Examples of Mr. Benice’s civil and criminal trial practice include:
Mr. Benice currently represents a private mortgage fund accused by a group of investors of engaging in a $50,000,000 Ponzi scheme. The action is pending in the Orange County Superior Court. Mr. Benice has also represented the company during an ongoing Securities and Exchange Commission investigation.
Mr. Benice represents defendants-shareholders in an alcohol beverage company in the United States District Court in Arizona in a shareholder derivative action.
Mr. Benice represents a client seeking in excess of $20,000,000 from an SEC receivership proceeding in the United States District Court, Central District of California following the demise of an Irvine, California investor fund called PemGroup. Aboubakare was a majority shareholder of PemGroup. PemGroup’s demise and the criminal indictment of Aboubakare’s former partner, Danny Pang, were chronicled in the Wall Street Journal and the American Greed Television Program.
Mr. Benice successfully represented a plaintiff in the Orange County Superior Court in an action against Bentley Motors prosecuted under the California Lemon Law. Following a one month trial, a jury awarded plaintiff in excess of $350,000 in damages. On appeal, the California Court of Appeal ordered that because of Bentley’s destruction of evidence during trial, that the plaintiff was further entitled to fraud and punitive damages. See, Doppes vs. Bentley Motors, Inc., 274 Cal.App.957 (2009).
Mr. Benice presently represents a plaintiff in a copyright infringement action against CBS and Endeavor Management pending in the United States District Court, Central District of California. The plaintiff contends CBS infringed his copyright by providing and televising a program called “Welcome to the Captain” in 2008 that was identical to a television program he had presented to Endeavor called “El Royale.”
OTHER SIGNIFICANT MATTERS
In 2008, Mr. Benice successfully defended Michael Ahmari, former president and CEO of a failed sub-prime lender Bridge Capital, from the former Chief Financial Officer’s (CFO) wrongful termination claims. The former CFO claimed damages in excess of $1,000,000 against Mr. Ahmari, as the alter-ego of Bridge Capital. After a five-day arbitration hearing with the American Arbitration Association, the Arbitrator ruled in favor of Mr. Ahmari, finding that he did not engage in any improper acts as Bridge Capital’s President, which would subject him to alter-ego liability.
In July, 2007 Mr. Benice successfully defended his client, Kenny Wong, against fraud and related claims in the Los Angeles Superior Court; Mr. Wong was accused of forging his former deceased wife’s name to real estate grant deeds and wrongfully diverting the real estate sale proceeds. The plaintiffs – the deceased wife’s heirs – sought in excess of $2,000,000 in damages. After a 6 day court trial, the court ruled in Mr. Wong’s favor finding he had committed no fraud.
In February 2006, on behalf of his client, Mr. Benice successfully settled a serious personal injury case, recovering insurance policy limits of $1,000,000 shortly before trial was scheduled to commence.
In March 2005, Mr. Benice successfully defended his client, the SunCal Companies (“SunCal”), from plaintiff’s (Connie Barthell) Breach of Settlement Agreement claim during binding arbitration before Judge James Ouderkirk. Plaintiff claimed that she was entitled to damages of $4,000,000 arising from SunCal’s alleged Breach of the Settlement Agreement. SunCal denied plaintiff’s claim. After a three-day arbitration hearing, Judge Ouderkirk ruled that SunCal had not breached the Settlement Agreement and awarded no damages to plaintiff.
In April 2004, Mr. Benice successfully negotiated a $1,795,000 net settlement, to settle his client’s malpractice claims against the client’s former counsel, after jury selection concluded in an Orange County Superior Court Action.
In November 2003, Mr. Benice successfully defended his client, defendant Nasar Aboubakare, from a plaintiffs’ fraud claim arising from a residential real estate purchase and sale transaction. In 2001, defendant sold plaintiffs a residence in North Orange County, California. Plaintiffs claimed defendant had concealed substantial sub-soil and other latent defects from plaintiffs prior to the sale. Plaintiffs sought in excess of $450,000 in repair costs; $250,000 in diminution in value damages; and punitive claims for fraud. After a nine-day jury trial, the jury returned a 12-0 defense verdict in favor of Mr. Benice’s client, the defendant.
In August 2003, Mr. Benice successfully defended his clients, the SunCal Companies, and its partners from a plaintiff general partner’s claim of fraud and breach of fiduciary duty in the Los Angeles Superior Court. The plaintiff sought in excess of $15,000,000 in damages. After a ten-day trial, the jury returned a unanimous defense verdict on a key factual issue. Plaintiff recovered no damages.
In November 2002, Mr. Benice tried this action in the Tenth Judicial District Court in Minnesota. Mr. Benice successfully defended his client QAI, Inc. from plaintiff Coleman Enterprises, Inc.’s claims against QAI, Inc. for in excess of $12,000,000 in damages. Coleman sued QAI, Inc. for fraud and related claims, contending that QAI had acted wrongfully in administering a multimillion dollar telecommunications contract between QAI and Coleman. Mr. Benice also obtained a $5,400,000 judgment on QAI, Inc.’s counterclaim against Coleman for breach of contract.
This action, tried in September 2002, in Federal District Court, Detroit, Michigan, involved a breach of contract and fraud action between telecommunications carriers, plaintiff Long Distance Consolidated Billing (LDCB), and defendants QAI, Inc., and QAI’s president, David Wiegand, and alleged related entities. Mr. Benice represented the defendants. LDCB sought in excess of $2,500,000 in general damages, for breach of contract and fraud against the defendants. LDCB sought millions of dollars in alleged punitive damages. After LDCB rested its case, Mr. Benice succeeded in persuading the District Court to dismiss LDCB’s fraud claims against the defendants. Thereafter, Mr. Benice obtained a unanimous 8-0 defense jury verdict on LDCB’s remaining claim for breach of contract.
In June 2002, Mr. Benice successfully settled a portion of a securities fraud action pending in the O.C. Superior Court, on behalf of his clients, the plaintiffs, for $2,100,000.
In March 2001, Mr. Benice obtained a defense jury verdict in an asbestos contamination case in Los Angeles Superior Court. The plaintiff sought in excess of $10,000,000 claiming he had contracted deadly mesothelioma cancer from asbestos gloves distributed by Mr. Benice’s client, defendant WWC Corporation. After a ten-day jury trial, the jury returned a unanimous defense verdict.
In 1999 and 2000, Mr. Benice successfully represented David Lee Roth of the multi-platinum rock group Van Halen. Mr. Benice recovered $1,100,000 in damages against his insurance carriers, arising from their wrongful refusal to pay for earthquake damage to his Pasadena estate.
In January of 1999, Mr. Benice represented the plaintiff in Cuba Libre Humidors, Inc. vs. Phillips & King, in Los Angeles Superior Court, a fraud and breach of contract action. After a five-day jury trial, the jury unanimously awarded general damages of $888,775 and punitive damages of $888,775, totaling $1,777,550 to the plaintiff.
In 1996, Mr. Benice successfully represented the plaintiff in Andrew Rose vs. General Dynamics [See, General Dynamics vs. Superior Court (Rose), 7 Cal.4th 1164 (1994)], in the San Bernardino Superior Court, which resulted in a million dollar plus settlement prior to closing arguments to the jury. The Rose case involved an issue of first impression in California; the right of an in-house attorney to sue his employer for wrongful termination.
Mr. Benice successfully defended a majority shareholder from a plaintiff’s fraud and breach of fiduciary duty claims arising from the operation of a real estate development firm in an adversary action in the United States Bankruptcy Court, Central District of California. The plaintiff sought $5,000,000 in damages. The Bankruptcy Court ruled in favor of Mr. Benice’s client and no damages were awarded.
Mr. Benice successfully defended a majority shareholder, the defendant, in a plaintiff’s breach of fiduciary duty and fraud action, arising from ownership of a building in Los Angeles Jewelry Mart in Los Angeles Superior Court. The plaintiff sought $10,000,000 in damages on fraud and breach of fiduciary duty claims. After a one-month trial, Defendants’ obtained a directed verdict on the fraud and breach of fiduciary duty claims, and a defense verdict on the accounting claim.
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