Representative Business and Individual Clients

We have represented both plaintiffs and defendants.

  • San Francisco real estate developer (25 cases over 25 years)

  • Time recorder manufacturer in Massachusetts (Numerous commercial disputes over many years)

  • Software distributor in Singapore (Breach of contract litigation)

  • Construction company in Watsonville, interior designer in San Francisco and carpet manufacturer in Tennessee (Breach of contract arbitration)

  • Tool distributor in Los Angeles (Breach of contract arbitration)

  • Home owners in Oakland (Purchase contract litigation)

  • Commercial property owner in San Francisco (Foreclosure of mechanic's lien and alleged breach of lease)

  • Property management company in Redwood City (Inverse condemnation case against County of Amador)

  • San Francisco restaurant (Dispute with actuary over its pension plan)

  • Bay Area software engineer (Dispute over intellectual property rights and dissolution of limited liability company)

  • East Bay wine seller (Dispute over purchase and sale agreement)

  • Oakland food market (Dispute over purchase and sale agreement)

  • East Bay plumbing contractor (Unfair competition)

  • English language school in San Francisco (Unfair competition) 

  • Children's school in Half Moon Bay (Unfair competition)

  • ​Fishing lure manufacturer in Concord (Patent litigation)

  • Japanese Banks: We act as agent for over 50 banks in Japan.

  • Individual clients: We have represented numerous individuals in many kinds of business and personal disputes, including business cases, estate contests, personal injury and family matters.

Representative Cases and Results

Estate Contest and ERISA Litigation

This dispute concerned the estate of an employee of a large Bay Area drug company. The parties included our clients (his blood relatives) and estranged Wife, who had returned to Asia long before he died. Both his Family and Wife claimed entitlement to his company's $800,000 401(k) account, house and stock portfolio. 

 

Under ERISA, the proceeds of a 401(k) account must generally go to the participant's spouse, subject to certain hard-to-prove exceptions including abandonment. At her deposition in Hong Kong, Wife claimed that she should receive all his assets. At mediation, our clients received virtually all of the couple's real and personal property and more than a third of the 401(k) account. 

Insurance Coverage

Our client's Wife purchased a residence as her separate property and began to renovate it. From time to time her Husband went to observe the work in progress. One day numerous unsecured sheets of drywall fell on him and crushed his knee. He suffered a dislocated left knee and three and a half (out of four) torn ligaments.

 

Wife carried three policies of insurance; the homeowners and one umbrella policy contained spousal exclusions, but the other umbrella policy did not. Initially, that carrier denied liability for the first $300,000 of damages. However, after protracted litigation, the carrier agreed to provide full coverage up to policy limits. Husband's claim was resolved for $350,000.

Will Contest

Our clients (next of kin of decedent) filed a will contest alleging lack of capacity, undue influence and elder abuse to challenge decedent's will. The will was executed shortly before he died at age 89, and left his entire estate to two charities. After intensely disputed litigation against seasoned opposition, the case settled with our clients recovering over $500,000 representing over 35% of the estate.

Unfair Competition

Our client, a plumbing contractor, obtained a permanent injunction against his former employee's unlawful solicitation of business, later followed by a contempt proceeding for violation of the injunction. Defendant then filed a bankruptcy petition, and we filed an adversary proceeding for denial of discharge based on fraud. This action led to a non-dischargeable judgment for our client for over $1,100,000.

Fraud and Embezzlement

We represented a couple who purchased an ethnic food market, but sellers failed to deliver the market - or refund the money. The case was mediated and settled. Sellers then filed bankruptcy. Based on our cross-examination of the debtor, the U.S. Trustee filed a motion to dismiss based on sellers' bad faith, which the court granted.

Real Estate Misrepresentation

We represented the buyers of a residence in Oakland who had been promised that the house had "breathtaking" views and had been fully renovated. The day escrow closed, buyers learned that the neighbors were building a large deck which would block the views, and six months later the house began to leak. After extended litigation among eight parties, our clients recovered over $180,000.

More Fraud and Embezzlement

We represented a couple whose daughter-in-law had embezzled the life savings of her parents-in-law from the bank where she worked. In conjunction with a criminal action, we recovered the entire amount they had lost plus attorney's fees. We also represented their son in the dissolution of his marriage.

Actuarial Malpractice and Overbilling

We filed suit against the actuary for our clients' pension plan at a major San Francisco restaurant, alleging overbilling, fraud and professional malpractice. Our client recovered $250,000 and the cross-complaint was dismissed.

Dissolution of Marriage

We represented the CEO of a privately held, East Bay health services company. The couple was married for 24 years and had community property valued at over 23 million dollars, including unvested stock options in the business and a 99-year lease on a European villa. We resolved the case promptly with no payment of spousal support.

In two successive lawsuits, a contractor asserted a substantial lien against property controlled by our client, a commercial real estate owner. After filing a cross-complaint against 44 separate cross-defendants, the lawsuits were dismissed with prejudice and without payment of money by our client. The client also recovered virtually all of its attorney's fees.

In two actions filed against our client, a Florida-based wholesaler, for breach of contract, unfair business practices and numerous other claims, we obtained dismissals with prejudice of both actions and without payment of damages.

In another action brought by a San Francisco hospital against our client, a fire protection engineer, for breach of contract, this case was also dismissed with prejudice and without payment of money.

Commercial Litigation Defense
Personal Injury

We have successfully litigated several contingent fee cases for serious personal injuries against an East Bay public transportation agency, AC Transit, in which our clients have recovered payments of several hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Unemployment Insurance Appeals

We have represented numerous entities in hearings before the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board.

Japanese Banks

We act as agent under the United States Patriot Act for over 50 banks in Japan, including approximately half the regional banks in that country which maintain U.S. dollar accounts with American banks here.

© 2020 by Wendell H. Goddard.