Category Archives: Firm News


Spillane Trial Group has obtained a defense jury verdict for Dr. Li Sheng Kong and his medical corporation, LSK Enterprises, Inc., against cross-complaints for breach of fiduciary duty in connection with West Coast Vascular, a vascular surgery practice in the Ventura-Santa Barbara community.

Two of the WCV partners accused the senior partner of performing surgeries not indicated by the patient’s condition, a violation of the False Claims Act.  Dr. Kong initially voted to expel the accused partner from the practice.  Then, feeling he had been unduly pressured, and suspicious of partisan motivations for, and the medical methodology underlying, the accusation, he rescinded his vote to expel the partner.  read more

Spillane Trial Group Wins $12 Million Jury Verdict

Spillane Trial Group was asked to substitute into a case in Ventura County Superior Court for Plan B Management, Inc. against Diversified Panel Systems (“DPS”), six weeks before trial.  Plan B claimed breach of contract and fiduciary duties arising from an oral joint venture to sell cold storage panels to customers for use in indoor grow rooms.  DPS was represented by Quinn Emanuel.

We defeated two motions for issue and evidence sanctions and every motion in limine but one.  On Friday July 28, 2023 the jury rendered a verdict in favor of Plan B for $12 million.

The jury found that Plan B and DPS had entered into an oral agreement to become 50/50 partners in Canna Panels, LLC. read more

Zoomigation: Processing Civil Disputes in a Lockdown World

Resolving civil disputes in court used to involve a regular series of trips to tall office buildings and courthouses where we all sat close and breathed on one another to take depositions, mediate disputes, appear at hearings and try cases.  Now that we are kicked out of the buildings, must the dispute resolution process grind to a halt?  No, while the “jury is out” on the the conduct of jury trials, much of what we do other than jury trials can be Zoom-ized. 

Here is my report card on resolving civil disputes from one’s living room: “Zoomigation.”

Mediations: A.  In nearly all civil business disputes parties are ordered to attend mediation, a half-day or day devoted to settlement.  read more


On May 15, 2019 the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a Bankruptcy Appellate Panel decision affirming a Judgment obtained by Spillane Law Group for California Farms Investors, LLC for securities fraud.

Jay Spillane tried the underlying action, California Farms Investors, LLC v. James Roberts, in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California.  The defendant promoted an organic lettuce venture through false and misleading statements and without disclosing that the venture was not growing its own lettuce.  California Farms Investors invested $825,000 in the form of secured notes.  The venture purchased lettuce from vendors with rights under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (“PACA”), including the right to hold insiders of entities purchasing agricultural product personally liable for the purchases.  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 Trial 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 Wins Retrial in Royalty Action for Estate of Late Sly Stone Manager

Spillane Trial Group won a July 25, 2016 Court of Appeal opinion in favor of the estate of the late Ken Roberts, former manager for Sly Stone.  The appellate court ordered retrial of Roberts’ breach of contract action against BMI for paying royalties assigned to Roberts to the wrong party.

Ken Roberts organized tours for Sly and the Family Stone from 1970 to 1973.  Roberts advanced considerable money to Sly.  Sly asked Roberts to return as his manager in 1976.  To repay Roberts for the money advanced, Sly executed a 1976 assignment of his performance royalties, administered by BMI, to Roberts.  read more

Spillane Trial Group Obtains Securities Fraud Win for Investment Group

We have handled a number of matters for clients of prominent entertainment lawyer Michael Barnes, named Variety Dealmaker of the Year in 2010 in connection with the Miramax acquisition.  This year, Barnes and an investment group he lead became clients of the firm.  Merely two weeks before trial, we were asked to step in to try a securities fraud action against James Roberts, promoter of a produce venture in which Barnes’ group were the major investors.  The case was tried as an adversary proceeding for non-dischargeability in Roberts’ bankruptcy case.
At trial, we presented compelling evidence that Mr. Roberts was desperate to earn management fees funded by our client’s investments, and that he was willing to procure those investments through lies, concealments and wildly unfounded financial projections.  read more

New Issues Surrounding Arbitration Clauses: What Every Lawyer Should Know

ProVisors’ Orange County Legal Affinity Group participated in an April 2 lunchtime presentation “New Issues Surrounding Arbitration Clauses: What Every Lawyer Should Know,” delivered by Jay Spillane. Many arbitration clauses currently in use have not been updated for years, Spillane explained. Any lawyers using such clauses in their own or clients’ contracts should take another look at “old-school” clauses similar to this: “Any disputes arising under or related to this agreement will be resolved by binding arbitration before the American Arbitration Association.” Instead, Spillane urged, lawyers should consider a host of other matters that have been litigated since that now outdated language first came into use. read more