Business Litigation

Goodin MacBride handles business litigation from inception through trial and appeals. We are experienced in class actions and complex litigation involving multiple forums and related cases.

Overview

Our attorneys’ cases involve a range of legal issues, including securities fraud, antitrust, breach of fiduciary duty by corporate insiders, accounting malpractice, breach of contract, fraud, negligence, and various business torts. Building on the expertise of our regulatory law practice, Goodin MacBride attorneys have also represented property owners, service providers, resellers, and consumers in cases involving utility regulation, rate setting, public agency enforcement, and water rights.

Our clients include companies in industries such as computer software and hardware, medical device technology, telecommunications, energy, banking and investment, and hospitality. They range from multinational corporations to privately held startups; corporate officers, directors, and shareholders; bankruptcy trustees and creditors; and others seeking the vindication of rights in business litigation.

Our attorneys bring and defend cases in state and federal courts, including adversary cases in bankruptcy court, in California and throughout the United States and its possessions. In addition, the firm has extensive experience in alternative dispute resolution, including arbitrations and mediations.

Recent victories for plaintiffs include the settlement of a securities fraud class action for over $100 million, a judgment at trial in favor of an international semiconductor manufacturer, and an arbitration award in favor of a telecommunications reseller for the full amount of damages sought plus interest. On the defense side, we recently defeated motions for class certification in a products liability case, and obtained dismissal during trial of antitrust claims against a baked goods broker.

Goodin MacBride’s litigation team of attorneys offers considerable experience handling accounting and auditing malpractice cases against prominent accounting firms, based on both classic theories of negligence and fraud, and developing theories such as “deepening insolvency.”

Goodin MacBride attorneys:
  • Represented an individual investor against a Big Four accounting firm, claiming fraud based on its promotion and sale of fraudulent tax shelters.
  • Prevailed in auditing malpractice litigation on behalf of a liquidating debtor against one of the Big Four accounting firms for issuing an unqualified annual audit report of a software company that went bankrupt three months after the report was issued.
  • Successfully represented the bankruptcy estate of an international construction company by bringing audit malpractice claims against a Big Four accounting firm, breach of fiduciary duty against former officers, and declaratory relief with respect to insurance proceeds.

Goodin MacBride attorneys regularly handle appeals in the Ninth Circuit and federal courts throughout the country, including the U.S. Supreme Court, and all California appellate courts, including the California Supreme Court.

Our attorneys’ appellate work encompasses everything from simple writs of mandamus to full-blown appeals of judgments rendered after trial. Our lawyers work to develop effective and efficient appellate strategies to fit each case. This includes frankly evaluating at the outset the strengths and weaknesses of an appeal in order to help clients decide whether to pursue the appellate course.

Bankruptcy is an increasingly standard feature of business litigation today. Goodin MacBride attorneys have successfully handled a range of litigation matters arising out of bankruptcy cases, and the unique procedural and strategic challenges they pose.

Goodin MacBride attorneys:
  • Represent the Melvin M. Belli bankruptcy estate in matters pertaining to the dissolution of the former law partnership, and in litigation seeking payment of a share of a $1.25 billion fee awarded to a consortium of lawyers litigating against tobacco companies.
  • Represent the retirement plan trustee of the bankrupt Brobeck, Phleger, & Harrison law firm, seeking to recover unpaid retirement plan contributions owed by the firm.
  • Successfully represented the bankruptcy estate of an international construction company by bringing audit malpractice claims against a Big Four accounting firm, breach of fiduciary duty against former officers, and declaratory relief with respect to insurance proceeds.

Goodin MacBride attorneys regularly represent plaintiffs and defendants in breach of fiduciary duty claims involving former partners, former employees, and others engaged in “relationships of higher trust.”

Goodin MacBride attorneys:
  • Represent a national class of plaintiffs against a brokerage firm for breach of fiduciary duty claims arising out of undisclosed kickbacks from mutual fund companies. Previously settled a similar class action for $127 million against another brokerage house arising out of the broker’s recommendation of “preferred funds” to customers while secretly receiving kickbacks.
  • Represented the founder and president of a software company in litigation against a co-founder for looting the company, diverting corporate assets, and breaching his fiduciary duties.
  • Represented a Central Valley farmer duped by his partners in a fraudulent, multi-million dollar real estate deal.
  • Represented former officers and directors of a dissolved corporation against state and federal securities claims made by a disgruntled investor and former director.

Class actions have become a common part of the American justice system. Goodin MacBride attorneys have substantial experience in this area, successfully handling state and national class actions for both plaintiffs and defendants, and navigating the daunting procedures and logistics endemic to these cases.

Goodin MacBride attorneys:
  • Represent a national class against an Internet hotel reservation company for assessing bogus “tax/fees” charges to consumers.
  • Represent a national class of plaintiffs against a brokerage firm for claims arising out of undisclosed kickbacks from mutual fund companies.
  • Settled a similar class action for $127 million against another brokerage house arising out of the broker’s recommendation of “preferred” funds to customers while secretly receiving kickbacks.
  • Defended an outside director of a corporation in a class action brought by shareholders alleging that the board artificially inflated the value of its securities.
  • Defended a major computer manufacturer in a national class action alleging unfair business practices arising out of design flaws.
Goodin MacBride attorneys:
  • Represent a shareholder in a medical device company in breach of contract and fraud case against company’s acquirer. The claim arises out of acquirer’s refusal to take steps necessary to meet marketing milestones in the contract, resulting in damages of over $175 million.
  • Represented plaintiff in a breach of contract case against semiconductor manufacturer arising out of a $7 million contract for refurbishment of equipment used to manufacture semiconductors. Negotiated confidential settlement.
  • Represented telecommunications reseller in breach of contract action against its former billing services provider for failure to remit true-up payments amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars from local telephone companies. Obtained award for full amount of claim, plus prejudgment interest, following arbitration.
  • Represented former officers and directors of a dissolved corporation against state and federal securities claims made by a disgruntled investor and former director.
Fraud
Goodin MacBride attorneys:
  • Represent the plaintiff in a statewide class action against the manufacturer of horserace wagering software for failing to disclose known software defects that prevented fair wagers as advertised.
  • Represent a charitable trust in litigation against a California municipality and a securities broker/dealer for fraudulent misrepresentations made in the issuance of notes to finance a city-owned cable company.
  • Represent a shareholder in a medical device company in breach of contract and fraud case against company’s acquirer, arising out of acquirer’s refusal to take steps necessary to meet marketing milestones in contract. Damages of over $175 million were awarded.
  • Defended an outside director of a corporation in a class action brought by shareholders alleging that the board artificially inflated the value of its securities.
  • Represented former officers and directors of a dissolved corporation against state and federal securities claims made by a disgruntled investor and former director.
Negligence
Goodin MacBride attorneys:
  • Represent a hotel guest assaulted by a hotel employee in a claim for negligence in failing to provide for the safety of the guest.
  • Successfully represented the wife of a professional cameraman killed when the telehandler he used as a camera platform failed.
  • Prevailed in auditing malpractice litigation on behalf of a liquidating debtor against one of the Big Four accounting firms for issuing an unqualified annual audit report of a software company that went bankrupt three months after the report was issued.
  • Successfully represented the bankruptcy estate of an international construction company in audit malpractice claims against a Big Four accounting firm.

Goodin MacBride lawyers have broad experience in securities litigation, gained, uniquely, from both plaintiff and defense perspectives. Our attorneys’ securities cases have included traditional 10b-5 lawsuits, claims under the 1933 Act, and actions pursuing and defending officers and directors for breach of fiduciary duty and related claims.

Goodin MacBride attorneys:
  • Represent a charitable trust in litigation against a California municipality and a securities broker/dealer for misrepresentations made in the issuance of notes to finance a city-owned cable company.
  • Represent a national class of plaintiffs against a brokerage firm for claims arising out of undisclosed kickbacks from mutual fund companies.
  • Settled a similar class action for $127 million against another brokerage house, arising out of the broker’s recommendation of “preferred funds” to customers while secretly receiving kickbacks.
  • Represented an outside director of a corporation in a class action brought by shareholders alleging that the board artificially inflated the value of its securities.
  • Represented a Pacific Rim bank in matters related to its receivership, including litigation against directors and pursuing coverage under a fidelity bond.
  • Represented former officers and directors of a dissolved corporation against state and federal securities claims made by a disgruntled investor and former director.

California’s Unfair Competition Law (Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17200 et seq.) provides a powerful tool to remedy unlawful, unfair, or fraudulent business practices. It has become a standard feature of commercial litigation in California, and Goodin MacBride attorneys routinely prosecute and defend cases under section 17200.

Goodin MacBride attorneys:
  • Represent a national class against an Internet hotel reservation company for assessing bogus “tax/fees” charges to consumers.
  • Settled litigation on behalf of a family-owned artisanal foie gras company against a national high-end grocer for interference with supplier contracts.
  • Successfully defended a Southern California municipality and a home developer there from unfair competition claims by a publicly regulated utility company.
  • Settled litigation on behalf of walnut growers throughout California against a prominent bank for improper diversion of proceeds from the sale of the walnut crop.
  • Represented the founder and president of a software company in litigation against a co-founder for looting the company and diverting corporate assets.
  • Represented a partner in litigation arising out of a partnership’s efforts to acquire, develop and manage mobile home park communities and multi-family residences in California.
  • Defended a major computer manufacturer in a national class action alleging unfair business practices arising from problems caused by electrostatic discharge.

Goodin MacBride’s business litigation attorneys routinely handle litigation needs of the firm’s regulatory clients and others in claims against or related to public utilities and involving energy, telecommunications, and natural resources.

Goodin MacBride attorneys:
  • Successfully represented over thirty developers in a claim for exemplary damages against Pacific Gas & Electric. The case was based on claims the utility violated its tariff and rules related to its share of the costs of joint trenches in main line extensions without Public Utilities Commission approval. Settled for nearly $2 million.
  • Successfully defended a municipality’s regulation of a local business challenged on grounds of federal preemption of railroad regulation and burdening interstate commerce.
  • Represented oil producer in claims brought by an independent energy service provider for exercising a contractual “opt-out” provision triggered by prohibitive regulatory action. Confidential settlement.
  • Defended residential home developer against claim by Pacific Gas & Electric for utility relocation costs in residential development. Confidential settlement.
  • Obtained temporary restraining order for switchless reseller against MCI, preventing termination of services over a billing dispute.
Goodin MacBride attorneys:
  • Obtained $224 million trial verdict against Los Angeles Department of Water & Power on behalf of governmental entities overcharged for electricity.
  • Defeated class certification in class action against telecommunications company sued, along with other providers, for claims arising out of charges for collect calls by prison inmates.
  • Awarded full amount of claim by switchless reseller against billing services provider in binding arbitration.
  • Represented overlying landowner country club in water rights adjudication regarding disputed groundwater basin. Following trial regarding limited disputed issues, a physical solution which preserved the priority of the overlying landowners was entered by judgment. Goodin MacBride lawyers have continued to represent the client in monitoring implementation of that judgment.