The Firm Wins Unanimous Defense Verdict in Orange County

The Firm and Partner John Griffin won a unanimous defense verdict on behalf of a security guard after a week-long jury trial in Orange County. The lawsuit arose from an altercation that occurred outside of Muldoon's Irish Pub in Newport Beach, California. Plaintiff became intoxicated while attending an after-party at the pub, following the screening of a surf movie at the nearby Big Newport theater. After being escorted out of Muldoon's due to his disorderly conduct, plaintiff was punched by the security guard. As a result, plaintiff alleged he suffered a traumatic brain injury, causing a permanent loss of his sense of smell and sense of taste. At trial, plaintiff presented expert testimony from a security consultant who testified that the guard's conduct fell below the standard of care. Plaintiff also presented expert testimony from a neurologist who testified to the permanent nature of plaintiff's injuries. The defense followed, presenting expert testimony that the guard's use of force was justified under the circumstances. After deliberating for only a few minutes, the jury handed down a defense verdict, voting 12-0 in favor of the guard.


John Cone Joins the Firm as Of Counsel

The Firm is pleased to announce that John A. Cone, Jr. has joined the Firm as Of Counsel in the Santa Ana, California office. Mr. Cone brings 35 years of labor and employment experience to the Firm, including litigation, trial work and counseling. Mr. Cone will be a lead for the Labor & Employment Practice Group, and his expertise in this area will provide the Firm a strong and stable platform to effectively serve employers facing litigation challenges. More information on Mr. Cone can be found here.


Partner Valerie J. Schratz Presentation on Mortgage Litigation and Fraud

Partner Valerie J. Schratz will be speaking at the California MBA Legal Issues & Regulatory Compliance Conference on December 4, 2017, in Costa Mesa, California. Her presentation will focus on litigation updates and new frauds being committed in real estate mortgages, including a multi-state fraud currently causing losses estimated to exceed $50,000 per month. Ms. Schratz will discuss Hall Griffin LLP’s efforts working with the FBI and in the courts to try to stop and remedy the already devastating effects of this new large-scale fraud. Ms. Schratz will also identify tactics to identify and avoid fraud in mortgage servicing.


The Firm Names Two New Partners

The Firm is pleased to announce that Jered T. Ede and Valerie J. Schratz have been named as partners of the firm. Mr. Ede and Ms. Schratz are based in the Santa Ana office.


"Builders for Babies" 2016 Diaper Drive - Another Great Success

Diaper Drive 2016
Lennar and six other residential home builders ("Builders for Babies") hosted the 2016 Diaper Drive at the Big "A" this year, with the goal of collecting one million disposable diapers for use by non-profits in the OC and Inland Empire, coordinated by HomeAid. The Firm was honored and pleased to sponsor of the event. The event again exceeded the one million mark, with our firm and its employees contributing over 40,000 of those diapers.

For more information, see the Builders for Babies website or read the OC Register article.


California Mortgage Bankers Association Magazine Features Article by Jered T. Ede

Jered T. Ede’s article on compliance with California’s Single Points of Contact rules was featured in California Mortgage Bankers Association’s Finance News Magazine. Mr. Ede's article explains the complex rules for being a Single Point of Contact under California’s Homeowner Bill of Rights.

Mr. Ede is a member of the firm’s Mortgage Banking & Finance litigation group headed by Howard D. Hall and is based in Hall Griffin’s Santa Ana office.


The Firm Wins Complete Defense Verdict

The Firm won a complete defense verdict after a five-day bench trial against a plaintiff who sought to enforce an alleged loan modification agreement. In the lawsuit, the plaintiff claimed to have entered into an agreement with a homeowner that would have given him 50% equity in the home if he helped the homeowner negotiate a loan modification. Under this purported deal, the plaintiff would use his financial information on the HAMP application to help the homeowner qualify for the modification. The defendant allegedly assured the plaintiff that if he submitted his information as a co-borrower on the HAMP application, he would be added as a co-borrower on the underlying note. The trial court ruled that the alleged agreement was unenforceable, finding that the defendant did not make any such representations. The court also ruled that even had the defendant made such representations, the plaintiff could not have justifiably relied on them, at least in part because of his experience as a former attorney.


The Firm Disposes of Lending Fraud Case Through Summary Judgment

In a coordinated action encompassing more than a dozen cases from counties across California, the Firm succeeded on a motion for summary judgment in favor of its mortgage lender client, confirming the client’s superior loan position on a multimillion-dollar residential property located in Northern California. The property had been the subject of numerous conspirators’ fraudulent scheme to obtain loan proceeds by securing multiple first position loans by falsifying records. The property’s record title was complicated by dozens of both fraudulent and legitimate transactions. By examining the local county recorder’s actual grantor-grantee indices, and securing critical admissions of the other lenders, Hall Griffin was able to show that its mortgage lender client was in true first position. The Court agreed, and granted the motion for summary judgment in full, including an award of costs. The Court's judgment paved the way for the client to subsequently recover the outstanding balance of its loan—more than one million dollars.


The Firm Wins Unanimous Defense Verdict

The Firm and attorney Jonathan Slipp overwhelmingly defeated a negligent supervision lawsuit against a pre-school and its director after a two-week jury trial. In the lawsuit, plaintiff alleged that her three-year-old daughter had been repeatedly physically and sexually molested by other students while at the school. The child was diagnosed as having suffered post traumatic stress disorder and received extensive psychological therapy for nearly four years. At trial plaintiff presented the expert testimony of a school supervision expert that the school staff were negligent for failing to observe and protect the child from violent attacks by the other students. Plaintiff also presented the testimony of the treating psychologist and an expert witness psychologist to detail the continuing emotional and mental damages arising from the child’s post traumatic stress disorder. The jury handed down a defense verdict, voting 12-0 in favor of the school and director.