A sampling of the types of litigation matters Mr. Augustini has handled includes:
Litigation Involving Fraud, Misappropriation, Breach of Fiduciary Duty, Tortious Interference and Business Torts
Represented a company that purchases, renovates and resells residential properties in a lawsuit filed against it by 13 tenants of a property the client purchased in an “REO” transaction with a bank without any knowledge that the 13 Plaintiffs lived there. The Plaintiffs – who were represented by a law firm dedicated to representing tenants against landlords and whose motto is “If the landlord wants a fight, we will give the landlord a fight” -- claimed the client had improperly permitted nuisance and/or substandard conditions to exist at the Property, had breached the implied warranty of habitability by failing to repair the property, had acted negligently towards them, and also claimed entitlement to nearly $150,000 in “relocation fees” due to alleged substandard conditions – conditions that had existed for more than a decade prior to the client’s ownership. After getting the relocation fee and nuisance claims dismissed (and the accompanying requests for punitive damages), the parties engaged in a two-week jury trial which included testimony from 19 witnesses (including experts) and the presentation of more than 100 exhibits. On July 14, 2014, the jury returned a 12-0 defense verdictin favor of our client.
After prevailing in the Palomino litigation (see above), we next represented REME as the plaintiff in a fraud suit filed against the Bank that originally sold REME the Property for $194,500 in 2012, and the real estate broker/agent who represented the Bank in the sales transaction. After engaging in extensive written discovery, deposing more than a dozen witnesses in California and Texas, countering an onslaught of discovery motions filed by the Bank, and after defeating the Bank’s summary judgment motion, the matter settled on the eve of trial with the defendants collectively paying REME $2.75 million in early January 2016.
Represented a home healthcare company in an arbitration proceeding in Arizona arising from a former Texas employee’s breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, theft of confidential business information for use in a competing business he formed and improper solicitation of the client’s patients and employees. Following a multi-day arbitration, the arbitrator awarded the client approximately $275,000.
Served as co-counsel representing a manufacturer of wire mesh and steel products in a multi-party action brought by the client against several defendants over the disposition by a senior secured creditor of nail manufacturing equipment in which the client also held a perfected secured interest. The suit, in which the client asserted claims for violations of the California Commercial Code, fraud, conspiracy, conversion, tortious interference and unfair business practices, was resolved via a seven figure settlement on the eve of trial.
Represented a real estate agent named as one of multiple defendants in two related federal actions brought by a mortgage lender and a Court-appointed Receiver in which the plaintiffs claimed the client and other defendants conspired with the masterminds of the scheme (both of whom were in federal prison) to commit large-scale mortgage fraud in the upscale West Los Angeles area. After extensive and contentious pre-trial litigation, which required more than 30 days of depositions including depositions of federal prisoners, both matters were resolved on terms that were extremely favorable to the client.
Represented a high profile individual in connection with a state court appeal from a judgment rendered in his favor after a three week jury trial and subsequent bench trial relating to the commercial sale of civilian helicopters (Mr. Augustini also was on the defense team that represented the client at trial). In connection with the appeal, the appellate court upheld the trial court’s pre-trial dismissal of all business tort claims, including fraud and breach of fiduciary duty claims against the client, and further upheld the trial court’s entry of judgment in favor of the client on his numerous cross-complaint claims.
Represented an Orange County-based skincare company in the defense of a case brought in the Southern District of Florida for trade secret misappropriation, tortious interference, unfair business practices, and patent/trademark infringement. Shortly after successfully moving to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction and improper venue in Florida, the matter was settled on favorable terms.
Represented an Orange County advertising agency in defending an action alleging that it engaged in trade secret misappropriation, tortious interference and conversion by implementing an advertising campaign that a pen company allegedly had stolen previously from the plaintiff. After successfully demurring (with leave to amend), we took the deposition of the plaintiff who was forced to admit he had no facts to support any of the claims asserted against the client. Shortly after the deposition and the filing of our second demurrer, the plaintiff dismissed the action against the client with prejudice, and without the payment of any money. At trial, Plaintiff obtained a verdict against Pentel (which was notrepresented by GNA) for more than $32 million.
Represented a national mortgage lender in state court litigation and related arbitration proceedings in a derivative action brought by former officers of the company. The case was dismissed when the Court, after several prior successful demurrers, ultimately sustained our demurrer to all counts without further leave to amend.
Represented a California company in a complex, multi-party, $100 million lawsuit alleging, among other things, breach of contract, conspiracy to defraud, trade secret misappropriation and B&P Code 17200 violations. The case was resolved favorably after we filed several successful motions in limine to exclude certain evidence and arguments and for a legal interpretation of the underlying contract.
Represented an electrical services company in an action it brought against a former employee for breach of employment agreement, trade secret misappropriation, violations of B&P Code 17200, business slander and tortious interference. The matter was settled after we obtained summary adjudication on most of the defendants’ cross-complaint claims, and the defendants’ summary judgment motion against the client was denied in its entirety.
Represented numerous directors of a Newport Beach homeowners’ association against claims of breach of fiduciary duty and negligence brought by a group of adverse board members and homeowners (Mr. Augustini also has represented numerous homeowners in disputes with medium-large sized HOAs throughout Orange County, and also has represented numerous executives and board members in connection with corporate governance disputes). Among other things, we successfully defeated the plaintiff’s efforts to invalidate the appointment to the homeowners’ board of one of the clients.
Represented a former officer and director in connection in connection with a cross-complaint for breach of contract, fraud, and unfair business practices. The cross-defendant filed for voluntary bankruptcy protection on the eve of trial to avoid an adverse trial result.
Successfully opposed a petition for writ of mandate which challenged a court’s adverse ruling on personal jurisdiction and venue, and subsequently represented the client in the underlying action for fraud, unfair business practices, conspiracy, promissory fraud and breach of contract arising out of the purchase of a thoroughbred race horse. This case was resolved favorably on the eve of trial.
Other Commercial/Business Litigation and Breach of Contract Cases
Represented a tenant in a commercial lease dispute where the landlord improperly retained a security deposit and advanced rental payments totaling $108,000 from the tenatnt after the lease under its own terms was rendered null and void. We successfully obtained summary judgment against the landlord for the full amount of the unreturned deposit payments, and collected $170,000 from the landlord on the judgment.
Acted as co-counsel for a commercial hotel in a federal lawsuit filed against the City of Los Angeles over a determination by the City that the hotel was a “residential hotel” under certain restrictive city ordinances, which potentially prevented its ability to function as a commercial hotel. After extensive litigation and several administrative hearings, the matter was settled and the case was dismissed.
Represented a large energy company in various commercial and contractual disputes in state and federal court litigation in California, Illinois, and Nevada, including a contractual dispute where plaintiffs sought damages of over $1 billion.
Represented a network marketing company in federal and state court litigation in California and Indiana in connection with a complex, multi-party lawsuit alleging claims for, among other things, breach of contract, trade secret misappropriation, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty and unfair business practices;
Represented a national pharmaceutical/medical device manufacturer in state court litigation arising from claims of breach of contract for failure to pay proper royalties on patented device designs;
Represented multiple plaintiffs and defendants in actions for breach of employment agreements, theft of trade secrets, unfair competition (17200), tortious interference and injunctive relief;
Represented retail franchisees in breach of contract actions brought by franchisors; and
Represented numerous tenants in disputes with commercial landlords.
Represented board members and executives in corporate governance disputes in both small (start-up) and mid-sized companies.
Irvine CA 92618
Phone: (949) 336-7847 Jeff@augustinilaw.com
9160 Irvine Center Drive, Suite 200
Law Office of Jeff Augustini