McLeod Witham

Our Team

Our
Team
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Jane H. Fredgant
Of Counsel
O: (213) 627-3600
F: (213) 627-6290

Education:

UCLA School of Law, 1984, J.D.
University of California Davis, Graduate Studies in English Literature
Loyola Marymount University, 1979, B.A., magna cum laude, English Literature and Psychology

Admission:

California

Biography:

Jane Fredgant is Of Counsel to the firm, practicing general business litigation. Jane has valuable experience in a variety of substantive areas deriving from both her in-house work with the Texaco Legal Department and her private practice.

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Perry R. Fredgant
Of Counsel
O: (213) 627-3600
F: (213) 627-6290

Information coming soon

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Jennifer Grock
Senior Counsel
O: (213) 627-3600
F: (213) 627-6290

Education:

UCLA School of Law, 2006, J.D., Moot Court Honors Program and Vice President, Writing Advisor (Lawyering Skills Class)

University of California, Berkeley, 2003, B.A., Highest Distinction from College of Letters and Sciences, Highest Departmental Honors, Phi Beta Kappa

Honors:

Selected to the 2016 Southern California Rising Stars list

Biography:

Jennifer Grock is an employment attorney with substantial experience representing employers in wage and hour class actions and single plaintiff discrimination, harassment, and wrongful termination claims. She also provides advice and counsel to clients regarding leaves of absence, terminations, reductions in force, the WARN Act, wage and hour issues, and other employment matters. Ms. Grock drafts and updates employment resources including employee handbooks, arbitration agreements, policies, and new hire materials.

Notable Representations:

Wage and Hour Class Action. Obtained denial of motion for class certification on behalf of furniture manufacturer.

Discrimination and Harassment Lawsuit. Obtained dismissal of harassment claims against individual defendants in discrimination lawsuit.

Wage Lawsuit. Obtained dismissal of employee commission-based wage claims brought against healthcare company.

Whistleblower and Retaliation Claims. Obtained favorable settlement on behalf of catering company in multi-plaintiff lawsuit with claims of retaliation and whistleblowing.

Accessibility Matters. Obtained favorable settlements on behalf of hotel chain and restaurant franchisees for alleged disability accessibility violations.

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David S. McLeod
Partner
O: (213) 627-6286
F: (213) 627-6290

Education:

University of San Francisco School of Law, 1975, J.D., cum laude, Assistant Editor of Law Review
University of Southern California, 1972, A.B., magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa

Prior Associations:

Dewey Ballantine LLP, 1986-2007
Lillick McHose & Charles, 1975-1986

Profession Activities:

Served on several boards and routinely provides advice and counseling to company boards.
Panelist at various industry seminars and continuing education programs.

Admission:

California
All U.S. District Courts in California
Ninth Circuit
U.S. Supreme Court

Biography:

David McLeod is a business trial lawyer with extensive experience in state and federal courts, as well as in arbitrations and other forms of alternative dispute resolution. He has been recognized as a top lawyer by Super Lawyers and is AV Peer Review rated by Martindale-Hubbell.

His diverse group of clients have included Texaco, Mobil, Global Marine, the Semiconductor Industry Association, The Walt Disney Company, the Directors Guild of America and Downey Regional Medical Center. On behalf of his clients, Mr. McLeod has personally handled cases not only throughout California, but also Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico and Alaska. He has supervised litigation in many other jurisdictions, including New York, Delaware and the United Kingdom. While at Dewey Ballantine LLP his management responsibilities included Co-Managing Partner of the Los Angeles office, Chair of the Los Angeles Litigation Department and a member of the National Litigation Department Coordinating Committee.

Notable Representations:

Health Care/Medical Institutions. Represented a regional medical center and its parent and subsidiary entities, senior officers and individual directors in a wide variety of litigation and government proceedings. For example, tried seven cases to verdict over two years that involved contractual interpretation, accounting and enforcement of various rights and duties. In another case, obtained a summary judgment for the corporate entity, officers and directors, while defending allegations that they breached the charitable trust in allegedly mismanaging and misappropriating assets. The case involved complex issues of corporate governance and business judgment involving a not-for-profit entity. Locally, the case received significant print media and political attention.

Government Investigations (Criminal, Civil and Administrative). Represented several companies and individual management employees defending government investigations ranging from unannounced “raids” pursuant to search warrant to self-reported matters. Our experience includes civil and criminal on both the state and federal levels. The results have been uniformly excellent.

Entertainment Industry. Represented the Walt Disney Company and certain production companies and have handled litigations ranging from intellectual property to wrongful death to shareholder actions. Also represented both the Directors Guild of America and the Writers Guild of America.

Taft-Hartley Trust Funds. Represented several large trusts and boards of trustees in Federal District Court litigation with third parties, conducting investigations and providing advice. The assignments have included breach of contract, professional liability, fiduciary liability and prohibited transaction issues.

Water Rights. Represented an institutional owner of water rights as the plaintiff in state court litigation over the nature and extent of its acquisition of water rights in a local basin.

Agriculture. Represented a Central Coast ranch owner in a breach of contract arbitration with a lessee that involved issues of hydrocarbon contamination to soil, availability of water and physical damages to grazing pasture, structures and appurtenances.

Semiconductor Industry. Provided advice to numerous companies on litigation related matters.

Texaco Inc. - Handled hundreds of litigations of all types for various Texaco entities such as complex commercial disputes; antitrust; price fixing; unfair competition; environmental; employment; land subsidence due to oil field production; product liability and personal injury claims ranging from minor slip and falls to catastrophic injuries. These matters were often arbitrated and occasionally tried.

Texaco Wilmington Refinery Litigations (Long Beach Branch of the Los Angeles County Superior Court). Represented Texaco in three separate litigations arising from three separate explosions and fires at the Wilmington refinery. The most significant of these occurred in the hydrocracker unit. In excess of 140 separate complaints were filed naming approximately 14,000 plaintiffs. Allegations ranged from the usual exposure claims to psychiatric and orthopedic injuries. We defeated efforts to enjoin the operation of the refinery. We also defeated class certification efforts. Over 5,000 claims were dismissed without any payment by our client. Medical liens that originally exceeded $10 million were settled for cents on the dollar. We dealt with very substantial issues of case management, underlying liability facts and alleged damages. We brought order to a nearly unmanageable set of circumstances and disposed of the matter with virtually no imposition on refinery personnel or operations.

We also defeated injunctive and class certification efforts in the latter two cases arising from an explosion and fire in the hydrotreater and a fire in the alkylation unit. These latter two cases also involved substantial issues of case management, liability and damages. The hydrotreater case was originally brought on behalf of approximately 27,500 named plaintiffs. Approximately 80% were dismissed without any settlement payments for failure to comply with ordered case management. The remaining claims were settled for nominal sums. The alkylation unit case was dismissed without any settlement payments as the nearly 1,000 plaintiffs could not comply with the ordered case management. Again, there was essentially no imposition on refinery personnel or operations.

Mobil Oil Corporation - Walcher vs. Mobil (C.D. Cal.). Defeated class certification in an action against Mobil arising from alleged acute and chronic exposure at the local Torrance refinery. Plaintiffs later dismissed their action with no settlement payment by Mobil. We also represented Mobil in Louisiana state court in connection with two mass tort actions involving a hydrocracker explosion and allegations of chronic exposure from Mobil's Chalmette refinery. We were substituted into these cases 90 days prior to trial, although they were approximately six years old. In one of the cases, Ford vs. Mobil, et al., a class had already been certified. We obtained certiori from the Louisiana Supreme Court and convinced it to de-certify the class and dismiss the action in a landmark opinion -- the first class action opinion favorable to the industry in over 30 years. Ford vs. Murphy Oil, Mobil, et al., 703 So.2d 542 (1997). Lailhengue vs. Mobil was settled during trial for a fraction of the demand prior to our involvement.

Global Marine Inc., (C.D. Cal.). Our client owned and operated a heavy weather semi-submersible oil drilling vessel working in the North Sea off the coast of Scotland. During a well test, a contractor caused an explosion on the vessel. The vessel was damaged necessitating approximately six months of repairs and there were several deaths. We recovered Global's lost revenue and repair damages, as well as defended the wrongful death actions. Additionally, we defended governmental investigations by the NTSB, Coast Guard and U. K. Department of Energy in Aberdeen, Scotland. We also supervised contractual indemnity litigation in London. The cases involved issues of oil drilling and testing, negligence, product liability, contractual indemnity, choice of law, jurisdiction and recoverable damages under the laws of the United States (in admiralty), England and Scotland.

Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. We obtained a verdict in Federal District Court in Alaska declaring unconstitutional a state oil pollution clean-up scheme which sought to impose substantial monetary charges on certain entities involved in the handling and transportation of crude oil from the North Slope.

A shopping center in a heavily populated area of Los Angeles ignited in fire due to migrating methane gas. Approximately, 30 lawsuits were filed for property damages, lost revenue and personal injury. We defended an oil company whose predecessor entities allegedly had at one time exploration, production and storage operations on the underlying property. Issues concerned governmental immunities, adjudications regarding underground water rights, geology, successor liability, and whether our settlement with plaintiffs was in good faith.

Commercial Cold Storage Facility Litigation, (Santa Barbara Superior Court). Our client owned and was lessor of a large food processing and storage facility. The two tenants filed suit alleging the plant did not have the processing and storage capabilities it was represented to possess. We defended the claims for breach of contract, fraud, construction defects, etc. We also prosecuted cross-complaints to recover rent owed. We obtained a recovery on the cross-complaint with one tenant and renegotiated the lease with the other tenant.

"Oil Company" v. "Doe" Materials Supplier, (Los Angeles Superior Court). We prosecuted a claim by an oil company seeking a recovery for lost revenue and property damage caused by defective equipment sold by the defendants which led to an explosion, fire and refinery shut down. The issues involved oil refining, metallurgy, negligence, product liability, fraud and recoverable damages. The case was settled just prior to trial with our client receiving a significant recovery.

Johnson v. Reserve Life Insurance Company, et al., (C.D. Cal.). We represented Reserve Life Insurance Company and its successor Midland National Life Insurance Company in this ERISA dispute, eventually obtaining summary judgment on all grounds. The plaintiff, who was rendered a quadriplegic in an accident during the term of the group insurance policy, sued for continuation benefits under California and federal law, after her employer later canceled the group policy. Initially, plaintiff contested application of ERISA, but we prevailed on a motion for summary adjudication that the group plan was covered by ERISA. See Johnson v. Reserve Life Ins. Co., 761 F. Supp 93 (C.D. Cal. 1991). Thereafter, we prevailed on a summary judgment motion in which the court held that: (1) California law was not applicable because the master group policy was issued and delivered in Alabama; and (2) plaintiff was not entitled to COBRA continuation benefits under ERISA because her employer, although a participant in a multiple employer trust, was deemed a single employer and thus fell within the small employer exemption. See Johnson v. Reserve Life Ins. Co., 765 Supp. 1478 (C.D. Cal. 1991). Ultimately, plaintiff dismissed her appeal without filing a brief.

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Daniel J. Turner
Partner
O: (213) 627-6291
F: (213) 627-6291
Email:

Education:

University of Michigan Law School, 1999, J.D.
University of California Los Angeles, 1996, B.A., Political Science, Summa Cum Laude

Prior Associations:

Van Vleck Turner & Zaller LLP, 2007-2016
Carlton DiSante & Freudenberger LLP, 2003-2007
McDermott, Will & Emery LLP, 2001-2003
Dewey Ballantine LLP, 1999-2001

Biography:

Daniel Turner has substantial experience in all aspects of employment law, including defense of wrongful termination, discrimination, retaliation, harassment and wage and hour claims. He has significant experience litigating wage and hour class actions in the healthcare, telecommunications and restaurant industries.

In addition to his litigation practice, Mr. Turner routinely provides advice and counsel to management on a wide variety of employment topics including disability, medical leave and accommodation issues. In addition, Mr. Turner provides advice and counsel on a number of wage and hour issues including compensation and benefits issues.

Mr. Turner has also represented clients in state and federal court and before administrative agencies, including the California Labor Commissioner, the Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board and the Department of Fair Employment and Housing.

Notable Representations:

Disability Discrimination. Obtained summary judgment in favor of a major retail chain in a matter that involved claims of disability discrimination, failure to accommodate and failure to engage in the interactive process.

Breach of Contract. Defended healthcare provider in a matter filed by former Chief Executive Officer for unpaid wages and promissory notes. Defeated attempt by C.E.O. to obtain a writ of attachment shortly after case was initiated.

Failure to Accommodate and Harassment. Obtained summary judgment in favor of national healthcare provider in a matter that involved claims of failure to accommodate, disability discrimination and disability harassment.

Retaliation and Wrongful Termination. Obtained summary judgment in favor of large non-profit corporation in matter that alleged the company retaliated against a former employee for participating as a witness in prior litigation against the company.

Wage and Hour. Obtained denial of class certification on behalf of national restaurant chain in a matter involving meal and rest break and related claims.

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Jeffrey R. Witham
Partner
O: (213) 627-6287
F: (213) 627-6290

Education:

University of California, Berkeley, 1984, J.D., Law Review
California State University at Los Angeles, 1981, B.A., High Honors, Phi Kappa Phi

Prior Associations:

Dewey Ballantine LLP, 1986-2008
Lillick McHose & Charles, 1984-1986

Profession Activities:

American Bar Association, State Bar of California, and Los Angeles County Bar Association
Antitrust and Litigation Sections

Biography:

Jeffrey Witham has substantial experience in complex business litigation, including antitrust and trade regulation, class actions, contracts, corporate governance, mergers and acquisitions, professional liability, securities, trade secrets and unfair competition cases. He has handled trials and appeals in state and federal courts, has conducted numerous private arbitrations and has represented clients in state and federal administrative proceedings.

Mr. Witham started his career as an associate with Lillick McHose & Charles in 1984. He joined Dewey Ballantine LLP in 1986, as an associate and then partner in the Los Angeles office. He founded the Firm with David McLeod in 2008 and serves as its Managing Partner. He is AV Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell.

Notable Representations:

Shaffer v. Shire LLC. U.S. District Court, Central District of California. Defense of putative class action alleging state antitrust and unfair competition claims. Motion to dismiss the complaint granted.

King et al. v. Hospital Association of Southern California, et al., Los Angeles Superior Court. Defense of class action alleging state antitrust claims.

Thales Avionics Corp. v. Matsushita Avionics Systems Corp. et al., U.S. District Court, Central District of California. Defense of Section 2 monopolization claim. Obtained summary judgment in favor of client.

FG Hemisphere Associates, L.L.C. v. Democratic Republic of Congo, U.S. District Court, Central District of California. Represented oil company in action to enforce foreign arbitration award through attachment proceedings.

In re Compensation of Managerial, Professional & Technical Employees Antitrust Litigation, U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey. Defense of coordinated class actions alleging wage and benefit fixing. Defeated class certification.

Clarey et al. v. Russey et al., U.S. District Court, Central District of California. Defense of officers and directors against federal and state securities, breach of fiduciary duty and fraud claims. Case settled on favorable terms.

Epeius Biotechnologies Inc. v. Genetic Therapies Inc., Los Angeles Superior Court. Defense of claim against biotechnology company for breach of patent license agreement. Case settled on favorable terms.

In re Squaw Creek Cases, San Francisco County Superior Court. Defense of officers and directors in four related shareholder derivative and individual claims asserting breaches of fiduciary duty, breach of contract and interference with contract. Defeated motion for preliminary injunction. Case settled on favorable terms.

Crowell v. Downey Community Hosp. Found., 95 Cal. App. 4th 730 (2002). Defense of action to compel arbitration of contract dispute. In case of first impression, the Court of Appeal affirmed dismissal, holding that parties cannot agree to judicial review of binding arbitration awards.

International Oil, Chemical & Atomic Workers, Local 7-517 et al. v. UNO-VEN Company et al., 170 F.3d 779 (7th Cir. 1999). Defense of claim by union to enjoin transaction based on federal labor laws. Summary judgment affirmed by Seventh Circuit.

Hood v. Superior Court (United Chambers Administrators, Inc.), 33 Cal. App. 4th 319 (1995). Obtained injunction based on unfair competition and misappropriation of trade secrets and summary judgment on contract, unfair competition and antitrust cross-claims.

Credit Lyonnais Bank Nederland N.V. v. Tracinda Corp. et al.; MGM v. Tracinda Corp. et al., Los Angeles County Superior Court. Defense of investment bank in connection with professional negligence and fraud claims arising from the acquisition of MGM. Case settled on favorable terms.

Micro Technology, Inc. v. Digital Equipment Corp., U.S. District Court, Central District of California. Defense of antitrust claims related to patent litigation filed in another district court and in Germany. The case was resolved as part of a global settlement.

Parejo Ltd. 1981 v. Getty Oil Co. et al., 1991 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17671 (E.D. Cal. 1991). Defense of claims for negligence, breach of fiduciary duty and accounting in connection with oil and gas joint venture agreement in which plaintiff sought more than $1 billion in damages. After three month trial, obtained complete defense victory.

Thurner Energy Corp. v. Bird Oil Co. et al., Kings County Superior Court. Defense of claim for breach of oil and gas lease in which plaintiff sought more than $200 million in damages. After one month trial, obtained complete defense victory.

 

Speeches and Programs:

Legal Aspects of Business Valuation - Minimizing the Risk, American Society of Appraisers, audiotape, (1998)

Publications:

Chapter in Inside the Minds: Strategies for
 Minimizing Risk and Increasing Success in Professional Liability Suits (2005).
Avoiding Unlimited Liability: The Limiting Power
 of Bily v. Arthur Young & Co. (co-author), The Journal of Business Valuation, The Guardian
 Institute of Chartered Business Valuators (1995).