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Notable Cases

Notable and Representative Cases




We Have Significant Trial and Litigation Experience
(Case Names and Clients' Identities Are Omitted to Protect My Clients' Privacy)


5-Month, Complex, Multi-Party, Multi-Claim Business Trial -
Healthcare Franchisees vs. Franchisor and Founding Directors and Officers

This case resulted in a 5-month state court, multi-party, complex business litigation jury trial in Orange County, California, on 2 consolidated complaints in which Mr. Winsten represented the founder, and former Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, of a national in-home healthcare respiratory services company accused by numerous (11) defecting franchisees of various breaches of franchisee agreements and business torts, arising out of alleged lack of enforcement of the franchise agreements and legal compliance and breaches of contract. Mr. Winsten obtained a non-suit on one of the complaints at the close of plaintiffs' case-in-chief, obtained jury verdicts in his client's favor on all of the breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty claims, and contained damages awarded on two tort claims to amounts far lower than the plaintiffs' pre-trial demands. This decision ultimately resulted in a favorable post-trial settlement of all claims.

Eight Healthcare Franchisees vs. Franchisor and Founding Directors and Officers -
Related to Case Described Above

While the main case described above was pending, numerous other franchisees defected from the franchise system and filed 8 similar suits. Based on the results of the trial of the main case, all of these suits were ultimately settled on terms favorable to Mr. Winsten's client, without trial.


Audit Malpractice -
A Manufacturing and Distribution Company vs. Big Six Accounting Firm

This case resulted in a 6-week state court jury trial for negligence arising out of a 5-year course of auditing malpractice, which failed to detect a controller's $2.5 Million embezzlement scheme. Mr. Winsten represented the plaintiffs as second chair trial counsel, and handled the direct and cross-examination of numerous key witnesses. The jury agreed with plaintiffs' expert that the embezzlement should have been detected at the outset by employing basic audit tests, which were called for but never applied, and rendered a plaintiffs' verdict for virtually all of the damages requested, to which interest was added. The case settled shortly after the trial.


Defense of Personal Guaranty on Mistake of Fact Defense -
Vendor vs. Corporate Officer of Former Customer

Mr. Winsten represented the defendant, the former President of a bankrupt modular building company, who was sued by a disgruntled creditor based on fine print personal guaranty language in a corporate credit application, signed by the defendant in the ordinary course of his corporate duties. This case is notable, since it is one of the few cases taken to trial and won for a defendant on a mistake of fact affirmative defense. Mr. Winsten obtained a defense verdict, after the plaintiff rejected a not insubstantial pre-trial cost of defense settlement offer. In addition, Mr. Winsten obtained an award of all of the defendant's attorneys' fees based on a contractual fee shifting provision in the disputed credit application. The defense judgment and attorneys' fees award were both upheld on appeal, handled by Mr. Winsten.


Breach of E-Commerce Development Agreement -
Small E-Commerce Company vs. Fortune 500 Technology Company

Mr. Winsten represented a young e-commerce company in this live sex show case, which arose from numerous breaches of an e-commerce website development agreement by a large Fortune 500 company that over-promised and under-delivered on the development of an e-commerce website for a novel business opportunity conceived and started by several veterans of other prominent Fortune 500 companies. Despite compelling evidence and reasonable settlement demands, the defendants never made a firm settlement offer, and filed a series of cross-claims against the plaintiff. The case proceeded to a nearly one month jury trial in North San Diego County. The jury rendered a substantial verdict for the plaintiff on the complaint, and a defense verdict on the cross-complaint. The case settled after the defendants' post-trial motions were denied.


Misappropriation of Trade Secrets and Unfair Competition Case -
Publisher vs. Former Independent Contractor Sales Representative
Mr. Winsten represented the defendant in this trade secret case, defeating applications for a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction, and ultimately winning a complete defense motion for summary judgment. In this case, a former long-term independent contractor sales representative terminated his relationship with a publisher of a prominent healthcare trade publication and started a competing business. The publisher sued on numerous theories, primarily complaining about misappropriation of trade secrets. Mr. Winsten was able to convince the trial court that the independent contractor relationship did not create the same kind of common law and statutory duties that arise out of the employment relationship. In the absence of a written confidentiality or work for hire agreement, the alleged trade secret work product actually belonged to the defendant, not the plaintiff.


Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction Leading to Ouster of Corrupt Board of Directors and Reorganization of Non-Profit Academic Corporation
Mr. Winsten was retained by the President and Headmaster of a private High School, with the support of the parents of the student body and its alumni, to sue the corporation's entrenched and self-perpetuating Board of Directors for mis-managing the corporation's substantial assets, jeopardizing its secondary school business operations and threatening its non-profit status. Mr. Winsten obtained a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction protecting the plaintiffs from termination or retribution during the litigation.  The case ultimately settled after a lengthy mediation process, under a court ordered transition of power to a new democratically elected Board of Directors.


Workout of Substantial Investment Pyramid Scheme On Behalf of Large Investor Group
This engagement initially entailed the investigation and gathering of evidence pointing to the culpability of the promoter of a start-up technology company who raised over $10 Million in start-up and operating capital based on false representations about the viability of the technology and its prospects for commercial exploitation. After being confronted with the incontrovertible evidence of fraud and misappropriation of assets, the promoter confessed and sought to avoid litigation. Mr. Winsten negotiated and managed the marshaling and sale of the companies assets and intellectual property, which resulted in the recovery of over 80% of his clients' lost capital, with total attorneys' fees and costs amounting to a small fraction of the amount recovered.

Mike Winsten is an Orange County business lawyer who is committed to your peace of mind. Orange County Business Lawyers are found on this very informative business attorney site.

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