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Brian focuses his practice on complex business disputes. He is a seasoned litigator, with substantial experience at the pre-trial, trial and appellate levels. He has tried over 20 cases to both juries and judges, which is unusual for a business litigator. He has briefed and argued over 15 appeals. Simply put, Brian knows how to avoid a trial whenever possible, and how to win one when necessary.

Please see Brian’s Representative Matters for further details about his substantial litigation experience.

Brian is a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates (www.abota.org), which is a national association of experienced trial lawyers and judges. Martindale-Hubbell rates Brian as “AV Preeminent,” its highest ranking for professionalism and ethics.

Brian lives in Encino with his wife and son. In his free time, Brian enjoys playing the piano, tennis and softball, grilling tri-tip, and rooting for his beloved but often (always?) heart-wrenching New York Jets.

Representative Matters

  • Represented Buddy Holly’s heirs in a multimillion-dollar royalty dispute against MCA Records. On appeal, Brian convinced the Court that MCA had unilaterally applied an arbitrary “packaging deduction” to reduce the Hollys’ royalties. The Court of Appeal invalidated the packaging deduction, which resulted in additional royalties due.
  • Represented a plaintiff alleging that he had co-created the hit television series Criminal Minds. The matter was resolved confidentially and out-of-court, to the satisfaction of both parties.
  • Represented the insured in a multimillion-dollar claim following a fire at a Beverly Hills estate formerly owned by Kirk Kerkorian, Sylvester Stallone and Sonny & Cher. Brian obtained benefits for his client in excess of $11 million.
  • Represented a contractor who agreed to construct a sports complex for California City, in return for a parcel of land, re-zoned by the City for residential development. The City, however, refused to re-zone the land. Before Brian represented the contractor, the statute of limitations to file a money claim against the City had already lapsed, forcing Brian to sue for specific performance only (i.e., for an order forcing the City to re-zone). When the City later argued that an order forcing it to re-zone was unenforceable because it infringed on the City’s sovereignty, Brian immediately asserted a monetary claim for rescission of the parties’ contract, based upon the City’s new illegality argument. The Court accepted the claim, and Brian tried it successfully, receiving an award of over $556,000, plus an attorneys’ fee award of over $124,000.
  • Represented the plaintiff in a partnership dispute involving the purchase and development of land. When Brian was retained, the case had already been thrown out by the trial court. Brian obtained a reversal from the Court of Appeal, and thereafter favorably settled the matter for his client.
  • Represented a defendant in a three-week bench trial, in which the court found no liability against his client on a $1.6 million construction project dispute.
  • Represented the defendant and cross-complainant in a four-week jury trial involving claims of wrongful termination and embezzlement. On the eve of trial, Brian settled his client’s claims for $550,000. At trial, Brian obtained a defense verdict on all claims asserted against his client. Brian thereafter obtained for his client an attorney’s fee award of $178,350. In granting the motion for attorney’s fees, the trial court wrote that “the hourly rates charged are well-below the market rates for trial counsel of the experience and competence of [defendant’s] counsel in this case, particularly counsel with the sophistication demonstrated throughout these proceedings to cogently address the issues presented and to so successfully represent his client in this convoluted and contentious litigation.”
  • Represented the defendant in a dispute with his former business partner concerning which partner owned a 50% interest in multimillion-dollar apartment building. At trial, Brian convinced the jury that an assignment of the interest purportedly signed by his client was a forgery, and thus that the 50% interest belonged to Brian’s client.
  • Represented the plaintiff in a lawsuit alleging that defendants wrongfully presented themselves as owners of a hotel that was in fact owned by plaintiff, that defendants sold the hotel without plaintiff’s knowledge and absconded with the profits. Following trial, plaintiff was awarded $3.5 million in damages, including punitive damages.
  • Represented the owner of a commercial property, against which plaintiff contractor recorded a $1.5 million mechanic’s lien. Aside from arguing that plaintiff’s damages claim was vastly overstated, Brian established at trial that plaintiff had forfeited his right to recover any damages. Brian did so by proving each of the following to the Court: (1) plaintiff was a general contractor; (2) plaintiff did not maintain workers’ compensation insurance; (3) plaintiff employed workers on the construction project; (4) even though the plaintiff was licensed, his failure to maintain workers’ compensation insurance rendered him unlicensed as a matter of law; and (5) unlicensed contractors may not recover any amounts for services rendered.

Reported Decisions

  • Gottlieb v. Kest (2006) 142 Cal.App.4th 110
  • Axis Surplus Ins. Co. v. Reinoso (2012) 208 Cal.App.4th 181
  • Gruber v. Gruber (2020) 48 Cal.App.5th 529
  • Rubinstein v. Fakheri (2020) 49 Cal.App.5th 797

Honor/Accreditations

Brian is a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates (www.abota.org), which is a national association of experienced trial lawyers and judges.

For the past several years, Brian has been recognized as a Southern California “Super Lawyer.” Martindale-Hubbell rates Brian as “AV Preeminent,” its highest ranking for professionalism and ethics.

Other Areas of Practices

  • Intellectual Property Litigation