practice areas

business litigation

In today’s climate, it is not uncommon that parties to even the best-intentioned transactions find themselves embroiled in disputes over contracts, directorial duties, fraud, contractual interference, unfair competition, antitrust, misappropriation or other business disputes. We are experienced advocates in prosecuting and defending complex business litigation matters. Our goal is to effectively and expeditiously resolve disputes so that our clients can return to – what they do best – conducting their business.

trust litigation & elder abuse

We represent beneficiaries, trustees and other interested parties in a variety of complex trust litigation matters. These actions often involve challenges to the validity of the trust instrument(s) based upon claims of fraud, undue influence and/or lack of capacity. Our trust litigation practice also includes actions against trustees for claims of trustee misconduct, breach of fiduciary duty, misappropriation of trust assets and other violations of Probate Code section 16000 et. seq. The remedies for these types of actions can and do often result in the removal of the trustee, demands for accountings, and damages.

An unfortunate and growing area of our practice also involves claims arising out of the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act (Welf. & Inst. Code § 15600 et. seq.) These claims involve a broad range of issues including financial elder abuse.

California law defines financial abuse of an elder as, among other things, “the taking” or “assisting in the taking” “of any real or personal property of an elder or dependent adult for a wrongful use or with the intent to defraud or both.” (Welf. & Inst. Code § 15610.30 et. seq.) These actions survive the death of an elder and can result in the imposition of treble damages against a defendant who is found liable of financial elder abuse within the meaning of section 15610.30

ceqa & land use

We have represented a number of real estate developers over the years with respect to navigating California’s Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) as well as planning, zoning and government law. The firm has also advised individuals concerned with the impact of real estate developments on their quality life. Jeffrey Lewis’ legal experience in land use issues has been enhanced by his service as a planning commissioner for the City of Rancho Palos Verdes since 2006. Whether you are contemplating litigation or simply want an advocate to appear on your behalf at a public hearing, contacting a land use attorney early on in the proceedings is essential to achieving a satisfactory result.

anti-SLAPP

California’s Anti-SLAPP statute protects individuals and business who have been unfairly targeted with an expensive lawsuit by a plaintiff seeking to chill the right to free speech and to petition the government for redress. For example, individuals who write a letter to a newspaper editor, complain at a public meeting or report unlawful activity are frequently targeted with lawsuits for defamation and other common torts. California’s Anti-SLAPP law is designed to end such lawsuits quickly and award attorney’s fees to the prevailing defendant. The firm has experience representing filing Anti-SLAPP motions on behalf of unfairly targeted clients at both the trial and appellate levels. The key to a successful Anti-SLAPP motion is to hire an attorney quickly so that an adequate motion can be filed on time.

appellate practice

We routinely represent individuals and businesses in appellate courts throughout Southern California. Jeff Lewis is a certified appellate specialist with the California State Bar Board of Legal Specialization and has been admitted to the United State Supreme Court Bar, the Ninth and Sixth Circuit Courts of Appeal.

Mr. Lewis has handled over fifty appeals in a wide variety of matters including business litigation, probate matters, real estate disputes and criminal law matters. Mr. Lewis is frequently retained by or associates with trial counsel seeking his expertise and “fresh look” at the case on appeal. With over 14 years of experience, Mr. Lewis is adept at identifying successful appellate strategies. As observed by Justice Kenneth R. Yegan in Estate of Kilkison (1998) 65 Cal.App.4th 1443:

“[T]rial attorneys who prosecute their own appeals, such as appellant, may have ‘tunnel vision.’ Having tried the case themselves, they become convinced of the merits of their cause. They may lose objectivity and would be well served by consulting and taking the advice of disinterested members of the bar, schooled in appellate practice.”

A sampling of the firm’s appellate victories may be viewed here.