Miller Barondess Secures Defense Ruling After Four-Month Trial
As published in the Daily Journal’s Verdicts and Settlements section on January 17, 2020, Miller Barondess, LLP prevailed in a bench trial resulting in Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Deirdre Hill ruling for Defendants on all issues.
In the lawsuit, Plaintiff Peter Kleinberg sued his former employer, Landmark Dividend LLC, as well as the officers of the company. Defendants were represented by Miller Barondess; the defense team included Partner Brian Procel, as well as Andrew Schrader, Martin Pritikin, and Justin Stinar.
With more than $1 billion in assets, Landmark and its affiliates are leaders in the acquisition and development of digital, cellular and renewable assets. Kleinberg claimed that Landmark acquired a wind power project in Tehachapi, California that had increased in value to more than $100 million. According to Plaintiff, Landmark breached an agreement to pay him a commission owed for his role in that acquisition. Kleinberg sought more than $20 million in compensatory damages, as well as punitive damages.
The Court commenced a four-month bench trial on August 7, 2019. Kleinberg’s legal team called a series of experts in an attempt to demonstrate that Landmark misrepresented the use of a discount rate in its commission formula; that its commission structure contained an allocation element that inured to Kleinberg’s benefit; and that Kleinberg was entitled to future revenue streams relating to a Power Purchase Agreement with Southern California Edison. Kleinberg’s attorneys also called Landmark’s top executives, including the current Chief Executive Officer, a former Chief Executive Officer, the Chief Operations Officer and the Chief Financial Officer. Kleinberg’s attorneys cross-examined these witnesses in an attempt to show a company-wide effort to misrepresent its commission formula.
In an oral decision on December 13, 2019, the Court found that Landmark’s witnesses testified credibly about the details of the commission program, and ruled for Miller Barondess’ clients on all issues.
Judge Hill further found that Kleinberg’s testimony was “not supported by the evidence,” “not credible in any respect,” and “demonstrates greed over what his obligation or what his entitlement was.” When delivering her findings, Judge Hill said she found the “most persuasive arguments to be that of the defense’s closing.”
Hearing is set for February 3, 2020 to finalize the decision and the judgment.
“This was a significant win for Landmark and its officers. The company was completely and totally cleared of any wrongdoing,” said Brian Procel, Landmark’s lead trial counsel.