With 48 years of experience, Louis R. (Skip) Miller is an accomplished trial lawyer. He has tried cases in state and federal courts in California and around the country before juries and judges. He “specializes” in the art of persuasion and getting results; is highly sought out by clients in multiple areas; and is busier and enjoying law practice more than ever.
Miller’s practice includes securities, sports, corporate takeover, energy, investment banking, defamation, First Amendment, entertainment (motion pictures, television and music), copyright, civil rights, real estate, contracts, partnerships, unfair competition, environmental, energy and extensive governmental and public litigation. He has been recognized in Los Angeles Business Journal’s Best of the Bar, Leaders in Law, Top Litigators and Most Influential lists, Daily Journal’s Top 100 – California’s Leading Lawyers, Variety’s Legal Impact Report and Billboard’s Top Music Lawyers. He has been honored by the Los Angeles Business Journal on their LA 500 list in 2018, 2019 and 2020. Miller’s firm – which does only litigation and has 40 lawyers – has been featured as one of the top litigation firms in California.
His clients have included numerous public and private entities: the County of Los Angeles, the cities of Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, Pasadena, Carson, Anaheim, Riverside and Monterey Park; entertainers including Rod Stewart, Elton John, Nick Nolte, Bob Dylan, Sean Connery, Nile Rodgers, Steven Tyler (Aerosmith), Steely Dan, Lionel Richie, Don Felder (Eagles), Axl Rose (Guns N’ Roses), rock bands such as Mötley Crüe, KISS, Stone Temple Pilots, Journey and others; plus publicly and privately-owned manufacturing and marketing companies; investment banks, private equity funds, banks and other financial institutions; and entertainment concerns including movie studios, cable networks, artist managers, a talent agency, sports agents, and professional and college athletes and coaches.
Miller also has handled complex real estate litigation for California’s largest land developer, the state’s largest home builder, and for five publicly-traded banks in California. Miller and the firm have expertise in going up against insurance carriers in coverage disputes including claims for bad faith. He’s done this for sports and entertainment individuals and companies and resolved cases with insurance money without the client having to come out of pocket.
A major client for Miller and the firm is the County of Los Angeles and its Board of Supervisors. He and the firm prevailed on summary judgment on behalf of the County and Board in a case challenging the County’s budgeting process; and that decision was affirmed on appeal. Miller and the firm represented the County in litigation against Southern California Gas Company regarding the Aliso Canyon gas leak, the largest natural gas leak in U.S. history, which spewed over 100,000 metric tons of methane, ethane, benzene and other toxic chemicals into the atmosphere and forced thousands to relocate. Miller, on behalf of the County, successfully obtained Court orders to extend the County’s resident relocation program and for SoCalGas to clean residents’ homes. The County sought nuisance abatement as well as civil penalties and cost recoveries against SoCalGas. The case recently settled for $119.5 million. As a former member of the Los Angeles City Council and County Board of Supervisors, Zev Yaroslavsky summed it up, “If you are in the legal trenches, Skip is the one you want down there with you.”
Miller represented the County of Los Angeles in matters challenging the decision by the sheriff to reinstate a former deputy who was discharged in 2016 for domestic abuse. The Civil Service Commission upheld the termination after a full evidentiary hearing in 2018. When the sheriff was elected in 2018, he sought to bring the deputy back into the department. Miller obtained an injunction overturning the sheriff’s rehiring decision and precluding the deputy from rejoining the department; and thereafter, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit in which the deputy sued the County alleging his support for the sheriff’s election made him a target of retaliation.
Miller successfully represented the City of Inglewood and its Mayor against Madison Square Garden’s attempts to block construction of a new arena in Inglewood for the LA Clippers of the National Basketball Association. Miller and the firm played a key role in defending the City and Mayor against Madison Square Garden’s efforts to preserve its venue, The Forum, as the only concert venue in Inglewood. After nearly three years of hard-fought litigation in seven different lawsuits, a settlement was reached in May 2020 by way of the Clippers purchasing The Forum, taking another step towards the Clippers building their own state-of-the-art arena in Inglewood. The new arena will be a short distance from The Forum and across from SoFi Stadium, the new home of the LA Rams and Chargers, and will bring millions of dollars in revenue, jobs and commerce to the City.
Other cases include defending the City of Los Angeles in a series of cases arising from the operations of the LAPD including the Rodney King civil rights damages action; First Amendment free speech/religion clause litigation brought by the then-Assistant Chief of Police; a dozen lawsuits brought against the Mayor, City Council members, Police Commissioners and City Attorneys arising from the operations of the LAPD’s Special Investigation Section, culminating in two victories in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals; a $100 million inverse condemnation case brought against Los Angeles by Southern Pacific Railroad; and high-stakes litigation for private and publicly owned utilities including the Department of Water and Power, the Metropolitan Water District and the Metropolitan Transit Authority that is building rail and subway transit throughout Los Angeles County.
Miller successfully represented Entertainment Studios, an African-American owned media company, in civil rights lawsuits against AT&T, DirecTV, Comcast and Charter for discrimination by refusing carriage of Entertainment Studios’ television channels, alleging violations of the Civil Rights Act of 1866, 42 U.S.C. § 1981. The cases against AT&T and DirecTV were resolved amicably, and the Entertainment Studios channels are now carried on both platforms. The Comcast and Charter cases were litigated in Federal District Court, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and before the United States Supreme Court. In June 2020, following a decision by the Supreme Court, the Comcast case was resolved, and Entertainment Studios channels are now distributed by Comcast. The case against Charter is expected to go to trial, before a jury, later this year or early next year. These are groundbreaking cases addressing a long-standing and serious issue in our society, namely, economic inclusion of African American owned businesses in the country’s economy. This is particularly so in the media, where Entertainment Studios is the only African American owned multi-channel operator in the country. To quote Skip, “My hat is off to our client, Byron Allen, for having the backbone to file these actions. I’m very proud of the results obtained. It’s really important to our society to include black-owned business in the mainstream.”
Miller successfully represented investors who put a billion dollars into Internet incubator Idealab; won a $7 million judgment against musician Michael Jackson in a jury trial in Santa Maria; and prevailed in the Ninth Circuit and district court in a series of civil rights cases brought against the City of Los Angeles and the City of Beverly Hills and their Mayors, Chiefs of Police and City Council members. He prosecuted trade secret/unfair competition cases for a manufacturing conglomerate and a private equity company; defended the maker of Seven Jeans in a multi-hundred million dollar partnership dispute; represented high-tech and manufacturing companies, including a public company in China with over 500,000 employees for which he won a $46 million jury verdict; won a defense verdict in a major lender liability action for the largest bank headquartered in Los Angeles; won sexual harassment trials on behalf of the City of Pasadena/Rose Bowl, a Los Angeles City Council member, and the City of Los Angeles; represented the City of Anaheim in a $50 million dispute with its telecom provider; and has handled cases in the spirits industry regarding Patron Tequila.
Miller headed up litigation in federal court involving twenty major real estate projects in multi-billion dollar litigation arising from the demise of investment bank Lehman Brothers; he represents Asian and European investors and businesses in litigation in California and internationally; and represents cable networks in multi-million dollar channel carriage disputes. Miller has a lot of experience in high-stakes, high-profile litigation matters; and knows how to deal with the media.
Miller is the former Chairman of the Board of D.A.R.E. America, the international drug, violence and alcohol abuse and education program taught by police to millions of school children in the U.S. and 50 foreign countries. He is a 1972 graduate of UCLA Law School, where he served on the UCLA Law Review. In 1972-1973, he served as law clerk to the Honorable Jesse W. Curtis, United States District Judge for the Central District of California.
He resides in Pacific Palisades with his high school sweetheart and wife of 50 years, Sherry, who has her own music company. The Millers have two sons, Dan and Jim, who are graduates of the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Michigan Law Schools, respectively, and who work with their father and the firm’s 40 other lawyers. Per Miller, “working with our sons, and the other talented lawyers in the firm, is a labor of love for me.”