Business Litigation

Godes & Presis, LLP, Forces Bad Business Partner to Pay for His Fraudulent Conduct in “Business Divorce”

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Godes & Preis, LLP, obtained a seven-figure judgment in a “business divorce” action involving a real estate transaction for a high profile entertainment venue in Los Angeles County. In a classic shell game, our client was fraudulently induced to invest millions of dollars in two real estate transactions and an entertainment venue by someone holding himself out to be a seasoned developer, only to have the money disappear without any demonstrable progress relative to either of the two represented deals.

In a case that lasted several years, Godes & Preis uncovered more than a dozen shell entities that the bad actor used to transfer and hide assets including our client’s investment, and ultimately obtained a multi-million dollar judgment against the bad actor and several of his entities, jointly and severally, under contract and fraud theories.

Leveling the Playing Field for Unfairly Targeted Real Estate Investor

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Godes & Preis, LLP, attorneys were brought in to handle a complex piece of litigation brought against the owner of a multi-unit apartment building in Southern California by the tenants of that building. The client was wrongly accused of being a “slumlord” due to the dangerous conditions present in the building and surrounding neighborhood.

A professional investigation revealed that, in reality, the problems in the building were not being caused by the landlord’s actions, but were directly attributable to uncontrolled criminal gang activity in the neighborhood, made worse by the infestation of criminal elements in the building itself. The client was taking all reasonable actions, but was still being blamed for the crime level. The client felt as though he and his prior counsel had been being bullied by the large national law firm representing the tenants, and was extremely concerned about both the potential of a multi-million dollar damage award and the negative publicity arising from the case. Within weeks, our team leveled the legal playing field and obtained a favorable settlement, saving our client hundreds of thousands of dollars of future legal fees in the process.

Obtaining the Return of Stolen Business in Nasty Business Divorce

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In what proved to be a very complex, contentious and long-running feud between two prominent physician shareholders of a well-known medical group, Godes & Preis, LLP, attorneys were asked to take over the plaintiff physician’s case from a large national law firm, and ultimately obtained a positive settlement on behalf of the client without the necessity of a lengthy and expensive trial.

The defendant, who had been the president of the medical group, had managed to transfer all of the important assets of the corporation into his own name, and planned to completely disenfranchise our client and kick him out onto the street. The scheme was uncovered before it was completed, and our client filed a lawsuit against the defendant and his co-conspirators. The defendants filed cross-claims against our client as well.

Our team was able to obtain summary judgment on the defendant’s cross-claims on a novel and complex health care issue, which ultimately forced a settlement favorable to our client. As with many of our business divorce cases, our vigorous defense of this client included dealing with complex issues of fraud, accounting, corporate governance, shareholders’ rights and real estate, among many others.

GAP Lawyers Knock Abusive Plaintiff Out Early Using Anti-Slap Statute

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After a husband became dissatisfied with how his divorce proceedings were coming along in family court, he decided to obtain unfair leverage and to further harass his wife and her family law attorneys with a frivolous civil lawsuit, alleging various emotional abuses and impropriety on the part of his wife. In representing her and her family law counsel in her civil case, Godes & Preis, LLP, aggressively repelled the husband’s legal attack and successfully petitioned the Court to strike and dismiss the entire lawsuit while it was still in the early, pleading stage. This success also entitled our clients to petition the Court to recover their legal fees as a result of the plaintiff’s filing of the frivolous civil suit.

Employment Litigation

Godes & Preis, LLP, Obtains Defense Verdict on Age Claims Brought by 56-Year-Old, Long-Term Employee Terminated for Misconduct

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Godes & Preis, LLP, successfully defended a large acute care hospital against an age discrimination and breach of contract lawsuit brought by a 56-year-old nurse that had been employed by the hospital for approximately 28 years before she was terminated for harassing another employee. Despite the difficulty inherent in defending the termination of such a long-term employee, following a multiple week trial, Godes & Preis, LLP, attorneys obtained judgment from the Court on the plaintiff’s contract claims and obtained an 11-1 jury verdict on the plaintiff’s age-related claims. Despite claiming millions of dollars in damages, plaintiff took nothing by way of her lawsuit, and our client was awarded its costs.

Repelling an Attempted Shakedown by Ex-Employee

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Following 18 plus months of scorched earth litigation by a disgruntled former employee seeking millions from her employer and three individual managers, including her supervisor, regional supervisor and company president, Godes & Preis, LLP, attorneys obtained a defense verdict following a multi-week jury trial in the Los Angeles Superior Court. The former employer, a large national transportation company, and the three individual defendants were accused of creating a hostile work environment, sex discrimination and retaliation. We were able to persuade the Court to dismiss the regional supervisor and company president from the case before trial, and our team ultimately obtained a 12-0 defense verdict on behalf of the remaining supervisor at trial.

Although the plaintiff pleaded with the jury to award over $22,000,000 in compensatory and emotional distress damages against the company, the jury returned a compromise verdict of only $45,000, a mere .2 percent of what the plaintiff had demanded. Our team then successfully defeated a flurry of post trial motions, including motions for reconsideration and new trial, and actually obtained cost awards against the plaintiff on behalf of the individual managers.

GAP Forced the Dismissals of Two Separate Lawsuits Filed by a Pro Per

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Godes & Preis, LLP, forced the dismissals of two separate lawsuits filed by a pro per litigant against his former employer. Angered by his lawful termination for sending salacious and harassing correspondence to a co-worker, the employee initially filed suit against the co-worker alone for intentional infliction of emotional distress, intentional interference with prospective economic advantage and slander per se. He later filed a second lawsuit against the entire company alleging sexual harassment, failure to prevent sexual harassment and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Through strategic law and motion and discovery tools utilized in both suits, in a matter of months the Godes & Preis, LLP, team backed the plaintiff into a corner with no choice but to dismiss both sham lawsuits. The first lawsuit was dismissed in the face of the plaintiff’s fourth court-ordered deposition and the threat of terminating sanctions, while the second was dismissed by the plaintiff in an effort to avoid being declared a vexatious litigant, which would have, among other things, restricted his ability to file any litigation in the future.

Criminal Law/Law of Armed Conflict/Criminal Law

Defending a Marine’s Honor

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Godes & Preis, LLP, attorneys were part of the “Marine Dream Team” who defended through acquittal Marine Sgt. Jose L. Nazario, Jr., in our Nation’s first ever civilian prosecution of a Marine for actions in combat in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in August of 2008.

Nazario was prosecuted under the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act (MEJA), a statute enacted into law in 2000, which purports to extend Federal jurisdiction over service members and defense contractors for acts occurring anywhere outside of the territorial limits of the United States. Nazario was a squad leader of Marines during the battle of Fallujah in November 2004. He was accused of killing enemy insurgents in a house several hours into the first day of the battle, shortly after one of his squad-mates was killed by enemy fire originating from the house in question.

The prosecution was unable to identify any victims, was unable to produce any physical evidence and was unable to call a single eye witness who could or would testify against Nazario. Nonetheless, the Government was unwilling to dismiss the case and proceeded to destroy Nazario’s professional life notwithstanding the acquittal. At the time of his arrest, Nazario was out of the Marine Corps and working as a police officer in the City of Riverside, California. He was terminated at the time of his arrest and despite repeated promises that he would be rehired if acquitted, Riverside has refused to do so.

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