Andrew W. Zepeda, Shareholder at Lurie-Zepeda

Andrew W. Zepeda

Shareholder
Phone:(310) 274-8700 ext. 131
Fax:(310) 274-2798
Email:azepeda@lurie-zepeda.com

Education and Affiliations

Education

  • University of Notre Dame Law School, J.D., 1982
    •  Justice William J. Brennan Scholarship
  • Thomas Aquinas College, B.A., 1979

Bar & Court Admissions

  • California
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. District Court (Central, Northern, Eastern and Southern Districts, CA)
  • U.S. Court of Appeals (9th Cir.)

Honors & Awards 

Martindale AV Rating

Professional Associations/Memberships

  • Los Angeles County Bar Association

Charitable/Community Involvement

  • St. Monica Academy, Pasadena – Member and Past President, Board of Directors
  • Thomas Aquinas College – Board of Governors
  • Legatus, Pasadena Chapter – Member and Past President
  • Newman Club of Los Angeles – Member

Andrew W. Zepeda: Professional Profile

Andrew  Zepeda has litigated and resolved virtually every type of business dispute in state and federal trial and appellate courts. Gifted in strategically assessing the merits of a case, he spends considerable effort formulating the most effective strategy to protect the client’s best interests, then tenaciously pursues the matter to the desired outcome.  Mr. Zepeda’s commitment to client communication and his personable demeanor provide clients with a sense of confidence from the initial meeting through resolution.  His 40+ years of experience have also made him highly knowledgeable and effective in the use of pre-trial remedies, including pre-judgment attachments, injunctive relief and lis pendens.  He is av rated by Martindale Hubble. He has also been designated a Super Lawyer for the last several years.

Mr. Zepeda’s impressive track-record includes a U.S. Supreme Court decision ranked by the Harvard Law Review as one of the top 15 of its session, Semtek International Incorporated v. Lockheed Martin Corporation, 531 U.S. 497 (2001).  In another first, Mr. Zepeda bypassed a bench trial, instead persuading a jury to award his subcontractor client declaratory relief to enforce a settlement agreement with the prime contractor on the Red Line subway project.  Mr. Zepeda successfully defended a company’s former CEO in trial court and on appeal in a $39 million complaint of complicity in fraud brought by the company’s former private equity investors. More recently, Mr. Zepeda successfully steered through nearly seven years of litigation to secure the partition by sale of a downtown Los Angeles Wilshire Boulevard law office building over the opposition of now disbarred plaintiffs’ lawyer Tom Girardi, who was a co-owner and whose law firm was tenant, and to recover $1.8 million in attorneys’ fees and rents.  Mr. Zepeda also recently secured a complete victory for the elders and pastors of a Korean church who had been sued by the larger denomination which was seeking to gain control of the local church’s real property worth approximately $100 million after the local church voted to withdraw from the denomination.

As a real estate litigator, Mr. Zepeda lends unique perspective gained from five years as general counsel to Griffin Industries, a home-building and land development company.  Among recent matters, his early success in making a case for lender liability against a money center bank affiliate allowed him to obtain an injunction against efforts to foreclose, thus enabling his client to achieve a satisfactory resolution of its disputes; successfully defended apartment developers from a judicial foreclosure action and prosecuted lender liability cross-complaints; and, successfully defended a land developer against claims that the soil subsidence and foundation failure of homes built on adjacent property resulted, in part, from grading activity on client’s downslope property.

Committed to education, Mr. Zepeda is a longtime member of the Thomas Aquinas College Board of Governors and a past member and past president of St. Monica Academy’s Board of Directors in Pasadena.  He also is a member and past president of the Pasadena Chapter of Legatus.

Andrew W. Zepeda's Results by Practice Area


Appeals

Obtained peremptory writ of mandamus from Court of Appeal where trial judge had erroneously ordered arbitrator to decide a motion to expunge lis pendens, even though such relief was beyond arbitrator’s jurisdiction.

Obtained peremptory writ of mandamus from Court of Appeal where trial court had erroneously ordered case into arbitration. After remand to trial court, defeated commercial bank defendant’s motion to compel alternative dispute resolution on grounds of waiver, thus allowing client’s extensive claims for lender liability to proceed to jury trial.

Achieved unanimous decision in client’s favor in Semtek International Incorporated v. Lockheed Martin Corporation, 531 U.S. 497 (2001), a decision ranked by Harvard Law Review as one of the top 15 for that  Supreme Court session and now required reading in virtually every law school’s civil procedure class. After Semtek’s breach of contract claim and various business torts against Lockheed Martin were dismissed in federal court under California’s statute of limitations, client re-filed in Maryland, which had a longer statute of limitations.  The Maryland court also dismissed the case, interpreting the Federal Rules to require that the California dismissal be treated as if it were on the merits rather than a procedural statute of limitations dismissal. While unsuccessfully pursuing relief in   Maryland’s appellate courts, engineered and preserved arguments that allowed client to obtain U.S. Supreme Court review. Those arguments were well-received by the Supreme Court, resulting in a 9-0 reversal and reversal of numerous federal appellate holdings to the surprise of nearly all leading legal scholars.

Business Litigation

Prevailed in a jury trial representing subcontractor on the Metro Red Line project, achieving enforcement of an oral settlement agreement with prime contractor-defendant over a contractual dispute. Defendant had reneged on the oral settlement agreement achieved at deposition by counsel. Tried declaratory relief action to a jury after judge was openly dubious that the oral settlement agreement was authorized and enforceable.  At trial, impeached the credibility of defendant’s CEO, who claimed he never authorized the oral settlement agreement, and persuaded jurors to answer every question of lengthy special verdict form in plaintiff’s favor. Also obtained award of 100% of client’s attorney’s fees.

After the sale of a company resulted in a $39 million arbitration award and consequent judgment against its selling shareholders for fraud, successfully defended the company’s former CEO in Los Angeles Superior Court and on appeal against selling shareholder’s claims for equitable indemnity based on alleged complicity in fraud. The plaintiff, a private equity firm, alleged that client had fraudulently manipulated the financials, among other charges. Achieved speedy dismissal of claims against client through demurrers before discovery ensued. Enforced indemnity agreement against former employer ensuring all defense fees were paid and client made whole. Affirmed on appeal in full in Kayne Anderson Private Investors v. Colak, No. B239111, 2013 WL 2099228 (Cal. Ct. App. May 16, 2013).

Successfully defended Fortune 500 client and a key employee against claims of breach of contract and fraud related to an alleged perpetual brokerage agreement. Conducted extensive discovery, revealing unfavorable facts about the plaintiff, which allowed clients to achieve settlement at mediation.

Insurance Litigation

Sued insurance company for bad faith and breach of insurance contract for refusing to contribute to settlement of very high profile wrongful death and personal injury case resulting from an explosion in an apartment complex caused, in part, from glycerine in the fire suppression system.  Insured contractor had settled without insurer’s consent because, although insurer was defending insured against plaintiffs’ case, it had failed and refused to defend or indemnify indemnity claims by other parties, leaving insured in untenable position.  Settled case at early mediation.

Intellectual Property Disputes

Prosecuted claims on behalf of fruit bar (paleta) manufacturers against distributor of ice cream products for unfair competition and violations of federal and state antitrust law.  Case was settled under an agreement by which distributor aborted its “customer loyalty” program, which violated laws respecting tying arrangements, and agreed to refrain from requiring tying arrangements.

Professional & Fiduciary Liability

Successfully prosecuted legal malpractice claims against prominent Honolulu firm regarding a failed condominium project.  Through careful depositions of law firm members, established that the law firm had cancelled all condominium sales contracts without developer client’s authorization; had paid itself, without authorization, from funds in client trust accounts; and, subsequently defended client in high stakes litigation brought by class of dissatisfied condominium purchasers, without advising client of conflict.  Persisted in settlement discussions and mediation until settlement was reached, weeks before trial.

Real Estate Litigation

Successfully defended commercial landlord against tenant for fraud related to the leased building’s condition and for rescission of triple-net lease agreement. Achieved dismissal of all of tenant’s fraud and breach claims through four consecutive motions for summary adjudication, and prosecuted cross-complaint against tenant for breach of lease. While the building contained construction and/or design defects, convinced court that fraud claims were untenable because the lease agreement was on “as is” basis and the tenant was an engineering firm. Immediately before jury trial, settled client’s claim against tenant for damages relating to breach of lease on terms favorable to client. Secured tenant’s eviction, allowing client to timely contribute property to new shopping center venture.

Fifty years after a legal description recording error of a lot split in the 1960s, filed suit in Los Angeles Superior Court to conform the legal description of client’s residential property with the authorized lot line.  Case was resolved in clients’ favor, eliminating the risk of clients losing a large part of their driveway and garage.

In construction litigation, successfully defended land developer against claims that homes built on adjacent property suffered soil subsidence and foundation failure due in part to grading activity on client’s down slope property.  Obtained summary judgment based on statute of limitations.  The contractor who had built the affected homes was out of business and its records difficult to recover, complicating the ability to determine precisely who was responsible for soil subsidence.

Successfully sued celebrity and former studio president for encroaching on client’s property by building a gate and gatehouse.  Case was settled through an advantageous sale and lot line adjustment.

Successfully defended shopping center developer against former secured lender’s claim for $1.5 million “exit” fee after client refinanced loan. Lender had failed to demand the exit fee at the time the loan was refinanced and deed of trust re-conveyed. Notwithstanding lender’s claim of inadvertent error, persuaded court that “one-action” rule governed and that lender had waived its security interest and therefore waived its claim for further monies. Defeated lender’s claims on quickly set motion for summary judgment based on anti-deficiency law defenses. Collected entire award of fees, including a $50,000 “bonus” over actual attorneys’ fees incurred based on “reasonable fee” argument.

Successfully petitioned the Los Angeles Superior Court to vacate arbitration award dismissing contractor’s claims for purported lack of contractor’s license.  Thereafter, prosecuted claim to successful settlement.

After an adjoining property owner moved fences on client’s residential property in Santa Monica Canyon, where “every inch counts,” successfully prosecuted and tried a claim for encroachment.

Successfully defended apartment developers from judicial foreclosure action and prosecuted lender liability cross-complaints in two companion cases.  Obtained dismissal of judicial foreclosure claims by demurrer and won attorney’s fees.  Defeated bank’s effort to compel judicial reference of cross-complaints in both cases based upon interpretation of ADR agreement and bank’s waiver. Obtained peremptory writ from Court of Appeal reversing order compelling arbitration, securing jury trial of lender liability claims, allowing both cases to be settled at beginning of trial.

Litigated a real estate foreclosure and lender liability case for borrower against a money center bank affiliate.  The lender had attempted to foreclose on a large estate home building development in Malibu Canyon, even though assignor bank had promised a loan extension and conditions had been met.  Defeated lender’s application for appointment of receiver and obtained a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction before case was settled for client.

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