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 at the forefront.

Our seasoned litigation partners have handled thousands of complex cases. Offering both trial and appellate experience, our attorneys have worked across 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 in state and federal courts throughout the country.

We have significant experience in litigation, working closely with our clients to develop plans for winning or resolving matters early and at the least possible expense. Our clients trust us to develop creative, practical solutions to their disputes.

Coblentz is consistently named among the “Best Law Firms” for Commercial Litigation by U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers. We are honored to have our practice recognized in BTI Consulting Group’s Client Service A-Team 2018, where corporate counsel ranked Coblentz in the top firms nationally for client service excellence. We are recognized in the top 15% of all law firms for commercial litigation and class actions in the BTI Litigation Outlook 2018. Richard Patch has also been named among the best litigators for client service by corporate counsel in the BTI Client Service All-Stars list. The practice has been named a 2012 Go-To Law Firm for Litigation in Corporate Counsel magazine, placing Coblentz in an exclusive group of firms recognized for the exceptional counsel they provide to Fortune 500 companies.

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.

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

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

California’s unique consumer protection laws permit private plaintiffs to bring sweeping class action 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 deep experience to every case we take on.

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.

Our clients also look to us 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.

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. 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.

Data breaches can occur in every company, in every industry. As a result, everyone needs to be prepared to respond. Our attorneys assist in preparing for, and responding to, such incidents to manage the risks associated with the electronic collection, storage, and use of information. We represent clients in industries including technology, financial services, hospitality, food and beverage, and advertising and creative services.

Our team includes both experienced corporate attorneys and seasoned litigators who advise on data privacy and cybersecurity matters, including developing or reviewing privacy provisions in merger and acquisitions agreements and vendor contracts, developing data breach response plans, preparing responses and assisting when data breaches occur, and developing privacy policies for websites and applications. Our litigators assist with ensuring regulatory compliance and responding to lawsuits when necessary.

When workplace issues progress to litigation, we are prepared to provide vigorous yet cost-effective representation to our clients. Our litigators have defended virtually every kind of employment case, including class actions, collective actions, and public enforcement proceedings brought in every kind of forum.

Our experience includes defense of wage and hour class actions, FLSA collective actions, class and individual discrimination and harassment actions under state and federal laws, whistleblowing and retaliation claims, as well as privacy and fraud-based claims.

Employers look to us to resolve claims arising from a range of employee misconduct, including misuse of company property, theft of trade secrets, unfair competition, workplace violence and stalking, trade libel, breach of fiduciary duty, violations of nondisclosure agreements, and embezzlement.

We have experience with enforcing clients’ rights in technologies, media and content, including issues involving the Internet, domain name enforcement, ownership and infringement of website content, reverse engineering, rights in databases and other digital content, publishing and licensing rights agreements, merchandising rights, and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Our firm has built a national reputation for its successful litigation for the music industry, and being in the epicenter of the Internet revolution, has been a leader in matters involving music and the Internet. We’ve helped to vindicate the intellectual property rights of artists, record companies, music publishers, performing rights organizations, and other content owners in the constantly evolving environment of file sharing and peer-to-peer technologies.

Our trademark infringement, dilution, unfair competition, trade dress and trade secret litigation experience includes having successfully litigated such cases on behalf of clients in a wide range of industries, before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board and in federal court. Our team has handled matters for plaintiffs and defendants, including litigating and negotiating to resolution opposition and cancellation proceedings before the United States and foreign trademark offices, and domain name enforcement actions before the World Intellectual Property Organization.

Coblentz has a long and successful history of representing clients in 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 trial attorneys represent a broad range of institutional and individual clients, including developers, investors, building owners, commercial tenants, and purchasers and sellers of real property.

We have considerable experience representing clients in 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, California Environmental Quality 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 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.

Our litigators represent individual and institutional fiduciaries, as well as individual and charitable beneficiaries, in a 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.

Our White Collar Defense and Investigations group includes three former federal prosecutors (a past Chief of the Securities Fraud Section at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California and two Assistant United States Attorneys for the Southern District of California), 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, including at the California Attorney General’s office. 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 regularly defend directors and officers against suits by shareholders, creditors, bankruptcy trustees, and others.

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 a matter to trial. Our attorneys have tried to verdict scores of criminal and civil matters and have extensive experience litigating for and against the government to obtain the best possible outcome in a difficult situation.