Litigation

Litigation is the lifeblood of the McManis Faulkner firm. Advocacy is what we have to offer, and good advocacy benefits any kind of case. That is our belief, and one of the reasons for our success.

Each firm lawyer brings knowledge of and experience in specific areas of practice; however, few of us would describe our professional accomplishments by pointing to one or two of these areas. Rather, we think of ourselves as generalists—trial lawyers, not litigators. And, there are few California firms that have the breadth of experience that McManis Faulkner brings to a case.

We have appeared in court in almost every kind of civil and criminal dispute, and tried a significant number of them to verdict and judgment. Whether the case is a high stakes criminal prosecution, a complex civil case, or a bitter divorce, the firm’s clients enjoy an advantage when represented by a McManis Faulkner lawyer.


Case Studies

Litigation Case Studies

MF Obtains Unanimous Jury Verdict

Result:
Unanimous jury verdict in favor of defendant

Client:
Feld Entertainment, Inc., a privately-held company that owns and operates the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.

Overview:

The firm represented the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in an action brought  by two long time, self-proclaimed animal rights activists in  the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.  The activists had a long history of litigating against public entities and private arenas where the circus performs.  They claim civil rights violations and typically their litigation efforts end in private settlements.  However, in this instance when the activists directly sued the circus, the firm was successful in severely cutting out plaintiffs’ claims through dispositive motions, so that only two claims went to trial.  Plaintiffs alleged their efforts to videotape circus activities were interfered with. The circus argued that there was no interference and that much of plaintiffs’ videotaping efforts were directed to an area that had previously been adjudicated to be a “non-public forum” where plaintiffs did not have permission to videotape.  After nearly two weeks of trial, the matter was submitted to the jury, which returned (in just over an hour) a unanimous verdict in favor of the circus.




McManis Faulkner Obtains Ninth Circuit Ruling

Result:
U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned District Court decision.

Client:
Rahinah Ibrahim, a Stanford graduate student from Malaysia

Overview:

McManis Faulkner successfully represented Rahinah Ibrahim, a Stanford graduate student, who found herself inexplicably on the No-Fly List. Ibrahim was arrested at San Francisco International Airport in 2005 before being allowed to fly to her native Malaysia for an academic conference. She was not allowed to return to the U.S. due to her ‘No-Fly’ List status.

Filing in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, government lawyers argued that with the passage of 49 USC Section 46110 by Congress, federal judges had no jurisdiction over the Department of Homeland Security’s Transportation Security Administration (TSA). As such, only appellate courts have jurisdiction over such cases, making them impossible to litigate because appellate courts cannot take evidence and had no lower court decision – complete with evidence – to review and reconsider.

In a decided victory, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed to allow federal trial judges to investigate the make-up of the ‘No-Fly’ List. The court held that the Terrorist Screening Center, the agency that compiles the list, is part of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which is not listed in 49 USC Section 46110.

McManis Faulkner then filed a suit in U.S. District Court to have Ibrahim's name removed; however, Judge William Alsup dismissed the suit. He ruled that Ibrahim had no constitutional rights at stake because she was a foreigner who had left the U.S. voluntarily.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the District Court decision, ruling that Ibrahim had significant U.S. connections - she had spent four years as a graduate student at Stanford, traveled abroad only to present her research at a Stanford-sponsored conference, and would have returned for academic and personal visits if the government hadn't barred her.




Breach of Contract, Defamation, Trade Secret Misappropriation

Result:
Confidential settlement and entry of stipulated judgment for $86 million.

Client:
Silicon Valley Company

Overview:

The firm represented a prominent Silicon Valley company in a debt collection action in Santa Cruz County against a subsidiary and guarantor of company’s former largest distributor. The Santa Cruz case was one of many pending worldwide between the parties. In the Santa Cruz case, the distributor filed numerous counterclaims, including breach of contract, defamation and misappropriation of trade secrets. Within one year of service of the company’s complaint, the parties entered into a confidential settlement that included a stipulated judgment for $86 million in the company’s favor.




Real Estate Partnership Buyout

Result:
Arbitration award of $15 million and client obtained control of $265 million from partners.

Client:
Major Real Estate Developer

Overview:

In a partnership dispute involving parties who had developed a 1,000 apartment complex and multiple mobile home parks, McManis Faulkner obtained an arbitration award for the clients against their opponents for $15 million on a defaulted loan and positioned the case so the clients could buyout their partners in the projects, which had a total value of $265 million at the dissolution of the partnership.




Commercial Lease Litigation

Result:
After filing suit, obtained agreement from client’s former landlord to refund $1.5 million in disputed overpaid rent.

Client:
International Public Company

Overview:

An international high technology company mistakenly overpaid rent on its large Silicon Valley office and research center to a national property owner. After vacating the property, the client discovered the overpayment that had occurred for several years. The property owner asserted that the rent was properly paid, under a disputed interpretation of the lease. McManis Faulkner filed suit on behalf of the client but moved the matter quickly into mediation to obtain a favorable result with minimal cost to the client. The case was effectively and efficiently resolved at mediation to the client’s satisfaction, with payment by the adverse party of $1.5 million in refunded rent.




Trade Secrets

Result:
A well-known bank settled prior to start of trial.

Client:
Software Engineer

Overview:

A Silicon Valley company sued its former employee and his new employer, a well-known bank, in Santa Clara County Superior Court for misappropriation of trade secrets. The company alleged the client had stolen software code and provided it to his new employer. Although the client’s case—for various procedural reasons—did not proceed to trial, the matter involving the bank did proceed and resulted in a defense verdict and an attorney’s fees award against the company.

Soon after the state court jury ruled in favor of the bank, the company, along with another, sued the client and the bank in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California alleging copyright infringement. The copyrights at issue were those also involved in the trade secret case. McManis Faulkner represented the client in both the state and federal cases.

The federal case was a contentious one, involving extensive discovery, multiple plaintiff depositions, retaining and deposing experts, and many discovery motions. The parties began to get ready for trial—preparing exhibits, exchanging witness lists, drafting trial briefs and motions in limine, and outlining opening statements. Approximately one week prior to the start of trial, the Sixth District Court of Appeal affirmed the earlier state court verdict and attorney’s fees award, which assisted in achieving a settlement that was finalized on the Friday before trial.




Trade Secrets and Unfair Competition

Result:
Obtained settlement agreement from former employees and a competitor to refrain from soliciting customers or employees of client.

Client:
Large Pharmaceutical Supplier

Overview:

A high-level local employee of an out-of-state pharmaceutical supplier left the company to start a competing business in California. In conjunction with an arbitration proceeding in another state, McManis Faulkner successfully obtained the pre-litigation agreement of the former employee and competing business to cease and refrain from soliciting customers and employees of the company.




Wrongful Arrest

Result:
Negotiated a $300,000 settlement.

Client:
High-level Executive

Overview:

McManis Faulkner represented a high-level executive in a civil suit for wrongful arrest based on a shoddy investigation and outrageous conduct by the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s office. The executive retained McManis Faulkner after being arrested for dental insurance fraud, handcuffed and taken from her workplace, and later cleared of a crime she did not commit. The client suffered the shock and humiliation of her arrest in front of her co-workers and the severe emotional distress of being imprisoned for more than eight hours, as well as a bill for legal services to clear her name that exceeded $10,000. The client received $300,000 in the settlement.




Elder Abuse and Fraud

Result:
A $1 million settlement after writ of attachment.

Client:
Elderly Couple

Overview:

An elderly couple was swindled by a financial planner and his controlled companies. McManis Faulkner moved swiftly to obtain a writ attaching all the defendants’ real property and other assets, leading to a prompt settlement secured by real property for return of all of the clients’ money, plus interest and attorney’s fees, and for entry of judgment against the defendants if they failed to perform. Obtaining an immediate temporary protective order and writ of attachment freezing all of the defendants’ assets saved a large amount of attorney’s fees and the emotional toll a trial would have had on the 90 year-old clients.




Civil Rights

Result:
$250,000 settlement with the City and County of San Francisco and the San Francisco Police. Case is ongoing against the federal government.

Client:
Malaysian Stanford Ph.D. Candidate

Overview:

Landmark Ruling in No-Fly Case

McManis Faulkner represented the client in a case against the federal government and the City and County of San Francisco regarding the wrongful placement of her name on the No-Fly List and wrongful arrest. The client is a professor, officer of the Malaysian government and a Muslim. In 2005, she was a Stanford Ph.D. student who was studying in the U.S. on a student visa. 

On January 2, 2005, the client arrived at the San Francisco airport with her 14 year-old daughter to board a flight to Malaysia. She was told that she was on the No-Fly List and arrested without probable cause by the San Francisco police. Two hours after her arrest, she was released and was told that she could board a flight to Malaysia the next day. However, her visa was later revoked, and she has not been allowed to return to the U.S. since.  McManis Faulkner represented the client in a federal action to remove her name from any terror watch lists and for monetary damages for her wrongful arrest. The firm obtained a landmark ruling from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that the client had a right to pursue her action for removal of her name from any watch lists in federal district court. 

After returning to the Northern District Court, McManis Faulkner obtained another landmark decision, allowing the client to obtain substantial discovery from the defendants into the reason for her arrest, communications between local and federal government surrounding her false arrest, and overruling defendants’ objections that this information is privileged or should not be disclosed as sensitive security information. After this sweeping win, the client obtained a $250,000 settlement for her false and unlawful arrest with the City and County of San Francisco and U.S. Investigations Services, Inc., whose employee ordered her arrest. Having been vindicated for her unlawful arrest, the client now pursues her claims against the federal government for the removal of her name from the No-Fly List.




Wrongful Death

Result:
Substantial Confidential Settlement

Client:
Oral Surgeon’s Spouse, Individually and as Successor-in-Interest to Oral Surgeon

Overview:

An oral surgeon working with a highly addictive controlled narcotic, Fentanyl, performed patient surgeries at the offices of a dental practice management service company. The company ordered the Fentanyl for the doctor and took the responsibility of handing the narcotic in its offices. Unfortunately, the company did not take reasonable steps to track the narcotics, which inevitably resulted in employees’ ability to divert these substances for their own use. The doctor began diverting Fentanyl and became addicted. McManis Faulkner argued that had the company taken proper measures to track the narcotic, it would have either prevented the doctor’s diversion or it would have been discovered and he would have been required to enter an in-patient treatment program. The doctor overdosed on Fentanyl at the company’s dental offices. He slipped into an irreversible coma because of the overdose and died at the age of 37. Representing the doctor’s wife, McManis Faulkner filed a wrongful death action. After successfully defeating the company’s motion for summary judgment, McManis Faulkner obtained a substantial confidential settlement on behalf of client.




Consumer Fraud Class Action

Result:
$45 million settlement

Client:
Nationwide Class of Hundreds of Thousands of Diabetic Consumers

Overview:

In consumer fraud actions brought in both federal and state courts, McManis Faulkner’s efforts on behalf of a nationwide class of hundreds of thousands of diabetic consumers resulted in a cash settlement of $45 million obtained from a renowned medical device manufacturer.




Personal Injury

Result:
$500,000 Settlement

Client:
20 year-old Amateur German Bicyclist

Overview:

The client, a 20 year-old amateur German bicyclist, was with a group of cyclists on a training ride southbound on Stevens Canyon Road in Cupertino, California. A Sheriff’s Deputy was headed northbound on Stevens Canyon Road in his patrol car, when he crossed over the double yellow line and struck the client and two other cyclists. The two other cyclists were both killed. The client lived, sustaining a broken leg and arm. He returned home to Germany and, after a recovery period, was able to return to school and cycling. McManis Faulkner filed suit against the County of Santa Clara. After the parties conducted limited discovery, the County agreed to settle the bicyclist’s claims for $500,000.




Product Defect

Result:
Substantial Confidential Settlement

Client:
Midwest Attorney and Spouse

Overview:

The client had a surgical repair of an abdominal aortic aneurysm. The client chose an implant manufactured by Guidant Corporation, the Ancure Endograft. Two years later, he suffered a life threatening ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm resulting from complications caused by the device. McManis Faulkner filed suit against Guidant Corporation and related defendants. The complaint alleged that the client was misled by defendants’ marketing materials regarding the risks of the procedure. The complaint further alleged that the defendants failed to give adequate warnings of undisclosed dangers and latent defects. As a result, the client suffered physical and mental damage and incurred large medical bills. The defendants filed three motions for summary judgment. McManis Faulkner successfully defeated all. As a result, clients were able to obtain a substantial confidential settlement.




Probate Litigation

Result:
Obtained highly favorable, multi-million dollar settlement for a client in a trust dispute. McManis Faulkner was retained after the client, believing she would lose the case after a lengthy trial, had agreed to a very unfavorable settlement.

Client:
Widow

Overview:

McManis Faulkner was retained after trial in this case. The client had agreed, in court, to a very unfavorable settlement before the announcement of a judgment in a long trial in which it seemed clear that the court would rule against her. McManis Faulkner brought a motion to set aside the unfavorable settlement on the grounds that the terms were insufficiently certain to be enforced under the law. The client’s stepchildren quickly moved to enforce the agreed settlement by seizing control of the two family ranches and the client’s home. After the unfavorable settlement was set aside, McManis Faulkner obtained a settlement at mediation in which the client was awarded one of the ranches and the seaside home.




Trustee Fraud

Result:
Obtained favorable no jail result for client accused of theft of more than $1 million.

Client:
Owner of Construction Company

Overview:

A trustee, appointed to oversee his deceased friend’s trust for the benefit of his minor children, diverted to his failing business more than $1 million in proceeds from a life insurance policy payable to the trust. The client was also accused, in a separate civil action, of misappropriating funds from the decedent’s business, which was operated by the trustee after his death. The client was charged with three felonies for theft of the life insurance proceeds and with perjury for lying to the Court in trust accountings. McManis Faulkner obtained a sentence for the trustee that included no prison time on the three felonies and dismissal of the criminal charges after reaching a favorable settlement of the civil action.