LTL WELCOMES ASSOCIATE ATTORNEY JULIA LEVITSKAIA

Ms. Levitskaia joins LTL as an Associate Attorney in its San Francisco office. She has extensive experience as a civil defense attorney and most recently practiced at Archer Norris where she primarily handled tort suits brought against large firm clients. Her other practice areas include employment, retail and hospitality industry defense.

Ms. Levitskaia is a 2012 graduate of Golden Gate University Law School, and is also an Adjunct Professor at GGU, teaching litigation and trial skills.

LTL SECURES WIN FOR CLIENT TP-LINK IN EMPLOYMENT SUIT

On June 14, 2018, the Los Angeles Superior Court granted summary judgment in favor of LTL client TP-Link in a wrongful termination/retaliation suit.  LTL partner Heather Auyang and associate Kevin Kelly represented TP-Link and authored the winning papers.

NINTH CIRCUIT AFFIRMS JUDGMENT FOR LTL CLIENT NBCUNIVERSAL AGAINST OLYMPIAN OKSANA BAIUL

Former Olympic figure skater Oksana Baiul filed a lawsuit against LTL’s client NBC Sports, seeking $10M in royalty payments for the 1994 “Nutcracker on Ice” television special. Since 1995, Baiul claimed NBC denied her royalties from the performance despite an alleged agreement written by the network.

This wasn’t the first lawsuit by Baiul to recoup money from the performance. She originally sued NBC over the allegedly owed payments in New York in 2013, but the suit was dismissed in July 2016.  In the current action, NBC Sports, represented by LTL’s Prashanth Chennakesavan, sought to dismiss Baiul’s lawsuit on the grounds that the claims had already been adjudicated in a previous matter and were time-barred. Judge Dean D. Pregerson of the District Court for the Central District of California agreed with the defendants, dismissing Baiul’s lawsuit. Baiul sought relief from the Ninth Circuit, hoping to revive her lawsuit.

In a unanimous ruling issued on Apr. 27, the Ninth Circuit held that the district court did not err in dismissing Baiul’s lawsuit. The Court found that the dismissal of the New York case was a final ruling on the merits and that Baiul’s current lawsuit was barred due to claim preclusion.

LTL Attorneys LLP Wins Jury Trial in Los Angeles Superior Court

On behalf of its clients Göknur and United Juice Corp., the largest fruit and vegetable concentrate company in Turkey, LTL Attorneys defeated a product liability claim where plaintiffs sought $18 million in damages. Plaintiffs alleged that their 89-year-old mother’s death in 2013 was caused by consuming a contaminated batch of pomegranate arils included in Townsend Farms’ Organic Anti-Oxidant Blend that she had purchased at Costco. Although a Hepatitis A outbreak was in fact connected to the Anti-Oxidant Blend, LTL took the position that there was no proof that the deceased—who was never even a Costco member—had purchased and consumed the Anti-Oxidant Blend.

After a 11-day jury trial, on Thursday, October 26th, following a three-hour deliberation, the Los Angeles jury returned a unanimous verdict in favor of the defense (which included co-defendants Costco, Townsend, Purely Pomegranate Inc., and Fallon Trading Co. Inc.). The jury found that plaintiffs failed to prove that the deceased ever consumed the Anti-Oxidant blend.

The case was tried by LTL partner Damian Martinez, and LTL associates Kevin Kelly and Erica Kim. Lead counsel for the Plaintiffs was well-known food safety lawyer Ron Simon. His co-counsel was prominent California consumer lawyer John Gomez.

“We are very pleased with this outcome, which was a result of thorough preparation and an unrelenting focus on our client’s goals,” said Enoch H. Liang, LTL’s managing partner. “We are very proud of our team and the well-deserved result for our client.”

The case is Darla Schelitzche et al. v. Townsend Farms Inc. et al., case number BC576437 (Superior Court of the State of California, County of Los Angeles), part of a consolidated mass action, the Townsend Farms Organic Anti-Oxidant Blend Cases, case number JCCP4812.

LTL Attorneys Adds Two Lateral Associates to Firm’s Los Angeles Office

LTL Attorneys LLP is proud to welcome Prashanth Chennakesavan and Andrea Contreras as associates in the firm’s Los Angeles office. Prashanth will focus his practice on complex commercial litigation and Andrea will focus on employment and class action matters.

Prashanth joins the firm from Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP’s New York office where he represented companies in antitrust, trade secret, intellectual property and complex business litigation matters before state and federal courts and arbitration panels. He is a graduate of Columbia Law School where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone scholar and served on the Editorial Board of the Columbia Human Rights Law Review.

Andrea, also a Columbia Law School graduate, served as a litigation associate at Morrison & Foerster’s Los Angeles office. She is a member of the Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles and the Association of Business Trial Lawyers of Los Angeles, and she is a three-time recipient of the “Wiley W. Manuel Award for Pro Bono Legal Services” from the State Bar of California.

With the addition of Prashanth, Andrea, and this year’s incoming first-year class, LTL now has over 40 attorneys across its three offices in California, dedicated to trials and arbitrations.

“We are excited to welcome Prashanth and Andrea to our growing Los Angeles office and to the firm,” said LTL co-managing partner Thomas Suh. “Their work experience, training, and educational background, add greatly to our existing roster of talented advocates whose innovative approach to the practice of law continue to advance our results-driven, client-first mission.”

 

LTL Attorneys LLP and James Lee Selected to The National Law Journal’s Elite Boutique Trailblazers 2017 List

LTL Attorneys LLP is pleased to announce that firm co-founder and co-managing partner James Lee has been selected to the inaugural issue of The National Law Journal’s “Elite Boutique Trailblazers” list. The list recognizes outstanding attorneys and firms nationwide who have made an impact in the boutique sector, and includes renowned firms like Hueston Hennigan and Keker, Van Nest & Peters. Only 24 attorneys from 18 firms were selected for inclusion on the list for 2017.

“I am thrilled that LTL was included on the Elite Boutiques list. This award is a tribute to our success using technology and innovation in a litigation boutique setting,” said Lee. “As we continue to grow and thrive, LTL will help pioneer the future of the legal industry by transforming the way lawyers deliver quality work product and services to better serve client needs.”

Lee co-founded LTL as the first spin-off of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP in 2003. He leads the firm’s complex commercial litigation and business contingency practices. Lee has extensive experience litigating intellectual property matters, software related litigation, fraud cases, commercial disputes, class actions, privacy and cybercrime matters, and other complex claims. He recently led a trial team and prevailed in a six-day federal jury trial involving trademark infringement claims, ultimately defeating a claim for $30 million in damages. Lee has also obtained numerous seven-figure awards in trials and arbitration matters; in fact, on the plaintiff’s side, he has recovered over $325 million in settlements for LTL’s clients in just the last 3 years.

Lee is a member of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity and is vice chair of the Inter-Pacific Bar Association’s Intellectual Property committee. He earned his J.D. from Stanford Law School.

LTL Attorneys’ Enoch Liang Named to 2018 List of The Best Lawyers in America©

 

LTL Attorneys LLP is pleased to announce that founding partner Enoch Liang was selected by his peers for inclusion on the 2018 list of The Best Lawyers in America©. The attorneys on the 2018 edition of Best Lawyers were selected after an exhaustive peer-review survey that confidentially investigates the professional abilities and experience of each lawyer. Recognition in Best Lawyers is widely regarded by both clients and legal professionals as a significant honor, conferred on a lawyer only by his or her peers (lawyers are not permitted to pay any fee to participate in or be recognized by Best Lawyers).

 

Liang was selected for the list in the practice area of Intellectual Property Litigation. His selection follows on the heels of numerous other recent awards, including being named a “Recommended Expert in Litigation” by the World Trademark Review, a “Client Service All-Star” by BTI Consulting Group—1 of only 312 attorneys selected nationwide, and being named a “Top Rated Lawyer in Intellectual Property Law” by Martindale-Hubbell and American Law Media.

 

“We are incredibly excited that Enoch received this recognition from his peers,” said James Lee, co-managing partner of LTL. “This award underscores the successes we continue to have as we leverage our technological and innovative approach to winning cases.”

LTL Attorneys Prevail in LUSH Trademark Jury Trial

Following a six-day jury trial, a Los Angeles federal jury handed down its verdict, including an advisory verdict in favor of LTL’s client Pinkette Clothing Inc. regarding trademark infringement claims brought by Cosmetic Warriors Limited (“CWL”). Moreover, the jury rejected CWL’s $30 million damages claim against Pinkette. After hearing additional evidence by CWL, United States District Court Judge S. James Otero adopted the advisory verdict as the court’s final judgment.

Represented by LTL partners James Lee and Kevin Bringuel, Pinkette thus moved one step closer to retaining the right to commercially use its “LUSH” trademark for clothing. “As gratifying as it is to prevail at trial,” Lee noted, “we are mindful that it is only the first step. We need to defend the verdict through post-trial motions.  We welcome the challenge.  Along with our client, we are in this for the long haul.”

Since 2003, Pinkette has sold clothing under the “LUSH” mark in the United States through major department stores and smaller fashion boutiques. Its three founders simply could not walk away from the millions they had invested in their brand over those many years.  CWL and its licensees operate over 900 “LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics” retail stores throughout the world.  CWL asserted that Pinkette’s use of the “LUSH” mark was confusingly similar to that of CWL’s use of the “LUSH” mark, which it claimed it had used since 1995.

“This was a hard-fought case by CWL and its nationally-recognized trademark counsel. There was a lot at stake in this matter in which each company had millions of customers for their products bearing the LUSH mark. We are ecstatic that the jury agreed with us,” said Lee. “We are happy to have helped achieve this victory for Pinkette.”

Assisting Lee and Bringuel were LTL associates Tiffany Hansen and David Crane—both of whom took cross-examinations of key witnesses and earned plaudits from observers. Lee noted, “Tiffany and David are sterling examples of what sets LTL apart—at every rank, we are trial lawyers, not paper litigators.”

LTL’s use of innovative technology also made a significant impact during discovery and throughout the trial. “We leveraged our intellectual property and litigation experience, and embraced technology and electronic project management.  This allowed us to get our lean, four-attorney team working efficiently” said Lee.  “LTL embraced the underdog role, together with our client Pinkette.  Our efficiency and creativity paid off with a verdict in their favor.”

LTL Attorneys Featured on the Daily Journal

The growing firm LTL Attorneys LLP is proud of its diverse group of lawyers

LTL Attorneys built a litigation boutique by coupling high-end work and competitive pricing.

By Eli Wolfe

After a four-year battle, LTL Attorneys LLP won a significant case in September when an arbitrator denied a multimillion-dollar unfair competition claim against a client that manufactures flash memory storage devices. The claimant was ordered to pay arbitration expenses in an offset award. 

This win was the latest in a string of sizable litigation victories in recent years for LTL, a boutique founded by a trio of former Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP attorneys. The partners say they try to be especially efficient to handle a large number of complex cases each year. 

“We just wanted to do straight litigation and we wanted to do high-quality work and that’s what we have now,” said James Lee, a co-founder and the current managing partner. “I’m proud to say that we’re doing a lot of trials for a small firm.” 

The recent flash drive arbitration was well within LTL’s wheelhouse of intellectual property and business trial matters. The firm also has a burgeoning employment group, which accounts for 20 to 25 percent of the firm’s work. LTL expanded into employment law following repeated inquiries from companies that were impressed by the young firm’s efficiency at managing overhead costs, Lee said.

Jerry Huang, general counsel for Vizio Inc., said LTL has played an important role over the past seven years helping the company to fight off patent suits.

“We accumulated over 22 litigation victories against patent trolls,” Huang said. “LTL played no small part in achieving that, not only because of their expertise, but also their cost-effectiveness.” 

Maintaining attractive rates is very much on the minds of LTL’s partners in the wake of the firm’s recent move to a new office space in downtown Los Angeles this September. The new space is more than double the size of their old one, which will help to accommodate the addition of two new partners — David Ammons and Patricia Kinaga — who joined in August and December, respectively. 

“We are in growth mode right now,” Lee said, noting that the firm, which also has offices in San Francisco and Orange County, is up to 35 attorneys. “One of the biggest reasons why we moved into this office is we needed room to grow.” 

Balancing growth and costs was one of the principal concerns Lee and his co-founders — managing partner Enoch Liang and former partner Luan Tran — had in mind when they formed LTL in 2003. After taking on several plaintiff-side contingency cases, the partners realized a lot of defense-side work is extremely wasteful. That led them to maximize efficiency by implementing a sophisticated case management system and researching artificial intelligence programs to handle some grunt work. 

“The worst thing I hate to see in this office are Post-it notes,” James Lee said. “Because what they really are is just an old way of people handling cases, and it’s wasteful.” 

LTL’s streamlined accountability system is complemented by an expectation that attorneys will spend a great deal of time arguing cases in court. Ammons, who joined LTL from the San Francisco city attorney’s office, said LTL stood out from large firms where the opportunity to try cases is rare. 

“I think I had taken only one deposition in several years of private practice before I went to the city attorney’s office,” Ammons said. 

LTL is one of many litigation boutiques that markets itself as a venue where attorneys have a greater chance of cultivating trial experience. But according to Steven Gonzalez, a partner at LTL who co-chairs the firm’s employment and class action litigation group, LTL’s emphasis on efficiency also allows attorneys to build a book of business far more quickly than they might in a large firm. 

“One of the things nice about a firm like this is we can do cutting-edge work, but do it in a way where we’re able to be cost-effective,” Gonzalez said. 

According to James Lee, the firm is frequently asked by potential clients to participate in smaller matters to test its litigation abilities. Roughly two years ago, LTL came face to face with attorneys from Quinn Emanuel in a case involving the messaging app Snapchat. John Quinn, founding partner of the firm who was not personally in court for the matter, said that based on the written deposition work he read and the outcome of the trial he thought LTL did a good job. 

“I think they’re very well regarded in the business and legal community,” Quinn said. “They’re effective and talented and ambitious young lawyers and they seem to have done a great job with their firm.” 

LTL also has the distinction of being one of the relatively few minority-owned litigation law firms in California. According to James Lee, 85 percent of the attorneys at LTL are members of a minority group.

“If 85 percent of our lawyers are diverse and we’re still kicking ass then yes, you can replicate this at big firms,” Lee said. “I think there’s a big difference between people who say they want it and people who say they will do it.” It’s somewhat surprising to Lee that more firms don’t push for more diversity, given how he said many companies seek out firms with a strong track record of hiring attorneys from minority groups.

Leon Bass, a director and managing attorney at Southern California Edison Co., said he has sent numerous matters to LTL involving misappropriated trade secrets, trademark disputes and other IP-related work, partly because the firm is a model “diversity business enterprise.” 

“It’s been a pleasure,” Bass said of his experience working with LTL. “It seems like they’re growing by leaps and bounds.”

 

 

Patricia Kinaga Joins LTL Attorneys

LTL ATTORNEYS LLP (LTL) is proud to welcome Patricia Kinaga to its partnership. Ms. Kinaga is widely regarded for her extensive first chair jury trial work in both state and federal courts.  For over 20 years, Ms. Kinaga has focused her practice on employment litigation, including class actions, representing private and public employers in high-profile cases.  Together with Steve Gonzalez, Ms. Kinaga will serve as co-chair of LTL’s growing employment and class action litigation group.

Ms. Kinaga began her legal career at the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office, where she gained considerable first chair trial experience, first as a prosecutor specializing in domestic violence and child abuse cases, then as a civil trial attorney in the Employee Relations Section.  From there she was recruited to Seyfarth Shaw, where she was promoted to partner. She later became a partner at Jones Day before managing her own firm for the last 8 years.

Her successful first chair trial experience in sensitive cases, including defending a discrimination case brought by a quadriplegic LAUSD school teacher, prosecuting a disciplinary arbitration against a police officer accused of homicide, and defending a large national clothing retailer in a Muslim religious discrimination case, has resulted in her reputation as a preeminent employment trial attorney.  Throughout her career, she has been selected to handle difficult matters, including the disciplinary cases against the officers charged in shooting black motorist Tyisha Miller, which drew national attention, a class action involving a popular food chain, and one of the country’s first high profile matters involving a transgender manager. She is also well respected for her expertise in providing preventive advice to help employers avoid litigation. Her practice has included companies in the retail, manufacturing, banking, high tech, healthcare, restaurant and real estate industries, as well as non-profit corporations.

Ms. Kinaga has been appointed to the American Bar Association Commission on Disability Rights, and is a member of the Chancery Club. She has served on the President’s Committee on the Employment of Persons with Disabilities, the State Bar Committee on Women, and the State Bar Section on Labor, Public Sector Subcommittee. She is a former president of the Japanese American Bar Association, and is co-founder of a dispute resolution center, a women’s shelter, and a state-wide organization serving Asians and Pacific Islanders with disabilities. Ms. Kinaga has received numerous community service awards, including from Asian Americans Advancing Justice and the NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund, and was honored with the State Assembly and Senate Women in Business Award, and the prestigious Peter E. Haas Public Service Award from the University of California, Berkeley.

“We are thrilled to have Patty join us as our partner,” said LTL co-founder James M. Lee.  “She is a community leader, and has mentored many young attorneys. Her extensive experience and excellent reputation as a trial attorney further enhances LTL’s capabilities in handling high profile and complex cases, as we continue to build a national powerhouse firm that features a diverse trial team.”