Los Angeles Business Journal

Wham-O’s Creditors Aren’t Playing

MANUFACTURING: Law firm, rival say toymaker stashed assets.

Creditors allege toymaker Wham-O is playing games to dodge paying its debts.

Digital Media Arm Thinks It Has Virtual Match

EMPLOYMENT: Manatt division brings in 18-year industry vet Eunice Shin.

Manatt Digital Media has hired Eunice Shin to head its business consulting services, capping off nearly a year of growth for the new investment and consulting arm of West L.A. law firm Manatt Phelps & Phillips.

Fruit Bar Makers Launch Cold War

FOOD: Duo says rival ice-cream distributor is freezing them out.

Fruit bar makers claim new rival is using its powerful ice-cream distribution network to freeze them out.

Client Has ‘Poor’ Excuse to Dodge Legal Bills

LAW: Quinn Emanuel can’t put number on Elie Samaha’s worth.

Quinn Emanuel may be wondering why it repeatedly represented a client who didn’t pay his bills.

IRA Gold Rush Stirs Claim Jump

INVESTMENT: Firm alleges ex-contractor denting business.

Firm that sells gold to IRAs sues former contractors in a growing but still fringe industry.

Former Law Students Seek to Forge Online Links

INTERNET: Duo launches website to help customers connect with attorneys.

Michael Chasin and Aaron George were fellow students at Loyola Law School when they took a look at the industry they were about to enter and noticed a problem.

Late Wrinkles in Neman Ponzi Trial

investment: Accused claims deal in place for Facebook stock.

INVESTMENT: Investor facing trial in pre-IPO Facebook fraud claims link to $4 billion in Citigroup funding.

This Dog Has His Day Every Day at Law Firm

There’s one partner at Westwood law firm Liner who’s such an institution that he’s actually written into the terms of the lease.

Lower-Cost Firms Among L.A.’s Fastest Growing

EMPLOYMENT: Pricier practices saw head counts fall most over last year.

Though there are still firms at the top of L.A.’s legal pyramid with a chokehold on higher-rate work, the industry has been shifting to the middle market.

Booze-Filled 7-Eleven Left Reeling

retail: City ups shop’s alcohol content then bans late-night sales.

RETAIL: La Cañada Flintridge moves to bottle up a 7-Eleven’s alcohol sales at night after requiring the store to carry more booze.

7-Eleven Liquor Caught in Catch-22

The 7-Eleven on the west side of sleepy La Cañada Flintridge might have a soda fountain and two-for-a-dollar doughnut deals, but don’t call it a convenience store.

Ex-Employer Battles ‘Exec Poaching’

sports: AEG plays hardball after former execs team up with rival.

SPORTS: AEG claims that a competitor and departed exec are making a play for its employees.

Chicago Expands L.A. Outpost, Narrows Search

EMPLOYMENT: Kirkland limits hunt to corporate, private equity hires.

Chicago’s Winston & Strawn has been on a hiring spree in Los Angeles, netting a dozen attorneys in the last year.

Restaurants Gag On Deficit Bills

InSURANCE: Self-insured group in $80 million hole.

INSURANCE – Member restaurants in self-insured group find it tough to stomach surprise payments to cover debt.

The River and the Money Manager

Last summer, Bryan Brown took 100 days off work and did what he says no human has ever done before: paddled the entirety of the Colorado River watershed by himself in a kayak.

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Pretzel Supplier Alleges Twisted Tale

FOOD: Middleman says he was boxed out by Trader Joe’s.

Broker of peanut butter-filled pretzels claims he’s left holding bags after Trader Joe’s conspired with supplier.

Philadelphia Firm Doubles Up on L.A. Pickups

EMPLOYMENT: Move by Blank Rome adds 15 lawyers to its Century City office.

Philadelphia’s Blank Rome has absorbed two boutique L.A. firms, its biggest hiring move here since opening an office in Century City nearly five years ago.

Tycoon Courts U.S. in China Fight

ENERGY: Former oil exec tries to make case to recover billions.

U.S. courts may be powerless to help oil magnate Tiangang Sun recover billions he claims he is owed by China.

Hearing Aid Patents Deliver High-Volume Payout

Health care: Mann wins $131 million for implant devices.

Health care: Alfred E. Mann Foundation sees its victory in a patent case over implantable hearing devices as a sound judgment.

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Former Phone Exec Taps Parents

Technology: Lin Miao gets family loan to keep incubator alive.

Former executive charged in cellphone scheme is allowed to get line on loan from parents to keep his incubator online.

Firm Fails to Make Case to Retain Trial Lawyer

Law: Exit of Marshall Grossman seen as as blow to Bingham.

One of the biggest trial lawyers in Los Angeles has a new home.

Competitive Juices Flow at Firm

As founding partners of their own law firm in Century City, Keith Elkins and Scott Kalt don’t just divvy up attorney pay or recruit new partners. Some days, you’ll find them planning relay races.

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Trustee Sought In EB-5 Case

Law: Creditors of jailed lawyer Justin Lee file as feds probe.

Clients claiming they were defrauded by lawyer Justin Lee, now in jail and awaiting trial in South Korea, have asked for a trustee to take over his assets.

Same-Store Struggles Still Hurt Clothing Maker

Manufacuring: Shares of American Apparel dip after sales fall last month

Manufacturing: Investors check out of American Apparel after another month of declines in same-store sales

Suit’s Funding Courts Trouble

Law: Former clients no longer want to foot bill for other case.

Law: Former Cohen & Lord clients have gone on the offense over paying for the defense in another of the firm’s cases.

Auctioneers See Time For Change

Sellers may pocket pretty penny with rare half-cent coins.

Auction – Ira and Larry Goldberg expect penny-wise collectors at the sale of rare half-cent coins

New York Firm’s L.A. Office Sheds Eighth Partner

Tom Stromberg’s departure from Kaye Scholer is the latest high-profile exit from the New York firm’s L.A. office, which has lost half its partners in six months.

L.A. Sues Software Firm Over Alleged Illegal Gambling

Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer filed suit Thursday against a computer software developer, accusing it of supplying Internet cafes in Los Angeles with illegal gambling programs.

Rivals Collide On Self-Driving Cars

Marketing: Mach 18 says firm swiped idea to reach riders.

Marketing – Mach 18 alleges it was steered wrong by a prospective contractor over a plan to reach riders in self-driving cars.

Courting Trouble?

Sports: Clippers’ marketing promotion leads to fan crying foul over text spam.

Sports: Clippers face net loss as a fan files for a class-action suit over spam texts received after a game promotion.

Lawyers Make Case to Party On

Duo turned to lawsuit to secure proper permit for annual holiday festivity.

Law: High-profile attorneys to party on after filing lawsuit over street access for their annual holiday shindig.

Channel Flips Game Switch

TV: GSN turns to court to salvage offer for mobile bingo business.

TV: Game Show Network’s pursuit of mobile gaming company Bash ends up in court.

Eight-Attorney Pickup Raises Firm’s Expectations

Employment: L.A. office of Hogan Lovells works to restaff after merger

Since Washington’s Hogan & Hartson merged with London’s Lovells in 2010 to form Hogan Lovells, the firm’s L.A. office has struggled to hold on to attorneys, dropping to about 20 at one point from about 50.

Security Veteran A Quick Study

Zabi Kator launched firm to fill need for guard services on short-term basis.

Security: Zabi Kator launched Guardnow with short-term service as its brief

Regulators Allege Huge Fund Fraud

Investment: SEC charges Velocity, owner in Ponzi scheme.

Investment SEC pursues Velocity Investment Group for alleged Ponzi scheme that could be one of L.A.’s largest.

New Firm Turns Into Active Suitor After Union

LAW: Norton brings in David Ben-Meir to grow IP practice.

When London’s Norton Rose and Houston’s Fulbright & Jaworski merged in June to form Norton Rose Fulbright, the new firm’s downtown L.A. office was hit with significant exits. It quickly lost one-fifth of its attorneys, including the heads of its local health care, and labor and employment groups, to rival firms

Suits Make Strong Case With Investors

Law: Litigation funding firms say

Law: Litigation finance firms court investors to fund commercial cases with potentially hefty rates of return.

Developer Money Crosses the Lines?

Real Estate: Projects draw ‘low-income’ maps to tap EB-5.

Critics say developers have mapped out a means to tap a program that was meant to boost low-employment areas.

Maker of Electric Buses Brings Lawyers on Board

Manufacturing: BYD hires Paul Hastings to help with abuse allegations.

Manufacturing: Electric bus maker BYD hires L.A. law firm to handle accusations of workplace abuse.

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L.A. Port-Powered Truck Maker Grinds Gears

Automotive: Balqon yet to turn around electric fleet’s fortunes.

Balqon continues to spin its wheels as financial woes mount for the L.A. port-hired maker of electric trucks.

Fuller Plate Boosts Stock Of Restaurant Operator

DINING: Rise in earnings for Cheesecake Factory defies industry trend.

Cheesecake Factory serves up a surprising rise in earnings as the rest of the sector struggles.

Projects Change Gears With Bikes

Real Estate: New rule lets developers swap out car spaces.

City of L.A.’s new bike-parking requirements let some projects put the brakes on more expensive car spaces.

Real Estate-Focused Firm Homed In on Work

LAUNCH: Big Law skips trophy space to open virtual Westwood office.

Eli Taban’s new law firm is called Big Law Partners, but if you show up at its Westwood offices, you won’t find any attorneys.

Car Dealerships See Lots of Suits

AUTOMOTIVE: ‘Piece-rate’ ruling drives technicians to court.

State court ruling on piece-rate work may drive car technicians to battle with dealerships.

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Herbalife Heir Feels Low About Mountaintop Lot

REAL ESTATE: Fight over unpaid debt may squelch development.

Sale of mammoth, high-end lot by trustees didn’t go down well for Herbalife heir Alex Hughes.

Nurturing Workforce

Laura Nix Gerson launched MomFairs to raise the job prospects for mothers.

Las Vegas’ Sugar Factory to pop open a new shop in Hollywood complete with a room for bachelorette parties.

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Sweepstakes Not Such Safe a Bet?

GAMBLING: Sheriff may pull plug on games at Internet cafés.

Some Internet cafés are betting that their use of promotional sweepstakes will be judged legal.

Bitterness Brewing in Battle Over Coffee Firm

BEVERAGES: Former chief of Marley brand boiling over ouster.

A fight is percolating between co-founders Shane Whittle and Rohan Marley over control of their coffee company.

Brown Returns to California as Partner at Manatt

LAW: Former state treasurer will counsel clients on regulatory issues.

Kathleen Brown moved to Chicago from Los Angeles in 2010 not only to pursue a “tremendous business opportunity” as chairman of investment banking in the Midwest for Goldman Sachs, but also to avoid the potential appearance of a conflict of interest.

Too Many Hands in ‘Pockets’?

REAL ESTATE: Agents squabble over celebrity ‘pocket listings.’

Rival agent alleges Ben Bacal had his hand in too many exclusive “pocket listings” of high-priced homes.

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