We won a complete defense judgment in favor of McKesson after a month-long trial of a qui tam action alleging violations of the False Claims Act and Anti-Kickback Statue. The trial victory allowed McKesson to avoid paying nearly $1 billion in fines, and to avoid the collateral penalties that government agencies can impose on companies found to have paid illegal kickbacks. The Justice Department’s complaint charged McKesson with paying kickbacks to a nursing home operator in the form of underpriced services, and with submitting “legally false claims” to the government. After we had the whistleblower dismissed, a key victory, we then won dismissal of related claims that the nursing home’s supplier subsidiary failed to comply with Medicare supplier standards. With the case’s scope significantly narrowed, we lead our client through a bench trial which featured 24 witnesses, hundreds of exhibits and post-trial briefing. The judge ruled in our client’s favor, vindicating McKesson and its employees. This victory was listed by the National Law Journal as one of the year's five most significant trial wins.
We advised Lucasfilm Ltd. in an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice and then represented Lucasfilm in a series of antitrust class actions brought by former employees of Lucasfilm, Google, Apple and Pixar. Plaintiffs alleged unlawful agreements related to hiring and employee retention. Plaintiffs and Lucasfilm reached a preliminary settlement of plaintiffs’ claims in July 2013.
We defended Paramedics Plus from American Medical Response’s (AMR) claims of anticompetitive unfair business practices. After losing the competitive bidding process for Alameda County’s emergency medical services transportation contract to its much smaller rival Paramedics Plus, AMR accused our client of violating California's predatory pricing law, Business & Professions Code Section 17043, in its bid to win the 911 ambulance contract. Despite a minimal amount of precedent, we were able to preserve the statute’s intent, which is to safeguard healthy competition by protecting smaller companies from larger rivals. We received a unanimous 12-0 jury verdict in favor of our client.
We represented Google in what Oracle claimed to be a multi-billion dollar patent and copyright war concerning the use of the Java programming language in Google’s Android platform. When Oracle bought Sun Microsystems in January 2010, it acquired Sun’s rights to Java. In August of that year, Oracle sued Google, claiming its Android mobile technology infringed Oracle patents and copyrights. We defended Google against all the patent and copyright claims, and also argued that the damage estimates were wildly inflated. Following repeated rounds of motions and briefing, the judge dismissed the bulk of Oracle’s copyright claims, and at trial the jury rendered a unanimous verdict rejecting all claims of patent infringement. Although the jury decided that Google infringed an Oracle copyright on nine out of millions of lines of source code, the case was a sweeping victory for Google, with zero damages. After an appeal by Oracle, the case returned to district court for a trial on fair use. After a two-week trial, the federal jury unanimously found that Google’s use of Oracle’s Java programming language in the Android operating system was a fair use, thereby rejecting Oracle’s claims of infringement in their entirety.
In 2015, we won the largest plaintiff's award of the year in California for the San Diego County Water Authority in its long-running fight with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD). MWD is the regional water wholesaler for most of Southern California. San Diego sued MWD for charging San Diego inflated and illegal water transportation rates, and breaching a contract between the parties. After a three-week bench trial that played out in two phases over the course of fifteen months, the court found that MWD’s rates violated numerous California statutory and constitutional provisions, and awarded our client $188 million in contract damages, plus $43 million in prejudgment interest, and other declaratory relief, including a forward-looking writ of mandate directing MWD to set future rates in compliance with the court’s order.
We represented a leading semiconductor company in its dispute with an international business management firm concerning stock options. After a two-week arbitration before three retired federal judges, we secured a victory.
We defended a former Citigroup executive in one of the rare financial crisis cases to go to trial. He worked on the structuring desk at Citigroup and was charged with securities fraud in connection with Citigroup’s 2007 marketing of a $1 billion collateralized debt obligation (CDO) backed by assets tied to the housing market. In its enforcement action the SEC contended that Citigroup had played a role in the selection of the CDO’s underlying mortgage securities and had taken a short position in those securities. The SEC contended that our client was negligent for not disclosing information about Citigroup’s actions in its marketing materials. After a two-week jury trial in the Southern District of New York with Judge Rakoff presiding, the federal jury rejected the SEC’s case and found our client not liable on any of the SEC’s claims.
We secured a dismissal with prejudice for Mr. Duff and Mr. Dowling in San Francisco County Superior Court. The case stemmed from disputes over an investment management firm our clients co-founded.
We defended our clients Netflix, Inc. and Roku Corporation in a U.S. International Trade Commission complaint filed by Rovi Corporation. The complaint accused our clients, along with Mitsubishi Electric Corp., LG Electronics Inc., and Vizio Inc., of infringing several patents related to interactive program guides. The complaint sought an order banning television and media-player makers from entering the U.S. By the time of the trial, the other defendants had settled and our clients faced four patents. We successfully defended our clients at trial, with the ALJ finding one of the patents invalid and none of the patents infringed, as well as no actionable importation or available remedy. The ITC confirmed there was no violation. Rovi then pursued the matter in District Court with three of the same patents used in the ITC investigation as well as two additional patents. We won summary judgment of invalidity under Alice on all five asserted patents, which the Federal Circuit affirmed summarily.
In a two-month federal jury trial, we defended Silicon Valley engineer Walter Liew, who was indicted for attempted economic espionage and conspiracy to sell DuPont’s manufacturing trade secrets to the company’s Chinese competitors. The case was part of the government's effort to combat what it deemed as China's "persistent" industrial spying.
We successfully defended in arbitration a top law firm and one of its partners against a multi-million dollar malpractice claim related to estate planning. We were able to get the case dismissed on statute of limitations grounds and also obtained attorneys’ fees on behalf of our client.
Robin Antonick, programmer of the John Madden Football video game for the Apple II that was released in 1988, alleged that EA owed him royalties on sales of all Madden Football video games over the last twenty-two years. Antonick claimed that all Madden games since 1990 are derivative works of the game he programmed, and he was therefore owed royalties under a 1986 contract with EA. On behalf of EA, we contended that none of Antonick’s source code, which was written for a more primitive platform and was outdated by the time it was released, was ever used in any subsequent Madden game. Although the jury found in favor of Antonik, U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer later entered judgment for EA, reversing the award and strongly discouraging similar suits based on additional versions of the game. Judge Breyer's ruling was affirmed on appeal.
To seize control of the Koret Foundation, Susan Koret, chair and wife of foundation founder Joseph Koret, filed suit against the Koret Foundation and six of the seven other board members, seeking their removal. On behalf of the foundation and its directors, we sought Ms. Koret’s removal as a director by way of a cross-complaint. A San Francisco Superior Court trial resulted in a tentative ruling rejecting Ms. Koret’s claims and granting the Foundation’s request that Ms. Koret be removed, and the parties settled the dispute on terms favorable to the Foundation.
As lead counsel for McGraw Hill and its Standard and Poor’s division, we defended our client from the government’s suit which sought at least $5 billion in penalties under the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act. The government accused S&P of fraud in its rating of hundreds of residential mortgage backed securities (RMBS) and collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) in the years leading up to the financial crisis in 2008. McGraw Hill ultimately settled with the government, and more than 20 states that made similar claims under state laws.
We secured a $2.8 million jury verdict for TEK Global SRL in a dispute with Sealant Systems Inc. regarding patented tire repair technology. The San Francisco federal court jury found infringement, rejected defendants’ invalidity challenge, and awarded TEK nearly all the damages it had sought. KVP was hired on this case after a prior trial had been lost. The KVP team successfully appealed the case, reviving TEK’s patent and invalidating the defendant’s counterclaim patent.
The city of San Jose sued our client, Major League Baseball, alleging antitrust violations and various state law claims related to the Oakland Athletics possible relocation to San Jose. The lawsuit claimed that Major League Baseball and its commissioner violated state and federal laws regarding unfair business practices and anticompetitive conduct. It also challenged the exemption to antitrust laws that the U.S. Supreme Court first upheld for Major League Baseball in 1922. We successfully moved to dismiss plaintiffs’ antitrust claims, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed that ruling, and we convinced the Supreme Court of the United States to decline a petition for certiorari.
On behalf of Google, we successfully sued a patent troll in Marshall, Texas. A federal jury determined that a patent infringement lawsuit filed by Beneficial Innovations Inc. against a number of Google's customer companies violated a licensing agreement it had with the technology giant.
Our client's former CEO threatened litigation over his termination and the conversion of his equity interests in the company. On behalf of the company, we sought declaratory relief in arbitration. The former CEO brought counterclaims seeking more than $100 million in damages. Following a three-week hearing, the arbitrator granted our client's request for declaratory relief and dismissed all counterclaims, finding for our client on every disputed legal and factual issue.
We defended data storage innovator Pure Storage Inc. in multi-patent litigation filed by its Fortune 500 rival EMC Corporation in the District of Delaware. EMC’s asserted patents related to various data storage technologies, including technology for deduplicating data. We prevailed on two of the five patents in suit prior to trial, and obtained a jury verdict of non-infringement as to two others following a seven-day jury trial. We then won partial judgment as a matter of law and a new trial on invalidity as to EMC’s one remaining asserted patent. Shortly following the court’s order granting a new trial, Pure Storage and EMC reached a global settlement.
We won a complete defense verdict for our multinational law firm client, and three individual law firm partners, in a malpractice claim arising out of patent litigation in the ITC and Delaware. The plaintiffs had alleged more than a dozen individual acts of malpractice and sought $60+ million in damages. After a hard-fought two-week arbitration before a retired federal judge in New York, the arbitrator issued an award in our clients’ favor.
We defended SanDisk from numerous patent assertions by Round Rock, including a total of 15 patents asserted in two separate litigations in the District of Delaware, and 12 patents asserted in another case in the Northern District of California. We prevailed in all adjudicated phases of the Delaware and California actions before the parties reached a broad settlement. In the California action, we secured final judgment in favor of SanDisk after obtaining a summary-judgment victory based on patent exhaustion. In the first Delaware phase, which culminated with a jury trial on two asserted patents, we obtained a defense verdict invalidating most asserted claims of both patents, and finding no infringement as to the other claims. In the next Delaware phase, a second jury trial was vacated after we obtained summary judgment invalidating claims from a third patent asserted by Round Rock. The other patents in the Delaware actions remained pending adjudication when the parties settled.
We defended a former CEO in a week-long confidential arbitration before a three judge panel in Los Angeles. Our client prevailed. The claimant took nothing and is responsible for our client’s attorney’s fees.
We served as trial counsel for Electronic Arts in this massive, multi-patent case, which targeted a number of leading software companies. In addition to drafting a successful summary judgment motion which drastically reduced the potential damages, Judge Davis issued a ruling denying all of plaintiff’s claims.
We successfully defended Comcast against patent infringement claims brought by Two-Way Media related to multicasting and real-time streaming. We secured a judgment of invalidity under § 101 for subject-matter ineligibility. The Federal Circuit affirmed, and the Supreme Court recently denied cert, thus ending the case with a complete defense win.
We represented Qualcomm in an ITC investigation in which Nvidia asserted infringement of seven patents that purportedly cover graphics processing units (GPUs). Nvidia sought to block the importation of Samsung Galaxy phones and tablets that contain Qualcomm’s Adreno technology, as well as those containing chips from ARM Holdings and Imagination Technologies. Nvidia abandoned its claims of infringement as to three of the patents prior to the hearing before the ALJ, and dropped its claims as to a fourth patent during the course of the hearing. Following the hearing, the ALJ determined that no violation of section 337 had been established, because of the patents remaining in the investigation, two had not been infringed, and the third had been infringed but was invalid. In December of 2015, the full International Trade Commission declined to review the ALJ’s initial determination of no violation of section 337, resulting in a complete victory for our client Qualcomm in the ITC. Nvidia filed and then dismissed an appeal to the Federal Circuit, cementing the win for Qualcomm.