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William Markham’s Trials

Three Trial Wins Establishing Substantial, Non-Dischargeable Liability in Case for Commercial Fraud, Alter-Ego Liability, and Bankruptcy Dischargeability

Prevailing Party at Bifurcated Jury Trial/Bench Trial;Prevailing Party on Appeal; and Prevailing Party in Non-Dischargeability Trial in Bankruptcy Court. Mr. Markham obtained four special jury verdicts for his client after a four-day jury trial in a commercial dispute. Three of the verdicts were against an individual defendant for three kinds of commercial fraud — intentional misrepresentation, fraudulent concealment, and negligent misrepresentation — and the fourth verdict was against a corporation for breach of a commercial contract. The jury also awarded damages for emotional distress to Mr. Markham’s client, but these damages were disallowed by the court on a technical ground. In the same case, Mr. Markham also obtained a bench verdict for alter-ego liability in a bifurcated proceeding, so that the individual defendant was adjudicated personally liable for his corporation’s liability to Mr. Markham’s client. That ruling mattered greatly because it rendered the individual liable for the attorney’s fees and costs incurred and paid by his client. Before these trials, Mr. Markham obtained the dismissal of ambitious cross-claims that the defendants had made against his client. On appeal, Mr. Markham obtained complete affirmances of these trial victories on all grounds, as well as a reversal of the trial court’s dismissal of a third defendant. Mr. Markham subsequently reached a settlement with this third defendant. The lead defendant thereafter attempted to obtain a bankruptcy discharge of the judgment against him. Mr. Markham therefore litigated and tried this issue in bankruptcy court, winning this trial too after an unusually fraught, three-day bench trial. Mr. Markham thus obtained a ruling of non-dischargeability for his client from the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of California, which merged the state-court judgment into a new federal judgment, which is non-dischargeable. The final amount of this judgment is $639,877.53, which was rendered in addition to the $185,000 that Mr. Markham had already recovered for his client before the bankruptcy by partial satisfactions. In these related cases, the principal defendant’s strategy was to oppose Mr. Markham’s client so relentlessly that she would ultimately acquiesce in his commercial fraud rather than pursue the matter further. This strategy was unfortunate for everyone concerned, but for Mr. Markham’s client it was a matter of principle to establish that the defendants had defrauded her. She prevailed on all grounds from the start and clearly established that she had been a victim of calculated commercial fraud. Case Name: Collins v. Defendants’ Names Redacted (Cal. Superior Ct., S.D. Cty., Case No. GIC 880706; Fourth Appellate District of California, Docket Nos. D056865 and D057757; and United States Bankruptcy Ct., S.D. Cal. Adversary No. 14-90037).

Large Judgment in Securities Fraud Case (Prove-Up Upon Substantial Submission)

In a substantial case of securities fraud, Mr. Markham represented fifteen plaintiffs and obtained judgments on their behalf against seven defendants for a total amount of $968,928.00 after the principal defendants defaulted. These defendants vigorously opposed Mr. Markham until it became obvious that they would lose on the merits, after which they defaulted. By these judgments, which were obtained upon a substantial prove-up submission, Mr. Markham’s clients obtained the right to full recovery of all of the money that the defendants had obtained from them by their fraudulent promotion and sale of securities in violation of the California Corporations Code and various common-law doctrines. The judgments that Mr. Markham obtained constitute an unqualified victory for the firm’s clients in a very complex case of highly sophisticated securities fraud. The principal challenge in this matter was to investigate and uncover the fraud and to untangle a mystifying, confusing set of facts in order to give a clear, convincing explanation of the matter to a skeptical trial court. In the end, the trial court was fully satisfied and granted 100% of Mr. Markham’s request, issuing the above judgments in order to redress Defendants’ complicated scheme to defraud many victims over a period of several years. Mr. Markham received helpful assistance in this case from his colleague Antonio Maldonado. The clients thereafter engaged Mr. Markham to enforce these judgments. Case Name: Ngo et al. v. Nguyen et al. (LA Cty. Sup. Ct., Case No. BC418361).

Successful Bench Trial Over Disputed Commercial Lease; Sequel Litigation and Appeals

This case concerned a commercial landlord’s efforts to terminate a commercial lease and the commercial tenants’ efforts to preserve it. Mr. Markham represented the commercial tenants and prevailed on all issues in a bifurcated trial, establishing that his clients were entitled to exercise an option to renew the lease for an additional five-year term, and further establishing that they had not violated various insurance covenants set forth in the lease. The landlord took the opposing position on numerous points and argued against renewal of the option on various grounds. Case Name: Yvonne Quin, Trustee of Joseph Quin Family Trust v. Image 2000 Multimedia, Inc.; El Cajon Grand Cocktail Lounge, Inc.; et al. (SD Sup. Ct. 37-2007-0062035). Shortly after losing this case, the commercial landlord brought a sequel case to try by other means to evict Mr. Markham’s clients, but it dismissed its case after the trial court sanctioned its representative’s refusal to answer deposition questions and ordered her to answer them. In the meantime, the commercial landlord appealed its loss of the original case and prevailed in this appeal, obtaining a reversal of the judgment in favor of Mr. Markham’s clients. (Cal. Ct. App., 4th Appellate Division, Case No. D055719)On remand, the parties litigated the issue of attorney’s fees, and Mr. Markham obtained a favorable result for his clients, which the commercial landlord appealed, but this time Mr. Markham was able to prevail on appeal. (Cal. Ct. App., 4th Appellate Division, Case No. D061776).

Successful Bench Trial for a Judicial Partition

This case was for a judicial partition of a valuable residential property that proceeded to a final evidentiary hearing/trial. The trial court granted Mr. Markham’s client substantially all of the relief that she had requested, which included (1) a decree of partition and partition sale, (2) the entirety of all contested proceeds, (3) a removal of various liens at the other side’s sole expense; and (4) recovery of her attorney’s fees and costs. The property was worth approximately $900,000 at the time of the partition sale, and all of the client’s proceeds were recovered from the sale. Case Name: Tamburo v. Lipari (SF. Sup. Ct., Case No. 312202).

Trial Success: Successful Defense in a Bench Trial For Injunctive Relief

In this bench trial, Mr. Markham represented the defendants and successfully opposed the plaintiff’s request for injunctive relief. The plaintiff was a homeowners’ association represented by expert counsel who had won all of their prior cases concerning the matters in dispute. This case concerned land use issues within a homeowner’s association. Case name: Sweetwater Lakes Homeowners Association v. Kramer (Case No. GIE 029572).

Trial Success: Successful Defense In Another Bench Trial for Injunctive Relief

In this bench trial, Mr. Markham represented the defendant and successfully opposed the plaintiff’s request for injunctive relief. This case concerned an action to quiet title and a related claim for injunctive relief.  Case name: Rivet v. Dziensuwski (SD. Sup. Ct., Case No. DV 017311).

Successful Stipulated Judgment at Trial Call

In a complicated commercial dispute in which Mr. Markham represented a supplier of mailbags against a distributor, the distributor dropped its cross-claims and gave a stipulated judgment to Mr. Markham’s client on the day of the trial call. The stipulated judgment was for approximately $200,000, along with interest. Case Name: Tedcom International, Inc. v. Flamingo Industries, Inc. (Alameda Cty. Sup. Ct., 2000-074279)

William A. Markham
Rated by Super Lawyers

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William A. Markham
Rated by Super Lawyers

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AN OVERVIEW OF ANTITRUST LAW (By William Markham, © 2000)

“Antitrust law is the law of competition and is perhaps the least understood law of all. This article provides an overview and explanation of the essential principles of antitrust law.”
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“Over the years, Congress and the federal courts have established various immunities from federal antitrust law, removing from its reach specified commercial activities and even entire lines of commerce.”
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“Since the late 1970s, antitrust law in the United States has been transformed out of recognition and rendered largely toothless by consumer-welfare jurisprudence….,”
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“I try in this article simply to set forth a list of simple rules to explain the key points of the law of evidence. I also offer several pointers on organizing evidence in order to present it competently at trial.”
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ANATOMY OF A LAWSUIT (By William Markham, © 2007)

“This article is written for non-lawyers, young litigators, and non-litigator attorneys who wish to understand how a lawsuit works in practice from start to finish.”
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AN OVERVIEW OF CONTRACT LAW (By William Markham, 2002)

“Contract law lies at the heart of our system of laws and serves as the foundation of our entire society…. Our society depends upon free exchange in the marketplace at every level. Contract law makes this possible.”
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