A Message For Our Clients

To our friends, families, and colleagues,

Here we are in the summer season in 2021 which makes it just over a year since we had to undergo such a radical shift in the way we do our business. Humans are resilient creatures, and we seem to be coming out of the Covid-19 crisis and seeing some light at the end of this tunnel. Our firm and the people in it, as I’m sure you do, have many stories to tell about this past year. Some people were stricken with Covid-19, while some had family members who were stricken, not all of whom survived. While we are happy to think about achieving a new “normalcy,” we will always remember the hundreds of thousands of people who lost their lives, and the untold numbers who suffered financial devastation.

With that in mind, our firm feels fortunate at this time. From a very shaky beginning when we, almost instantly, had to shift to a remote working environment and face a great unknown, we were able to pull through, get everything in place, and continue to provide the high quality of legal services that you have come to expect from us. We all missed not being able to see our clients and friends in person, and we missedattending the conferences and meetings with you that have always served to deepen and enhance our working relationship. While we continue to monitor travel, we are starting to do some traveling, and attend meetings and litigation activities.

We have noticed that our business calls with clients have become more personal, and whether it’s by Zoom, Teams, or Webex, our communications have a more personal touch, sometimes involving family members and even canine family members. We  all experienced the pandemic together and that shared experience seems to have had a positive effect in our communications. While the increased amount of remote work is probably a permanent result of the past year, we will continue to work inside our firm and with our amazing clients to make sure relationships are anything but remote.

While actual trials were put on hold (though our litigation teams are now preparing for such events), our work on legal opinions, litigation, and appellate work kept moving forward, and we worked with many of you to achieve some major victories.

  • In January, in the United States District Court Northern District of California, Sheryl Leichenger and Jamie Tenero were granted an MSJ on behalf of their client Zurich American Insurance Company. The Plaintiff Crown Energy Services filed a claim that the SIR clause in the policy issued by Zurich does not apply to an additional insured. Crown asked to amend the policy to remove the SIR but Zurich said denied the request. The Court granted Zurich’s MSJ finding the SIR applied to Crown and additional insureds and coverage under the Zurich policy never attached so Zurich owed nothing. This was only the second case to decide this issue.
  • Also in January, Laura Ramos & Eldon Edson secured an MSJ victory for their client Aegis Security Insurance Company in the Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles. The court granted the MSJ and denied plaintiff’s cross-motion. The court determined that the insured’s acts were not an” occurrence” in the first instance and so did not fall under the insuring agreement and also were excluded.
  • Elaine Fresch successfully defeated a proposed class action against her national prouduct manufacturer client  when the US District Court granted her client’s motion to dismiss and she and Mikhail Mdinaradze obtained a defense award  in a binding arbitration for their  artist client against a licensor of art who sued for breach of contract, tortious interference with business relationship and defamation including an award of over $316,000 in costs and sanctions.
  • Most recently, Linda Hsu had an important victory before the Nevada Supreme Court which held that an insurer that defended an insured could obtain restitution of all amounts paid if the carrier sues and has an adjudication that the duty to defend never existed. 

The state of the world had an effect on us in other ways as well. For example, usually, leading up to our annual holiday party, our firm raises money and donates to a chosen charity. This past year, since we could not get together, we committed to reach out to a food bank is each of the six cities in which we have offices and made a donation to each food bank to help with the hunger issues that have been magnified by the pandemic. In the future, even when we are back together, this is a worthy new “tradition” that we will keep at an increased level as we continue to express our gratitude for the goodness we have in our lives.

So, please let me thank you for your continued support of our firm over the past year. Lessons have been learned, lives have been changed, and certain ways of doing business will be forever modified, but our commitment to your best interests and concerns is still at the top of our list. We have learned to use and take advantage of new tools and technologies to make sure we provide you with highly strategic and focused work to advance your goals while identifying and implementing efficiencies that add value to our work product.

With best wishes for your health and the health of your families and colleagues,

Neil