Sommers & Schwartz LLP

Representative Cases - archive

Experience.  Effective. Determined.

Representative Cases


S&S successfully defended a group of San Diego financial advisors with books of business of $640 million, who moved their clients to a new broker-dealer against claims that they had stolen trade secrets in the form of client data from the firm they had left.  The case involved extensive examination of the independent broker-dealer industry, and generated a Court of Appeals decision holding that client data that is routinely shared with third parties (e.g. broker-dealers and investment product providers) cannot be a trade secret under California law.  The case settled after S&S won a three-week trial to the court based on this trade secret issue.

Defense of civil RICO action for small crab wholesaler centering on the breaking of a crabber’s strike by a large operator.  Favorable settlement obtained prior to trial in the U.S. District Court, San Francisco, CA.

S&S represented tenants of a local Housing Authority which violated the Federal Housing Act by overcharging tenants, assessing impermissible charges, wrongfully commencing eviction proceedings and failing to provide a legally required grievance process.  Action forced overhaul of Housing Authority practices and settlement included injunction against unlawful practices and significant class-wide refunds

Corporate control dispute over caviar farming company for company founders.  The case involved multiple parties and ongoing injunctive relief claims, takeover advice and corporate governance issues.  A derivative/injunction action action on behalf of the corporation before the U.S. District Court, San Francisco, CA.  was settled, returning the founders to management of the firm.

In a second matter, the firm’s representation of a founder of a winery blocked an attempt by a membership group to discharge one of its founders as managing member and forced a limited liability company to provide a $3 MM+  settlement to the founder in return for his agreement to leave the firm; client swiftly formed a new, successful winery.

Copyright infringement suit for Plaintiff in U.S. District Court in San Jose, California by a company selling network middleware which accused a major client of over-installing multiple copies of the product beyond the terms of the license.  The case involved complex issues of software development and systems analysis and resolved with a large copyright settlement payout for Plaintiff after summary judgment was secured by the firm.  Obtained a $3.75 million settlement thereafter.

Wrongful termination claim by Senior VP of Sales for closely-held medical device company based on twenty years of work building company.  The case, tried to a Santa Cruz jury, involved reconstructing the sales and economic history for the company to support the client’s salary, commission and bonus claims.  High six-figure Plaintiff’s verdict after three-week trial, State Court, Santa Cruz, CA.

Russian Orthodox nunnery seeking to secede from the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad sought help to retain church property in the face of central church claims of diocesan supremacy.  The case, joint-ventured with the Michael Bassi Law Firm, required translation of over 70,000 Russian documents and focused on First Amendment issues of church secession, schism and the corporate structure of the church, diocese and nunnery.  Case settled favorably after three days of trial in State Court, San Francisco, CA.

Breach of contract for failure to close corporate asset sale involving large manufacturing business.  Significant six-figure settlement obtained for investment banker through judicial mediation in State Court, Napa, CA.

Defense of National Research Institute under VA and University of California at San Francisco on a patient’s rights claim brought against Institute and University doctors  by AIDS patients alleging the failure of consent procedures in a drug testing study.  Motion to dismiss claim against Research Institute granted by U.S. District Court in San Francisco, CA.

Tried suit for inventors of helicopter filter technology -- permitting use in difficult environments and dramatically extending engine life -- against business partner seeking to misappropriate their intellectual property and partnership rights.  Obtained a $6.2 million settlement following trial on ownership of intellectual property rights in the Marin County Superior Court.