Smith & Myers handles a variety of litigation matters. We assist our individual and corporate clients through the difficult world of state and federal court litigation. Our goal is to help our clients resolve their legal disputes within the framework of their personal and/or professional objectives and needs. We have expertise litigating numerous areas of law, including employment lawsuits, trust and probate matters, construction disputes, contract claims, and business and corporate disputes. We are experienced in all aspects of the litigation and dispute resolution process – litigation in court, trial, mediation, arbitration, and post-trial appeals – and aggressively pursue our clients’ interests without losing sight of the overall objective and common sense.
We work closely with our clients to provide the most effective and appropriate representation in a wide variety of situations and to obtain the best result in a cost-efficient manner. We always keep in mind the larger context in which a legal dispute may have occurred and focus on, what does our client want, and what is the best way to achieve that goal?
Trust and Probate Litigation
Smith & Myers is experienced in handling all types of litigation relating to probate and trusts. We act as counsel to one of the largest Catholic dioceses in the country – the Archdiocese of Los Angeles – and in doing so represent the Roman Catholic Archbishop, Catholic Charities, and St. John’s Seminary in a wide variety of litigation. We have also handled litigation on behalf of Trustees, beneficiaries, probate estates, creditors and fiduciaries involving trust interpretation, no-contest clauses, undue influence, care custodian restrictions on transfer, and elder abuse.
Representative cases include:
|●||Representing a major California University in multi-million dollar trust litigation. The Trustee contended the version of the trust granting a one-third interest to the University was fraudulent and should be voided. We aggressively challenged the fraud claim and ultimately settled for the entire amount of the gift plus an additional amount to offset costs and fees.|
|●||Successful summary judgment defeating a surviving spouse’s claim on the trust of her deceased husband based on the one-year-after-death limitations bar to all claims including alimony and support.|
|●||Successful mediation to receive a six-figure gift for a beneficiary whose claim was challenged as wiped out by a series of 11 trust amendments that resulted in conflicting distribution plans and involved the deceased’s state of mind when preparing the amendments, undue influence claims, and challenges to the validity and enforceability of the amendments.|
Business litigation disputes include those involving public and closely-held corporations, general and limited partnerships, sole proprietorships, professionals and individuals. These matters have involved many diverse claims, including breach of contract, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, fraudulent transfer of assets, tortious interference with contract and prospective economic advantage, partnership disputes and dissolutions, and negligence.
Smith & Myers’ business transaction/litigation experience includes:
|●||Successful summary judgment defense in a multi-million dollar film financing litigation involving major studios and London-backed film financing insurance on business tort claims including negligent interference with prospective economic advantage and intentional interference with contract.|
|●||Successful trial defense of a national armored car company overcoming the presumption of common carrier liability to receive a full defense verdict.|
|●||Favorably settled business partnership disputes involving provisional directorships, transfer of shares in a privately owned company and compensation for breach of a majority-owner’s duties of loyalty and good faith to the minority shareholders.|
|●||Successful mediated settlement of multiple litigations involving non-compete restrictions on a party’s use of confidential information to establish a competing enterprise.|
Employment litigation includes defending claims for wrongful termination, harassment and discrimination in state and federal court, as well as in alternative dispute forums such as mediation and arbitration. They are often resolved through mediation, but sometimes culminate in binding arbitration or a jury or bench trial. Those trials enable us to better advise clients early in the litigation process about settlement and the intricacies of a trial, should one be required.
Smith & Myers’ employment litigation experience includes:
|●||We have successfully defended clients at trial and in binding arbitration against harassment, retaliation, discrimination and defamation claims brought in connection with wrongful termination lawsuits.|
|●||We have ended numerous employment lawsuits early by successfully obtaining summary judgment of all claims against our client.|
|●||We have achieved favorable resolutions of numerous wage and hour disputes before the Labor Commissioner regarding overtime, rest period and wage claims.|
|●||We have obtained numerous successfully-mediated settlements of employment claims.|
Insurance Coverage Litigation
Smith & Myers’ insurance coverage litigation practice involves representing its clients in state and federal court lawsuits arising out of a dispute over insurance coverage. Most insurance coverage claims do not lead to litigation, but some do. Smith & Myers has represented clients in numerous declaratory relief actions.
Smith & Myers’ insurance coverage litigation experience includes:
|●||We have represented numerous developers seeking a defense and indemnity from their liability insurer in response to construction defect lawsuits.|
|●||We have represented clients seeking coverage under their D&O and E&O policies.|
|●||We have represented clients seeking coverage under their homeowners and auto insurance policies.|
|●||We have represented clients seeking coverage for unfair competition, false advertising, trademark infringement, and unfair business practices claims asserted against them.|