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
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
Fraud and misappropriation charges are always disruptive to a business, resulting in high-stakes litigation that can destroy a company before it even has its day in court. Spillane Trial Group client Restful Group Entities recently faced down such charges in multi-district, cross-country litigation that not only had the client praising the quality of their representation but also attracted the attention of the National Law Journal, which wrote about the litigation as a case study of how to handle such “bet-the-company” cases.
Legal writer Amanda Bronstad asked Jay Spillane, among other queries, to describe the complex proceedings.
“Including the two bankruptcies, there are seven actions that we’re handling,” said Spillane. read more
LOS ANGELES, September 21, 2013 – Spillane Trial Group PLC achieved an unqualified series of victories on behalf of the Restful Group Entities, and managers Barry Seidman and Steven Pearl, in a cross-country series of cases asserted by disgruntled investors. The rulings from three separate forums – a Los Angeles arbitration, Southern California bankruptcy court actions and a Fairfax County, Virginia Circuit Court proceeding – exonerated the company and its principals of all claims of fraud, mismanagement and breach of fiduciary duty. Earlier this year, Spillane Trial Group successfully set aside a writ of attachment where one of the investors had attempted to seize the Restful Entities’ assets prior to trial. read more
This month, the Spillane Trial Group was victorious on behalf of clients the Restful Groups and Barry Seidman, convincing San Diego Superior Court Judge Lorna Alksne to grant a motion to set aside an attachment against our clients obtained by Stanley Westreich and his company, Chalant.
Without notice to our clients, Westreich/Chalant applied for and obtained a writ of attachment, which permitted Westreich/Chalant to seize assets prior to trial to secure payment on an anticipated judgment. The attachment was based upon promissory notes signed by the Restful Groups and Seidman. When The Restful Groups and Seidman were served with the attachment orders, we moved to set the attachment aside, showing the following:
- that the signed notes were only temporary, demanded as a condition to contribution of money that Westreich/Seidman had already agreed to invest, and
- that the money reflected in the notes would not be due until the investments of the Restful Groups – cemeteries in Mexico – produced profits with which to repay the investment.