Business Litigation

Your Case.  Our Strategy.  Problem Solved.

Whether your company is closely-held or among the Fortune 500, Lurie, Zepeda, Schmalz, Hogan & Martin tailors a unique strategy to resolve your legal issues based on the facts and your goals.  From negotiated settlements through trials and appeals, we apply decades of experience to efficiently pursue the best result possible.

You frequently will find our attorneys in court trying cases in front of juries, judges and administrative bodies on wide-ranging commercial litigation, including:

Represented McDonnell Douglas Corporation in a four-month jury trial in state court and on appeal for claims of fraud resulting from a 1978 aircraft accident at LAX.  At issue were the designs of the landing gear, tires, brakes, wheels, antiskid systems and slide/rafts.   After Continental prevailed, participated in drafting the appellate briefs.  

Represented McDonnell Douglas Corporation in complex litigation in Federal Court and on appeal for claims of breach of contract, strict liability, negligence, and breach of warranty resulting from a 1978 aircraft accident at LAX.  At issue were the designs of the landing gear, tires, brakes, wheels, antiskid systems and slide/rafts.  Summary judgment on the negligence and product liability issues was granted in client’s favor in the federal action.  Participated in drafting appellate briefs prior to matters being affirmed on appeal.  

In the first case ever filed involving a tort in outer space, successfully defended McDonnell Douglas Corporation (“MDC”) against Western Union’s insurers when MDC’s Westar VI satellite failed to reach geosynchronous orbit.  Western Union sued in subrogation for negligence and strict liability and sought damages of $105 million.  Won on summary judgment, which was affirmed on appeal in Appalachian Insurance Co., et al. v. McDonnell Douglas Corporation, et al. (1989) 214 Cal.App.3d 1.  

Represented Flavurence Corporation in its appeal of the Bankruptcy Court’s denial of client’s $2.4 million breach of contract and $2.3 million lost profits claims against Original New York Seltzer’s bankruptcy trustee.  Both claims related to contractual minimum product purchase requirements.  The case settled on terms favorable for client after it was fully briefed and oral argument held, but before the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel issued a ruling.  

As partner-in-charge, defended McDonnell Douglas Corporation (“MDC”) in hundreds of lawsuits filed in multiple jurisdictions nationwide arising from the United Airlines DC-10 crash at Sioux City, Iowa on July 19, 1989 in which 112 of 296 people on-board died.  Counseled MDC at the NTSB hearings and directed the defense and settlement of actions on behalf of MDC involving complicated product liability and negligence issues concerning the design of the DC-10’s hydraulic system; engine design and containment; aircraft maintenance; pilot performance; and, “crashworthiness.”  The litigation presented significant choice of law problems and damages issues.  The consolidated federal actions settled on the first day of trial, immediately before the impanelment of the jury.  In Re:  Air Crash Disaster at Sioux City, Iowa on July 19, 1989 (Jud.Pan.Mult.Lit. 1989) 128 F.R.D. 131, MDL No. 817, Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division (Chicago); Judge Suzanne B. Conlon.  Published opinions:   In Re Air Crash Disaster at Sioux City, Iowa on July 19, 1989 (N.D.Ill. 1990) 133 F.R.D. 515; In Re Air Crash Disaster at Sioux City, Iowa on July 19, 1989 (N.D.Ill. 1990) 131 F.R.D. 127; In Re Air Crash Disaster at Sioux City, Iowa on July 19, 1989 (N.D.Ill. 1990) 734 F.Supp. 1425; In Re Air Crash Disaster at Sioux City, Iowa on July 19, 1989 (N.D.Ill. 1991) 760 F.Supp. 1283; In Re Air Crash Disaster at Sioux City, Iowa on July 19, 1989 (N.D.Ill. 1991) 780 F.Supp. 1207; In Re Air Crash Disaster at Sioux City, Iowa on July 19, 1989 (N.D.Ill. 1991) 781 F.Supp. 1307.  State court actions filed nationwide with most of the non-removable state court actions filed in Cook County, IL; St. Louis, MO.; Baltimore, MD.; Pittsburgh, PA. The actions in Illinois state court were appealed.  In Re Air Crash Disaster at Sioux City Iowa on July 19, 1989 (1st Dist. 1994) 259 Ill.App.3d 231, 631 N.E.2d 1302.

Successfully represented debtors on appeal after the Bankruptcy Court denied their motion to hold a lender in contempt for attempting to collect on a debt that client contended had been discharged.  The lender’s defense posited that the parties had entered into a new loan agreement, post-discharge.  The Court of Appeals reversed the Bankruptcy Court’s order and remanded the case the Bankruptcy Court for a trial on the debtors’ contempt claims against the lender.  The matter subsequently settled on very favorable terms for client.

Achieved favorable ruling in trial court and on appeal for Taiwanese client, a specially appearing defendant, in a lawsuit filed by a Cayman Island company for breach of contract and other torts relating to the sale of Razor scooters.   Successful representation of client was based on grounds that the court could not exercise personal jurisdiction over the Taiwanese company, and on the grounds that California was an inconvenient forum for this litigation.  The California Court of Appeal affirmed the dismissal, finding that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in dismissing this case to client’s benefit based on a lack of personal jurisdiction.      

After approximately one year of intensive discovery and litigation in California and Texas, achieved a favorable settlement for client in a complex securities fraud case against the acquirer of client’s business.   The case involved alleged violations of federal, California and Texas securities and fraud laws. 

On the eve of trial, negotiated a favorable settlement for the manufacturer of fire extinguishers used in the engine bays of FA-18 E/F fighter jets in breach of contract claims against a government contractor.  By understanding complicated chemical and electrical reactions, successfully demonstrated that the alleged failure of client’s product was caused by unspecified conditions in the aircraft, not by faulty design.

Successfully defended Tasty Fries, Inc., in district court and on appeal, against Silver Leaf, LLC regarding a $100 million master sales and marketing agreement.  Silver Leaf filed the lawsuit to prevent Tasty Fries from terminating the agreement and moved for a preliminary injunction, which was denied by the district court

Defended a lawyer against a Writ of Mandate that arose from client’s cross complaint for equitable indemnity against petitioners.  The court overruled petitioners’ demurrer, and the Court of Appeal granted an alternative writ.  The issue in the appellate court was whether a lawyer who has been sued by a former client for professional negligence can seek equitable indemnity from a lawyer who subsequently represented the client in the same underlying proceeding, but not in the legal malpractice action.   The Court of Appeal, in a matter of first impression, held that public policy barred equitable indemnity under these circumstances. 

After the Superior Court denied client’s motions to quash service of a summons and cross-complaint in a contract dispute due to jurisdictional issues, won on appeal.  Client was awarded attorneys’ fees and costs.  

Defended Texas resident against allegations, filed in the Northern District of the United States District Court, of false promises to pay for orders of wine without intent to perform.  Successfully obtained court order transferring lawsuit to Texas.