Members of EMK – both attorneys and non-attorneys – are proactive supporters of the communities in which they live, and are active in leading, volunteering and donating to various non-profit and charitable organizations. Keeping with a long tradition, EMK was recently a gold sponsor donor in the annual Nordby Golf Invitational benefiting the Salvation Army in Santa Rosa, California.
Fraud and Breach of Contract Recovery
Superior Court - May 2015
Ryan Meyer and Patrick Cronican recently resolved a lengthy contract battle on behalf of the Firm’s client. After successfully obtaining a judgment in Superior Court based on both fraud and breach of contract, the judgment debtor filed for bankruptcy protection. The Firm prosecuted an adversary proceeding against the judgment debtor and was able to negotiate a very favorable settlement on the client’s behalf, while still preserving the client’s right to a pro-rata share of the assets liquidated in bankruptcy. Through aggressive but reasonable advocacy, and despite the challenges posed by potential bankruptcy protections, the client was still able to be made almost entirely whole on its damages, without incurring significant attorneys’ fees and costs.
Breach of Contract Action
Ben Koegel and Patrick Cronican recently secured the dismissal with prejudice of a breach of contract action brought by an investor against the alleged founder of a retail pet product company. Following several challenges to the unique allegations within the complaint, the Court held that the plaintiff failed to allege facts sufficient to allow the case to move forward, effectively ending what could have been lengthy and protracted litigation at a very early stage of the case.
As part of the Firm’s dedication to local causes, the Firm recently sponsored a group at the Positive Coaching Alliance Tournament, a national non-profit organization with the mission to transform the culture of youth sports so that youth athletes can have a positive, character-building experience. The Firm also recently sponsored a group and routinely makes significant donations to two annual Sacramento SPCA fundraising events.
Discovery Builders, Inc. v. DeSilva Gates Construction, LP
Breach of Contract - July 2014
Joseph ElGuindy and Ryan Meyer successfully arbitrated a breach of contract claim on behalf of one of the firm’s developer clients against its general contractor, after the client settled an underlying wrongful death claim tied, at least indirectly, to the work performed by the general contractor. The firm’s client had quickly investigated and resolved the wrongful death claim and then sought to be indemnified by the general contractor (who refused to offer anything above a nuisance value settlement). The general contractor argued that the accident leading to the wrongful death claim was not connected to its work and was instead the responsibility of the developer, and further challenged the legitimacy of the underlying settlement. After a week-long arbitration (conducted without the benefit of discovery), the Arbitrator found in favor of the firm’s client, awarding the client more than $500,000 (every penny of damages requested including pre-award interest), and further found that the client was the prevailing party and thus entitled to reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs.
Biama v. Brown
Fraud Arbitration - July 2014
On behalf of the Claimant, Joseph ElGuindy and Ryan Meyer successfully arbitrated a fraud and breach of contract case between adjoining landowners. The firm’s client had loaned hundreds of thousands of dollars to his neighbor (who owned the adjacent winery and vineyard) after purchasing his property from the neighbor (a 10 acre vineyard property). Upon demand for clear title to the property and reimbursement of all prior personal loans, the neighbor refused to pay and allowed a lingering lien on the property sold to the client to go into foreclosure – putting the firm’s client at risk of losing the property entirely. The neighbor argued that all loans had been forgiven and that the property was knowingly transferred with a remaining encumbrance. The neighbor further argued that the relationship between the parties was that of a joint venture, not a traditional buyer-seller, thus erasing any obligations owed to the client. After a week-long arbitration before the Honorable Justice Morrison (ret.), the Arbitrator not only found in favor of the firm’s client on the breach of contract claim, he also found that the neighbor had committed fraud in selling the property to the client without clear title. After prevailing on the merits of the claim, the firm further prevailed on a creative attorneys’ fees argument (in the absence of any written agreements at all) and on its request for all pre-award interest. The end result was an award totaling more than a half of a million dollars and resolving years of disputes between the parties on grounds entirely favorable to the firm’s client.