Representative Cases (Client names only listed where representation is not confidential):
Currently representing an international tax lawyer in connection with a federal criminal tax and money laundering investigation where the attorney was originally a “subject” of the investigation, but is now a “witness.” Investigation continues against the tax lawyer’s client.
Currently representing Erik Kripke, creator of television series, Supernatural, in a profit participation arbitration against Warner Bros.
Currently representing SAG-AFTRA in connection with issues arising from option and exclusivity provisions in actors’ contracts, including co-authoring an amicus brief in a pending case.
Represented a former head of real estate of a large multi-family firm in an arbitration against the firm due to its wrongful termination of our client in violation of public policy.
Served as litigation counsel to Carsey-Werner, the production company for the Roseanne series in connection with Roseanne’s tweets and ABC’s cancellation of the series.
Represented a department chair at UCLA in a wide-ranging internal investigation involving allegations of violations of the Political Reform Act. The matter involved first impression issues involving the commercialization of academic inventions and whether University resources could be used for tasks that were both academic and commercial in nature. The investigation terminated in a favorable confidential settlement.
Represented Don Bellisario, the creator of the JAG and NCIS television series, in a state court lawsuit against CBS alleging that CBS violated his first opportunity rights to write and executive produce NCIS: LA. The parties agreed to a confidential settlement one week before the start of the scheduled jury trial.
Represented Ross Klein, former head of the luxury hotel division of Starwood Hotels and then Hilton Hotels, in a federal pre-indictment criminal investigation in the Southern District of New York involving the alleged theft of trade secrets and computer fraud where the United States Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York ultimately declined to bring charges. Also represented Klein in a parallel federal civil case in the Southern District of New York that ended with a confidential settlement.
Represented Tom Mackey, former COO of Tenet Health Care, in parallel criminal SEC, civil False Claims Act, class action and derivative proceedings involving Tenet’s gross pricing practices and receipt of outlier payments all of which successfully resolved for Mackey.
Represented David Kohan and Max Mutchnick, the creators of the Will & Grace television series, and their agent in a three-month state court jury trial of their profit participation claims. After the jury agreed on $49.5 million in compensatory damages and made punitive damages findings against defendant NBC Studios, the parties agreed to a confidential settlement of the case.
Represented defendant Chake Kojayan in a watershed prosecutorial misconduct case. Finding that the prosecutor lied to the jury and misled both the trial and appellate courts, the Ninth Circuit reversed Kojayan’s conviction. The Ninth Circuit specifically praised Mr. Nessim’s conduct and criticized the United States Attorney’s Office for its conduct. United States v. Kojayan, 8 F.3d 1315 (9th Cir. 1993). On remand, the district court dismissed the indictment with prejudice as a sanction for the government’s misconduct.
Represented Lee Robbins, a state prisoner, in connection with his federal habeas corpus petition before the United States Supreme Court. The district court granted the petition and the Ninth Circuit affirmed. The U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari and over vigorous dissents (Justices Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg and Breyer), the Court reversed on a 5-4 vote. Smith v. Robbins, 528 U.S. 259 (2000).
Represented Hector Contreras and HLC Electronics, his wholly owned corporation, in parallel federal civil and criminal litigation in a case involving alleged trademark infringement and various frauds involving reconditioned circuit breakers that were found in a number of sensitive U.S. military and nuclear facilities. Both Contreras and his corporation were acquitted of all 56 counts charged in the indictment after a six-week federal court jury trial. Also successfully settled the parallel civil case brought by large circuit breaker manufacturers in a manner that funded the criminal case.
Represented Benjamin Johnson, an internationally known art dealer, through a federal pre- criminal investigation where, after lengthy proceedings, the Court ordered the U.S. government to return the pre-Colombian art it had seized from Johnson and declined to bring criminal charges against Johnson. The Government of Peru then brought a parallel civil suit against Johnson in federal court claiming that his pre-Colombian art collection was the property of Peru under its patrimony laws. After a court trial, the court returned a verdict in Johnson’s favor. Peru v. Johnson, 720 F. Supp. 810 (C.D. Cal. 1989).
Represented Precision Dynamics Corporation and several of its officers and directors in a state court trial involving a shareholder’s challenge of the election of the corporation’s directors and various alleged breaches of fiduciary duty. Following the end of the Plaintiffs’ case in chief, judgment was entered for all of our defendant clients.
Represented Henry Mayo Memorial Hospital in an arbitration against a radiology group revolving around the hospital’s termination of its contracts with the radiology group on fraud and abuse grounds. The arbitrator ruled in favor of the hospital on all claims.
Represented Stone Boardwear, Inc., aka Volcom, Inc., a defendant in a state civil antitrust case. After developing facts of a large tax fraud committed by the plaintiff company, successfully referred the matter to the United States Attorney’s Office where the principal of the plaintiff company was criminally prosecuted. The civil case ended with a confidential settlement.
Represented Milberg LLP in a sanctions hearing in federal court in San Diego where the defendant corporation alleged that Milberg knowingly received and used stolen documents in the underlying federal securities class action. The court found that no misconduct had occurred.
Represented Thrifty Oil in a putative class action which went before the state appellate court twice, Linder v. Thrifty Oil, 58 Cal. App. 4th 664 (1997) and 91 Cal. App. 4th 1070 (2001)) and the California Supreme Court once (23 Cal. 4th 429 (2000). The case ultimately resolved in a favorable settlement.
Represented Gregory Jenkins where following his acquittal of six of eight felony counts in a federal criminal court trial, the granting of a new trial motion as to the remaining two counts and, the filing of a prosecutorial misconduct motion, the government dismissed the remaining two counts.