Litigation and Appeals
Sideman & Bancroft’s civil litigators are recognized for their courtroom successes and skillful representation of clients. Our experienced trial attorneys litigate cases in federal and state courts throughout California and beyond, at both the trial and appellate levels, and in arbitration and administrative law venues. Clients range from large corporations and other business entities to individuals, families, and trustees and other fiduciaries. The Litigation Group represents clients in such diverse industries as information technology; telecommunications; financial services, banking and securities; professional services; global commerce and e-commerce; manufacturing; real estate investment and development; mining, natural resources and energy; construction; and hospitality, food and beverage.
We approach each case recognizing its potential to go to trial, fully aware that favorable results come from thorough and strategic preparation but with sensitivity to the economics and practicalities of each case. Our litigators conduct effective pretrial discovery with the goal of positioning each case for swift and successful resolution. At all stages we offer ongoing evaluation of the case and advise clients on their options. We also take full advantage of the increasingly prevalent forms of alternative dispute resolution, including arbitration, mediation and neutral evaluation.
AREAS OF CONCENTRATION:
The Litigation Group has extensive experience litigating and arbitrating the disputes that frequently arise in business relationships from the lack of performance by one or more contracting parties. We also represent many types of business owners in conflict with other owners or managers of the enterprise. We regularly defend clients in actions brought by minority shareholders against majority owners, corporate officers and directors for alleged breaches of fiduciary duty. Our experience extends to the entire gamut of business torts, including alleged misappropriation of corporate or partnership opportunities, proprietary information, or trade secrets, and claims of fraud, interference with contracts, unfair competition, and unfair business practices under statutory and common law theories.
Creditors’ Rights and Bankruptcy
The firm represents individuals and businesses in the enforcement and defense of claims to collect on either secured or unsecured indebtedness, including foreclosure on real or personal property collateral. We utilize all available pre-judgment remedies such as attachment, temporary protective orders and injunctive relief. Our litigators also represent clients in proceedings concerning receiverships, collection of judgments and fraudulent transfers, and provide counseling on alternatives to bankruptcy. In bankruptcy cases, we represent clients asserting secured or unsecured claims, moving for relief from automatic stay and litigating non-dischargeability and preference actions. We also have considerable and diverse experience in adversary and other proceedings collateral to bankruptcies.
Financial Services and Investments
The Litigation Group handles disputes over investments made through broker-dealers, registered investment advisors, and other financial consultants as well as disputes involving direct investments in securities, both in arbitration tribunals such as FINRA and in court. We also represent parties in claims over secured and other complex borrowings, frequently involving guaranties and lender liability claims and defenses.
Professional and Fiduciary Liability
Sideman & Bancroft regularly prosecutes or defends actions involving professional and fiduciary liability, including claims for alleged negligence and other breaches of obligation in the performance of professional services. Our attorneys have litigated professional liability matters involving attorneys, accountants, real estate and securities brokers, and trustees in addition to medical services professionals, including physicians, mental health care providers and medical groups. These matters include claims before courts, administrative boards and arbitration tribunals.
Trusts and Estates
Our civil litigators represent trustees, settlors, beneficiaries and other interested parties in a wide variety of disputes involving trusts and estates, including claims of fiduciary liability, trust and will contests, petitions to remove trustees, and petitions for accountings. We file petitions for instructions on behalf of clients serving as trustees where clarification under trusts or other instruments is necessary to protect the parties’ rights. We also prosecute and defend claims for elder or dependent adult abuse. On these matters, we work closely with partners in the firm’s Estate Planning Group.
Lawyers in the firm have represented appellants and appellees in significant appeals in state and federal court and have considerable, in-depth experience in evaluating cases for appeal prior to and early in the appellate process. We also represent clients in writ proceedings to appellate courts and in motions on appeal as well as in court-required appellate mediation proceedings. The subject matter of appeals includes the entire spectrum of business litigation and individual interest cases that our litigators handle prior to appeal.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
In some disputes, satisfactory closure can be achieved without the expense, delay and publicity of court proceedings. The Litigation Group provides clients with pre-litigation and preventive counseling, including advice on engaging in negotiation and mediation to achieve early settlement when appropriate.
Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) such as mediation, early neutral evaluation, arbitration, private judging and mini-trials affords our clients greater control over the outcome of their disputes through consensual rules and, where possible, a negotiated settlement, which is often preferable to the uncertainty attendant with leaving outcomes in the hands of a judge or jury. We recommend ADR whenever it is likely to lead to a satisfactory and cost-effective outcome. We customize dispute resolution processes around the needs of the particular case. We actively practice before the leading dispute resolution providers, including JAMS, the American Arbitration Association, ADR Services and FINRA, as well as in court-sponsored mediation and neutral evaluation programs.
Our litigation partners also provide ADR services as qualified certified neutrals, serving as mediators, arbitrators, early neutral evaluators and private judges retained through court appointments or direct engagement by private parties. Our attorneys are members of ADR panels of neutrals for the American Arbitration Association, the Trademark Mediators Network of the International Trademark Association (INTA), the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California and various California state courts, and are active in organizations promoting ADR.