The Firm has emphasized business litigation since its founding partners left Gibson, Dunn and Latham & Watkins and formed Mundell, Odlum & Haws in 1991. During the intervening years, the cases handled by our lawyers have traversed the gamut of business-related disputes, including breach of contract, fraud, misappropriation of intellectual property, unfair competition, securities, environmental claims, employment claims, and real estate matters. We have not attempted to list all of the cases handled by our lawyers. The following are offered as representative samples of work we have done on behalf of the Firm's business clients.
General Commercial Litigation
Our attorneys have represented scores of businesses in a wide variety of commercial litigation matters. The following are a few representative cases:
Thomas Mundell obtained a summary judgment in Los Angeles Superior Court for Texaco Inc. in a $300,000,000 lawsuit brought by the International Service Station Dealers Association challenging Texaco's credit card processing fees.
Thomas Mundell and Julie Miller Scorziell recovered a valuable service station and a substantial money judgment for Texaco after a week-long commercial unlawful detainer trial in Riverside Superior Court.
Thomas Mundell, William Tooke and John Wollman successfully defended a $12,000,000 "bet the company" fraud/breach of fiduciary duty suit involving a Ford dealership after a six week trial in San Bernardino Superior Court.
Karl Haws tried and won an AIDS discrimination lawsuit on behalf of a major hotel chain in Riverside Superior Court.
Thomas Mundell obtained a judgment for a wealthy taxpayer after trial in Los Angeles in a suit against the Franchise Tax Board. Mr. Mundell also successfully defended the trial judgment in favor of the Firm's client against an appeal by the California Attorney General.
William Tooke obtained a preliminary injunction on behalf of a national newspaper company mandating the immediate release of historically important microfilm and related materials to the newspaper.
James Odlum obtained summary judgment on behalf of American Airlines in a suit involving American's frequent flyer program in Riverside Superior Court.
Thomas Mundell successfully defended an Unruh Act class action against a large southern California department store in San Bernardino Superior Court.
Karl Haws, William Tooke and Bronwyn Petersen, in a petroleum franchise case the Firm took over after prior counsel had already lost, successfully appealed a multi-million dollar attorney's fees award against the clients, obtaining a reduction of the award by sixty-five percent. Carver v. Chevron U.S.A., Inc., 97 Cal. App. 4th 132 (2002).
Thomas Mundell obtained a $1,100,000 summary judgment in San Bernardino Superior Court in a breach of contract suit stemming from the sale of a business.
Karl Haws and Julie Scorziell successfully defended a fraud lawsuit against a large American-based church, securing a dismissal of the case at the pleading stage and then obtaining an affirmance on appeal.
Thomas Mundell and Marshall Brubacher obtained a dismissal of a multi-plaintiff products liability suit against a prominent national valve manufacturer stemming from a propane gas explosion in Redlands.
Thomas Mundell and James Odlum successfully represented a man suffering from an inoperable brain tumor in a "bad faith insurance" case against his disability carrier after the carrier discontinued the man's benefit payments. After Messrs. Odlum and Mundell won the first part of a bifurcated trial in San Bernardino Superior Court, the parties reached a confidential settlement.
Thomas Mundell and John Wollman are presently representing Safeway, Inc. in litigation stemming from an embezzlement scheme. The judgment-proof perpetrator has gone to prison, and Safeway is seeking to recover its losses from two banks.
Thomas Mundell and Marshall Brubacher are presently representing Zion's Bank in San Diego Superior Court in litigation involving a prominent California equipment rental company in an effort to recover more than $1,500,000 owed to the Bank plus more than $2,000,000 worth of collateral.
Labor and Employment Law
Our lawyers regularly represent management in employment matters. Although much of our work on behalf of management involves counseling and advising businesses on labor law compliance, we also regularly litigate wrongful termination, discrimination and harassment cases. Representative cases include the following.
Thomas Mundell obtained summary judgment for a major life insurance carrier in a sex discrimination suit brought by one of its former female regional managers.
Thomas Mundell and Marshall Brubacher successfully defended Texaco Inc. in a sex harassment and discrimination case in San Bernardino Superior Court. The plaintiff dismissed the case with prejudice when faced with Texaco's summary judgment motion.
James Odlum obtained summary judgment on behalf of a bank in an age discrimination case brought in San Bernardino Superior Court by a former executive who had been laid off.
Karl Haws and Bronwyn Petersen recently obtained summary judgment in an employment discrimination lawsuit on behalf of one of the largest Anheuser-Busch distributors in Southern California.
James Odlum obtained summary judgment in favor of a municipality in a disability discrimination case.
Karl Haws and Julie Scorziell successfully represented Mayflower Contract Services, Inc., a large school bus company, in an appeal a challenging a school district's decision to lay off transportation workers and contract with Mayflower. The published opinion in favor of our client appears at Personnel Commission of Barstow Unified School District v. Barstow Unified School District, 43 Cal. App. 4th 871 (1996).
James Odlum successfully defended a federal court suit against a business executive accused of racial discrimination and harassment, obtaining a dismissal of all claims against the executive.
James Odlum obtained successive summary judgments in a sexual harassment case three plaintiffs brought in San Bernardino Superior Court against an Inland Empire car dealership.
Thomas Mundell defended Culligan International Company against a wrongful termination suit filed by an executive who was terminated after a major spill at the Culligan plant in Riverside. The plaintiff dropped the case after Mr. Mundell filed a strong summary judgment motion.
James Odlum successfully defended a police department in an action brought under the Public Safety Officers Procedural Bill of Rights by an officer and a police union, resulting in the court's refusal to issue an injunction or to grant any other relief sought by the plaintiffs.
Karl Haws, William Tooke and Bronwyn Petersen recently obtained summary judgment on behalf of a nationally-recognized manufacturer and distributor of pipe fittings in an employment-related national origin discrimination case.
"Traditional Labor Law"
The Firm's leading labor lawyer, James Odlum, has represented numerous employers in union election campaigns, resulting in election victories for clients including food manufacturers, beverage distributors, warehouses and a resort. In addition, Mr. Odlum has negotiated numerous collective bargaining agreements and has defended a wide variety of unfair labor practice charges. Some of Mr. Odlum's more interesting "traditional" labor matters include the following:
For the past several years, Mr. Odlum has represented a large charitable organization in a long-running dispute with a labor union, successfully prosecuting and defending numerous charges before the National Labor Relations Board and several lawsuits in federal court in California and Utah involving "cutting edge" labor law issues.
Recently, Mr. Odlum successfully defended a large defense contractor in a federal court suit brought by twelve plaintiffs alleging violations of a collective bargaining agreement.
James Odlum also recently represented a large manufacturer of lighting products in a labor dispute marked by picket line violence and threats, obtaining injunctions prohibiting the union and its supporters from engaging in violence and other misconduct.
Our lawyers routinely litigate trade secret, copyright, trademark, and patent cases on behalf of both plaintiffs and defendants.
Thomas Mundell, James Odlum, and Marshall Brubacher recently obtained summary judgment for a medical products manufacturer in a hard-fought $150,000,000 "bet-the-company" patent infringement suit in federal court in Los Angeles.
Thomas Mundell obtained a dismissal of a "cyber-squatting" case brought by Courtney Love and the Estate of Kurt Cobain in federal court in Los Angeles.
Thomas Mundell, John Wollman, and Marshall Brubacher are presently representing an internet company in a multi-million dollar copyright infringement and breach of contract case against Hewlett-Packard in federal court in Los Angeles.
James Odlum and John Wollman recently obtained a preliminary injunction on behalf of an insurance broker against a former employee who was using the broker's trade secret client list.
Thomas Mundell successfully defended an institutional food producer in a trade secret misappropriation case in federal court in Los Angeles. The case settled for a nominal sum after oral argument on our client's motion for summary judgment.
Thomas Mundell and John Wollman recently defended a copyright infringement case in federal court in Los Angeles. The client had imported a product from Asia which, unbeknownst to the client, was a direct "knock-off" of a copyrighted product owned by the plaintiff. Liability was assured, but Messrs. Mundell and Wollman managed to persuade the client's insurance carriers to defend and indemnify. The case settled with insurance money, and the client was made whole for its defense costs as well.
On occasion, our lawyers have been called upon to handle securities matters.
Thomas Mundell represented a prominent bond trader at Drexel Burnham Lambert in the multi-district federal court litigation stemming from the collapse of the Savings and Loan industry and the Michael Milken "junk bond" scandal. The claims against the Firm's client were settled as part of an omnibus settlement of the consolidated cases against Mr. Milken and Drexel.
Thomas Mundell successfully represented two prominent businessmen from New Mexico in connection with an SEC investigation into allegations of insider trading. No action was ultimately taken against either of the Firm's clients.
Thomas Mundell and Marshall Brubacher obtained judgments totaling in excess of $2,400,000 on behalf of several investors in an international securities fraud case. The clients had been the victims of a classic "Ponzi" scheme.
Real Estate Litigation
The crash of the Southern California real estate market in the early 1990's resulted in a spate of lawsuits around the state. Our lawyers soon found themselves representing numerous individuals and companies enmeshed in real estate litigation. Since then, our lawyers have handled a wide variety of other real estate matters, including foreclosures (on behalf of some of the Firm's banking industry clients) and eminent domain cases. Representative real estate litigation matters include the following:
Thomas Mundell and John Wollman obtained several summary judgments and dismissals on behalf of a wealthy San Diego county landowner in a half dozen multimillion dollar real estate fraud and RICO cases. One of those cases resulted in a landmark RICO opinion from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals B Chang v. Chen, . F.3d 1293 (9th Cir. 1996).
Thomas Mundell and William Tooke successfully defended a Thousand Oaks couple accused of fraud in the sale of a large parcel of land in Riverside County. After successfully defending the fraud suit, Messrs. Mundell and Tooke won a substantial verdict for the couple after a two week trial against the real estate broker who had implicated the couple in the claimed fraud.
Thomas Mundell obtained summary judgment in Riverside Superior Court for a landowner in a premises liability case involving catastrophic injuries.
Thomas Mundell obtained a judgment of dismissal on behalf of a group of real estate investors as a sanction for repeated acts of discovery abuse by the plaintiff in a real estate fraud suit in San Bernardino Superior Court.
Thomas Mundell substituted in as appellate counsel after trial and obtained a $1,000,000 settlement for the plaintiff landowners on appeal in a "land developer negligence" case.
Thomas Mundell represented The Budget Group in litigation with the Ontario Redevelopment Agency over Budget's Ontario Airport rent-a-car facility. The case settled two weeks before trial in Rancho Cucamonga.
Thomas Mundell obtained for the plaintiff a reversal on appeal of an adverse summary judgment in a real estate matter involving one of the largest agricultural companies in California. The case subsequently settled.
Thomas Mundell represented Texaco in a dispute with the City of Rancho Mirage over zoning issues impacting a Texaco service station which the City had ordered closed. After several months of negotiations, the City and Texaco reached an accommodation which permitted Texaco to re-open its facility.
Marshall Brubacher recently represented Orchard Bank in condemnation proceedings in San Bernardino Superior Court, obtaining full compensation for the Bank's interest in the condemned property, plus its costs and attorney's fees.
William Tooke obtained summary judgment in favor of large landowner in a "cutting edge" landslide-subsidence lawsuit.
Environmental litigation is not one of the Firm's "specialties." Nevertheless, the Firm's clients have called on us from time to time to assist them in connection with environmental claims.
Thomas Mundell and John Wollman recently defended a landowner in a CERCLA matter in federal court in Santa Ana. Liability was assured, but Messrs. Mundell and Wollman managed to secure insurance coverage for the claims, and the matter settled before trial.
Thomas Mundell is presently representing a nationally known food manufacturer named as a "potentially responsible party" in the Operating Industries Superfund litigation in federal court in Los Angeles.
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