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Stephan Choo - Representative Experience

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  • Client Type
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  • Result
  • Class Action; Product Liability; Breach of Warranty; Unfair Competition; Fraudulent Inducement
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of California
  • Defendant, Telecommunications
  • Business and Commercial LitigationClass Action/Complex LitigationProduct Liability
  • Represented international corporation who designed and sold through various distributors telecommunications cable that was manufactured by a third party. A worldwide class action was brought against Defendant for alleged defects in the cable, with claims of negligence, breach of implied and express warranty, and breach of various states' consumer protection/fraud acts.

  • The Court denied the Plaintiffs’ motion for class certification in its entirety. The Court held that the proposed nationwide class (formerly worldwide) for the express warranty claim could not be certified because the laws of each putative class member’s state (or foreign country) of residence applies, and conflicts with those laws meant that common issues did not predominate (Rule 23(b)(3)). Plaintiffs’ reply brief conceded a nationwide fraudulent inducement class could not be certified due to the same predominance issue, but proposed Rule 23(c)(4) issue classes with a national class for breach of express warranty. After determining that a conflict of law analysis precluded a nationwide breach of express warranty class, the Court rejected Plaintiffs’ proposed 8 issue classes, finding a lack of commonality, typicality, superiority, manageability, and adequacy of representation by the proposed class representatives (i.e., the Plaintiffs). Plaintiffs have sought relief from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

     

  • Fraudulent transfer, fraudulent conveyance, non-vessel operating common carrier, NVOCC, assets, receivables
  • U.S. District Court, Central District of California
  • Defendant, Non-vessel Operating Common Carrier
  • Business and Commercial LitigationMaritime and Multimodal Transportation
  • The plaintiff was a longshoreman who was injured at a commercial maritime facility in Southern California.  The plaintiff brought a personal injury action against four entities allegedly at fault for the incident, including our client (a United States common freight carrier) and a Malaysian entity also engaged in the business of international shipping.  The plaintiff dismissed our client and several other defendants from the personal injury litigation, and later obtained a multi-million dollar default judgment against the Malaysian entity as the sole remaining defendant.  Thereafter, the plaintiff commenced federal litigation against our client, alleging that our client was the Malaysian entity's "alter ego," or alternatively, had received "fraudulent conveyances" of money and/or receivables from the Malaysian entity that should have been turned over to plaintiff to satisfy the default judgment. 

  • We promptly sought and obtained a court order staying the litigation and all discovery, pending resolution of an appeal by the Malaysian entity challenging the validity of the underlying default judgment (upon which the new federal action against our client was based).  When the stay expired, we successfully moved to dismiss plaintiff's cause of action for "alter ego" as legally untenable, leaving only plaintiff's causes of action alleging "fraudulent conveyance."  Plaintiff thereafter directed substantial discovery demands and motion practice to our client which were patently designed to coerce a prompt settlement.  We successfully limited the scope of permissible discovery and opposed plaintiff's other motions, ultimately securing sanctions against plaintiff for procedural and discovery abuse.  Shortly afterwards, we obtained summary judgment for our client upon the plaintiff's remaining claims, completely resolving the litigation in our client's favor.   

  • We represented ten defendants who left their former employer, a wine and spirits distribution business, to start a small wine distributor.  Defendants had various agreements with the plaintiffs that were the subject of this lawsuit including a stock purchase agreement, stock sale agreement, employment agreements containing non-competition clauses, confidentiality agreements, separation agreements, and non-disclosure agreements.  A suit was brought alleging eighteen causes of action against our ten defendants for breaches of contract, breaches of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, promissory estoppel, promissory fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, conspiracy, aiding and abetting breach of fiduciary duty, intentional interference with prospective economic advantage, intentional interference with contractual relations, violation of Business and Professions Code Section 17200, and violation of the California Computer Data and Access Fraud Act.  Given the laundry list of causes of action and potential theories of liability, the case was marked by voluminous discovery.  We analyzed over 2.4 million pages of documents served by plaintiffs, with over 2.3 million of those pages produced in the last four months before trial.  Our clients alone provided  120,000 documents that we analyzed for responsiveness, confidentiality, and privilege.  In addition to the extensive amount of documents, we responded to thousands of special interrogatories, requests for production, form interrogatories, and requests for admission on behalf of the ten defendants, while propounding a significant amount of discovery to build our clients’ defense.  We also took or defended twenty-three depositions in the case.  

    Through that mass of discovery, we developed an extensive evidentiary record of documents, testimony, and discovery responses that we used to challenge plaintiffs’ liability and damage theories, particularly that plaintiffs had suffered any actual damages by our clients’ actions.  

  • As a result of that record and in an effort to re-frame their damage theories, plaintiffs filed a motion to amend their complaint one month prior to trial to plead additional causes of action against two of our defendants, including fraud. We successfully opposed plaintiffs’ motion, which led plaintiffs to file a second complaint against two defendants in an attempt to exert additional pressure on our clients.  As the parties continued to prepared for trial, we opposed a pro hac vice motion and demanded a mandatory settlement conference.  During the settlement conference, we successfully pushed back on plaintiffs’ liability and damage theories, pointing in particular to a number of recently produced documents that severely undercut plaintiffs’ case, while navigating insurance coverage issues that complicated a potential resolution. In the end, we settled both pending actions against our defendants for a fraction of plaintiffs’ demand.  To say that it was a very successful settlement and that our clients are immensely pleased is certainly an understatement.