S&B Prevails in a Published Ninth Circuit Opinion
S&B has prevailed in a published Ninth Circuit opinion involving entertainment litigation arising under California’s anti-SLAPP statute. In John Doe v. Gangland Productions, Inc. (Ninth Circuit case number 11-56325), S&B represented a former prison gang member turned police informant who filed a lawsuit against the producers of Gangland, a documentary series that aired on the History Channel (owned by A&E). The case arose from A&E’s failure to conceal the Plaintiff’s identity during an interview which aired on the program, even though Plaintiff claimed he conditioned his participation in the interview on having his identity concealed. Plaintiff filed the lawsuit in the Central District of California under the pseudonym “John Doe” to protect his identity. A&E and the production company challenged the lawsuit under California’s anti-SLAPP statute alleging that the claims arose from protected First Amendment conduct and that Plaintiff could not show any merit to his claims. After Plaintiff prevailed before federal judge Andrew Guilford, A&E appealed the adverse ruling to the Ninth Circuit, which affirmed Judge Guilford’s ruling as to the majority of Plaintiff’s claims. In a published opinion, the Ninth Circuit panel unanimously found that Plaintiff’s “identity was not of legitimate public concern” and allowed his case to proceed. Handling appellate attorney Eric Schiffer was quoted in several news publications, including The Daily Journal, The National Law Journal, and Law 360. If you wish to read the Ninth Circuit’s opinion, click here.
Eric Schiffer Named Associate Adjunct Professor of Law at Southwestern Law School
Eric Schiffer has been appointed Associate Adjunct Professor of Law at Southwestern Law School, his alma mater. Mr. Schiffer will be teaching in the Graduate Legal Associate Program (GLAP) which is a newly created course offered to recent graduates intended to help them bridge the gap between law school and private practice. “This course is such a valuable asset to these graduates, and I am pleased to be a part of it” offers Mr. Schiffer. “I only wish this would have been offered when I was a student. This will definitely give Southwestern’s graduates a leg-up in the marketplace.” Mr. Schiffer was previously an Adjunct Professor of Law at Western State Law School where he taught Legal Research & Writing. He also serves on the Board of Trustees of Southwestern’s Alumni Association.
OC Register and OC Metro Recognize William Buus as a Top Orange County Attorney
William Buus was again honored by the OC Register and OC Metro by being listed in their publications, identifying the top attorneys of Orange County. This is the first time OC Register has done so, and the fourth time OC Metro has done so. Both have listed him as among the top litigators in Orange County. Mr. Buus is a noted trial lawyer who has litigated in state and federal trial and appellate courts. His experience includes intellectual property disputes over trademarks, patents, copyrights and trade secrets; business disputes involving breach of contract, securities, wrongful termination and fraud; real property disputes; wrongful death and serious injury matters.” These honors are largely due to my tireless dedication to serving my clients and pursuing their goals,” Mr. Buus said. “To be recognized by these highly-respected publications is a great honor.”
The California Court of Appeal Unanimously Agrees With S&B and Its Clients
In a long and bitter battle between a homeowner’s association and some of its homeowners, the California Court of Appeal issued a published opinion clarifying the rights of homeowners under Civil Code section 1363.03, which preserve their right to have their views published in association media during homeowner association election campaigns. S&B’s clients claimed that an election was invalid because the association published articles in its newsletter, on its website, and on its bulletin board, advocating a position, but refused to publish contrary homeowner views in those media. Contrary to the language of the statute governing this issue, the association claimed that its Board had the right to use association media to communicate its consensus views to the homeowner community without triggering an obligation to allow opposing homeowners to publish contrary views using association media. It also claimed that its communications to homeowners did not “advocate” a position, and were merely informational. A trial judge agreed with the association on both counts, and found in favor of the association, but the homeowners appealed and won. In a published, unanimous opinion, the Court of Appeal held that, “[i]f the Court created [a board-member exception], it would allow those in power the advantage of using Association media to advocate a point of view to the exclusion of any opposing view. Such a construction would only further empower those individuals already in power, and would weaken those individuals not in power. Not only would such a construction be fundamentally unfair, but it would facilitate rather than cure the evils intended to remedied by the statute.” The Court of Appeal also held that the articles published by the association advocated a position in the election campaign and, therefore, homeowners had statutory right to publish contrary views in association media. If you wish to read the Court of Appeal’s opinion, click here. The Association’s petition for review to the California Supreme Court was denied, leaving this case the only citable precedent on the issue of equal access to HOA media in the state of California.
S&B Obtains Dismissal for Ohio-Based Client
S&B successfully defended an Ohio-based business sued in California state court for re-publishing raw data originally published in a compilation book. The plaintiff claimed S&B’s client re-published the raw data without consent, causing plaintiff to lose money on sales of the book. The suit did not assert claims of copyright infringement undoubtedly because the Copyright Act does not protect a listing of raw data that lacks any sort of creativity or originality. Such raw data is free for the taking, and anyone can use or publish it. Instead, the suit alleged “common law” claims for breach of contract, conversion, and interference with economic advantage. S&B promptly removed the action to federal court and moved to dismiss the case, both on the ground that the Copyright Act preempted the claims. Shortly after that, the case was dismissed. “Without more, the common law does not provide protection for works that are not protected under the Copyright Act,” William Buus, lead attorney commented. “In this case, whether or not the plaintiff had the exclusive right to publish the raw data was a matter of Copyright law only, and since the Copyright law did not grant plaintiff that right, the case was without merit.”
William Buus Spearheads Another Stellar Jury Trial Victory
An Orange County jury decided that Internet Brands – a large internet branding company – breached a contract it had with Greenlight Financial – a large mortgage finance company – and found that Internet Brands owed Greenlight Financial $750,000. The two companies had previously agreed that Internet Brands could use the trademarked name “Greenlight” only under certain limited conditions, but Greenlight Financial discovered that Internet Brands was using the name in other unauthorized ways, prompting the lawsuit for breach of contract and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. “Internet Brands attempted to argue that the manner in which it used the trademarked ‘Greenlight’ name was consistent with the terms of the agreement,” William Buus, lead trial lawyer explained. “But we argued, and the jury agreed, that Internet Brands’s use of the name was inconsistent with the terms of the agreement and that Internet Brands should pay money damages to Greenlight Financial.” Afterward, the Judge ordered Internet Brands to pay Greenlight Financial’s attorney’s fees and costs, and denied Internet Brands’s motions for new trial and judgment notwithstanding the verdict. Internet Brands is expected to appeal.
Los Angeles Lawyer Magazine Publishes Article on Jury Trials Written by William Buus
Shortly after being admitting into the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), William Buus felt inspired to write about the value of jury trials in an article that was published by Los Angeles Lawyer magazine in February of 2013. The article explains why jury trials serve an important governmental function to act as a critical buffer between the government and the governed, and urges all people to view them differently. “Special interests have been knocking jury trials, which have been steadily decreasing in numbers over the years,” Mr. Buus said. “We need to ensure that the civil jury trial, which is a vital Constitutional promise, does not disappear due to the prevalence of misinformation and misperceptions about our system of justice.” If you wish to read the article, click here.
Eric Schiffer Appointed to the City of Westminster Personnel Board
A long-time resident of the city of Westminster, Eric Schiffer has recently accepted appointment to the city’s personnel board following the unanimous vote of the Westminster city council. “I am honored to serve in this position, and to contribute my time and skills to the city where I have resided for so many years and where I have raised my children” said Eric Schiffer. “The city council has done such a great job in promoting the city and now I get to do my part by helping to insure that the city’s personnel-based decisions are properly reviewed and overseen.”
S&B Defeats Attempt by Employer to Enforce Covenant Not to Compete
A large, out-of-state corporation sued one of its former employees in California for an alleged breach of an employment contract containing a promise by the employee not to compete with the employer for a number of years after quitting or being fired (a so-called “Covenant Not to Compete”). Unfortunately for the corporation, though, such Covenants Not to Compete are invalid under California law so, when it asked the Court for a preliminary order prohibiting the former employee from competing with that corporation, the Judge refused and denied the request. Later, the Judge also ruled that the Complaint itself did not state a valid claim against the former employee for the same reasons. “Although California companies may not like it, they simply cannot prevent employees from competing with them after the employment relationship ends,” handling attorney William Buus stated. “They may protect their trade secrets and other intellectual property rights, but they simply cannot stop a former employee’s fairly competing with them. Especially in this economy, employees must have the right and freedom to earn a living in their chosen field of business.”
S&B Sues Medical Group for Its Use of Copyrighted Before and After Photos
S&B's client, a local plastic and reconstructive surgeon, took “before and after” photographs of a satisfied patient and, with the patient’s consent, used that photograph in his online advertising materials. Recently, though, the physician observed identical pictures being used online and on billboards by a competitor. S&B immediately filed a lawsuit, alleging copyright infringement, false advertising, and unfair competition. “There is common misconception that, if a picture is available online, then it is free game,” said handling attorney, Eric Schiffer. “There are innumerable photographs available online that are protected by copyright laws, and people should be careful to check whether or not a picture they wish to use in business or advertising is copyrighted.”
S&B Pursues Wrongful Termination Case Against YWCA
S&B has recently taken a case involving a local YWCA organization’s termination of its Executive Director. The filed complaint alleges that the Executive Director was fired because she alerted the YWCA’s Board of Directors that the organization had been misusing federal grant monies. Handling attorney, William Buus, said, “California has a public policy protecting employees who engage in certain protected activities such as alerting others about an employer’s illegal activities. If the Executive Director in this case proves she was fired because she raised concerns about the YWCA’s misuse of federal grant monies, then YWCA should pay for that violation of a very important public policy.” The lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, and asserts claims of wrongful termination in violation of public policy, unfair competition, and negligence.
William Buus Serves as Faculty for ABOTA Trial School
Trial lawyer, William Buus, a recently-admitted member to the prestigious American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), served as a faculty member to the Los Angeles Chapter’s "Jack Daniels Trial School". At that school, he counseled students on techniques to effectively select a jury, present an opening statement, and examine witnesses. The namesake of the school – Jack Daniels – a noted trial lawyer and mediator, commended Mr. Buus on his participation as a faculty member, calling Mr. Buus’s contributions "fantastic". "I'm proud, not only to be involved in a group consisting of the greatest trial lawyers in the country", Mr. Buus said, "but to be involved in teaching students who very well could become ABOTA members themselves".
OC Metro Magazine Recognizes William Buus as One of the Top Ten Litigators in Orange County
For the third time, OC Metro Magazine recognized William Buus as a top litigator, this time finding him to be one of the top ten litigators in Orange County. OC Metro Magazine also posted a short video of Mr. Buus, giving advice to business owners on how to reduce the risk of being sued. To see that video, click here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-Iw_iLu6bQ). Mr. Buus is a trial lawyer who has handled a wide variety of complex cases from filing through trial, and at times through the appellate process, although he frequently counsels his clients on how to avoid lawsuits, if at all possible. "It's always nice to be recognized for the fruits of your hard work and dedication, especially by a well-respected business magazine such as OC Metro", Mr. Buus said. I'm deeply honored."
S&B Pursues Suit Against Roc Nation
S&B is pursuing a trademark infringement lawsuit against entertainment company Roc Nation, which is essentially a partnership between musical artist Jay-Z and ticket producer Live Nation, over its use of the name “Hugo” for one of its musical artists. S&B represents a musical artist who has been using that name for years and who possesses a trademark that has been registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. S&B's suit also names Live Nation and the musical artist whose name is Chulachak Chakrabongse, who has achieved recognition for recordings such as "Bread & Butter" and his cover of "99 Problems". "This is a case about consumer confusion", handling attorney William Buus said, "and whether it is right – legally and morally – for one to take another's business goodwill by using a name that the other invested time, money and effort in building. Quite simply, it's not."
S&B Successfully Represents the Co-Writer and Performer of the Iconic Theme Song from the Show "Cheers" in an Action for False Advertising
S&B was honored to have the opportunity of representing Gary Portnoy, the co-writer and performer of the theme song from "Cheers (Where Everybody Knows Your Name)" in an action for false advertising. Handling attorney Eric Schiffer explained "unfortunately, a licensee of his song used a ‘sound-alike’ version of his performance in conjunction with the sale of a product which played the theme song and specifically touted the fact that it was Mr. Portnoy's performance, when it was not. Federal false advertising laws protect performers such as Mr. Portnoy." S&B helped Mr. Portnoy achieve a favorable resolution, and more importantly, helped maintain the integrity of this iconic song.
William Buus Becomes a Member of ABOTA
William Buus recently became a member of the prestigious trial lawyer’s group, the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). ABOTA is highly respected in the legal community and it is a great honor to become a member. ABOTA is a national association of experienced trial lawyers and judges dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the civil jury trial right provided by the Seventh Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. ABOTA works to uphold the jury system by educating the American public about the history and value of the right to trial by jury. In order to become a member, a lawyer must have conducted and completed a specific number of jury trials. "This is the highest achievement in my legal career so far," William Buus commented. "I'm both honored and humbled to be a member of a group of people who are the best trial lawyers in the nation. My job is to show that I am also a valuable member of the group."
S&B Obtains Dismissal for Client
S&B successfully defended a client sued in federal court for copyright infringement. S&B argued that the subject "work," consisting of a compilation of factual data, was not protectable under the Copyright laws. Based upon that, S&B obtained a quick dismissal of the case. "Not everything that someone creates is entitled to Copyright protection," William Buus said. "There are limits. It is well-settled law that a "work" must contain a least a minimal amount of creativity or originality. A simple listing or compilation of data, without more, is not copyrightable."
S&B Defends Client Over Its Use of an Image of the late punk rock performer Sid Vicious
S&B is currently defending a footwear manufacturer concerning its use of a photographic image of Sid Vicious on certain styles of its shoes. The photographer who took the picture is suing S&B's client for Copyright Infringement, which is being defended on the ground that the client previously purchased the right to use that image. Sid Vicious was the bassist of the punk rock group "Sex Pistols", and was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006. "This case is really about whether the client purchased a legitimate right to use the image on its footwear", William Buus said.
S&B Pursues Fraud Case in Arizona against Real Estate Developers
S&B is representing about thirty investors in a fraud case against real estate developers that was filed in Phoenix, Arizona. In that case, investors claim the developers made certain misrepresentations, including a promise to use invested funds for a particular mixed-use real estate project in Arizona. The investors claim a large portion of those funds were instead used to acquire a hotel out of state. The investors also claim they were told a portion of their investment would be placed in an interest reserve account, but claim such a reserve account was never created. Development of the project ultimately ceased, and the investors lost their money. The developers, of course, deny any wrongdoing, and S&B expects that this matter will be tried before a jury sometime in early 2013.
S&B Prevails on Appeal
S&B successfully overturned a default judgment that had been entered against its clients. According to handling attorney Eric Schiffer, "when our clients first came to us and showed us the substantial default judgment that had been entered against them, we made every effort to have the trial court judge reverse the judgment. When those efforts were unsuccessful, we had no choice but to appeal." The Second Appellate District, Division Five unanimously ruled that the default judgment be reversed in its entirety, and that S&B's clients be given the opportunity to defend themselves. “Cases should be decided on their merits, and not on technicalities. This was a great result for our clients, and we hope they can rest a little easier knowing that this judgment will no longer be lurking,” noted Eric Schiffer.
S&B Featured in Newsweek Magazine
S&B was one of two California law firms featured in Newsweek magazine's March 19, 2012 edition. "We are thrilled to have this level of national visibility, and look forward to offering our firm’s services to new clients," noted Eric Schiffer. "With a national circulation of over 14 million readers, this Newsweek feature is a great opportunity for our firm."
Federal Judge Commends S&B for High Quality Legal Work
Following a successful verdict and entry of judgment in favor of S&B’s client, a federal judge granted attorneys’ fees to S&B’s client based upon S&B’s efficient, successful case handling. Noting the “high quality of the work performed by S&B in such a short time,” the court granted the motion and awarded all the time requested by S&B as attorneys’ fees. “It is always especially rewarding to have any judge speak so highly of the quality of our firm’s legal work” noted attorney Eric Schiffer, who successfully defended S&B’s judgment during the post-trial phase of the case. “ We pride ourselves on our outstanding work product and excellent courtroom skills. Our success in this case was truly a group effort, and we are very proud of the result we accomplished for our client.“
After Jury Trial, $2.6 Million Judgment for Doctor Fired for Notifying Medicare of Employer’s Fraud
In the midst of a rising tide of cases alleging fraud, a jury in the United States District Court, Central District of California, Eastern Division (Riverside), rendered a verdict in favor of a doctor who was fired for refusing to participate in a fraudulent scheme to submit false claims to Medicare for the payment of cosmetic, medically unnecessary services, and for notifying Medicare of the fraud in order to protect her own medical license. The doctor sued her employer for submitting false claims to the United States government, for unlawfully retaliating against the doctor, and for breach of contract, claiming, among other things, she was punished for protecting her own medical license by distancing herself from the fraud. The jury awarded the doctor damages, resulting in a total judgment in favor of the doctor of $2.6 million. "The jury really sympathized with the employee and wanted to send a message to the clinic," William Buus, lead trial attorney, noted. "In actuality, the jury's message was intended to resonate with all employers who wish to punish employees who won't put their livelihoods on the line by going along with fraudulent activity."
Jury Verdict Entered for S&B Clients
A federal court jury found in favor of S&B clients who were sued by a Taiwanese company for allegedly breaching a contract to purchase specially-manufactured after-market automobile parts. S&B lawyers William Buus and Eric Schiffer tried the case. The jury trial, which took three days, took place at the Roybal Federal Building in downtown Los Angeles, and jury deliberations took only about an hour. The jury found that S&B's clients did not breach the contract, and specifically that S&B's clients were not required to pay for goods they received due to lengthy manufacturing and delivery delays, rendering the goods unsalable and virtually valueless. "Many disputes like this are really a clash of cultures," trial attorney William Buus noted. "Nearly all of them can be resolved, but the people involved have a difficult time understanding one another and, unfortunately, that causes a rise in frustrations and tempers. This case really should have been resolved long ago, but sometimes trials are required to bring these disputes to an end, once and for all."
Eric Schiffer Elected to Temple Beth David Board of Trustees
Eric Schiffer has been elected to Temple Beth David's Board of Trustees, and will serve as Programming Trustee. Located in Westminster, California, Temple Beth David is celebrating its 50th anniversary as a fixture in Orange County and greater Long Beach's religious community. Eric Schiffer grew up as a member of Temple Beth David and has a special affinity for its history. "I am honored to be a member of the Temple's Board, and I look forward to helping increase the Temple's visibility and standing in the community by helping to plan educational, inspirational, and entertaining programming in the months and years to come."
Eric Schiffer Successfully Opposes anti-SLAPP Motion by A&E Television Networks in Case Involving Failure to Conceal Client's Identity During Interview on History Channel's "Gangland" Program
Eric Schiffer has successfully opposed an anti-SLAPP motion filed by A&E Television Networks and Gangland Productions, which sought to dismiss claims filed by S&B's client arising from A&E's failure to conceal his identity, as promised, during an interview which aired on the History Channel's documentary series "Gangland." A&E tried to portray the claims as bearing upon protected first amendment activity and invoked the protections afforded by California's Code of Civil Procedure section 425.16, which prevents a "Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation," also known as a "SLAPP." Eric Schiffer successfully argued that while the subject matter of the "Gangland" broadcast (southern California gang activity) was a matter of public interest, our client's face and identity were not matters of public interest, such that the principal thrust of our client's claims did not involve protected first amendment activity. In a well-reasoned thirteen page opinion, District Judge Andrew Guilford agreed with Mr. Schiffer and denied the motion. "I think the Judge got it exactly right and understood that not everything the media touches automatically invokes first amendment rights," said Eric Schiffer. Even though A&E Television and Gangland Productions had their anti-SLAPP motion denied, the unique nature of the SLAPP statute allows even the denial of such a motion to be appealed. The matter is now pending before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. According to Eric Schiffer, "We are hopeful that the Ninth Circuit will affirm Judge Guilford's well-reasoned opinion and will allow this case to continue to move forward in the trial court level so our client can seek a proper remedy for the substantial damages he has incurred as a result of A&E's and Gangland's actions."
Another Trial Win for S&B and William Buus
After a one-and-one-half month long jury trial, a judgment has been entered in favor of one of S&B's clients. The client was sued in Los Angeles Superior Court by a Vietnamese telecommunications company owned and operated by the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. The plaintiff claimed it was defrauded in a telecom deal, causing it to lose over $55 Million in monetary damages. "The trial was a real marathon and was well fought. Plaintiff was represented by skilled trial lawyers at a very large, international firm. In the long run, though, plaintiff overestimated its ability to obtain a recovery against the client, and judgment was entered in his favor." Mr. Buus commented. "Trial is more like a boxing match than a beauty contest. Everyone gets bruised and even bloodied. But, It's all about who is left standing at the end." This is yet another trial win for S&B and Mr. Buus.
Eric Schiffer Selected as Member of ProVisors Networking Group
Eric Schiffer has recently been selected as a member of ProVisors, which is a professional networking group located throughout California. Mr. Schiffer is a member of the Long Beach II Group and meets periodically both with his group, as well as other local groups in order to share networking resources and to better serve S&B's client base.
S&B Represents South Dakota-Based Book Publisher in Trademark Infringement Action Involving Works by the Nineteenth Century German Writer Karl May
Karl May is a famous nineteenth century German author who created many memorable old western characters, including "Winnetou," a fictional Apache chief, and "Old Shatterhand," his German blood brother. Karl May's works were very popular in Germany and reverted to the public domain in 1963. S&B's client is a South Dakota-based publisher who translates Karl May's works with the cooperation of the Karl May Society of Germany (Karl May Gesselschaft), which has made many of Karl May's original works available to the public. The South Dakota-based publisher, and their related companies are being sued by Plaintiffs, a German national and a company she formed, who claim to own the trademark rights in the name of the Apache character "Winnetou," and who allege trademark infringement and related claims against our clients. The South Dakota-based publisher denies any such claims, and has filed counter-claims to cancel the Plaintiffs' purported trademarks. The matter has been favorably resolved.
S&B Sues A&E Television Networks Over Failure to Conceal Client's Identity During Interview on History Channel's "Gangland" Program
S&B represents a police informant who agreed to be interviewed about southern California gang activity on the documentary series "Gangland" conditioned upon his identity being concealed. When the episode aired, this individual discovered that his identity was not concealed causing him substantial danger, as well as monetary loss. S &B filed a lawsuit against A&E Television, as well as the production company Gangland Productions, in federal court claiming appropriation of likeness, public disclosure of private information, false promise, and related claims. The lawsuit was filed under the pseudonym "John Doe" to protect our client from harm, and is currently pending in federal court in Orange County.
William Buus Again Selected as a "Super Lawyer" for 2011
Super Lawyer Magazine has again selected William Buus as one of its Southern California "Super Lawyers." This honor was due to favorable surveys of William's peers and in recognition of his many achievements as a trial lawyer in the areas of intellectual property litigation and securities litigation. William also handles a wide variety of business litigation cases, including, among others, those involving fraud, contracts, and real estate. This is the third year in a row Mr. Buus was named a Southern California Super Lawyer.
Eric Schiffer Helps Client Successfully Negotiate a Settlement to Avoid a Copyright Infringement Lawsuit
S&B's client was being threatened with a lawsuit by a national licensing entity based upon his compilation and authorship of a test preparation guide used to prepare for that licensing identity's exam. The licensing entity claimed that the questions included in our client's study guide, an original work of authorship, infringed its copyrights related to previously produced testing materials. Eric Schiffer argued that courts have recognized that resourceful persons have the opportunity to frame non-infringing questions testing the same subject areas, and was thereafter able to negotiate a resolution to the threatened claim helping his client to avoid a copyright infringement lawsuit.
S&B Obtains a Preliminary Injunction Against a Homeowners Association on Behalf of Aggrieved Residents
Homeowners living in a common interest development have sued their homeowners association for breaching the development's CC&Rs (Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions). Those CC&Rs, which in part govern the operation and management of the development's common areas, require that any alterations, additions or improvements to those common areas costing more than $1,000 be approved by two-thirds of voting homeowners. The Board had been ignoring that provision for some time, demolishing a pool without getting the required vote. When the Board threatened to remove two more pools in violation of the CC&Rs, aggrieved homeowners filed a suit in Orange County Superior Court, and asked the Court to require the Board to follow the CC&Rs before removing those pools. The Court entered a preliminary injunction sparing those pools from demolition. "All these homeowners want is for the Board to follow the rules; that's all." Mr. Buus, said. The Board, however, continues to fight the homeowners for its perceived right to break those rules.
S&B Obtains $10 Million Judgment Against Scamming Real Estate Salesperson
A real estate salesperson, Lisa Mahoney, scammed numerous people in a Ponzi scheme. S&B represented many of those victims in a lawsuit alleging fraud and breach of fiduciary duty, claiming total losses of over $3 Million plus punitive damages. These victims obtained a judgment against Lisa Mahoney in the Los Angeles County Superior Court in the total sum of just over $10 Million. Shortly thereafter, Lisa Mahoney was sent to a federal prison to serve a four-year sentence. Collections in these types of cases can be difficult, but not impossible, and Lisa Mahoney's victims are arduously pursuing the return of their money. "She will be held accountable. Given their determination, these victims will track her and her money for the rest of her life, much like the Goldmans continue to track O.J." Mr. Buus commented. A Ponzi scheme is generally one where the perpetrator takes a victim's money with promises of high returns in short periods of time, only to use that money to repay other investors and to enrich their own lives. There are usually little to no actual investments involved.
OC Metro Again Recognizes William Buus as One of OC's Top Attorneys
For two consecutive years, OC Metro magazine has recognized S&B's William Buus as one of Orange County's top attorneys. "This award, like the others, acknowledges the excellent legal work and customer service my firm provides day in and day out," William said. "My partner, Eric, and I pride ourselves on top-shelf legal work which comes as a direct result of our dedication and loyalty to our clients. And, as such, this award is representative of the efforts put forth by our entire staff and not just me." A copy of William's profile is included in OC Metro's August, 2010 edition. For the second year in a row, William was also recognized as a "Super Lawyer" by Southern California Super Lawyer magazine. He has maintained the highest possible rating of "10," or "Superb," on AVVO.com, an online attorney rating service.
S&B Obtains a $86.5 Million Judgment Against Two Lawyers Accused of Securities Fraud
S&B obtained an $86.5 Million judgment on behalf of over seventy people against John Anthony Miller and Theodore Staren for running a fraudulent "Ponzi" scheme. The Court entered judgment for the investor's principal losses, as well as, punitive damages. John Anthony Miller previously pled guilty to securities fraud in federal court on March 27, 2009, after having bilked hundreds of people out of their retirement savings. Mr. Miller informed people that he could obtain 10% to 18% annual returns by investing in foreign currency trading, oil wells, real estate and other purported investment opportunities. In reality, he made very few investments, and used investor money to pay returns to other investors and for his own personal benefit -- a classic Ponzi scheme. Mr. Staren has also been charged with wire fraud, and is currently awaiting trial on proceedings brought against him by the Federal government.
Another Jury Trial Win for S&B
The jury verdict is in: another trial won for our client. The client, who sold a restaurant/bakery to plaintiffs, was sued for allegedly breaching non-compete clauses and allegedly inducing others to breach their contract with plaintiffs. The lawsuit was filed over two years ago, during which plaintiffs unsuccessfully attempted several times to prevent S&B's client from operating his current bakery business. After a six-day trial, the Jury deliberated for just 55 minutes before reaching a verdict in which S&B's client was exonerated. The Jury specifically found, among other things, that there was no breach of the non-compete clauses and that there was no intent to induce others to breach their contract with plaintiffs. The jury also found that plaintiffs owed $40,500 under a promissory note, and required plaintiffs to pay that amount. It is anticipated that plaintiffs will also be required to pay the court costs and attorney's fees incurred in defending the action. "This trial was hard-fought at every stage, and was no cake walk," lead trial attorney William Buus said. "The opposing attorney is highly skilled and regarded by many as one of Orange County's top attorneys. I'm elated for the clients, who get to continue operating their business as usual." This is one of many impressive trial wins for S&B's William Buus.
Nevada Jury Agrees with S&B's William Buus
In a patent infringement case filed in federal court in Las Vegas, Nevada, S&B's William Buus, lead trial attorney in the case, argued that plaintiff's claimed royalty rate was grossly excessive. The royalty rate was a focal point of the week-long jury trial, and was hotly debated. The jury, though, agreed with William Buus, finding plaintiff's claimed royalty rate excessive and fixing a much lower royalty rate. "At trial, we zeroed in on plaintiff's claim for damages and, specifically, his claimed royalty rate, which we believed was way too high," William said. "Ultimately, the jury saw what we saw, and decided that the reasonable royalty rate should be a mere fraction of what plaintiff had claimed." An experienced litigator and trial lawyer, William, has successfully tried cases in both state and federal courts.
William Buus Again Selected as a "Super Lawyer" for 2010
Super Lawyer Magazine has again selected William Buus as one of its Southern California "Super Lawyers." This honor was due to favorable surveys of William' peers and in recognition of his many achievements as a trial lawyer and, specifically, in the area of intellectual property litigation and securities litigation. William also handles a wide variety of business litigation cases, including, among others, those involving fraud, contracts, and real estate.
Eric Schiffer Elected to Southwestern University School of Law's Alumni Association Board of Trustees
Eric Schiffer was recently elected to Southwestern University School of Law's Alumni Association Board of Trustees. Eric's selection was based upon his professional accomplishments as well as his ongoing involvement in Southwestern's alumni affairs. Eric is looking forward to participating in the selection of future alumni-related programs and is thankful for the opportunity to join the Board.
Rare Ex Parte Order Appointing a Receiver Obtained
Recently, William Buus obtained a favorable and rare order in which a Superior Court Judge appointed a receiver on an ex parte basis (meaning on short notice). William argued that a receiver should be appointed in a case where rental property owned by his clients and controlled by defendants was being mismanaged and falling into foreclosure. The court agreed that a receiver should be appointed since it was unclear what defendants were doing with rents obtained from the property and why defendants were not paying the mortgage.
The receiver will take control over the rental property, collect rents, pay bills, and make an accounting of the property's past operations. The suit against defendants alleged, among other things, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty and fraud. This is a big win for the clients, who now have an opportunity to save their investment.
William Buus Received Highest AVVO Rating
Recently, William Buus has received the highest rating with AVVO of 10 or "Superb." This was due to the favorable reviews William received from his clients and peers, and his longstanding experience as a trial lawyer and author of trial practice. William handles all types of business litigation, including intellectual property cases (involving patents, trademarks, and trade secrets), securities cases, fraud cases, and breach of contract cases.
Fox News Spotlights One of William Buus' Cases
On September 17, 2009, Fox News aired a report in which William Buus was interviewed. The report involved a securities fraud lawsuit that William filed on behalf of over forty investors against Lisa Mahoney. That lawsuit alleges that Ms. Mahoney operated a Ponzi scheme, defrauding millions of dollars from unsuspecting investors. Here are a few ways you can avoid a Ponzi scheme or other investment scam: (1) If the investment is too good to be true, it is; (2) If the investment offers "guaranteed" high returns in short periods of time, don't believe it; (3) make sure you understand the investment completely before you invest (do not invest in anything you don't understand); (4) make sure you have control over your investment monies at all times; and (5) do not invest with people who are not licensed or certified to be able to make such investments.
William Buus Featured in OC METRO'S Top Lawyers for 2009
William Buus was featured in OC Metro Magazine's August 2009 Publication of O.C.'s Top Lawyers. "I am obviously pleased to be featured in O.C. Metro's most recent magazine. O.C. Metro has obviously recognized the hard work I've put into my clients' matters, as well as the successes I've been able to obtain for them," states William.
Eric Schiffer Selected as a Panelist for the Mortgage Bankers Association's Quality Assurance Program
Eric Schiffer was selected as a speaker for the Mortgage Bankers Assocations 2008 Quality Assurance Conference based upon his knowledge and experience in the mortgage banking industry. Eric was a participant on the Regulatory Compliance Update panel and spoke about the impact on lenders of President Obama's "Hope for Homeowners" legislation.
Dismissal of Texas Patent Case Obtained
On August 8, 2009, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas dismissed a patent infringement suit filed against several defendants, including one of William's clients. The suit alleged that the sale of handheld GPS devices for the use of determining distances on golf courses infringed plaintiffs' patents. The Court dismissed the case, finding that the plaintiffs did not possess sufficient ownership interests in the patent to enable them to pursue the case any further. In the case, defendants argued not only that plaintiffs did not possess sufficient ownership interests in the patent, but that they have not, in any way, infringed the patent by their sales of golf handheld GPS devices. This is a big victory for the defendants and for their continued golf GPS businesses.
Securities Fraud Case Filed Against Admitted Scammer
In July of 2009, William Buus filed yet another securities fraud case on behalf of over 70 plaintiffs against a Ponzi schemer. John Anthony Miller pled guilty to securities fraud in federal court on March 27, 2009, after having bilked hundreds of people out of their retirement savings. Mr. Miller informed people that he could obtain 10% to 18% annual returns by investing in foreign currency trading, oil wells, real estate and other purported investment opportunities. In reality, he made very few investments, and used investor money to pay returns to other investors and for his own personal benefit -- a classic Ponzi scheme. William has sued other entities and individuals, including IRA Resources, Inc. and Theodore Staren. The suit claims that its investors lost over $20 Million.
$45 Million Judgment Against Indicted Life Insurance Salesman, James Halstead Entered
Shortly after obtaining a $45 million judgment against California attorney Jeanne Rowzee for securities fraud, William Buus obtained another $45 million judgment, this time against Ms. Rowzee's partner in the securities fraud scheme, James Richard Halstead. The lawsuit, filed early last year, alleged that both Ms. Rowzee and Mr. Halstead were conducting a "Ponzi" scheme, which is a form of securities fraud where the schemers use invested money for their own personal uses and to pay returns to other investors. S&B represented 45 plaintiffs in the action, whose net losses totaled just over $14 million. The $45 million judgment is comprised of those losses, plus punitive damages.
Within a couple of days after the judgment was entered, James Halstead was indicted by a federal grand jury for his role in the "Ponzi" scheme. The indictment included charges of wire fraud and money laundering.
The Laguna Beach Chamber Of Commerce And Civic Association to Form Non-Profit Foundation
Recently, the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce and Civic Association agreed to retain William Buus to form a non-profit foundation that would serve educational, environmental, and public safety purposes. The foundation will apply for tax-exempt status under Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3) as well as related state law. This will allow individuals to make tax-deductible donations to the chamber. William Buus is a member of the Chamber and serves on the Chamber's Board of Directors.
The chamber is very involved in projects and events that, among other things, help beautify the City of Laguna Beach and provide scholarships for students. The foundation will assist the chamber in obtaining tax-deductible donations to bolster these projects and events.
Case Reported In Los Angeles Times
On March 27, 2008, the Business Section of the Los Angeles Times contained a front-page article concerning a matter William is currently handling. The securities fraud action was brought on behalf of forty-five plaintiffs against Jeanne Rowzee and James Halstead, and alleged that the plaintiffs were cheated out of over thirteen million dollars in a Ponzi scheme.
William Buus Represents Former Members Of The Bay City Rollers In New York Suit Brought Against Arista Records
William Buus represents Ian Mitchell, Gordon Clark, and Pat McGlynn, three former members of the Bay City Rollers, in a New York federal ca99;"> | Irvine, CA
William Buus represents Ian Mitchell, Gordon Clark, and Pat McGlynn, three former members of the Bay City Rollers, in a New York federal case originally brought by five other former members of the band against Arista Records for its alleged failure to pay royalties for nearly thirty years. Ian Mitchell (guitarist and vocalist), Gordon Clark (vocalist) and Pat McGlynn (guitarist) have sought an order allowing them to intervene in the action so they may recover their fair share of those royalties as well.
The Bay City Rollers were popular in the mid-1970s with hits such as "Dedication," "Bye, Bye, Baby," "Saturday Night," and "I Only Want To Be With You." They released a number of albums in the 1970s and 1980s, and several compilations were released both before and after they parted ways in the 1980s. Their songs may be downloaded online, and may be heard insuit was brought, the original plaintiffs apparently either forgot or downplayed the significant contributions Ian Mitchell, Gordon Clark, and Pat McGlynn made to the band and its popularity; they wanted to cut our clients out," William said. "We wanted to make sure that didn't happen."
As of now, William' motion to allow his clients to intervene in the case is still pending, as is Arista Records' motion to dismiss the action for failure to state a claim. No trial date has been set yet.
Trial Lawyer William L. Buus, Finishes Another Trial
Recently, William Buus finished yet another trial in Orange County Superior Court. In that case, his client was sued for breach of contract stemming from certain real estate transactions. The trial lasted seven days and, while the jury was deliberating, plaintiff's settlement demand dropped. Plaintiff ultimately agreed to settle for a sum that BKKT's client offered before trial began.
Client Defended In Texas Federal Patent Infringement Case
One of William Buus' clients, a golf product supply company, has been sued in Texas for allegedly infringing on a patent covering devices that calculate the yardage between objects on a golf course. For example, such a device would calculate the distance between a golf ball and the golf cup or a hazard. William' client claims, among other things, that the patent is invalid for obviousness (in other words, it's not a protectable invention under the Patent Act) and that its GPS device does not infringe the patent nevertheless.
William Buus has been named a 2006 "Rising Star" by Los Angeles Magazine
Because of his litigation successes, William Buus has been invited to join the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, a register of attorneys who have obtained multi-million dollar verdicts, and has been named as one of Los Angeles Magazine's 2006 "Rising Stars," having been chosen by his peers as being among the top up-and-coming lawyers in Southern California.