Payton Garofalo provides high quality representation for clients facing litigation.  Her commitment to open communication and strategic planning helps clients understand their options and the litigation process.  With a degree in journalism, magna cum laude, and having served as Senior Editor of the “Interdisciplinary Law Journal” during law school, Ms. Garofalo is particularly skilled at speaking with the parties involved to gather facts, then formulating a compelling case to present to the judge.

Working closely with the firm’s senior partners, Ms. Garofalo resolves a wide-range of trusts and estates disputes.  She navigates complicated family dynamics to establish an effective strategy, particularly as they relate to estate administration and conservatorships.  Ms. Garofalo’s recent matters include obtaining a conservatorship for a woman after she was abducted by her son, and prosecuting elder abuse against the son; negotiating a multi-million dollar settlement in a highly contentious breach of trust and elder abuse case relating to the management of a $20 million trust; and favorably resolving a will contest in the Ventura Superior Court for the trustee of her mother’s trust against the client’s sister.

Ms. Garofalo contributes to wide-ranging business, real estate and employment litigation matters.  Her recent cases include defending a Fortune 500 client and a key employee against claims of breach of contract and fraud related to an alleged perpetual brokerage agreement; negotiating the sale of a client’s shares in a corporation after the client was effectively frozen out of the business; and obtaining an interlocutory judgment in favor of clients on a partition of commercial real estate involving 110 tenants in common in a downtown Los Angeles property.  Ms. Garofalo also frequently negotiates settlements of ADA claims against tenants and landlords of commercial real estate.

During law school, Ms. Garofalo externed for the Honorable Judge Gregory Alarcon in the Los Angeles Superior Court.

Education

  • University of Southern California School of Law, J.D., 2010
    • Senior Editor, Interdisciplinary Law Journal
    • USC Law Merit Scholarship: 2007-2010
  • Pepperdine University, B.A., magna cum laude, Journalism, 2007
    • Dean’s Scholarship
    • Dean’s List
    • Lambda Pi Eta Honor Society

Bar & Court Admissions

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

Professional Associations/Memberships

  •  Los Angeles County Bar Association

Payton Garofalo's Representative Matters by Practice Area

ADA Defense

  • Negotiated settlement of ADA claim involving multiple tenants and multiple landlords. 

Business Litigation

  • Successfully handled multiple discovery disputes and argued motions to protect clients’ trade secrets from abusive discovery in defending against claims of breach of contract and fraud.  The disputes related to a software licensing agreement entered into by an entity acquired by our clients.  Drafted successful summary adjudication motion which was granted in part in the same matter.

  • 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.

Corporate & Partnership Disputes

  • Several years after a law partnership effectively had dissolved, successfully defended a former partner in a dispute related to the dissolution.  Effectively used the plaintiff’s impending deposition and an upcoming hearing date on our motion for summary judgment as leverage to reach a settlement in client’s favor.

  • In a corporate dissolution action that arose when our client was effectively frozen out of the business, successfully negotiated the sale of client’s shares of stock in connection with the sale of corporate-owned property.  The corporation owned several valuable pieces of property and operated a grocery business.  

Real Estate Litigation

  • Successfully tried and obtained an interlocutory judgment in favor of clients on a partition of commercial real estate involving 110 tenants in common in Westside Los Angeles property, of which clients owned an 11.25% undivided tenant in common interest. Obtained the appointment of a receiver to sell the property. In a second trial for accounting and attorneys’ fees issues, the Court awarded clients 100% of back rent from January 1, 2007 to December 2014, an amount exceeding $230,000, and 100% of attorneys’ fees requested. Defendants were held responsible for payment of 88.75% of attorneys’ fees, over $290,000.

Trust, Estate & Probate Litigation

  • After a son abducted his mother, successfully obtained conservatorship of the mother and prosecuted an action for elder abuse against the son.  The son was ordered to return his mother to her home.  The judgment for elder abuse was granted and the son was disinherited as a result of the financial elder abuse.  

  • Negotiated a multi-million dollar settlement for plaintiff in a breach of trust claim relating to mismanagement of a $40 million estate.  Strategically used the threat of the “Fiscal Cliff” to negotiate lifetime gifts to achieve settlement

  • Negotiated a multi-million dollar settlement in a highly-contentious breach of trust and elder abuse case relating to management of a $20 million trust.  Settlement was achieved by demonstrating the tax advantages of an immediate lifetime gift of real estate and the certainty of agreeing to future after-death gifts.  

  • Successfully settled an elder abuse and breach of trust case on favorable terms for client, the decedent’s daughter, against her brother, the successor trustee.  Before settlement, case was pending in Humboldt County Superior Court.  

  • Resolved a will contest in Ventura Superior Court favorably for client, the trustee of her mother’s trust, against her sister.  Client’s sister claimed she had inherited the family home under a will executed shortly before their mother passed away.   The will was withdrawn, the trust was affirmed and the house remained an asset of the trust.

  • Achieved a settlement exceeding $1 million in Los Angeles Superior Court for client against her uncle in a trust administration dispute regarding client’s grandparent’s trust.  The uncle-trustee had failed to account and distribute trust monies owed to client for over five years and had egregiously commingled his own assets with trust assets.  

  • Successfully represented three of five adult siblings against their sibling-trustee in a trust administration dispute in Los Angeles Superior Court, Lancaster.  Trustee had failed to account timely or properly and had misused trust assets.  Achieved a settlement entitling clients to a significant distribution from the sale proceeds of trust property tied up in escrow.