment on behalf of Joe’s client Michael Best & Friedrich.

Templeton v. Emergency Physicians Medical Group (EPMG)
After the trial of this case in Las Vegas, EPMG retained Joe to settle a run-away verdict in a wrongful death case of approximately $30 million. After lengthy and extensive negotiations, a settlement was effected for less than $1 million.

Cascade Housing v. Englund
Joe represented Cascade Housing which had purchased real property containing toxic and hazardous materials not disclosed by the seller. After a court trial in Monterey County Superior Court, the Court’s verdict was in favor of Cascade Housing which was fully compensated, including attorneys’ fees.

Dublirer v. A.M.C.
In this case Joe represented Arthur Dublirer who was an investor in a Silicon Valley company which had been acquired by A.M.C., a high tech firm then located in Santa Barbara. Subsequent to the acquisition, the value of the stock acquired by Dublirer in the transaction dropped dramatically. Our action was based upon misrepresentations made by the acquired company in the context of the acquisition. Due to the fact that it was a merger, A.M.C. became responsible for those representations. A.M.C. was represented by Stewart Harrison of Brobeck Phleger & Harrison and Joe was able to settle the matter for 100 percent of his client’s claim.

Macciavelli v. F.I. Dupont Glore Forgan, Inc.
Joe represented Dupont Glore Forgan, a member of the New York Stock Exchange, against claims of fraud, negligence and violation of both state and federal securities acts. Macciavelli had lost roughly $8 million in the stock market crash of 1973 and brought this action to recover his losses. The claim by the plaintiff was that he had made special margin call arrangements which had been violated by the defendant brokerage company. After a federal court jury trial, a verdict was returned in favor of the defendant.

Bains v. Bank of America
In this case Joe represented the Bank of America in an agricultural lender liability case arising out of the financial difficulties sustained by many farmers in California during the 1980s. Bains had farming operations up and down the Central Valley as well as in Canada. The debt owed to the Bank of America was in excess of $12 million. Bains alleged a host of claims against Bank of America including breach of a previous work-out agreement, breach of agreements to provide crop financing, mishandling of crop proceeds, breach of fiduciary duty and negligent and intentional misrepresentation surrounding the loan documents and work-out agreement. The matter was arbitrated before Lawrence Jordan of San Francisco. The result of the arbitration was that Bank of America recovered 100 percent of its claim, plus its attorneys’ fees.

Miller v. Circle K
In this case Joe represented Circle K which had been sued by the previous owners of a local convenience store which had been acquired by Circle K by merger. The claim was that Circle K had committed fraud and violated various state and federal securities acts in connection with the acquisition. Plaintiff sought compensatory and punitive damages. After a federal court trial before Judge E. Dean Price, a decision was entered in favor of the defendant. However,  after a motion for a new trial and over a year had passed, the court reversed itself and entered a different decision in favor of the plaintiff and granted punitive damages. The matter was appealed to the Ninth Circuit which directed the case back to the District Court for a settlement which was effected for an amount which was less than what had been offered before the trial of the case.

Sacramento Savings & Loan v. Price-Waterhouse, et al.
In this matter Joe represented Sacramento Savings & Loan Association which had been the subject of a large-scale fraud. Action was brought against various defendants, including Price-Waterhouse, based upon its failure to detect the fraud during its annual audit of Sacramento Savings. The case was ultimately settled among all the defendants and Sacramento Savings and Loan recovered all of its losses.

Lofings v. Lightoleer
In this case Joe represented Lofings, a local retailer of lighting fixtures. The suit was brought alleging an illegal tying arrangement whereby Lightoleer, the manufacturer of lighting fictures, would require the retailer to purchase certain fixtures before it would be able to buy other high-demand items. Lightoleer was represented by McDonough Holland Schwartz & Allen and after discovery was underway, Joe was able to settle the matter for 100 percent of the losses claimed by Lofings.

Miller v. Sunrise Bank
In this action Joe represented Sunrise Bank against claims made by a group of doctors which had suffered fraudulent losses in their pension plans effected by the plan administrator who was then in prison. The doctors claimed Sunrise Bank had knowledge of the activities of the administrator due to its extensive dealings with the fund administrator through his deposits at the Bank. The case was tried by a Superior Court jury. The result of the decision was that the net recovery was to Sunrise Bank against the doctors including payment on forged checks and in favor of the bank.