Lawrence Imel is an aggressive litigator representing fiduciaries and beneficiaries in Trusts and Estates disputes and shareholders, professionals and individuals in Complex Business Litigation.  His highest priority is to understand each client’s interests and achieve their objectives.  Whether representing the trustee of a multi-million dollar estate or an individual in a simple business dispute, Mr. Imel treats his clients with the highest level of respect and gives their cases the attention they deserve.   As a result of his honest and candid counsel and open communication, Mr. Imel’s clients are able to meaningfully and intelligently participate in the formulation and deployment of strategic decisions.

Mr. Imel has tried numerous cases in probate courts and has successfully settled contentious decedent’s estate and trust matters outside of litigation.  Among his recent cases, Mr. Imel negotiated a favorable result for a beneficiary in a breach of fiduciary duty and breach of trust case against a successor trustee; negotiated a favorable resolution of a successor trustee’s claims against a trust beneficiary based on claims that the beneficiary misappropriated trust assets; and, negotiated an advantageous settlement on behalf of the co-executor of a decedent’s estate in a dispute with the other co-executor regarding the administration of the estate.

In representing clients in business disputes, Mr. Imel has prosecuted and defended business tort claims involving partnership disputes, contracts, fraud, real estate, intellectual property and other assets.  Among his recent cases, Mr. Imel tried a breach of contract and collection action for an attorney-client, resulting in a jury verdict in excess of $4 million; successfully defended a real estate developer in a $16 million lawsuit alleging the developer had publicized a city’s intent to take plaintiff’s property through eminent domain; and, in an adversary proceeding in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, preserved a real estate owner’s breach of contract claim against a lender and the lender’s assignee, despite defendants’ multiple attempts to have the case dismissed.

Education

  • Loyola Law School, J.D., 2001
    • First Honors Award, 2000 & 2001
    • Staff Writer, Loyola Los Angeles Law Review
    • Moot Court Participant
  •  University of California, Los Angeles, B.A., Political Science, 1998

Bar & Court Admissions

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

Honors & Awards 

  •  Southern California Super Lawyers – Rising Star, 2007, 2009, 2010

Professional Associations/Memberships

  • Los Angeles County Bar Association
  • Los Angeles Lawyer Magazine, Editorial Board, 2004-2010
  • ProVisors
  • Bruin Professionals

Charitable / Community Involvement

  • Loyola Law School 1L Mentoring Program, Volunteer, 2007 – present
  • Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Domestic Violence Project, Volunteer, 2008-2010
  • Residents of Beverly Glen, Inc., Board Member, 2013 – present

Lawrence Imel's Representative Matters by Practice Area

Appeals

  • Won jury verdict of $3 million, increased to $4.2 million with interest, in breach of contract action for attorney-client for over 20 years’ legal fees due from his former client.  Jury ruled in  attorney-client’s favor for both breach of contract and professional malpractice. Affirmed on appeal in full in Rufus Von Thulen Rhoades v. William M. Lansdale et al.

Business Litigation

  • Successfully represented client in claims against Mercedes-Benz, USA for violation of Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act.  Negotiated a settlement whereby Mercedes-Benz, USA repurchased client’s Mercedes-Benz S430V.  

  • Successfully represented client in claims against Ford Motor Company for violation of Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act.  Achieved arbitration award requiring Ford to repurchase client’s Ford Aviator and pay client’s attorney’s fees.  

  • Prosecuted breach of contract claim for payment for business services rendered, and defended against cross-claims for breach of contract for services.  Created and implemented a successful negotiation strategy in private mediation, resulting in a favorable settlement for client.  

  • In an adversary proceeding in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, preserved real estate owner’s breach of contract claim against a lender and the lender’s assignee, despite defendants’ multiple motions to dismiss.

  • Successfully defended Deutsche Bank, AG against claims of fraud, negligent representation, and omission regarding investments. Plaintiffs sought $363 million in compensatory and punitive damages. Judge granted Deutsche Bank’s motion to dismiss based on arguments that the plaintiffs failed to state a claim for fraud or negligent misrepresentation, and the 12-year old claims had passed the applicable statute of limitations.

  • Won jury verdict of $3 million, increased to $4.2 million with interest, in breach of contract action for attorney-client for over 20 years’ legal fees due from his former client.  Jury ruled in  attorney-client’s favor for both breach of contract and professional malpractice. Affirmed on appeal in full in Rufus Von Thulen Rhoades v. William M. Lansdale et al.

  • Defended Texas resident against allegations, filed in the Northern District of the United States District Court, of false promises to pay for orders of wine without intent to perform.  Successfully obtained court order transferring lawsuit to Texas.   

Corporate & Partnership Disputes

  • On behalf of motel business’s minority shareholder and manager, successfully prosecuted claims against the majority shareholder for breaching contract to sell his shares of the corporation to client.  Following the presentation of client’s case in chief to a jury, settled on terms favorable to client.  Defendant was required to sell his shares in the corporation to allow client to continue ownership and operation of the motel business.  

Professional & Fiduciary Liability

  • Won jury verdict of $3 million, increased to $4.2 million with interest, in breach of contract action for attorney-client for over 20 years’ legal fees due from his former client.  Jury ruled in  attorney-client’s favor for both breach of contract and professional malpractice. Affirmed on appeal in full in Rufus Von Thulen Rhoades v. William M. Lansdale et al.

Real Estate Litigation

  • Successfully defended a real estate developer in a $16 million lawsuit alleging he had publicized a city’s intentions to take plaintiff’s property through eminent domain, thereby reducing the property’s value and interfering with the plaintiff’s business operated on the property. 

  • Defended claims against client for allegedly fraudulently inducing plaintiff to enter into and/or breach an option agreement to sell residential real estate allegedly valued in excess of $5,000,000.  Successfully obtained summary judgment in favor of client, as well as an order awarding attorneys’ fees to client.   

Trust, Estate & Probate Litigation

  • Successfully represented trust beneficiary in asserting claims for breach of fiduciary duty and breach of trust against successor trustee and advisors for failing to maintain and preserve trust assets and allowing residential property to sink into foreclosure.  Convinced successor trustee to sell defaulted residential property through a conventional sale, rather than an estate auction, and negotiated favorable settlement netting sufficient funds for client to relocate and purchase home.  

  • In a heated dispute between two sibling co-executors and sole beneficiaries of their father’s estate, successfully represented one sibling regarding the estate’s administration and distribution of assets.  In  mediation, negotiated a settlement in client’s favor.  Client received  proceeds from the sale of his father’s home and a percentage of royalties generated from songs written by his father.  

  • Successfully represented the successor trustee of his deceased father’s trust in the prosecution of claims against his father’s caregiver for elder abuse.  Caregiver had caused the diabetic, blind father to create an entirely new estate plan leaving substantial assets to the caregiver to the exclusion of the decedent’s children.  Over the course of multiple mediation sessions with a retired probate judge, negotiated a favorable settlement for client that required the caregiver to denounce the estate plan she had caused the decedent to execute, and transfer back title to an apartment building transferred to her under the invalidated estate plan.  

  • Successfully prosecuted claims for breach of trust and breach of fiduciary duty alleging that testamentary trustee misappropriated trust assets.   Prior to trial, obtained ex parte order removing the trustee and appointing a professional fiduciary for trust administration.  Defeated trustee’s motion to enforce No-Contest Clause in trust instrument.  Prevailed in a one-week bench trial, with client receiving a substantial financial awar

  • Represented trustee of testamentary trust on petition to recover trust assets taken by trust beneficiary and defended trustee against beneficiary’s cross-petition for removal.  In mediation, negotiated settlement in client’s favor and obtained substantial surcharge against beneficiary’s interest in the trust.  

  • Successfully represented the siblings of a wealthy decedent in a will contest against the decedent’s niece and caregiver over his $50 million estate.  Los Angeles Superior Court ruled entirely in clients’ favor on issues including testamentary capacity and undue influence.   Client’s will admitted to probate.