- Corporate and Partnership Disputes
- Executive-Level Employment Matters
- Financial Fraud and Elder Abuse
- Business Torts / Trade Defamation
- Fine Art Disputes
We handle disputes amongst and between business partners, whether the business is formed as a partnership, a limited liability company, or a corporation. This often involves an internal dispute regarding compensation or a difference of opinion in the direction of the business. Sometimes this involves a dispute between a company or partnership and a competing enterprise, for example regarding trade secret misappropriation.
Parties in internal disputes may determine it is best to dissolve, or separate their business interests. Again, there are various ways to accomplish this, and we work with the client to find the best solution to work towards a positive result.
Often even heated disputes can be resolved with a guiding hand and a smart, thoughtful analysis of the problem and immediate action to work towards that resolution. These disputes can also turn to litigation, which requires a firm hand and a strategic approach – not the scatter-shot method that many litigators employ.
Where litigation is necessary and appropriate, we are trial-tested. The Firm’s founder, Steve Coopersmith, began his career trying felony cases to Courts-Martial as a U.S. Army Officer and member of the Army’s Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps. We are equally comfortable in federal court, state court, and private arbitration. We are tough, smart, strategic, and cost-effective.
Just as we handle disputes amongst and between business partners, we often become involved in disputes between executives (or former executives) and their employers. Because we represent both employers and employees, we are able to see the entire battlefield, and the best strategies for engaging in conflict, or avoiding it altogether to move towards a resolution.
Often these disputes involve securities matters, such as the vesting or right to stock options or profit sharing. These matters may also involve discrimination, retaliation, or whistleblowing issues. The disputes may include trade secret issues, or allegations of wrongful solicitation of clients or employees.
Because we are sophisticated in business matters, we are quite different from the standard consumer-oriented Plaintiff’s firm or the large scale, fee-hungry defense firm. We look for the smartest avenue, and when we litigate, we fight smart, sharp, and with purpose.
We handle complex financial fraud matters, including securities fraud, business and corporate fraud, embezzlement, and elder abuse allegations.
These disputes can be complex, and require skilled lawyers and sophisticated analysis. We are well-versed in this area of law, and quite able to handle even the most complex financial fraud matters.
Again, because we represent both those who have been defrauded, and those who are accused of engaging in wrongdoing, we are able to see the entire field of battle, rather than only one side. This assists us in being able to aggressively advocate for our clients’ best interests.
This practice area often goes hand-in-hand with our focus in corporate and partnership disputes and executive-level employment matters, as many allegations can be made internal to a company or partnership. We also handle FINRA arbitration, related to investment fraud matters, and securities fraud issues.
Another focus we have is in Qui Tam (Whistleblower) litigation, regarding allegations of fraud against the U.S. Government. Because these issues often involve allegations of military contracting fraud, our Firm founder’s past experience as a U.S. Army officer can be helpful in understanding this complex business.
Regarding elder abuse, California has one of the strongest elder and dependent adult abuse protections in the country with California Welfare & Institutions Code § 15610.30, et seq. Those over 65, and those adults who are dependent under the definition of that term in the statute are often at risk of financial abuse, whether by fiduciaries, caretakers, or even family members.
There are many forms of financial elder abuse, and some of this abuse is obvious and apparent only when transactions are scrutinized. It can mean a sophisticated scheme or pattern, or it can mean a one-time theft that causes serious damage.
On the other hand, there can be false allegations of elder and dependent adult financial abuse, and those allegations, if proven, can come with serious penalties attached, including treble (triple) damages, attorneys’ fees, and much more.
Whatever the allegation, and whatever the situation, we work closely with our clients to handle these cases with care, and with strategic and thoughtful execution.
Often our work in corporate disputes, or in executive-level employment matters involves allegations of business torts, such as interference with contract, interference with prospective economic advantage, deceptive or unfair business practices, trade secret misappropriation, or breach of fiduciary duties.
These cases, like financial fraud matters, can be complex, and require a thoughtful approach, rather than scatter-shot aggression. For our clients alleging these wrongs, we work closely with the client to obtain evidence and facts, witnesses and proof, whether informally or through active discovery, to meet our burden of proof in litigation. For our clients defending against such allegations, we approach each case distinctly and with an eye towards a cost-effective defense and protection of our client’s ongoing business interests, including goodwill and reputation.
Because of the Firm’s founder’s intellectual interest in the intersection of commerce and free speech, the Firm also handles business defamation and libel cases, selected carefully for import and merit.
The wild world of the internet has created the ability for one person with a website or with an online posting (even anonymously) to ruin a business that has taken many years to build. In addition, the spread of rumors on so-called online “publications,” like blogs, can spread a false statement in moments, where before the internet word-of-mouth would have caused the issue to fade away.
On the other hand, the right to free speech under First Amendment of the United States Constitution is paramount, and an essential part of the fabric of our nation. The intersection of these issues can be thorny and complex, and requires careful analysis and action. In addition, California’s anti-SLAPP (Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation) statute, codified at California Civil Procedure Code § 425.16, can freeze many such lawsuits and comes with a built-in early look and attorneys’ fees provision to protect defendants. The wise Plaintiff engages a lawyer to carefully analyze these issues before filing suit in this area.
Because of the particular interest the Firm’s founder takes in fine art and the law governing the art industry, we have represented galleries and art purchasers alike in matters including authenticity, copyright, fair use, commercial leases, vendor disputes, purchase and sale agreements, financial fraud matters, and other serious and complex issues in the world of fine art.
Just recently, Mr. Coopersmith attended the Sotheby’s Art Law Conference, a gathering of the finest minds in fine art law, with substantive panel discussions and informative programs. We stay updated on fine art matters so we can assist our clients with cutting-edge advice.
In such matters, we apply the same thoughtful, strategic approach as with our business litigation, executive-level employment matters, and financial fraud disputes. The art industry is filled with nuance and complexity, and we assist our clients work through these matters and towards a positive result.