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HIGHLIGHTS

Jury Awards over $40 Million to Call & Jensen Clients in Orange County Business Case

A 12-person jury reached a verdict of over $30 million in compensatory damages and $10 million in punitive damages in favor Call & Jensen’s client Össur Americas, Inc. and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Team Makena, LLC. The lawsuit was brought against a former officer of the subsidiary and his competing company.
The former officer was found to be liable for a variety of claims, including breach of fiduciary duty, misappropriation of trade secrets, breach of contract, interference with contract, and interference with prospective economic advantage. The Plaintiffs obtained the over $40-million verdict in Orange County Superior Court Complex Division after a previous, substantial confidential settlement with another company defendant, a finding of liability in favor of Össur and Team Makena on all their claims and against all the officer’s cross claims, and a three-week jury trial on damages.
Plaintiff Össur appeared at the jury trial by its counsel, Mark L. Eisenhut, Joshua G. Simon, and Scott R. Hatch of Call & Jensen (Team Makena, LLC and Össur Americas, Inc. v. John Lasso, SpartaMed, LLC, et. al Case No. 30-2016-00884951-CU-BT-CJC). Plaintiff Team Makena, LLC appeared by its counsel, Jeffrey W. Shields and Rick A. Varner of Shields Law Offices. Defendants appeared by their counsel, Thomas A. Moore of the Brownstone Law Group and Alden J. Knisbacher of Knisbacher Law Offices.

Call And Jensen Confirms Complete Appellate Victory Precluding 30,000-member Class And PAGA Action

Call and Jensen recently successfully defended The Board of Trustees of the California State University, securing a complete dismissal of an estimated 30,000-member class and PAGA action in which a CSU faculty member claimed that employees were not properly reimbursed for remote work expenses during a portion of the Covid pandemic. The firm initially filed for a complete demurrer of claims made under the Labor Code and Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA), and the trial court agreed with the defense that the code sections at issue did not apply to CSU as a public entity. The firm further defended its client’s win on appeal, where the Los Angeles Superior Court’s ruling and the conclusions to be drawn from recent appellate decisions and underlying sovereign rights law dating back hundreds of years were vigorously challenged. Ultimately, the California Court of Appeal affirmed the complete dismissal of the action on a de novo review, agreeing with Call and Jensen’s arguments including that “[t]o subject CSU to the Labor Code’s requirement regarding equipment expense reimbursement … would… limit the discretion vested in CSU to establish policies for employee reimbursement for necessary expenses, and would potentially divert limited educational funds from CSU’s core function to pay not only legal judgments but potentially huge additional amounts to outside parties.” Firm attorneys Julie Trotter, Jacqueline Beaumont, and Melinda Evans represented The Board of Trustees, as part of the firm’s robust higher education industry practice.

Jury Awards $9 Million To Call & Jensen Clients In Los Angeles Breach Of Contract Case

This hotly disputed breach of contract case, filed in 2019, arose between Call & Jensen clients Brightex International, Inc., and Joyful Will International Limited, subsidiaries of an overseas textile company and Defendant Romex Textiles, Inc., a Los Angeles-based broker of textiles.

Call & Jensen attorneys David Sugden and Aaron Renfro argued that Defendant Romex breached contracts by failing to pay for textiles and fabrics that it ordered and received from Plaintiffs between 2014 and 2019. Defendant argued that some of the fabric was late and defective. Defendant cross-claimed against Joyful Will and Brightex, stating that an employee of Plaintiffs made unlawful and defamatory statements and that Plaintiffs breached their contracts by delivering defective goods.

The 12-person jury returned its verdict in favor of Plaintiffs and against Defendant Romex on all counts, including breach of contract, goods sold and delivered, open book account, and account stated. The jury found Defendant liable for damages totaling nine million dollars ($9,000,000.00). The jury also found in favor of Joyful Will and Brightex on all cross claims.

Plaintiffs appeared by their counsel, David R. Sugden, Aaron L. Renfro, and L. Lisa Sandoval of Call & Jensen. (Joyful Will International Limited and Brightex International Inc. v. Romex Textiles, Inc., Case No. 19STCV40836). Defendant appeared by their counsel, Nico N. Tabibi and Ryan Golbari of the Law Offices of Nico Tabibi.

David R. Sugden – dsugden@calljensen.com

Aaron L. Renfro – arenfro@calljensen.com

L. Lisa Sandoval – lsandoval@calljensen.com

Supreme Court Rejects Petition To Undo Call & Jensen Copyright Victory At Ninth Circuit

The decision preserves Call & Jensen’s critical victory at the Ninth Circuit curtailing the ability of copyright plaintiffs to recover windfalls from defendants in the same supply chain. The Ninth Circuit previously vacated a lower court’s judgment awarding multiple statutory damages awards to a plaintiff copyright owner for the infringement of its copyrighted floral pattern. The lower court awarded a separate award to the plaintiff for each defendant in the supply chain that sold the infringing fabric—all of which came from a single supplier defendant. Aaron Renfro and Sam Brooks of Call & Jensen represented the defendants and argued that under Section 504(c)(3) of the Copyright Act, the plaintiff was only entitled to a single award of statutory damages because each of the defendants in the supply chain was jointly and severally liable with the supplier. The Ninth Circuit agreed and vacated the lower court judgment, after which the plaintiff petitioned the Supreme Court to reverse the Ninth Circuit ruling. The Supreme Court rejected the petition, thereby exhausting the plaintiff’s appellate options.

Call & Jensen Defeats PAGA Action On Summary Judgment

Call & Jensen attorneys Julie Trotter and Morgan Podruski obtained a complete summary judgment victory in a PAGA case filed in the Los Angeles County Superior Court against Citizens of Humanity, LLC. The plaintiff’s PAGA action alleged that Citizens of Humanity, LLC failed to pay its non-exempt employees minimum wages for all hours worked, failed to pay overtime premiums, denied meal and rest periods, did not reimburse business expenses, and failed to provide sick pay, in addition to other derivative causes of action. After approximately a year and a half of litigation, the Court granted Citizens of Humanity’s summary judgment motion because Call & Jensen demonstrated that the plaintiff did not have standing to bring the action because she did not experience a single violation of the Labor Code and therefore was not an “aggrieved” employee under the PAGA statute. Call & Jensen also successfully argued that the plaintiff did not properly give notice of new facts and theories supporting her PAGA claim in her notice letter to the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency, as the Court further granted Citizens of Humanity’s summary judgment motion on this independent basis.

Unanimous Ninth Circuit Affirms Summary Judgment In Consumer Class Action Alleging False Advertising

Call & Jensen attorneys Matthew Orr, William Cole and Sam Brooks obtained a unanimous decision from the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirming the trial court’s ruling granting summary judgment against the plaintiff on all claims he had alleged in a class action lawsuit against a dietary supplement seller. In a published opinion, the Ninth Circuit agreed with Call & Jensen’s argument that the plaintiff’s state law claims were preempted by federal law, which permits supplement sellers to make the type of “structure/function” claims the plaintiff alleged to be misleading. The case is Greenberg v. Target Corporation, — F.3d —, No. 19-16699 (9th Cir. 2021).

Court Of Appeal Affirms Summary Judgment And Exclusion Of Expert Opinions In Dietary Supplement Class Action

Call & Jensen attorneys Mark Eisenhut, William Cole and Nilab Tolton obtained and defended a complete victory for their client in a consumer class action alleging false advertising in the marketing of a multi-ingredient dietary supplement for men’s health via a recent opinion from the California Court of Appeal. In its unanimous decision, the appellate court affirmed both the trial court’s exclusion of the plaintiff’s scientific expert’s opinions and its prior grant of summary judgment to Call & Jensen’s client. The appeals court agreed with Call & Jensen’s arguments that the plaintiff’s expert’s opinions were unreliable and not supported by the scientific data on which he claimed to rely. Because the plaintiff had no other evidence sufficient to support his claims, the appeals court affirmed the summary judgment. This decision also entitles Call & Jensen’s client to recover substantial costs from the plaintiff.

C&J Attorneys Recognized By Super Lawyers

Call & Jensen congratulates its attorneys who have been recognized by Southern California Super Lawyers in its recent lists of “Super Lawyers.” Nine Call & Jensen attorneys were named “Super Lawyers” in their respective areas of practice – honors awarded to no more than 2.5% of California attorneys who have practiced law for over 10 years and attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement in their respective areas of practice. Call & Jensen congratulates the following attorneys for their Super Lawyers selection in 2020: Jacqueline Beaumont, Wayne W. Call, Ellen Connelly Cohen, Mark L. Eisenhut, Ryan M. McNamara, Matthew R. Orr, Aaron L. Renfro, David R. Sugden and Julie R. Trotter. In addition, David Sugden was also honored in the Top 50 OC Super Lawyers list.

Call & Jensen Earns Summary Judgment Dismissal Of Two PAGA Cases At Once

After two and a half years of litigation of two consolidated Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”) cases, Call & Jensen attorneys Julie Trotter, Jeff David, and Ellen Cohen obtained summary judgment victory in both cases on behalf of its client in lawsuits filed by two former employees alleging in excess of ten California Labor Code violations in pursuit of a representative PAGA case on behalf of all of the company’s employees over the entirety of the statute of limitations period. Plaintiffs claimed they had been denied meal and rest breaks, worked off the clock, received improper wage statements, worked unpaid overtime, were denied proper business expense reimbursements, and were not properly paid their final wages. Call & Jensen successfully demonstrated that neither Plaintiff could they suffered a single Labor Code violation at any time; as a result, the Court found that neither Plaintiff had standing as an aggrieved employee to bring an action under PAGA and dismissed each action with prejudice.

Victory On Gender Pay Discrimination Claims

Call & Jensen recently obtained summary adjudication on multiple claims asserted against the firm’s client by a former executive employee, who was alleging gender pay discrimination, sex discrimination, retaliation, failure to prevent discrimination, and related claims. Although California Equal Pay Act was recently amended to a new standard, the firm prevailed on its client’s behalf in getting all equal pay claims dismissed without the need for a trial, leaving only a few separate wage-related claims in the case. Attorneys who worked on the case included Julie Trotter, Jacqueline Beaumont, Ellen Cohen, and Morgan Podruski.