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Professional Negligence – Breach of Contract Lawyers Orange County, CA

Daily Journal Verdicts & Settlements

July 24, 2009

Professional Negligence

Breach of Contract

VERDICT: $6,007,568.

CASE/NUMBER: ReadyLink Healthcare, Inc., et al. v. Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP / BC358971.

COURT/DATE: Los Angeles Superior Central / July 1, 2009.

JUDGE: Hon. Gregory W. Alarcon.

ATTORNEYS: Plaintiff – Gerald A. Klein (Klein & Wilson, Newport Beach).

Defendant – Douglas M. Butz, Beth Dunn, Rachael Campbell (Butz, Dunn & DeSantis, San Diego).

TECHNICAL EXPERTS: Plaintiff – Kenneth Alexander, statistician, Los Angeles; Jack Lyons, business broker, Norwalk, Conn.; Thomas E. Pastore, economics, Los Angeles; Robert K. Sall, Esq., legal ethics, Laguna Beach; Gary A. Waldron, Esq., billing and legal malpractice, Newport Beach.

Defendant – Randall Kay, Esq., billing and legal malpractice, San Diego; Charles Bird, Esq., legal malpractice, San Diego; Stanley Lamport, Esq., legal ethics, Los Angeles; Ryan Sullivan, economics, San Diego.

FACTS: Defendant represented plaintiff in two cases involving theft of trade secrets. Plaintiff believed it needed an expert in trade secrets litigation and defendant represented to plaintiff that it had trade secrets expertise. As part of its legal strategy, defendant advised plaintiff to file two lawsuits against opposing counsel in one of the cases it was handling. One of those cases was dismissed on a motion to dismiss. Much of the second case was dismissed on a SLAPP motion, and what was left in that action could not be proved. Plaintiff wound up paying substantial attorneys’ fees on the cases against opposing counsel. One of the two remaining trade secrets matters proceeded to trial and was lost at trial on all claims. The last case was transferred to new counsel who settled the case for a fraction of the attorneys’ fees defendant charged.

Plaintiff sued defendant alleging malpractice and breach of contract. Defendant cross-complained for failure to pay attorneys’ fees.

PLAINTIFF’S CONTENTIONS: Plaintiff contended that it fell below the standard of care for defendant to advise plaintiff to file two actions against opposing counsel. Plaintiff asserted that defendant lost one case at trial because it assigned an attorney to handle a trade secrets case who had no experience in handling a business case, and that the trial presentation fell below the standard of care. Plaintiff also contended defendant overcharged on all of the matters.

DEFENDANT’S CONTENTIONS: Defendant contended that it handled each of the cases appropriately and simply carried out its client’s request to litigate aggressively. Defendant contended its client wrongfully failed to pay attorneys’ fees.

JURY TRIAL: Length, two months. Deliberation, two days.

SETTLEMENT DISCUSSIONS: No offers or demands from either side.

RESULT: Plaintiff’s verdict on the malpractice and breach of contract claim in the amount of $6,007,568, plus interest and attorneys’ fees (pending).

Plaintiff/cross-defendant also prevailed on the cross-complaint.