Litigation

Experience, preparation and efficiency distinguish our litigation practice. At Coblentz, we staff cases leanly and work closely with our clients to find the shortest distance from conflict to resolution, an approach that saves time, saves money, and allows for creative decisions that keep our clients' overall business and personal interests in the forefront.

Our seasoned litigation attorneys have handled thousands of complex cases. Offering both trial and appellate expertise, our business litigation lawyers have worked with many industries—from telecommunications to consumer products, from real estate to the music industry—and in many practice areas, including intellectual property, class actions, employment, and antitrust. We have appeared in virtually every federal and state court in California, and we are frequently retained to handle litigation in other states. We are also retained to try cases that have already been "litigated" by other counsel.

We are experts in litigation, working closely with our clients to develop plans for winning or resolving matters early and at the least possible expense. Our view, though, is that a tolerable peace is often preferable to a good war, and a good settlement is generally better than a trial.

Coblentz is honored to have our practice recognized as a 2012 Go-To Law Firm for Litigation in Corporate Counsel magazine. This honor places Coblentz in an exclusive group of firms recognized for the exceptional counsel they provide to Fortune 500 companies.

Unfair Business Practices & Class Actions

California's unique consumer protection laws permit private plaintiffs to bring sweeping class action and "private attorney general" claims against businesses, and our attorneys have extensive experience in guiding companies through the traps and pitfalls these statutes pose and in defending claims at both the trial and appellate levels.

We are nationally recognized for our work in large-scale class action claims, and we bring that focus and expertise to every case we take on. We have extensive experience in class actions in the cable and telecommunications arena, including landmark cases representing Cox Communication, DISH Network, and Time Warner Cable.

We have defended countless unfair competition claims and numerous false advertising claims asserted under California's Unfair Competition Law (Bus. & Prof. Code Section 17200 et seq.) and California's Consumer Legal Remedies Act, Proposition 65 suits, and California's False Advertising laws, as well as state and federal class actions asserted under similar statutory schemes in more than 20 other states. In a recent case, we defended the largest maker of barbeque grills in a nationwide class action alleging misrepresentation of "Made in America" statements made by our clients; and we obtained a favorable settlement approved by the court.

Our clients also look to our business litigation lawyers for advice about proactive ways to avoid exposure to such claims; to help them seek passage of beneficial industry-wide legislation to mitigate the risk of future claims; and to represent industry associations as amicus curiae in important appeals.

Real Estate

Coblentz has a long and successful history of representing clients in a wide variety of real estate-related litigation, including zoning, development entitlements, and permits disputes; disputes arising out of real property purchase agreements or options; defense of eminent domain actions; property tax challenges; and quiet title actions, including adverse possession, boundary, and easement disputes.

Our real estate litigation group features experienced trial attorneys who represent a broad range of institutional and individual clients, including developers, investors, building owners, commercial tenants, and purchasers and sellers of real property. And because we can draw on the expertise of our related practice groups, we are able to achieve the most favorable outcomes possible for our clients.

Working closely with our real estate partners, we have considerable experience representing clients on a broad range of environmental matters, including cases brought under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), the Clean Water Act, Proposition 65, the Endangered Species Act, CEQA, and other acts and statutes. One of our more notable recent cases was the successful representation of the San Francisco 49ers in a CEQA action concerning their new stadium in Santa Clara. The case was dismissed on demurrer, a ruling that was affirmed by the Court of Appeals that provides detailed guidance to developers and public agencies engaged in negotiations subject to CEQA review.

We also handle a wide variety of commercial office and retail lease disputes, successfully litigating and trying to verdict all types of litigation related to leasing and landlord-tenant relationships. We routinely represent commercial real estate owners, commercial developers, owners of office buildings, shopping center owners, and commercial tenants, providing counsel on everything from day-to-day property management issues to litigating eviction or breach-of-contract actions.

Construction

We represent public and private owners and developers in construction litigation, but because we’ve also handled litigation for construction companies, we understand both sides of the matters our clients present. We use this depth of knowledge to resolve disputes efficiently and effectively guiding our clients to successful outcomes in matters involving construction defects, liens, contract remedies, structural failures, project management, billing disputes and disruption to adjacent properties. We have particular insight into the problems our clients face with the rise in disputes involving delay and scheduling conflicts, disputes that can threaten to derail multimillion-dollar projects.

Because these disputes are factually intensive and involve multiple parties, they often lend themselves to resolution through mediation, arbitration, and other alternative dispute mechanisms, all of which our attorneys are highly skilled in performing. For example, in some cases, all that is required to resolve a dispute is to convene the parties' expert consultants, inspect the site, and develop a plan of repair. In others, intervention by a third party neutral mediator can lead to a compromise solution.

Compromise, however, is not always possible or preferable, and our attorneys have developed substantial experience in the trial of construction disputes, working closely with recognized experts in the fields of geotechnical, mechanical, structural and civil engineering, architecture, and project management.

White Collar Defense & Government Enforcement

Our White Collar Defense and Government Enforcement Practice Group includes two former federal prosecutors (one a past Chief of the Securities Fraud Section at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Francisco), a former Trial Attorney in the Tax Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, a former long-time public defender in San Francisco, and other attorneys with prior government experience. Our lawyers have experience with investigations and cases focused on companies and individuals in a wide variety of complex matters, including securities fraud, financial fraud, insider trading, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, tax fraud, and antitrust violations that can involve multiple jurisdictions and parallel civil and criminal proceedings.

We have extensive trial experience in high-profile cases, but we also understand that convincing the government not to pursue a matter in the first place is the best result. Because we’ve been there both as government attorneys and on behalf of our private clients, we understand how to deal with a variety of enforcement agencies – including the U.S. Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Internal Revenue Service, and many others – to avoid or temper potential enforcement actions. In that regard, we also have conducted internal investigations and advised companies in establishing compliance policies, programs, and training in a range of industries.

We know, however, that enforcement actions are sometimes unavoidable. In those cases, it is important to have experienced counsel who are both willing and able to take your matter to trial. Our attorneys have tried to verdict scores of criminal and civil matters and can bring to bear their extensive experience litigating for and against the government to obtain the best possible outcome in a difficult situation.

Officers & Directors Liability

Coblentz has extensive experience in defending directors and officers against suits by shareholders, creditors, bankruptcy trustees, and others, and in dealing with insurers who issue directors' and officers' insurance policies.

We are particularly skilled in working with directors, most of whom have never been previously involved in litigation, to get them successfully through the case with a minimum of stress and always with the goal of having them make no personal payment towards the ultimate resolution of the case, whether it be a settlement or a jury verdict.

Probate Trust

Our litigators represent individual and institutional fiduciaries, as well as individual and charitable beneficiaries, in a wide range of probate and trust disputes. Because our firm offers a full range of services necessary for estate planning, we are especially well suited to handle probate and trust litigation when disputes arise.

We are sensitive to the raw emotions that often boil to the surface in litigation of these disputes and look for opportunities to create win-win situations for all parties in settlements. We litigate aggressively when that is the most appropriate strategy to achieve our clients' goals.

Bankruptcy & Creditors Rights

Our practice represents commercial lessors, financial institutions, and others in nationwide bankruptcy and insolvency matters. We represent the firm's clients in all aspects of bankruptcy cases and have substantial experience in every type of bankruptcy court litigation, including preference, fraudulent transfer, and non-dischargeability actions.

Outside of bankruptcy court, our attorneys represent clients in a variety of commercial and debtor/creditor matters, including state and federal court litigation, workout negotiations, arbitration proceedings, and more.

Appellate

Our litigators represent clients in both state and federal appellate courts. Our appellate clients have included cable and telecommunications providers, real estate developers, banks, legal professionals, retailers, film and music industry participants, estates, trustees and beneficiaries. We are also retained by industry associations and other clients to file friend-of-the-court briefs on appellate matters of industry-wide importance.

Legislative & Administrative Advocacy

Our attorneys are committed to understanding our clients’ businesses in the context of complex substantive public policy and legal issues they face, and we help them create and deepen relationships with decision-makers so that tactical wins turn into successful strategies.

We have expertise in a wide variety of business sectors, handling legislative matters before elected bodies and quasi-legislative and adjudicative matters before regulatory agencies in jurisdictions ranging from local governments to Sacramento to Washington, D.C.

Because of our unparalleled commitment to using law in the context of public policy advocacy, we have the flexibility to help create public policy strategies that clients implement themselves or to advocate directly on behalf of a client as part of their in-house or extended team of policy professionals.