Jury De-Selection

Trial attorneys have at most four opportunities to speak to a jury: 1) a brief opening statement prior to jury selection (state only and on request); 2) jury selection, or “voir dire” (“to see one say”); 3) opening statement; and 4) closing argument.  The first two are before the jury is selected, and only in the second, jury selection, is one permitted to ask potential jurors questions and hear their answers.  This golden opportunity should not be squandered through ill preparation.

In federal civil practice the judge retains tight control over voir dire and need not allow attorneys to ask questions.  read more

Spillane and Co-Counsel Win 11-1 Defense Verdict in $14 Million Elder Abuse Case

Jay Spillane, representing Intervenor Plaintiff Tommie Howard, together with Robert Levinson and Helen Kim Colindres, representing Defendant Meighan Howard, won a defense verdict on an 11-1 vote after a five-week elder abuse jury trial.

Dr. John Howard, represented by Keller Anderle, sued Meighan Howard, his daughter, claiming that a 2012 amended estate plan, which disinherited Meighan Howard’s brother and made valuable irrevocable gifts to Meighan, was procured through elder abuse, breach of fiduciary duty and constructive fraud.  Dr. Howard pointed to evidence that Meighan Howard primarily communicated with estate counsel, exerted a high degree of management over her parents’ affairs and was the beneficiary of highly valuable gifts.  read more

Spillane Wins $3 Million Arbitration Award for Investment Bankers

Spillane Law Group represented Claimants Kenneth Kilroy, Ross Kilroy and M&A Securities Group, Inc. in an arbitration against Respondent Adrienne Smith Worley, JAMS No. 1210033774, concerning an unpaid $3 million investment banking fee from the purchase and sale of Ms. Smith Worley’s shares in Young’s Market.  On August 28, 2018 the Arbitrator rendered a Final Award in favor of Spillane’s clients for the full sum requested.

Ms. Smith Worley was the heir, through her mother Janet Smith, of significant shares in Young’s Market, a venerable closely held company currently focused on distribution of spirits.  Upon her mother’s passing there was an appraisal of Ms. read more

Spillane Law Group Wins Affirmance of Securities Fraud Judgment by 9th Cir. BAP (California Farms v. Roberts)

On September 10, 2015 I informed you that the firm won a securities fraud judgment from Bankruptcy Judge Maureen Tighe.  We showed that the defendants induced our client to invest in an organic produce venture through false and reckless statements that the defendants were growing their own produce while suppressing information that they were merely buying produce from third party growers.  These growers all had powers under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (“PACA”) to hold insiders personally liable for unpaid debts for sale of perishable produce.

Our clients’ investment took the form of loans secured by the venture’s assets.  The defendants named our client a manager of the venture.  read more

Spillane Trial Group Rebrands, Expands to Offer Corporate Legal Services

My entire career has been devoted to trying business cases.  My firm has been devoted exclusively to business trials.  I’ve tried many cases, some before juries, in all court systems and across the country.

Through these cases I’ve seen just about every way a business can find trouble.  People build an enterprise without getting core expectations and agreements in writing.  The contract omits an important clause.  The business does not adequately protect its intellectual property.   Investments are solicited without proper disclosures.  The business principals are all friends and partners — until they’re not — then everyone “lawyers up.”  The family enjoys their wealth while the patriarch lives, then when he passes the heirs draw knives. read more