Steve Hogan is an accomplished litigator focused on resolving major Trusts, Estates & Probate Litigation and Business Litigation.  Whether representing an individual, business owner or global corporation, Mr. Hogan strives to be accessible and responsive.  He attributes his success on behalf of his clients to careful strategic planning with consideration to the parties involved, the potential costs of alternative approaches, the unique facts of the case, and case law precedent.  Mr. Hogan’s reputation, earned over 35 years, frequently results in the compliment of being hired by clients after other law firms failed to resolve their matters satisfactorily.

Mr. Hogan applies his deep experience as a litigator to successfully resolve heated, complex Trust, Estate & Probate Litigation.   He prosecutes and defends claims for wealthy individuals, including celebrities and other lawyers, as well as professional and individual fiduciaries.  Among his recent cases, Mr. Hogan tried and won a probate matter involving two competing wills in a $50 million estate; settled a trust administration dispute in San Diego Superior Court for a young lady whose trustees and guardians had stolen nearly $7 million from her trust after her parents both died of cancer; won a hotly-contested, 37-day elder abuse trial in probate court for a trustee against her two brothers who alleged she had stolen millions of dollars from their parents’ trusts while parents were living, but purportedly incapacitated; and, after a three-day mediation in Washington, D.C. on behalf of a co-trustee/beneficiary, favorably resolved a complicated trust dispute involving three lawsuits in varying jurisdictions regarding management of real estate assets in Virginia.

Mr. Hogan has counseled and successfully defended major corporations in several mass tort, multi-jurisdictional cases.  Of particular note, he was lead defense counsel for McDonnell Douglas Corporation in hundreds of lawsuits filed in multiple jurisdictions nationwide arising from the 1989 United Airlines DC-10 crash in Sioux City, Iowa in which 112 people died.  In recent matters, he settled a shareholder dispute after two days in arbitration on terms favorable to his client against venture capitalists who had invested in client’s business; and, after lengthy litigation, prevailed in trial to achieve a partition of real estate involving 110 tenants-in-common and the appointment of a receiver to sell the property.

Prior to joining the firm in 1995, Mr. Hogan spent 15 years at Bryan Cave LLP where he was co- administrative partner of its litigation department’s California offices.   He often makes presentations to other lawyers and professionals on legal topics relating to trusts and estates, business disputes and real estate matters, and has served as an expert witness in trust and estate litigation matters.

Education

  • University of Southern California, J.D., 1978 – Order of the Coif
    • Am. Jur. Award: Business Organizations
    • Am. Jur. Award: Advanced Constitutional Law
  •  University of California, Los Angeles, B.A., magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, 1975

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., 3rd Cir)

Honors & Awards 

Martindale AV Rating

  • Southern California Super Lawyers – 2004, 2006 – 2010, 2012 – 2015
  • Who’s Who in American Law
  • Who’s Who in America
  • Who’s Who in the West
  • Who’s Who in the World

Professional Associations/Memberships

  • Beverly Hills Estate Planning Council, President Emeritus
  • Los Angeles County Bar Association
  • ProVisors
  • Bruin Professionals
  • Water Buffalo Club

Steve Hogan's Representative Matters by Practice Area

Appeals

  • Represented McDonnell Douglas Corporation in a four-month jury trial in state court and on appeal for claims of fraud resulting from a 1978 aircraft accident at LAX.  At issue were the designs of the landing gear, tires, brakes, wheels, antiskid systems and slide/rafts.   After Continental prevailed, participated in drafting the appellate briefs.  

  • Represented McDonnell Douglas Corporation in complex litigation in Federal Court and on appeal for claims of breach of contract, strict liability, negligence, and breach of warranty resulting from a 1978 aircraft accident at LAX.  At issue were the designs of the landing gear, tires, brakes, wheels, antiskid systems and slide/rafts.  Summary judgment on the negligence and product liability issues was granted in client’s favor in the federal action.  Participated in drafting appellate briefs prior to matters being affirmed on appeal.  

  • In the first case ever filed involving a tort in outer space, successfully defended McDonnell Douglas Corporation (“MDC”) against Western Union’s insurers when MDC’s Westar VI satellite failed to reach geosynchronous orbit.  Western Union sued in subrogation for negligence and strict liability and sought damages of $105 million.  Won on summary judgment, which was affirmed on appeal in Appalachian Insurance Co., et al. v. McDonnell Douglas Corporation, et al. (1989) 214 Cal.App.3d 1.  

  • Represented Flavurence Corporation in its appeal of the Bankruptcy Court’s denial of client’s $2.4 million breach of contract and $2.3 million lost profits claims against Original New York Seltzer’s bankruptcy trustee.  Both claims related to contractual minimum product purchase requirements.  The case settled on terms favorable for client after it was fully briefed and oral argument held, but before the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel issued a ruling.  

  • As partner-in-charge, defended McDonnell Douglas Corporation (“MDC”) in hundreds of lawsuits filed in multiple jurisdictions nationwide arising from the United Airlines DC-10 crash at Sioux City, Iowa on July 19, 1989 in which 112 of 296 people on-board died.  Counseled MDC at the NTSB hearings and directed the defense and settlement of actions on behalf of MDC involving complicated product liability and negligence issues concerning the design of the DC-10’s hydraulic system; engine design and containment; aircraft maintenance; pilot performance; and, “crashworthiness.”  The litigation presented significant choice of law problems and damages issues.  The consolidated federal actions settled on the first day of trial, immediately before the impanelment of the jury.  In Re:  Air Crash Disaster at Sioux City, Iowa on July 19, 1989 (Jud.Pan.Mult.Lit. 1989) 128 F.R.D. 131, MDL No. 817, Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division (Chicago); Judge Suzanne B. Conlon.  Published opinions:   In Re Air Crash Disaster at Sioux City, Iowa on July 19, 1989 (N.D.Ill. 1990) 133 F.R.D. 515; In Re Air Crash Disaster at Sioux City, Iowa on July 19, 1989 (N.D.Ill. 1990) 131 F.R.D. 127; In Re Air Crash Disaster at Sioux City, Iowa on July 19, 1989 (N.D.Ill. 1990) 734 F.Supp. 1425; In Re Air Crash Disaster at Sioux City, Iowa on July 19, 1989 (N.D.Ill. 1991) 760 F.Supp. 1283; In Re Air Crash Disaster at Sioux City, Iowa on July 19, 1989 (N.D.Ill. 1991) 780 F.Supp. 1207; In Re Air Crash Disaster at Sioux City, Iowa on July 19, 1989 (N.D.Ill. 1991) 781 F.Supp. 1307.  State court actions filed nationwide with most of the non-removable state court actions filed in Cook County, IL; St. Louis, MO.; Baltimore, MD.; Pittsburgh, PA. The actions in Illinois state court were appealed.  In Re Air Crash Disaster at Sioux City Iowa on July 19, 1989 (1st Dist. 1994) 259 Ill.App.3d 231, 631 N.E.2d 1302.

  • Defended TIG Insurance Company (formerly Transamerica Insurance Company) in a one-month jury trial over a bad faith claim against Talbot Partners.  Claim resulted from a breach of performance and payment bond issued by client to Cates Construction, a real estate developer.  Established strategy for appeal wherein the California Supreme Court reversed the trial court’s $28 million decision in a landmark published decision in TIG’s favor.  The court found that the developer and the bank could not recover in tort for the surety’s alleged breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing implied in the performance bond as a matter of law.  The court held that contract remedies provide adequate compensation for breach of a construction bond and a surety cannot be liable for insurance bad faith.  

  • Successfully represented debtors on appeal after the Bankruptcy Court denied their motion to hold a lender in contempt for attempting to collect on a debt that client contended had been discharged.  The lender’s defense posited that the parties had entered into a new loan agreement, post-discharge.  The Court of Appeals reversed the Bankruptcy Court’s order and remanded the case the Bankruptcy Court for a trial on the debtors’ contempt claims against the lender.  The matter subsequently settled on very favorable terms for client.

  • Achieved favorable ruling in trial court and on appeal for Taiwanese client, a specially appearing defendant, in a lawsuit filed by a Cayman Island company for breach of contract and other torts relating to the sale of Razor scooters.   Successful representation of client was based on grounds that the court could not exercise personal jurisdiction over the Taiwanese company, and on the grounds that California was an inconvenient forum for this litigation.  The California Court of Appeal affirmed the dismissal, finding that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in dismissing this case to client’s benefit based on a lack of personal jurisdiction.      

  • Successfully defended Tasty Fries, Inc., in district court and on appeal, against Silver Leaf, LLC regarding a $100 million master sales and marketing agreement.  Silver Leaf filed the lawsuit to prevent Tasty Fries from terminating the agreement and moved for a preliminary injunction, which was denied by the district court

  • Defended a lawyer against a Writ of Mandate that arose from client’s cross complaint for equitable indemnity against petitioners.  The court overruled petitioners’ demurrer, and the Court of Appeal granted an alternative writ.  The issue in the appellate court was whether a lawyer who has been sued by a former client for professional negligence can seek equitable indemnity from a lawyer who subsequently represented the client in the same underlying proceeding, but not in the legal malpractice action.   The Court of Appeal, in a matter of first impression, held that public policy barred equitable indemnity under these circumstances. 

  • After the Superior Court denied client’s motions to quash service of a summons and cross-complaint in a contract dispute due to jurisdictional issues, won on appeal.  Client was awarded attorneys’ fees and costs.  

  • Successfully obtained affirmance on appeal by beneficiary from various orders, including orders (1) denying petition to remove client/trustee following trial, (2) finding client/trustee did not breach fiduciary duty, (3) awarding attorney and trustee fees paid from trust, (4) approving interim accounts over beneficiary’s objections, and (5) awarding a surcharge against beneficiary for objecting to trustees’ account without reasonable cause and in bad faith pursuant to Probate Code § 17211(a).

Business Litigation

  • Represented McDonnell Douglas Corporation in a four-month jury trial in state court and on appeal for claims of fraud resulting from a 1978 aircraft accident at LAX.  At issue were the designs of the landing gear, tires, brakes, wheels, antiskid systems and slide/rafts.   After Continental prevailed, participated in drafting the appellate briefs.  

  • Represented McDonnell Douglas Corporation in complex litigation in Federal Court and on appeal for claims of breach of contract, strict liability, negligence, and breach of warranty resulting from a 1978 aircraft accident at LAX.  At issue were the designs of the landing gear, tires, brakes, wheels, antiskid systems and slide/rafts.  Summary judgment on the negligence and product liability issues was granted in client’s favor in the federal action.  Participated in drafting appellate briefs prior to matters being affirmed on appeal.  

  • In the first case ever filed involving a tort in outer space, successfully defended McDonnell Douglas Corporation (“MDC”) against Western Union’s insurers when MDC’s Westar VI satellite failed to reach geosynchronous orbit.  Western Union sued in subrogation for negligence and strict liability and sought damages of $105 million.  Won on summary judgment, which was affirmed on appeal in Appalachian Insurance Co., et al. v. McDonnell Douglas Corporation, et al. (1989) 214 Cal.App.3d 1.  

  • Represented Flavurence Corporation in its appeal of the Bankruptcy Court’s denial of client’s $2.4 million breach of contract and $2.3 million lost profits claims against Original New York Seltzer’s bankruptcy trustee.  Both claims related to contractual minimum product purchase requirements.  The case settled on terms favorable for client after it was fully briefed and oral argument held, but before the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel issued a ruling.  

  • As partner-in-charge, defended McDonnell Douglas Corporation (“MDC”) in hundreds of lawsuits filed in multiple jurisdictions nationwide arising from the United Airlines DC-10 crash at Sioux City, Iowa on July 19, 1989 in which 112 of 296 people on-board died.  Counseled MDC at the NTSB hearings and directed the defense and settlement of actions on behalf of MDC involving complicated product liability and negligence issues concerning the design of the DC-10’s hydraulic system; engine design and containment; aircraft maintenance; pilot performance; and, “crashworthiness.”  The litigation presented significant choice of law problems and damages issues.  The consolidated federal actions settled on the first day of trial, immediately before the impanelment of the jury.  In Re:  Air Crash Disaster at Sioux City, Iowa on July 19, 1989 (Jud.Pan.Mult.Lit. 1989) 128 F.R.D. 131, MDL No. 817, Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division (Chicago); Judge Suzanne B. Conlon.  Published opinions:   In Re Air Crash Disaster at Sioux City, Iowa on July 19, 1989 (N.D.Ill. 1990) 133 F.R.D. 515; In Re Air Crash Disaster at Sioux City, Iowa on July 19, 1989 (N.D.Ill. 1990) 131 F.R.D. 127; In Re Air Crash Disaster at Sioux City, Iowa on July 19, 1989 (N.D.Ill. 1990) 734 F.Supp. 1425; In Re Air Crash Disaster at Sioux City, Iowa on July 19, 1989 (N.D.Ill. 1991) 760 F.Supp. 1283; In Re Air Crash Disaster at Sioux City, Iowa on July 19, 1989 (N.D.Ill. 1991) 780 F.Supp. 1207; In Re Air Crash Disaster at Sioux City, Iowa on July 19, 1989 (N.D.Ill. 1991) 781 F.Supp. 1307.  State court actions filed nationwide with most of the non-removable state court actions filed in Cook County, IL; St. Louis, MO.; Baltimore, MD.; Pittsburgh, PA. The actions in Illinois state court were appealed.  In Re Air Crash Disaster at Sioux City Iowa on July 19, 1989 (1st Dist. 1994) 259 Ill.App.3d 231, 631 N.E.2d 1302.

  • Successfully represented debtors on appeal after the Bankruptcy Court denied their motion to hold a lender in contempt for attempting to collect on a debt that client contended had been discharged.  The lender’s defense posited that the parties had entered into a new loan agreement, post-discharge.  The Court of Appeals reversed the Bankruptcy Court’s order and remanded the case the Bankruptcy Court for a trial on the debtors’ contempt claims against the lender.  The matter subsequently settled on very favorable terms for client.

  • Achieved favorable ruling in trial court and on appeal for Taiwanese client, a specially appearing defendant, in a lawsuit filed by a Cayman Island company for breach of contract and other torts relating to the sale of Razor scooters.   Successful representation of client was based on grounds that the court could not exercise personal jurisdiction over the Taiwanese company, and on the grounds that California was an inconvenient forum for this litigation.  The California Court of Appeal affirmed the dismissal, finding that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in dismissing this case to client’s benefit based on a lack of personal jurisdiction.      

  • After approximately one year of intensive discovery and litigation in California and Texas, achieved a favorable settlement for client in a complex securities fraud case against the acquirer of client’s business.   The case involved alleged violations of federal, California and Texas securities and fraud laws. 

  • On the eve of trial, negotiated a favorable settlement for the manufacturer of fire extinguishers used in the engine bays of FA-18 E/F fighter jets in breach of contract claims against a government contractor.  By understanding complicated chemical and electrical reactions, successfully demonstrated that the alleged failure of client’s product was caused by unspecified conditions in the aircraft, not by faulty design.

  • Successfully defended Tasty Fries, Inc., in district court and on appeal, against Silver Leaf, LLC regarding a $100 million master sales and marketing agreement.  Silver Leaf filed the lawsuit to prevent Tasty Fries from terminating the agreement and moved for a preliminary injunction, which was denied by the district court

  • Defended a lawyer against a Writ of Mandate that arose from client’s cross complaint for equitable indemnity against petitioners.  The court overruled petitioners’ demurrer, and the Court of Appeal granted an alternative writ.  The issue in the appellate court was whether a lawyer who has been sued by a former client for professional negligence can seek equitable indemnity from a lawyer who subsequently represented the client in the same underlying proceeding, but not in the legal malpractice action.   The Court of Appeal, in a matter of first impression, held that public policy barred equitable indemnity under these circumstances. 

  • After the Superior Court denied client’s motions to quash service of a summons and cross-complaint in a contract dispute due to jurisdictional issues, won on appeal.  Client was awarded attorneys’ fees and costs.  

  • 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.  

  • Prior to opening statements, favorably settled a contentious partnership dispute for client.  Client and defendants had entered into an oral partnership agreement, without a specified limit of its duration and as equal partners, to jointly own and operate a business engaged in marketing and business development seminars.  Defendants denied the existence of a partnership.  

  • Successfully resolved a longstanding deadlock between our client and her business partner through negotiations, avoiding expensive litigation. The business owners were equal partners without a buy-sell agreement or other provision to break a deadlock in the event of a dispute. The negotiated settlement enabled our client to buy-out her partner on favorable terms and continue to grow a thriving, cutting-edge beauty supply business.

  • Successfully defended the president of a company in a shareholder dispute with the company’s private equity firm investor over a settlement agreement and breach of fiduciary duties. Client had contracted to sell his share of the business to the private equity firm then continue working for the company under a contract.  Plaintiff alleged that client had improperly used corporate money, among other things.  Through a two-staged arbitration, nearly doubled the $2 million received by client pursuant to the settlement agreement to $4 million.   

Insurance Litigation

  • Defended TIG Insurance Company (formerly Transamerica Insurance Company) in a one-month jury trial over a bad faith claim against Talbot Partners.  Claim resulted from a breach of performance and payment bond issued by client to Cates Construction, a real estate developer.  Established strategy for appeal wherein the California Supreme Court reversed the trial court’s $28 million decision in a landmark published decision in TIG’s favor.  The court found that the developer and the bank could not recover in tort for the surety’s alleged breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing implied in the performance bond as a matter of law.  The court held that contract remedies provide adequate compensation for breach of a construction bond and a surety cannot be liable for insurance bad faith.  

  • Achieved a settlement and the dismissal of a breach of contract case for National Home Life Assurance Co., National Home Life Assurance Co. of New York and National Liberty Marketing, Inc. At issue was the performance of an agreement to telemarket mortgage insurance to recent home purchasers. The plaintiff, Ampac Insurance Marketing, Inc., alleged that client had misrepresented its experience, resources and capabilities for telemarketing mortgage insurance, fraudulently induced it to enter into the agreement and breached the contract.

  • Successfully reversed insurance company’s denial of client’s claim under a directors and officers liability insurance policy.  Client had been sued for breaches of fiduciary duty as a corporate executive of the company he had founded, legally entitling him to receive reimbursement from the insurer for attorney’s fees at market rates during the time that coverage had been denied.  However, the insurer failed to remit any reimbursement to client for such attorney’s fees.  Client settled claim with insurer in his favor.

Professional & Fiduciary Liability

  • During tenure at Bryan Cave, successfully defended the firm against another law firm’s claims of legal malpractice in Bryan Cave’s representation of plaintiffs in a lease dispute with Alpha Beta. Plaintiffs also sought declaratory relief concerning their fee dispute with the firm.  Bryan Cave filed a cross complaint for collection of legal fees not paid. The case settled before trial.

  • Successfully defended the law firm of Fierstein & Sturman against legal malpractice claims brought by Benson Ford, Jr., the great grandson of Henry Ford. Filed a cross-complaint on behalf of client for attorney’s fees. The case settled immediately prior to empaneling the jury.

  • Successfully defended an Am Law 100 law firm against allegations it had assisted a trustee in the breach of fiduciary duties.  Our client had represented the trustee in litigation brought by the trust’s beneficiaries regarding the development of real property in Rancho Cucamonga.  After an adverse decision against the trustee-developer in trial, a beneficiary, who had been appointed successor trustee, sued our law firm client to disgorge the fees paid to it by the former trustee.  Granted summary judgment on the grounds that the action was barred by the statute of limitations.  

Real Estate Litigation

  • Successfully represented nationally-chartered bank with respect to fraudulent loan applications submitted by California-borrowers in connection with purchases of investment properties in Florida.  We overcame California’s complex anti-deficiency laws through a strategy whereby deficiency judgments were obtained in Florida and domesticated and enforced in California.  Numerous borrowers filed for bankruptcy protection.  We successfully settled those actions on favorable terms after filing complaints to have the debts deemed non-dischargeable.

  • 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.

  • 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 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 defended trustee against her two brothers in a financial elder abuse claim which later was dismissed on appeal.  Plaintiffs alleged client had stolen millions of dollars from their parents’ trusts while parents were living, but purportedly incapacitated.   Plaintiffs also alleged claims for breach of fiduciary duty and requested removal of client as a trustee and an accounting.  Prevailed in trial, which included 37 days of testimony.   

  • 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

  • Successfully prosecuted claims on behalf of two grandchildren of an oil tycoon in a hotly-contested trust litigation against their brother and others for accounting, surcharge, appointment of successor trustee; ascertainment of beneficiaries and distribution of property on termination of trust; breach of fiduciary duty; intentional misrepresentation; fraudulent concealment; negligent administration of trust funds; wrongful termination in violation of public policy; and injunctive relief.   A central issue in the case was management and control of a hotel property in Mexico, a major trust asset.  After four lengthy mediation sessions, successfully removed defendant-brother as a co-trustee and settled the case on favorable confidential terms.  When defendant re-filed the case and attempted to rescind the settlement agreement the following year, successfully filed for summary judgment with the Court upholding the settlement and granting judgment in favor of clients.  The case thereafter settled again under confidential terms.  Attorneys’ fees were awarded to client in both cases.  

  • Represented wealthy client hospitalized by the police at UCLA’s Neuropsychiatric Institute pursuant to Welfare Institutions Code Section 5150.  Prevailed in a Reese Hearing when client refused medication prescribed by UCLA.  Later, after client had recovered in a private facility and facility refused to release her, successfully represented client at a habeas corpus proceeding, obtaining her immediate release.

  • 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.  

  • Settled a trust administration dispute in San Diego Superior Court in favor of client, whose parents had both died of cancer while she was a minor, against her trustees and guardians.  Trustees and guardians had stolen about $7 million from client’s trust and caused her to live in an institution.  Achieved appointment of an independent trustee.

  • Represented the adult children of a supermarket founder in a trust contest against their stepmother.  Clients alleged stepmother importuned their father to substantially disinherit them, claiming lack of testamentary capacity, undue influence and coercion. The case settled on confidential terms after two lengthy mediation sessions.

  • When a will contest was not thoroughly resolved after a bench trial, replaced former counsel in representing respondent to determine whether assets owned by client and his deceased wife were separate or community property.  After an evidentiary hearing, the court confirmed in client’s favor, that the property was separate and ordered that the estate was not entitled to any reimbursement.

  • Represented a co-trustee/beneficiary against her co-trustee/beneficiary brother and their beneficiary sister in a complicated trust dispute regarding assets.  The matter involved three lawsuits in varying jurisdictions:  Los Angeles Superior Court; Fauquier County, Virginia; and, the District of Columbia.  Client claimed her brother had mismanaged the development of several parcels of land and an apartment building in Bealeton, Virginia; paid himself exorbitant development fees; and, reimbursed himself for expenses unrelated to the trust.  Settled favorably for client in the third day of mediation in Washington, D.C.

  • In a trust contest settled favorably for client, represented the surviving wife/petitioner against her stepson.  Client alleged that she and her 2nd husband had agreed that the first of them to die would leave his/her respective interest in their family home to the surviving spouse.  After her husband’s death, client discovered he secretly had modified his trust at the urging of his son, leaving his half of the family home to the son.   Client’s claims included breach of contract to make testamentary disposition; breach of marital fiduciary duty; tortious interference with right to inherit; and, breach of fiduciary duty.    

  • Settled a will contest favorably for beneficiary after the estate’s executor claimed client had procured the beneficiary designation by fraud.  Decedent had designated our client as a pay-on-death beneficiary of an account holding $250,000.  Settled favorably for client in mediation.

  • After the death of a wealthy man, successfully represented his adult children from his first marriage against his second wife-trustee regarding the interpretation of the deceased’s trust. In trial in Riverside Superior Court, Palm Springs Courthouse, the court affirmed our clients’ interpretation of the trust that trustee had not distributed assets as required after her husband’s death. Additionally, the Court disallowed deductions from distributions of over $700,000 in trustee’s personal expenses from trust. Finally, the Court substantially adopted our position on the valuation of a key asset held in trust.

  • Successfully amended a patriarch’s trust so that his immediate family members would receive approximately $2.2 million of his estate rather than $1.5 million.  The amendment was based upon a holographic amendment to the patriarch’s trust executed approximately two months prior to his death.  The patriarch’s trust included thirty beneficiaries in addition to his immediate family.  

  • Obtained a temporary conservatorship over a high net worth individual suffering from dementia to prevent him from continuing to give substantial gifts of real and personal property to his predatory caregiver, and from marrying her as planned. Clear and convincing evidence standard for appointment of a conservator and Probate Code specifically provide that a conservatee presumably retains the right to marry. Thus, we successfully pursued special orders limiting the conservatee’s rights beyond those permitted by the Probate Code. Case pending in Riverside Superior Court, Indio.  

  • 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.

  • 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.