• Recent Results (November 2010)

    Posted November 18, 2010 By in Recent Results With | No Comments

    The results mentioned are representative and do not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter.

    EMPLOYMENT LITIGATION

    1. Bergman Dacey Goldsmith represented a large school district in an employment litigation brought by one of its police officers under federal and state law. Bergman Dacey Goldsmith removed the case to federal court, where counsel for the plaintiff promptly failed to request a jury, thereby waiving it. With this procedural advantage in hand, Bergman Dacey Goldsmith next pressed for early discovery, including the plaintiff’s deposition, to illuminate the inherent weaknesses in his claims. In fact, the incisive and targeted questioning directed at the plaintiff during his deposition led to an impromptu settlement negotiation at the behest of plaintiff. As a result, a successful settlement was subsequently reached by the parties before plaintiff’s deposition was even completed, thereby disposing of this matter in its entirety for a minimal expenditure of fees by the school district.

    2. Bergman Dacey Goldsmith successfully represented a large school district on an appeal taken from post-trial orders denying a former employee’s motions to set aside a summary judgment entered in favor of the school district. Even before appellate briefing began, the Court, with preliminary input from Bergman Dacey Goldsmith, recognized that the orders were not legally appealable, and therefore the employee’s appeals were summarily dismissed. By facilitating this early dismissal, Bergman Dacey Goldsmith completed the appellate process in a fraction of the time an appeal on the merits would have taken, and for only a portion of the cost.

    3. Bergman Dacey Goldsmith counseled an employer when one of its former employees abruptly resigned and began sending letters making various monetary demands and threatening litigation over a purported hostile work environment. Recognizing that litigation could become protracted, and evaluating the goals of the employer, Bergman Dacey Goldsmith initiated a negotiation to resolve the matter, responding to the employee’s demands and maintaining a strong front until there was an agreement upon the key terms requested by the employer. Within a short time, this matter was fully resolved between the parties, and litigation was avoided in its entirety.

    4. Bergman Dacey Goldsmith represented a large school district that was facing allegations of race discrimination and retaliation. Confronting an unorthodox and highly litigious plaintiff’s counsel, Bergman Dacey Goldsmith successfully defended against a barrage of motions and discovery demands, while also obtaining sanctions awards against opposing counsel on several occasions. Nevertheless, recognizing that the ultimate cost of defending this matter through trial would be extensive, Bergman Dacey Goldsmith counseled the district on potential settlement strategy, and then, by cutting to the core of plaintiff’s demands, deftly negotiated an extremely cost-effective resolution that not only protected the public fisc and achieved finality, but provided plaintiff with a non-monetary resolution that met her goals as well.

    ENVIRONMENTAL LITIGATION

    1. Bergman Dacey Goldsmith represented a school district that was sued under the California Environmental Quality Act over its decision to close and reuse an elementary school for adult education, among other uses. Bergman Dacey Goldsmith successfully argued that the district’s decision to close the elementary school and the subsequent decisions regarding its reuse were exempt from CEQA. The district was not only successful in the lawsuit, but it was also awarded its litigation costs and received favorable press coverage.

    2. Bergman Dacey Goldsmith represented a school district that was sued under the California Environmental Quality Act over its decision to cease offering bussing services in the district. Bergman Dacey Goldsmith successfully settled the matter in a manner that did not require the district to undertake any additional environmental review or to pay any monies as part of the settlement. The district also received favorable press coverage from local news organizations regarding the settlement, as it was a “win” for the district.

    CONSTRUCTION/FACILITIES LITIGATION

    1. In significant litigation involving school district construction, Bergman Dacey Goldsmith successfully negotiated monetary settlements with two of the contractor defendants and performance bond sureties. As a result, the settlement defendants and related federal action against a surety have been dismissed, focusing the continuing litigation on the construction manager and key trade contractors.

    2. Bergman Dacey Goldsmith devised a plan for a local school with limited construction funds to provide new administration, classroom and service facilities at a high school campus. Bergman Dacey Goldsmith facilitated bringing in an experienced construction manager and a general contractor using a lease-lease-back delivery method. The process resulted in the final construction contract coming in $3,000,000 under budget (nearly 38% under budget).

    3. Bergman Dacey Goldsmith assisted a local school with limited construction funds to provide temporary utilities, fencing and paving for interim housing at a school campus. Bergman Dacey Goldsmith facilitated bringing in an experienced construction manager and a general contractor using a lease-lease-back delivery method. The process resulted in the final construction contract coming in nearly 48% under budget.

    PUBLIC ENTITY A.D.A. LITIGATION

    1. Bergman Dacey Goldsmith defended a California city in a Federal Americans with Disabilities Act litigation arising out of a resident’s claims that the City had not brought its pedestrian infrastructure into full compliance with applicable law. In light of the City’s fiscal challenges, Bergman Dacey Goldsmith focused on conducting targeted, cost-effective discovery to root out the inherent weaknesses in the claims alleged. The discovery eventually supported a motion for summary judgment that, in combination with critical motions in limine, facilitated the settlement of all of plaintiff’s federal and state claims. The settlement amounted to less than 6% of the plaintiff’s original demand and avoided further costly litigation for the City.

    REAL ESTATE LITIGATION

    1. Shortly after substituting in as counsel of record, Bergman Dacey Goldsmith represented a homeowners association (“HOA”) in defense of a complaint and cross-complaint by two separate homeowners within the association on allegations of property damage. Through successful negotiations with the plaintiff’s and cross-complainant’s counsel, Bergman Dacey Goldsmith was able to secure a settlement and dismissals from the action without any out-of-pocket contribution from the HOA to the total settlement fund.

    2. Bergman Dacey Goldsmith represented a school district in a lawsuit filed by a former vendor seeking nearly $250,000.00 in real estate broker fees based on the re-negotiation of two leases on surplus properties owned by the school district. Bergman Dacey Goldsmith’s aggressive discovery and litigation strategy compelled the plaintiff to accept a settlement on the district’s terms on the eve of a hearing on a dispositive motion by the district aimed at dismissing plaintiff’s claims.

    ATTORNEY FEE LITIGATION

    1. Bergman Dacey Goldsmith advised and represented a homeowners association (“HOA”) with respect to claims and fee dispute against the HOA’s former counsel. Bergman Dacey Goldsmith successfully negotiated the total balance of attorney fees owed by the HOA to its former counsel down to zero, without the need for the HOA to incur any costs for litigation against its former counsel.

  • Recent Results (April 2010)

    Posted April 24, 2010 By in Recent Results With | No Comments

    The results mentioned are representative and do not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter.

    CONSTRUCTION/FACILITIES

    1. A large county Department of Education had limited funds to build a community school and could not get bids to come in on budget. The county reached out for assistance and advice from Bergman Dacey Goldsmith, who devised a plan for the county, bringing in an experienced construction manager and then selecting a general contractor using a Lease-Leaseback delivery method combined with a competitive bidding component. The process resulted in the final construction contract coming in $2.5 million under budget. The school is now under construction, on schedule, and within budget.

    2. Bergman Dacey Goldsmith represented a corporation that specializes in providing construction and acquisition/rehabilitation loans in order to create and improve single and multi-unit residences in affordable neighborhoods, in a lawsuit filed by a general contractor on a private construction project financed by the corporation. Among other claims, the contractor sought to preclude the client from foreclosing on a trust deed. After the client had a temporary restraining order entered against it, Bergman Dacey Goldsmith stepped in to successfully oppose the general contractor’s application for preliminary injunction and persuaded the general contractor to dismiss its lawsuit before any responsive pleading was due.

    3. Bergman Dacey Goldsmith was retained by a large school district to defend against a seven-figure claim by a general contractor. Through a tactful and deliberate litigation approach, and before even filing an answer to the complaint, Bergman Dacey Goldsmith negotiated a dismissal of all of the general contractor’s causes of action in exchange for a settlement amounting to a fraction of the amounts sought against the school district.

    4. In a suit filed against a school district client, the contractor sought several hundred thousand dollars for alleged unpaid work. The school district contended that the contractor had overstated the amount of work done and performed work after the operative contract had expired. The district nevertheless made a good-faith six figure offer to settle. The contractor rejected the settlement and demanded full payment of his claim. Bergman and Dacey, Inc. filed a demurrer in response to the contractor’s complaint. The court sustained the demurrer without leave to amend and dismissed the contractor’s lawsuit with prejudice. Thus, after the school district made a reasonable offer to settle and was confronted with an overreaching contractor, Bergman and Dacey, Inc. prevailed in court, with the result being that the school district client was extricated from the case without having to pay.

    5. Public entities were disputing jurisdiction over a public works project, with one of the public entities attempting to stop construction by the other public entity. The public entity constructing the project reached out to Bergman Dacey Goldsmith for representation and advice regarding its rights and remedies on the jurisdictional question and the refusal of the other public entity to issue a permit. After Bergman Dacey Goldsmith wrote a cease and desist letter outlining how the other public entity was unjustly interfering with the project, the permit was issued. Construction is now nearing a successful completion.

    6. In a complex construction litigation matter, a renowned construction management firm filed a motion for summary adjudication against Bergman Dacey Goldsmith’s public entity client arguing, among other things, that its contract with the public entity owner shielded it from responsibility for the poor work of the project contractors. Through effective written advocacy, followed by lengthy oral argument, Bergman Dacey Goldsmith protected all of its public entity client’s rights and remedies against the construction management firm. The public entity prevailed as the court denied the motion for summary adjudication in its entirety.

    7. Bergman Dacey Goldsmith successfully assisted an Orange County public school district in creating a set of Lease-Leaseback Construction Agreements under California Education Code § 17406, and in having the Agreements validated by the appropriate court under California Code of Civil Procedure § 860 et seq. Bergman Dacey Goldsmith has now assisted in the creation and management of 11 such sets of Lease-Leaseback Construction Agreements for Los Angeles and Orange County public school districts and departments of education over the last 18 months.

    EMPLOYMENT LITIGATION

    1. Bergman Dacey Goldsmith represented a large school district in an administrative proceeding it initiated to terminate one of its certificated employees for, among other things, unprofessional conduct. By using state of the art forensic technology, Bergman Dacey Goldsmith, was able to produce extensive electronic evidence of the employee’s wrongful acts. This evidence, as well as pressure imposed by Bergman Dacey Goldsmith during a mandated settlement conference, led to the resignation of the employee in exchange for a de minimis settlement payment.

    2. Bergman Dacey Goldsmith represented an international corporation in its defense of various wage and hour claims brought by a former sales agent. By removing the case to Federal Court, Bergman Dacey Goldsmith took the case on the offensive and slowly deconstructed each of the plaintiff’s various allegations. By consistently pushing plaintiff on the weaknesses of the case, Bergman Dacey Goldsmith was able to settle the matter for a fraction of the monies originally sought. Furthermore, Bergman Dacey Goldsmith provided guidance to the corporation to revise its business model to clarify its commission practices so that future litigation could be minimized.

    3. Bergman Dacey Goldsmith successfully represented on appeal a large school district in a lawsuit involving claims that its police department engaged in racial discrimination and retaliation. Going up against an aggressive and well-known plaintiff’s attorney, Bergman Dacey Goldsmith successfully obtained summary judgment in favor of the school district by demonstrating to the trial court via carefully tailored discovery that: (1) the plaintiff had no evidence that any decision-maker had or acted with a discriminatory or retaliatory animus, (2) the school district’s promotional decisions were based on legitimate reasons, and (3) the plaintiff’s efforts to rely on “other” claims of purported racial discrimination failed to support his claim. Bergman Dacey Goldsmith then presented a cogent legal argument on appeal to uphold the summary judgment on all grounds.

    BUSINESS LITIGATION

    1. Less than three weeks before trial, Bergman Dacey Goldsmith took over the defense of a non-profit housing corporation and several of its affiliates, all of which had signed a written indemnity agreement with a title insurance company. The title company had been sued by a third party for alleged violations of the California Enforcement of Judgments Law and responded by suing our clients on the indemnity agreement. We immediately succeeded in getting the indemnity claim severed from the underlying claim and then assisted the title company in securing a dismissal of the claim against it as a matter of law on the first day of trial. At that point, the title company had no viable claims against our clients and it agreed to a no-money settlement in exchange for a waiver of costs and mutual releases.

  • Recent Results (April 2009)

    Posted April 19, 2009 By in Recent Results With | No Comments

    The results mentioned are representative and do not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter.

    Construction Litigation

    1. Bergman Dacey Goldsmith defended a large school district in a lawsuit filed by a general contractor on two public works construction projects. The parties engaged in statutorily required mediation, which did not yield a resolution, and proceeded to arbitration wherein Bergman Dacey Goldsmith successfully persuaded the arbitrator that every one of the general contractor’s legal and factual contentions were without merit. In the end, Bergman Dacey Goldsmith obtained an award in the District’s favor (liquidated damages), as well as over $110,000 in attorneys’ fees and costs.

    2. Bergman Dacey Goldsmith represented a construction management firm in a lawsuit against owners of certain real property in downtown Los Angeles for non-payment of owed sums. Through a deliberate litigation approach, attorneys from Bergman Dacey Goldsmith were able to isolate the defendants and enter into two separate resolution agreements, one through non-assisted attorney negotiation and the other through mediation, all to the benefit of the client, thus saving the client a significant amount of money by avoiding trial.

    3. Bergman Dacey Goldsmith represented a large school district in a dispute over the purchase and installation of modular buildings at eleven different school sites. Upon completion of the project, the contractor brought suit against the school district, seeking over one million dollars in damages. Bergman Dacey Goldsmith defended the school district and asserted counterclaims against the contractor. A global settlement was reached, wherein the contractor reduced its charges to the school district by the sum of $800,000.00. This amount covered all defective construction, all attorneys’ fees incurred by the school district in the action, and left funds available to remedy any latent defects in the construction that might arise in future years.

    4. A large County Department of Education decided to build its first traditional campus-style school and sought Bergman Dacey Goldsmith’s assistance and legal advice. The Department had limited funds for construction and had received competitive bids that were extremely over budget. Bergman Dacey Goldsmith assisted the Department with a lease/lease-back process that resulted in a final guaranteed maximum price that was $2.5 million below the Department’s budget. The additional $2.5 million will now be put into the project to enhance the school facilities.

    5. Bergman Dacey Goldsmith represented a large school district in a lawsuit filed by a subcontractor on a public works construction project against the contractor and owner. Through a tactful and deliberate litigation approach, Bergman Dacey Goldsmith was able to negotiate a stipulation, signed by all parties, under which the District was dismissed from the lawsuit and recovered its reasonable attorneys’ fees, thus saving the client a significant amount of money.

    6. One of Bergman Dacey Goldsmith’s City clients was preparing to award construction on a new senior housing and mixed-use development. Several last-minute contract relationship and construction issues surfaced threatening to jeopardize the project. Bergman Dacey Goldsmith was able to assist the City in resolving all the construction and contractual issues, and the project started successfully and on schedule.

    Employment Litigation

    • In an employment discrimination and harassment matter, alleging national origin and race discrimination, Bergman Dacey Goldsmith, Inc. successfully brought and argued a motion for summary judgment that was granted on behalf of all defendants, including the public entity and two individual defendants. It was argued before the court that the plaintiff, a teacher, had not suffered any adverse employment actions when her class was closed and she was re-assigned. The court adopted the arguments made and granted our motion in its entirety.

    • Bergman Dacey Goldsmith, Inc. represented a public entity and an individual defendant in a highly charged and controversial reasonable accommodation and discrimination action. In the suit, the plaintiff, who was disabled and confined to a wheelchair, alleged that the public entity had failed to accommodate her. The plaintiff had requested $2.1 million to resolve the matter. After very targeted discovery was conducted and a motion for summary judgment was granted, in part, the plaintiff agreed to compromise the action to the mutual satisfaction of the parties, for a significantly reduced amount.

    Insurance Litigation

    Bergman Dacey Goldsmith, Inc. was both litigation counsel and coverage counsel for a California Charter City who sued its insurer and claims and risk managers for reimbursement and/or indemnification of approximately $2 million paid on claims brought under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act for alleged racially discriminatory disciplinary proceedings. The case involved a complex insurance issue involving the applicability of Insurance Code Section 533. Bergman Dacey Goldsmith, Inc. was able to persuade the court to deny the insurer’s summary adjudication motion brought under Section 533; the insurer’s petition for writ of mandate was also denied. Early in the discovery phase, which was deferred until after the summary adjudication rulings, Bergman Dacey Goldsmith, Inc. was successful in obtaining a favorable monetary settlement with all defendants.

  • Recent Results (December 2008)

    Posted December 28, 2008 By in Recent Results With | No Comments

    The results mentioned are representative and do not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter.

    CLASS ACTION LITIGATION

    1. Bergman Dacey Goldsmith represented a municipality in a cutting-edge action brought by a class of plaintiffs under the California Disabled Persons Act. The plaintiffs, who allegedly are confined to wheelchairs, claimed that the public entity failed to provide access to over 100 public sidewalks due to allegedly absent curb ramps. The plaintiffs sought millions of dollars in replicated statutory penalties and injunctive relief. After briefing the threshold legal issues, and prior to extensive discovery being conducted, the plaintiffs agreed to dismiss the action with prejudice in exchange for a waiver of attorney’s fees and costs, a small fraction of the monetary relief being sought.

    2. Bergman Dacey Goldsmith represented one of the largest counties in the State of California in a class action of first impression in which the class claimed that, because they were common law employees, they were entitled to civil service status as de facto civil servants and were also entitled to pension rights and benefits under the County Employees Retirement Law (CERL.) Based on these theories, the class asserted claims that included violations of equal protection, breaches of statutory duties and contracts, unfair and deceptive trade practices, and fraud. Through the successful development and filing of a series of strategic motions on threshold legal issues, Bergman Dacey Goldsmith was able to undermine the bases of all class claims, and thereby obtain judgment from the trial court in favor of our client. Our firm thereafter assisted the County to defend these rulings before the California Court of Appeal, which recently upheld the judgment in favor of our client.

    BUSINESS LITIGATION

    Bergman Dacey Goldsmith has been retained by a national data collection company to defend its interests across the nation. The client has been subpoenaed in a myriad of locations involving a multitude of legal issues, including trade secrets and proprietary business information. Bergman Dacey Goldsmith has appeared in courtrooms from San Diego to San Jose, Los Angeles to New Jersey, and places in between. Bergman Dacey Goldsmith has successfully defended the proprietary business interests of our client and has successfully argued against the production of highly sensitive and proprietary information.

    EMPLOYMENT LITIGATION

    1. Bergman Dacey Goldsmith was litigation counsel in an employment matter defending a public entity client against an employee claiming disability discrimination. After a successful motion for summary judgment, the plaintiff employee did not relent. After judgment was entered, plaintiff filed not only a motion to vacate the judgment, which Bergman Dacey Goldsmith was successful in defeating, but also filed two motions in equity, seeking to set aside the judgment and seeking to set aside the court’s order on the motion to vacate. Bergman Dacey Goldsmith prevailed against the former employee on each of the motions in equity. Our firm also successfully argued that the plaintiff was unable to show the public entity had engaged in extrinsic fraud so as to justify equitable relief, and that the court’s previous rulings were both legally and factually sound. Bergman Dacey Goldsmith successfully argued that if the plaintiff was granted equitable relief, the prejudice to the public entity would be significant. The court agreed.

    2. Bergman Dacey Goldsmith was retained by a law firm that sought guidance in connection with an employee termination. During the midst of the termination, the employee informed the firm of a “disability,” and Bergman Dacey Goldsmith carefully and cautiously counseled the firm regarding the rights and obligations of an employer in connection with an employee with a purported disability, including engaging in the interactive process. Through Bergman Dacey Goldsmith’s risk counseling and active participation in the communications between the firm and the employee, the firm was able to resolve the matter with the employee, with no adverse risk to itself.

    3. Bergman Dacey Goldsmith successfully represented a public school district that was sued on various grounds, including disability discrimination, failing to engage in the interactive process, and CFRA violations. After conducting early narrowly-focused discovery aimed at plaintiff’s allegations, Bergman Dacey Goldsmith successfully moved for summary judgment. The court found that plaintiff, under the articulated standard in the Supreme Court decision, Green v. Superior Court, could not meet her burden of proof that she was qualified to perform the essential functions of her job, with or without accommodations.

    4. In an action filed by a female employee against our public entity client for sexual harassment and failure to take remedial action, Bergman Dacey Goldsmith was successful in obtaining, prior to trial, a dismissal of the individual defendant supervisor, summary adjudication on the cause of action for failure to take remedial action, and the grant of a number of in limine orders excluding evidence of the supervisor’s alleged past prior acts and improper character and behavior outside of the work place. Bergman Dacey Goldsmith was able, through a series of mediations and focused percipient and expert discovery, to convince plaintiff to settle the matter for a sum significantly less than the $1 million+ demanded.

    5. Bergman Dacey Goldsmith defended a public entity client against a litany of employment-related causes of action, including wrongful termination, failure to reasonably accommodate a disability, retaliation, negligent supervision, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The matter revolved around a former teacher’s allegations that his purported disability was the impetus for his termination, as well as other actions allegedly taken against him by the public entity and its agents. Bergman Dacey Goldsmith crafted a targeted and precise summary judgment motion to dispose of each cause of action, including an administrative collateral estoppel defense. The court agreed with each of Bergman Dacey Goldsmith’s arguments and found in favor for our client on all of the causes of action.

    6. Bergman Dacey Goldsmith represented a private institution of higher learning that was considering changes to its pension and benefits program. Our firm fully evaluated the institute’s existing policies and goals, then assisted in navigating the intricate nuances of governing law (including ERISA,) and with amending the plan documents. In so doing, Bergman Dacey Goldsmith was able to assist our client in successfully achieving its goals in a way that ensured it also minimized the risk of exposure for potential violations of state and federal law.

    CONSTRUCTION LITIGATION

    1. Bergman Dacey Goldsmith was recently retained by a large developer who was sued by a competitor for unfair competition and violation of the Subcontracting Listing Laws. Before the client’s responsive pleading was due, the plaintiff competitor served 25 subpoenas to subcontractors of Bergman Dacey Goldsmith’s client. Bergman Dacey Goldsmith worked closely with in-house counsel to prepare ex parte papers seeking a protective order and motion to quash the third-party subpoenas. As a result of this concentrated effort, only one of the depositions was ordered to proceed.

    2. When one of the largest counties in the state of California undertook to build the first school in the county under a “lease/lease back” construction delivery method, Bergman Dacey Goldsmith was retained by the county to assist the Department of Education throughout the process.

    3. Bergman Dacey Goldsmith was retained to assist in a dispute between the owners of a multi-million dollar beach front property that was headed toward major litigation. As a result of Bergman Dacey Goldsmith’s focused negotiation efforts, the matter was amicably resolved before costly litigation moved forward.

    ATTORNEY FEE LITIGATION

    Bergman Dacey Goldsmith was retained by a municipality to assist with the preparation of an opposition to a motion for attorneys’ fees. Within seven days of our firm being retained (which included a holiday weekend), Bergman Dacey Goldsmith in turn hired a renowned expert on attorneys’ fees, who prepared a Declaration in support of the opposition, and then our firm drafted a portion of the opposition addressing quantum-related issues. This matter exemplifies the responsiveness of Bergman Dacey Goldsmith as we were able to immediately identify the client’s needs, use an established working relationship to retain the best possible expert, and complete our written work product on an expedited basis to our client’s complete satisfaction.

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