Neil Sunkin is a former Litigation Partner of the national law firm of Arter & Hadden, LLP and a former Counsel of First Interstate Bank of California. Neil was Chair of the Business Litigation section of the California Offices of Arter & Hadden. He formed Law Offices of Neil M. Sunkin in 2003, after practicing in large law firms and corporate law departments for more than 20 years. Neil has been practicing law and focused on civil litigation since 1985. Originally from New York City, Neil, practiced law in Dallas, Texas before moving to Los Angeles in 1991. He offers clients the experience and skill of a big firm litigator at a more manageable cost.Neil is rated “AV” by Martindale-Hubbell. The “AV-Preeminent” rating is the pinnacle of professional excellence earned through a strenuous peer review rating process that is managed and monitored by the world’s most trusted resource, Martindale-Hubbell. This rating is the highest possible rating in both legal ability and ethical standards, shared by approximately 3% of America’s lawyers.
Neil has represented clients in a variety of industries involving a wide range of legal problems and issues. Some of Neil’s cases and outstanding results include:
- Obtained a $5,800,000 Judgment in a three-week jury trial for the plaintiff, a hair stylist and former recording artist, in a case involving sex discrimination, sexual harassment, stalking, defamation, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
- Successfully defended client in a trial alleging that a former recording artist breached a recording contract, trespassed onto the recording company’s premises, destroyed personal property at the record company, and intentionally inflicted emotional distress on an employee of the company.
- Represented former Cleveland Browns football star Jim Brown in lawsuit to recover his stolen NFL Championship Ring.
- Successfully defended several celebrity poker players alleged to be owners of an on-line poker company in a lawsuit brought by a software development company alleging in excess of $36,000,000 of damages for anti-trust and RICO claims.
- Represents several celebrity poker players in the defense of a class action lawsuit in federal court seeking $900,000,000 in damages and restitution based on numerous claims arising out of alleged ownership of an on-line poker company that had been closed by the Department of Justice.
- Representation of the FDIC regarding D&O and professional liability claims concerning losses of tens of millions of dollars arising out of a failed bank.
- Represented a major motion picture studio in litigating in federal court the studio’s claim of ownership to James Dean’s Right to Publicity and to disgorge the profits earned by the heirs of James Dean from their exploitation of his Right of Publicity.
- Obtained a $500,000 settlement representing the principals of one of the largest motion picture studios in Italy in the enforcement of a judgment that had been obtained nearly 10 years earlier in Italy arising out of a fire on the set of the film Man on Fire.
- Represented the world’s second largest food production company in defense of a $40 million damage claim in federal court involving the exportation of beef to Korea and claims of breach of contract, fraud, interference with contract and Lanham Act violations.
- Following a two-week trial, obtained a $600,000 recovery in quantum meruit for the bankruptcy estate of a personal injury attorney who resigned from the Bar with disbarment proceedings pending against him. The fees, which were assets of the bankruptcy estate, derived from a lawsuit that the former attorney had settled on behalf of approximately 200 plaintiffs in an action that arose from a train wreck that had spilled toxic chemicals onto the property of hundreds of homes in San Bernardino. The recovery of attorneys fees was complicated by the fact that the judge who had ‘tried’ the underlying lawsuit believed that the former attorney had committed legal malpractice and was reluctant to allow any fees at all out of the $2,000,000 for which the underlying lawsuit had settled.
- Obtained a $500,000 settlement on behalf of a sales representative in a lawsuit alleging that an Asian manufacturer of liquid crystal displays breached a “profit share” clause in the Sales Representation Agreement by refusing to the pay profits earned by the company on the sales of OEM product to Motorola and other cell phone manufacturers. Before the lawsuit was filed the sales representative had offered to accept $60,000 to settle the dispute.
- Represented a private national university in defending a lawsuit brought by one of the world’s largest private education content providers regarding an on-line master’s degree program sold to the university alleging damages of in excess of $3,000,000. The lawsuit involved claims and counter-claims for breach of contract, interference with contract, claims for disparagement under the Lanham Act, trade libel, copyright infringement, and misappropriation of trade secrets.
- Obtained a favorable settlement of a lawsuit for the client, a shareholder, board member, and former officer of a corporation that owned and operated a beauty school. The corporation breached an oral sales agreement to sell the school to client, froze-out the client from participation in the Board of Directors and terminated her employment as the corporation’s Secretary. The lawsuit was complicated by the fact that the purchaser’s husband, an attorney who represented both parties to the sales transaction, was sued for legal malpractice in a counter-claim in the lawsuit, and we defended that claim as well.
- Defended an NASD listed environmental inspection company in a lawsuit alleging claims arising out of the purchase and sale of a competitor’s business.
- Defended the President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of a publicly held company in a shareholder’s derivative lawsuit alleging claims for stock dilution arising out of a reverse merger.
- Defended a multi-million-dollar lender liability claim alleging fraud, breach of fiduciary duty and negligence against a major national bank and the former Chairman of the Board of one of its acquired banks.
- Obtained dismissal of RICO claim in a $1,650,000 securities fraud case based on the sale of investments interests in oil wells in Australia.
- Obtained on behalf of a major national bank non-suit in the trial of a lawsuit involving recreational vehicle financing.
- Obtained favorable results in defense of national bank and independent bank in numerous cases based on forged, altered, and counterfeited checks and missing indorsements on multi-party checks.
- Obtained substantial recoveries for individuals for claims against national banks in cases based on forged, altered, and counterfeit checks and missing indorsements on multi-party checks.
- Represented a major national bank in wrongful foreclosure and slander of title cases.
- Obtained recoveries for clients who invested in Auction Rate Securities after the “auctions” for such securities had failed.
- Obtained a favorable settlement on behalf of a Canadian airline company in a dispute arising out of its purchase of an airplane.
- Obtained recovery for a stock broker alleging pregnancy discrimination and disability claims in a two week NASD arbitration.
- Represented a factoring company in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in a case seeking disgorgement under the Perishable Agricultural and Commodities Act.
- Representing a large national law firm, obtained dismissal of lawsuit by an expert witness who was seeking the payment of expert witness fees due to him after the law firm’s client’s insurance carrier was placed into receivership.
- Defended at trial a major international software developer in an action brought by a former sales representative.
- Obtained preliminary injunction on behalf of a major software developer against a former senior employee and his new employer for misappropriation of trade secrets and breach of a non-compete agreement.
- Obtained summary judgment on behalf of a life insurance agent dismissing a $1,000,000 damage claim based on alleged misrepresentations made by the life insurance agent, and just after the agent had been indicted for insurance fraud.
- Successful defense of a real estate agent accused of breaching his fiduciary duty by representing multiple parties in the bulk purchase of $12,000,000 of REO properties.
- Represented a dual real estate agent accused of breaching fiduciary duty, fraud, negligence and breach of contract in the sale/leaseback of a multi-million-dollar industrial property.
- Represented a grading contractor in a dispute arising out of a public works project for the construction of a school.
- Obtained dismissal of defamation claims against a medical group brought by a physician, former member of the group.
Neil has authored:
- “Civil Law Update: Recent California Supreme Court Decisions”, Valley Lawyer, September 2015
- “Federal Court Decision Eases Factoring of Perishable Goods,” American Cash Flow Journal, Vol. 10, Issue 10 (November, 2002).
- “A Trial Lawyer’s Perspective on Litigating D & O Claims” (2012)
- “Banks and Thrifts: Government Enforcement and Receivership Law” (Matthew Bender 1991) (Contributing Author)
Neil has presented and taught:
- “A Trial Lawyer’s Perspective on Litigating D & O Claims” in February, 2012, in Dallas, Texas.
- “Taking Depositions” as part of a Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB) program in 2002.
Neil was selected to serve as a settlement officer for the Los Angeles Superior Court.
Neil’s leadership roles with associations include:
San Fernando Valley Bar Association:
- Co-Chair Business and Real Estate Law Section
Dallas Association of Young Lawyers:
- Chairman, Grants Committee, 1987–1988;
- Chairman, Scared Straight Project, 1988;
- Vice-Chairman, Continuing Legal Education Committee, 1989;
- Chairman, Aid To Homeless Committee, 1990
The New West Symphony Association:
- Former Member, Board of Directors;
- Former Chairman, Finance Committee;
- Former member, Executive Board and;
- Former member, Personnel Committee
- Brandeis University, B.A., cum laude, with honors in English/American Literature, 1981
- Emory University School of Law, J.D., 1985
- Boulder Fruit Express, et al. v. Transportation Factoring, Inc., 251 F.3d 1268 (9th Cir. 2001), cert. den’d 534 U.S. 1133 (2002)
- F.D.I.C. v. Selaiden Builders, Inc., 973 F.2d 1249 (5th Cir. 1992), cert. den’d 507 U.S. 1051 (1993)
- Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. v. Claycomb, 945 F.2d 853 (5th Cir. 1991), cert. den’d. 504 U.S. 955 (1992)
- 1985, Texas
- 1991, California
- U.S. Court of Appeals, 5th and 9th Circuits
- U.S. District Court, Central, Eastern and Southern Districts of California
- U.S. District Court, Central, Eastern and Southern Districts of Texas
- State Bar of California
- Los Angeles County Bar Association
- San Fernando Valley Bar Association
- State Bar of Texas
New York, N.Y.