$40 Million in Antitrust Litigation Under Publicly Disclosed Settlement
In 2016, Mr. Markham developed an antitrust challenge against 1-800 Contacts, which is the leading online retailer of contact lenses in the United States. Mr. Markham raised this challenge on behalf of online purchasers of contact lenses. Several other law firms brought similar cases shortly thereafter, and all of these cases were subsequently consolidated into one case, in which Mr. Markham collaborated with other leading antitrust firms. According to this antitrust challenge, 1-800 Contacts and several other online retailers agreed to restrict their respective internet advertisements for contact lenses and to withhold commercially important information from prospective customers. In this case, the purchasers obtained valuable settlements with the different defendants, obtaining a total recovery of $40 million.
Original Case (brought by Mr. Markham): Stillings v. 1-800 Contacts, N.D. Cal., 2016, Case No. 3:16-cv-5400; Consolidated Cases: Thompson v. 1-800 Contacts, Inc., D. Utah, 2016, Case No. 2:16-cv-01257-TS.
$10.4 Million Settlement in Complex Real Estate Dispute
In a confidential settlement agreement, Mr. Markham recovered approximately $10.4 million for a trust whose trustees had made complex, improper transfers of substantial real estate interests from the trust to a partnership. This case depended upon complex issues of land valuation and fiduciary responsibility.
$4.4 Million Settlement in Complex Eminent Domain Litigation
In a complex eminent domain proceeding, Mr. Markham represented a large polypropylene factory located in Alameda County. The Oakland Unified School District condemned the property and made an initial offer of approximately $2.8 million. After a substantial litigation, the condemnor agreed to pay approximately $4.4 million for its taking. Case name: Oakland Unified School District v. Cheng (Alameda Cty. Sup. Ct., Case No. 2002-051449).
$3.1 Million Settlement in Cutting-Edge Eminent Domain Litigation
In a complex, novel eminent domain proceeding, which received first-page coverage in The New York Times, Mr. Markham represented the owner of commercial property that the government agency chose to condemn and take so that it could transfer ownership to a private developer. This case was brought after the US Supreme Court ruled in the Kelo case that such takings were permissible upon a proper showing. The condemnor’s original offer was approximately $1.6 million, but under the final settlement agreement the condemnor’s transferee agreed to pay at least $2.6 million in cash or pay $1.9 million and provide assets worth another $1.2 million for a total of $3.1 million in value. Case Name: Redevelopment Agency of the City of Santa Cruz v. Lau et al. (Sup. Ct. of Cal., Santa Cruz Cty. 2005, Case No. cv-151983).
$2.2 Million Settlement of an Insurer’s Bad-Faith Denial of Insurance Obligations
On behalf of an insured – a prominent sales executive of a Fortune 500 company – Mr. Markham brought suit in federal court against a disability insurer for refusing in bad faith to honor a disability insurance contract. The insurer’s original offer was to pay nothing and waive costs. The final settlement was for approximately $2.2 million. This case was litigated in federal court under the ERISA statutes.
Real Property Settlement in Novel Post-Condemnation Dispute
In a sequel lawsuit to the Lau condemnation, Mr. Markham brought suit on behalf of Mr. Lau after the condemnor’s transferee defaulted on its payment obligations to Mr. Lau (the condemnee), whom Mr. Markham continued to represent. Mr. Markham sued the condemnor as well as its transferee and related parties, alleging that the original taking was unlawful because it was not done for a necessary public purpose or for the reasons set forth in the resolution of necessity, and alleging further that the transferee’s recorded security (given in exchange for the taking) should be treated as an “equitable mortgage” so as to protect the condemnee from foreclosure by the transferee’s construction lender. In a confidential settlement, whose terms were subequently publicly disclosed by the press, Mr. Markham’s client, Mr. Lau, recovered $530,000 in addition to his part of the original recovery, which was $1.7 million, so that Mr. Lau’s overall share of the total recovery was $2.23 million, and the Lau parties’ total recovery was $2,455,000, as opposed to the condemnor’s original offer of $1.6 million. The case raised a series of novel challenges concerning the interplay between a public condemnor, a defaulting private transferee, and the transferee’s lender. Case name: Lau v. Cirillo et al (N.D. Cal. 2013, Case No. 5:13-cv-03946-LHK).
Antitrust Settlement: Challenged Group Boycott
Mr. Markham obtained a highly favorable, confidential settlement for a re-seller of business equipment who challenged certain distribution restrictions imposed by the predominant manufacturers of this equipment. The case arose when the manufacturers stopped selling their equipment to the re-seller because it had tried to make sales in violation of their restrictive distribution policies. By the settlement, they resumed making sales to the re-seller, made exceptions to their challenged policies, and paid a substantial sum.
Antitrust Settlement: Unlawful Exclusive Dealer Arrangement
Mr. Markham obtained another highly favorable, confidential settlement on behalf of a prominent, publicly traded California retail chain that sued a direct competitor, alleging that the competitor had prevailed on two major suppliers to refuse to make further sales it, and also alleging that the competitor had engaged in actionable false advertising.
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