Christopher Beatty has substantial trial and appellate litigation experience in both state and federal courts. He was recently recognized as one of the “Top 40 Lawyers Under 40” in California by the Daily Journal. He has extensive experience in litigation involving finance, startups, “business divorces,” entertainment matters, real estate, insurance issues, bankruptcy, trusts and estates, family disputes, employment, intellectual property, and other complex business matters.
Representative Matters include:
- Serving as first chair trial counsel during a two week trial, obtained a $5.4 million verdict against a Los Angeles law firm on claims for breach of fiduciary duty, fraud and malpractice.
- Successfully obtained for SurfAir a writ of possession in federal court for 7 aircraft, its California fleet, after the planes were taken by a former operator and used to set up a competing airline. Also successfully defended SurfAir from in excess of $10 million in claims brought against the company by this distributor. After a preliminary injunction hearing before the Chief Judge of the Southern District of New York, SurfAir obtained a favorable settlement, with no money paid by SurfAir.
- Represented co-founders of buzzy texting startup Community in bringing securities fraud and breach of fiduciary duty claims against another co-founder and the Company related to a share repurchase, where the cofounder was alleged to have not disclosed a planned financing round led by celebrity investors Ashton Kutcher and Guy Oseary. After winning on key legal issues in a dispositive motion, the case settled on favorable confidential terms right before a jury trial was set to begin.
- Obtained complete summary judgment in federal court on behalf of Universal Music against claims of trademark infringement, dilution and false designation of origin brought by a former band manager claiming that Universal Music improperly used the band’s name and owed him millions in royalties. Also obtained summary judgment cancelling a trademark for the name of the band that the band manager purported to own. Chris took the case over from another law firm less than two months before trial and just weeks before the summary judgment deadline, with no discovery completed.
- Represented Moshe Barkat, the owner of Modern VideoFilm, Inc., a Hollywood post-production facility, in a lender liability suit against Medley Capital, Deloitte, and numerous other entities, in which it was alleged Defendants destroyed the company. Successfully obtained in excess of $10 million in settlements after numerous positive rulings from the Court.
- Represented Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in a breach of contract dispute against a prominent foundation. After Chris obtained an $8 million writ of attachment ruling, the case quickly settled at very favorable terms for Cedars.
- Represented bankruptcy trustee of Ruby’s Diner in bringing claims against the two shareholders of the Company, who were its former officers and directors, for misappropriating opportunities and funds from the Company, to the detriment of creditors. Many of the claims depended on novel theories of liability allowing the Trustee to sue for conduct that had happened decades prior. The case settled for $3.55 million.
- Represented a startup co-founder in a lawsuit against a prominent startup, its board members and its venture capital lenders, for claims relating to wrongful dilution of his stock. The Parties reached a confidential settlement that was very favorable to Chris’s client.
- Represented Universal Music in an accounting action brought against a ringtone distributor. After successfully winning several motions in court, the distributor made a significant settlement payment to Universal Music.
- Represented venture capital firm Monogram with respect to claims against Oaktree and pet store chain Healthy Spot for wrongful dilution of preferred shares. After obtaining a key ruling on a dispositive motion, the case settled on favorable confidential terms.
- On behalf of a prominent venture capital firm, sued a startup for fraudulently inducing a seven figure investment. The lawsuit resulted in the recovery of almost the entirety of the investment.
- Successfully defeated through summary judgment a former employee’s claim that he was a 20% owner of a chain of urgent cares and medical facilities.
- Successfully defended a hedge fund and its founder against claims by a former employee that he was a 50% owner of the fund and entitled to 50% of its profits. In doing so, successfully opposed two motions that would have given this employee control of the company.
- Represented a designated trustee for the Mark Hughes Family Trust, a trust with $500 million in assets, in her efforts to be appointed trustee, which were opposed by the beneficiary. On the eve of trial the Trust made a $3 million payment to the designated trustee, an amount in excess of all of the trustees fees she would have received even if she had served as trustee, in exchange for agreeing to decline to serve.
- Successfully represented California Bank & Trust in efforts to collect a multimillion dollar judgment.
- Represented a member of an LLC worth tens of millions of dollars in a contentious family dispute. Obtained through summary judgment a ruling requiring the LLC to be dissolved, which led to a favorable settlement payment made in exchange for agreeing to be bought out as a member to the LLC.
- Represented GlaxoSmithKline in federal court as a plaintiff against Abbott Laboratories. The case involved antitrust, breach of contract, and unfair competition claims. After a four-week jury trial, jurors awarded GSK with a multimillion dollar verdict.
- Represented Activision in lawsuits related to the videogame Call of Duty, with more than $2 billion in damages alleged. The suits included a competition lawsuit brought against Electronic Arts and claims brought by over forty employees, including the creators and former heads of the videogame franchise, seeking profits from and control of the franchise. All parties reached a confidential settlement shortly before trial.
- Acted as pro bono counsel in two Ninth Circuit mediations related to immigration. In one case involving a family of five, the government administratively closed all five cases even though orders of removal had been issued.
Prior to joining Miller Barondess, Chris was a litigation associate at Irell & Manella LLP and served as a law clerk to the Honorable Richard F. Suhrheinrich of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
Chris received his Juris Doctorate cum laude from the University of Michigan in 2009, where he was a Contributing Editor of the Michigan Law Review and President of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society. During law school, Chris worked as a law clerk at Federal Signal Corporation, the University of Michigan Office of the Vice President and General Counsel, and Irell & Manella. Chris received his B.A. in History from Brigham Young University in 2005.
Chris has an active pro bono practice, volunteers in his community, and serves as the Chair of the Los Angeles Chapter of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society. He lives in Santa Monica, California, with his wife and three children.
Admitted to practice in California.