Business Litigation

We also assist clients throughout the greater Sacramento area region with virtually any type of business or real estate dispute. We have assisted businesses of all types and sizes, including large multinational banks and corporations, as well as smaller local businesses and business people in connection with such issues as partnership disputes, corporate litigation, shareholder derivative actions, contract disputes, commercial litigation and related transactional counseling, professional malpractice defense, collections actions, general business torts and contract litigation, trade secret disputes, probate litigation, real estate disputes, securities litigation, and loan fraud.

Whether the dispute arises due to a simple contractual disagreement or a complex dissolution or shareholder action, we understand that business litigation can be disruptive, expensive and have long-term negative consequences. Our familiarity with both the trial process and alternative methods of dispute resolution ensures that we can employ the best strategy in each case we take on. In every case we handle, we work closely with the client to develop the best possible approach to handling the matter, whether litigating in court or utilizing mediation to obtain a swift resolution crafted with the client’s goals in mind.

Representation of Policy Holders/Insurance Coverage

A substantial part of the firm's practice involves defending individuals and businesses in connection with business disputes involving insurance coverage. Oftentimes our firm is involved in representing policy holders in the defense of many different kinds of civil actions where there is potential insurance coverage and in instances where our clients might not expect (or event think) there is any coverage. However, our experience has shown that there is at least the potential for coverage in many cases and frequently enough to trigger a defense, paid for entirely by the insurance carrier, oftentimes with legal counsel that the client is free to choose.

This right to independent or "Cumis counsel" is something we understand and are quite experienced with, and we use this knowledge to help settle cases in our clients' favor. For example, one client was sued by the State of California. In fact, the client's business was ordered shut down and all of its bank accounts were frozen at the very outset of the case! However, we discovered the client had a $3M Errors and Omissions policy. These funds not only helped to pay for the client's successful defense but also resulted in a very favorable settlement, substantially paid for by the insurance carrier. In another case, we represented a client sued in a partnership dispute. We convinced his homeowner's insurance carrier to defend him in the case, saving the client tens of thousands of dollars in defense expenses.

Partnership/Corporate Disputes

The firm very frequently handles the resolution of disputes between business and property owners in all of the different forms under which people to business — partnerships, corporations, limited liability companies and sole proprietorships. Disputes of this type are often as contentious as what you might imagine in the case of a bad divorce (i.e., business partners suing each other). These disputes also involve an overlay of organizational law and ethical rules. Therefore, it is vitally important that anyone in a dispute of this type be represented by qualified, experienced and independent legal counsel. Mr. Peterson has represented board members of family corporations in farming businesses, partners in real estate and business partnerships, professional law corporations in disputes between partners, disputes involving owners' associations and their board members, and many other forms of entities and individuals in connection with resolving a wide variety of business disputes.

Professional Malpractice Defense

We have a wealth of experience representing law firms and attorneys facing claims of legal malpractice. In a recent case, we represented a large local firm in an action brought by a woman who refused to pay her legal fees after our client had successfully settled her complex probate matter. After a two week jury trial resulted in a verdict in our client's favor, we obtained a judgment dismissing the malpractice charges and recovered the fees and costs owed to our client.  

Securities Litigation and Fraud

Cases involving securities litigation, sale of improperly-registered securities, loan fraud, and other business fraud have become increasingly common. These matters are typically complex, requiring a thorough familiarity with the web of state and federal laws that may be applicable. We have handled numerous securities and fraud matters, including one case in which an elderly businessman was persuaded to sell his multimillion dollar business to an irrevocable trust that benefited a large charitable foundation. The attorney who had originally represented our client in connection with the formation of the trust failed to disclose that he was also on the board of the donee foundation. We succeeded in obtaining a judgment voiding the trust.