iStock_000002891011_ExtraSmallGeneral Civil Litigation

Litigation is just one sometimes regrettable but unavoidable aspect of your business or personal life, and so I engage in a realistic approach to litigation that involves a thorough cost/benefit business analysis.  An effective and early evaluation of all litigation will lead to successful, timely and cost efficient resolution of your case.  This is true whether you wish to initiate a lawsuit or must defend a lawsuit.  I understand that most clients, regardless of which side of litigation they are on, would rather find a satisfactory resolution than to spend days in their lawyer’s office and endure needless attorney fees.  However, I do recognize that if a resolution cannot be found, one must fight to obtain a positive outcome for the client.

Prior to starting my law practice I worked for Fortune 500 companies where I learned the value of the bottom line and to provide efficient and cost-effective service.  In short, I bring sound business judgment to business litigation.

I have handled jury trials, court trials and appeals in state and the federal courts throughout California.  I have also represented clients in alternative dispute resolution (“ADR”) settings including mediation and arbitration.  I have tried cases involving a wide range of commercial, real estate, contract, personal and agricultural disputes before juries and judges in both state and federal courts throughout California.  Specifically, I have handled litigation cases relating to:

1) Commercial:  Contract, warranty claims, construction disputes, financial and corporate disputes, allegations of fraud and breach of fiduciary duties, transactions involving agricultural goods and equipment.

2) Creditors’ Rights:  Enforcement of judgments, liens, as well as bankruptcy litigation.

3) Environmental:  Claims involving crop damage and personal injury resulting from pesticide drift and overspray cases, as well as disputes over contaminated property, hazardous waste disposal and insurance coverage.

4) Insurance:  Coverage and claim practice disputes, general and excess liability claims, bad faith actions, director and officer liability.

5) Land Use:  Property boundary disputes, fence lines, lot line adjustments, quiet title actions, prescriptive rights of way and rights of necessity related to road and other access to land parcels.

6) Personal Injury:  Injury and wrongful death claims.

7) Real Estate:  Disputes concerning leases, unlawful detainers, real property purchase and sale transactions, easements and homeowner associations.


Crops grow on fertile farm landAgricultural Law

My experience has provided personal knowledge about the produce industry and how produce businesses operate.  Agriculture can be a tangled weave of both the Federal Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (“PACA”) and California State Producer’s Lien laws.  Prior to my legal career, I was a manager at Dole Fresh Vegetables.  I have also worked for insurance companies which insured agricultural companies throughout the Salinas Valley.

The one thing better than a positive resolution to a problem is not having the problem in the first place.  I work with clients in the agricultural industry to assist them in avoiding conflicts and disputes from the onset of a transaction; saving time, energy and money.  Litigation is just one aspect of your business and so I engage in a realistic approach to litigation that involves a thorough cost/benefit business analysis.  An effective and early evaluation of all litigation can lead to successful, timely and cost efficient resolution of your case.  I understand that most clients regardless of which side of litigation they are on, would rather find a reasonable resolution than to spend days in their lawyer’s office and endure needless attorney fees.  However, I do recognize that if a resolution cannot be found, sometimes one must fight for the clients’ desired outcome.

I provide assistance with every aspect of a client’s day-to-day business, including drafting, reviewing and negotiating contracts and agreements.  When entering any deal, I assess the strengths and weaknesses of the agreement and outline potential risks.  I counsel clients on the Federal PACA regulations and California’s Producer’s Lien laws.  The journey produce makes from field to the table can be a long and complex one involving multiple parties, numerous contracts and various handlers.  I assist produce businesses every step of the way to make certain they are successful.

Federal PACA statutes regulate nearly all facets of the produce industry, providing aid to producers and distributors.  Some regulations are obvious: sellers must ship the quantity and quality of produce specified, while purchasers must accept shipments that meet contractual specifications and provide prompt payment.  PACA also prohibits unfair trade practices like altering inspection certificates, making false or misleading statements regarding the sale of produce, and misbranding or misrepresenting grade, quality, quantity, weight or other details.

Under the PACA trust provisions, purchasers of produce are required to maintain their inventory and the receivables from the sale of produce in a trust from which to make payment to produce suppliers.  If the buyer fails to pay, the seller can freeze these trust assets and seek payment from these trust.

Prior to any PACA trust enforcement litigation, produce sellers must preserve their PACA trust rights. This is done by sending a “Notice of Intent to Preserve Trust Benefits” to the purchaser within thirty days after expiration of the parties’ payment terms.  Alternatively, a produce seller who is licensed under PACA may preserve its trust rights by including language required by the PACA statute on the face of its invoice to notify the purchaser that the produce is sold subject to the PACA trust.  I have assisted numerous clients on how and when to preserve their PACA trust rights thereby ensuring recovery of unpaid invoices.

PACA trust enforcement litigation has four main steps:

1) Freeze the purchaser’s assets to prevent dissipation of assets subject to the PACA trust.

2) Liquidate and obtain whatever produce-related assets the purchaser possesses.

3) Recover any PACA trust assets the buyer transferred to its bank or other parties.

4) Seek to have the purchaser’s owners reimburse any unpaid balance from their personal assets.

Lawsuits to enforce the PACA trusts can be filed in California state superior courts, federal U.S. District Courts or, if the buyer files for bankruptcy, in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.  An early efficient evaluation of your fresh produce claim can lead to a successful and cost effective recovery of your unpaid invoices.


iStock_000019891383_ExtraSmallInsurance Disputes

Prior to my law practice I had a successful 15-year insurance career.  I have extensive knowledge of all aspects of insurance companies, insurance policies, and insurance adjuster practices and will put my 15 years of insider information to work for you in any dispute you may have with your insurance company.

At the onset of your relationship with your insurance company, they promised the world to you and even advertised their generous nature.  However, that may change once you file a claim.  Insurance disputes often arise as a result of insurance companies interpreting policies to minimize their required payment.  I have witnessed an increase in the denial of valid insurance claims by the insurance industry.  This issue can occur with many different types of insurance, including:

  • Auto Insurance
  • Uninsured Motorist Coverage
  • Liability Insurance
  • Commercial Insurance
  • Homeowner’s Insurance
  • Building and Property Insurance

I provide the legal expertise that is absolutely necessary for you to fully understand your rights and obligations under the insurance policy and make the most informed decision.  I have substantial experience in insurance litigation, insurance bad faith and unfair claims practices, and interpretation of insurance policies. I am able to assist you in recovering the money owed to you under your insurance policy.

I can assist you in understanding the terms and conditions of your policy and completing a proper claim under the policy.  If your valid claim is denied, I will file suit and litigate through trial on your behalf.  I have litigated numerous lawsuits involving insurance disputes and successfully represented clients in claims against most of the largest insurance companies in the United States.  I am extremely proud of the results that I have obtained and look forward to sharing my results with you.  Put my 15 years of experience of working for insurance companies to work you.


Apple, Books, ChalkboardSpecial Education Law

If your child has a learning disability, he or she may be entitled to special education services.  An experienced special education law attorney can advise you of your legal rights and your child’s legal rights.

State and federal law require schools to develop Individualized Education Plans (“IEP”) for children with disabilities, including learning disabilities.  However, school authorities often deny the existence of the disability or disagree with parents on the content of the IEP or on how to implement it.

If your child is denied eligibility for special education, or if you are displeased with the results of the IEP meeting, you have many options at your disposal including state or federal administrative complaints or requesting a due process hearing.  If you are displeased with an existing IEP or the school is not fully implementing the IEP, you may request an IEP meeting or initiate an administrative proceeding.

If you are not satisfied with the results of any IEP meeting, I can work with the school through the IEP process in an attempt to reach an amicable resolution. However, if this is not possible, a compliance complaint with the Office of Civil Rights or the California Department of Education can be filed.  I may also request a due process hearing before the special education division of the California Office of Administrative Hearings.

If the administrative approach is not successful, I have the experience to advocate on your child’s behalf in both state and federal courts.  In short your goals for your child are mine, whether by representing you at a due process hearing or by advising you of your legal options.