San Diego Local

Recent Cases

These case results are specific to the facts and circumstances of the particular case. They are for informational purposes only. They do not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your prospective legal matter.

$2,000,000 Yelp Business Defamation Lawsuit Defended*


Successfully defended case. Plaintiffs got $0 and had to pay our clients.


We successfully defended a $2,000,000 San Diego business defamation lawsuit, resulting in a defense judgment in our clients’ favor (on the plaintiffs’ libel claims) and a judgment in the firm’s clients’ favor for breach of contract (on the clients’ cross-complaint).

Our clients, a husband and wife, hired a florist for their wedding.  The clients and the florist got in a dispute regarding the flowers and decided to part ways shortly before the wedding.  The couple asked for a refund of their deposit and the florist refused.  The clients filed a small claims lawsuit for breach of contract.  They also went online and rendered many negative critiques of the florist, on sites, like Yelp.com and RippOffReport.com.

The florist filed a defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress lawsuit, seeking approximately $2,000,000 in damages for loss of reputation, loss of business profits, and emotional distress.

After a jury trial, the court awarded the couple a $2,000 refund for the money they paid for the flowers.  On a post-trial motion, the court rejected all of the florist’s claims for defamation and emotional distress and entered a judgment in the clients’ favor.


$1,700,000 Property Quiet Title Lawsuit Sucessfully Resolved*


Case settled to client's satisfaction.


We successfully resolved a lawsuit against San Diego couple, who failed to pay on a promissory note and property transfer agreement they had with the firm’s client.

The client and the defendants executed 2 contracts concerning a $1,700,000 piece of property in Coronado, California.  One agreement was a promissory note, requiring the defendants to pay the firm’s client $250,000.  The other agreement was a property transfer agreement whereby the defendants agreed to: (a) pay the principle and interest on the existing mortgage ($1,228,090.26) and on a line of credit ($499,964.55); (b) pay San Diego County property taxes; and (c) pay the property insurance.

The defendants did not performed under the agreements.  We filed a lawsuit seeking all compensatory damages under the 2 agreements, attorney fees, interest, and court costs.  The lawsuit also sought to quiet title to the property.

Following mediation, the parties settled the matter to their joint satisfaction.

$1,600,000 Breach of Contract Lawsuit Defended*


Successfully defended case. Plaintiff got $0 from our client.


Our client personally guaranteed the debt of his corporation, a telecommunications enterprise in the calling card business.  The corporation was then purchased by a third party and run into the ground, unfortunately.  This included not paying vendors and suppliers.  A supplier of the calling cards then sued the corporation and, attempting to enforce the personal guarantee, our client for over $1,600,000, on the amount allegedly past due.

After a few months of litigation, and some settlement discussions, we resolved the case against our client for $0.

$1,000,000 Fraud and Breach of Contract Lawsuit Defended*


Case settled to client's satisfaction.


After about 11 months of mounting an aggressive defense to contract and fraud litigation, which included counter-suing the plaintiff, we successfully and confidentially resolved a matter in favor of our clients, a San Diego solar energy company, and its two members.

The plaintiff alleged that the firm’s clients had an oral contract with him, wherein he agreed to introduce the solar energy company to certain contacts he had, in exchange for $15,000 per month, his expenses, and 5% of profits.  The plaintiff also alleged that the firm’s clients orally told him certain “financing” was in place and the solar energy company was capable of closing any deal presented.

The plaintiff sued the clients for breach of contract and fraud, requesting over $1,000,000.

After we took the plaintiff’s deposition, he folded.  He agreed to dismiss the lawsuit and the parties agreed to confidential settlement.

$365,000 Judgment Obtained in Breach of Consulting Agreement Lawsuit*


Judgment in Client's Favor for $365,000


The firm’s client entered into a business consulting contract with an energy company defendant, which requested the client’s financial advice for a new business venture. The defendant also requested the client review its business plans and corporate books. The client and the business executed an engagement agreement and the business agreed to pay the client a substantial retainer, plus commissions if it used the client’s financial advice and structuring for its new venture. The O’Brien Law Firm’s client proposed financial structuring and rendered other consulting to achieve the energy company’s goals, but the business refused to pay the retainer or commissions. John J. O’Brien sued the business and got a judgment for $365,534, which included a recovery of the Client’s attorney fees.

$300,000 Judgment in Breach of Listing Agreement Lawsuit*


$300,000 Judgment for Client, Reversed on Appeal.


John J. O’Brien went to trial on behalf of his client, a San Diego real estate broker, and obtained a judgment for over $299,000.

The broker and a commercial landlord entered into 2 exclusive listing agreements for property in San Diego.  The landlord leased both properties during the terms of the listing agreements, so the client sought its commissions.

The landlord argued the client did not effect the leases (another broker did), but Mr. O’Brien argued that the listing agreements entitled the broker to commissions, no matter who effected the leases.  The judge agreed, as that is California law.   Plus, the judge found that the client actually preformed under the agreements and — if anything — the defendant prematurely revoked the agreement without cause.

The defendant also argued that, at most, he should only have to pay a portion of the commissions, because brokers “have a custom of splitting commissions.”  Mr. O’Brien argued that the real estate listing agreements unambiguously provided for 5.00% and 6.00% commissions, and were “integrated.”  The judge agreed.

The defendant argued the listing agreements did not apply to a tenant already on the property (one lease was basically a renewal), which executed a new lease and downsized.  The Court found that the plain language of the agreements did not make commissions contingent upon finding a brand new tenant or continent upon the type of lease agreement executed.

The Court ruled that the defendant landlord breached both listing agreements when he: failed to pay the entire commission to the client, executed a new listing with another broker during the term of the client’s listing with the plaintiff, and prematurely revoked the agreement.

The Court awarded the firm’s client a little shy of $300,000.  Unfortunately, the judgment was reversed on appeal, on a technicality regarding the status of the client’s broker license.

$186,000 Judgment Obtained in Breach of Contract Lawsuit*


$186,000 Judgment for Client.


The San Diego Superior Court granted our motion for a $186,000 judgment in a promissory note lawsuit. We filed the motion on behalf of his client, an individual who loaned over $100,000 to another person and business, who then failed to repay the client.

The client loaned the funds pursuant to a promissory note executed with the defendants, who promised to repay the funds and interest.  In the event of breach, the defendants also promised to pay the client’s attorney fees and costs.

The Court awarded the client everything our firm requested, including the principal and interest, attorney fees, prejudgment interest, and costs.  The total judgment was $186,852.30.

$180,000 Settlement Obtained in Investment Fraud Lawsuit*


$180,000 settlement for client.


We successfully resolved an investment fraud, financial elder abuse, and promissory note lawsuit for $180,000, on behalf of an elderly client, who alleged he was conned out of thousands of dollars by his former estates attorney and the attorney’s business partner.

The client alleged that, while he received tax and trust legal services, the attorney highly suggested he should invest in certain companies, of which the attorney was the CFO.  The client alleged that the attorney also indicated that he knew the CEO well and had done business successfully with the CEO in the past.

After the investments became repayable to the client, the attorney and his business partner failed to pay the client and ignored his calls for repayment.

The client also alleged that the attorney and his business partner had been sued numerous times by other investors and lenders, unbeknownst to the clink and, obviously, not disclosed to him during the investment/loan transaction.

We settled the lawsuit for $180,000, which turned into a stipulated judgment, on which the client is collecting now.

$178,000 Breach of Contract Lawsuit Successfully Defended*


Client retained $178,000 engagement ring.


A wealthy San Diego businessman filed a lawsuit against the firm’s client, the man’s ex-fiancé, after the couple broke up.  He sought a return of a $178,000 engagement ring he gave her and a return of other jewelry he valued at $350,000.  He also sued the firm’s client for fraud (i.e., that she allegedly accepted the ring without really wanting to marry him).

In addition to denying the plaintiff was entitled to get the ring and jewelry back, we filed a cross-complaint against the plaintiff for breach of contract and infliction of emotional distress.  We alleged she and her ex-fiancé entered into agreements where: (1) she would be the “woman of the house” and be his homemaker in exchange for his paying the household bills; and (2) he would pay in support upon termination of their relationship.

​California calls these types of contracts between co-habitating non-married partners “Marvin Agreements.”  We alleged that despite her performance under the Marvin Agreements, he breached by leaving her with debt and otherwise failing to pay her.

Moreover, after their break up, the client alleged the ex-fiancé routinely text-messaged her obscene photos and videos of him with other woman, including prostitutes, thereby causing her emotional distress.

In the end, the parties agreed to resolve the litigation and both completely walk away from the lawsuit, e.g., the firm’s client kept the engagement ring and other jewelry.

$165,000 Obtained in Trade Secret Lawsuit v. Prior Employer*


$165,000 settlement for client.


The firm represented an individual against his prior employer and its CEO.  The client alleged he and the CEO agreed to start the business, using the client’s trade secret recipes and techniques, and alleged they agreed to award the client equity and profits in the venture.  The client later left the venture after a dispute arose over payments, and he alleged the business and its CEO continued to use his recipes and techniques without permission or compensation.

The firm filed a lawsuit for theft of the trade secrets and for breach of contract, seeking compensatory damages, plus all attorney fees, interest, costs, royalties on the business’ sales, and punitive damages.

After we defeated the defendants’ motion for summary judgment, which argued the defendant was not using the trade secrets, the client did not maintain the secrecy of the trade secrets, and that the contract claims were barred by the statute of limitations, the parties settled this trade secrets misappropriation lawsuit for $165,000.

$106,500 Judgment Obtained in Fraud Lawsuit*


Judgment in Client's Favor for $106,500.


The firm’s client lent his employer money, after the employer represented to the client that the business was healthy, had millions of dollars in prospects, and just needed a short-term loan for operating expenses.  The client executed a promissory note, lent the business and its sole principal/COO money, but was never repaid.  We sued the business and its sole principal/COO for breach of contract and fraud.  The client won a judgment for $106,500, against the business and individual, which included a recovery of the client’s attorney fees and costs.

$102,500 Settlement in Mechanic’s Lien Lawsuit*


Case Settled for $102,500.


We represented a general contractor in a mechanic’s lien lawsuit.  Our client renovated the defendants’ cafe and wine bar in San Diego.  The client was not been paid and further claimed it was misled during the business transaction.  The client sued to foreclose on a mechanic’s lien, for breach of contract, and other claims.  The client obtained a $102,500 settlement.

$100,000 Trade Secrets Lawsuit by Former Employer Defended*


Successfully defended case. Plaintiff got $0.


The firm represented an individual who had recently left employment with a company.  After the firm’s client left that work and pursued other employment, the former employer sued him for misappropriation of trade secrets for over $100,000.  The employer also sued for breach of contract, unfair competition, and interference with business relations.

The employer alleged that the client took confidential property, information, and customers from the company – and was competing with the company and stealing its business.  The client denied any wrongdoing and, among other things, argued that most “non-compete agreements” in California are not enforceable.

The firm successfully defended and resolved the matter for $0.

$89,000 Won for Client for Fraud during Sale of Boat*


Client Prevailed and awarded over $89,000.


After 7 months of litigation and a 3-day arbitration, the law firm successfully obtained an arbitration award on behalf of a husband and wife defrauded in the purchase of a boat. As a condition of the purchase agreement, the firm’s clients requested the defendant seller provide a written report of the underwater bottom condition of the boat. The law firm proved that the seller misrepresented and concealed damaged and deteriorated boat conditions in the report. The law firm also proved that the seller’s “as is” and “no warranty” provisions in the purchase contract were not defenses. As a result, the arbitrator awarded the law firm’s clients monetary damages to fix the boat, interest, attorney fees, and all litigation expenses, which totaled over $89,000.00.

$56,000 Settlement Obtained in Investment Fraud Lawsuit*


$56,000 settlement for clients.


We resolved an investment fraud lawsuit against a local biodegradable products start-up company and its corporate officers.

The firm represented several investors in the defendants’ businesses.  The plaintiffs alleged that the defendants misrepresented the status of their sales and the merchantability and proprietary nature of their products.  The firm’s clients maintained that, while the defendants claimed to have created a revolutionary compostable plastic, they actually had purchased the product from another entity and were pawning it off as their own.  The plaintiffs further alleged that the defendants paid back old investors with new investor funds and withdrew corporate funds for their personal use.

We filed a fraud lawsuit, defeated several challenges to the allegations, then settled the matter for $56,000.

$53,750 Settlement in Partnership & Finder’s Fee Lawsuit*


Case settled for $53,750.


We represented a group of partners in a lawsuit against their former partner, with whom they intended to open a local San Diego business.   The firm’s clients alleged they entered into partnership agreement to open up franchise stores with the defendant, but the defendant circumvented them, negotiated a deal directly with the franchiser, and opened the store without the clients.  The clients alleged the defendant, at least, owes them finder’s fee compensation for their assistance and know-how, which led to his obtaining his very own store.  The clients sue for breach of contract, services rendered, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, and other claims.  The clients obtained a $53,750 settlement.

$30,000 Promissory Note Default Resolved*


$30,000 settlement for client.


After threatening to file a breach of contract lawsuit for a promissory note in default, the firm successfully settled a matter between the client and an individual, who owed the client over $30,000.

The client retained John J. O’Brien to analyze the promissory note and contact the defaulting party for possible resolution.  In less than 2 weeks, the parties executed a settlement agreement, whereby the debtor will repay the client in full.  And, if the debtor breaches the settlement agreement, the firm’s client will be entitled to all attorney fees and costs required to prosecute that breach.

$29,000 Obtained in Breach of Contract Lawsuit*


$29,000 settlement for client.


We successfully resolved a breach of contract lawsuit for our client, a San Diego woman who sold her beauty academy business to another individual.

The defendant buyer promised to pay the firm’s client $210,000 for the school.  The buyer eventually fell $29,000 short, then the buyer started ignoring the client while continuing to use the business assets, name, and property.

We filed a breach of contract lawsuit to get the balance of money due under the business sale agreement for the seller.  A short time later, the parties settled the lawsuit for the $29,000.

$17,500 Obtained in Landlord-Tenant Dispute*


$17,500 settlement for client.


The client’s apartment was infested with mice.  She begged her landlord to take aggressive action, but it did not.  After the client’s own exterminator caught 12 mice, the landlord still did nothing substantial.

After two weeks, the client could no longer sleep at the property as the unit and her personal property were riddled with mice droppings and urine, mice were inside her furniture, and mice were nesting in her clothes, shoes, and kitchen cabinets.

After she left the property, an exterminator removed another 21 mice.  The defendant landlord then agreed the client would not pay rent for the month and would be released from her lease agreement.  However, the damage the mice caused to the client’s personal property (furniture, clothing, food, books, etc.) totaled over $17,000.

The law firm contacted the landlord and, after some negotiation, we settled the matter for $17,500.

$16,000 Obtained in Lawsuit Against HOA for Water Damage*


$16,000 settlement for client.


We secured a $16,000 settlement from an HOA and property management company on behalf of our client, a San Diego real estate investment company.

The client brought a condo with existing water damage.  The sellers informed the client the HOA would repair the water damage.  The HOA confirmed this with the client.

The HOA choose an shoddy contractor, who left holes open in the walls and ceiling, left mold-ridden drywall and insulation on the floor, and did not quarantine the area.  This exacerbated the water damage.  The HOA then fired the contractor and then took another 4 months to select a proper one to finally repair the unit.

We sued the HOA for the delays and property damage.  The case settled for $16,000.

$8,500 Lawsuit against Porsche Mechanic*


Ongoing matter. No trial date is set.


The firm currently represents a Porsche owner, who took his car to the defendant’s auto repair shop for an engine replacement.  The client alleges the defendant told him the replacement would cost $8,500 and the client would get his car back in a few weeks.  The client claims the shop took his $8,500 and failed to repair the car.  Moreover, the client alleges the auto repair shop has withheld the car ever since — and has now had possession of the Porsche for 8 months.  The client sues for breach of contract and to regain possession of the car.

$7,000 Obtained in Breach of Computer Rental Agreement*


$7,000 settlement or client.


Our client leased computer systems to the defendant.  During the course of the lease, defendant erased software from the systems, which destroyed the operating systems and vitality of the units.  Client alleged the defendant was negligent and breached the lease agreement, thereby forcing the client to completely replace the machines.  We resolved the case for $7,000.