Creative Representation | Expert Litigation

Defending and defeating class actions and unfair competition claims are crucial to today’s businesses. Bartko has successfully defended numerous class actions on behalf of our clients, winning motions to compel individual arbitration and defeating motions for class certification. Our lawyers are also among the few who have tried a class action jury case, obtaining a defense verdict for our client. Our mix of substantive and procedural legal expertise and trial skills make for a winning combination.

Bartko has also successfully prosecuted class actions in areas of finance, investment and natural resources.

In a recent case, we successfully removed a putative wage and hour class action to federal court, defeated a motion to remand to state court, and prevailed on a motion to compel arbitration of the named plaintiff’s claims. In another case, after full discovery from the four named plaintiffs and many putative class members, we obtained an order from the federal court district judge denying certification of the class on the basis that individual issues predominated over common, class issues. And in a third recent case, in connection with a class action settlement, our clients obtained a full release from a multi-million person class, all without any monetary contribution to the settlement consideration.

We have also tried and won class actions. We represented a prominent semiconductor manufacturer and its directors in a six-week class action trial alleging breach of fiduciary duty and violations of Sections 11 and 12 of the Securities Act of 1933. The case focused on alleged misstatements concerning the technical design of microprocessors and the manufacturing capabilities of the client’s semiconductor fabrication facility, with the class asserting $240 million in damages. Our team obtained a complete defense verdict after three hours of deliberation.

Bartko is creative and client responsive. We work closely with our clients and in-house counsel to resolve their specific legal issues, and understand that cost and results are what matter. We welcome alternative fee arrangements and other strategies to align the clients’ and the firm’s interests.

Representative Class Action / Unfair Competition Clients

  • 7-Eleven
  • American Express
  • American Honda
  • Britt Worldwide
  • Brunswick Corporation
  • Country Life
  • Cyrix
  • DesertEssence.Com
  • Dollar Financial Group
  • Jani-King International
  • Micron Technologies
  • National Semiconductor
  • Sutter Health

Representative Cases

Sutter Health Antitrust Class Actions

Representing Sutter Health as trial counsel in two significant federal and state CA class actions related to alleged overcharging to members and self-funded insurance plans. Trials scheduled for 2019.

Cader‑Thompson v. Sonoma Valley Hospital Foundation

(Sonoma Sup Ct). Represented Sonoma Valley Hospital in defense of class action against hospital foundation for alleged data breach of medical information privacy statute. Case settled for sums well within insurance coverage.

Rodas v. Monetary Management of California

(ED Cal).  Represented Monetary Management of California in class action asserting labor claims.

Theiding v. Sutter East Bay Hospitals

(Alameda Sup Ct). Represented Sutter Health and its affiliate for alleged data breach of medical information privacy. Eliminated class allegation via motion to strike and settle remaining individual claim for nominal sum.

Wakefield v. Wells Fargo & Company, et al.

(ND Cal).  Class action on behalf of financial advisors whose vested deferred compensation was forfeit under pension plans when the advisors left to work for competitors.

Sutter Medical Information Cases

(Sacramento Sup Ct). Represented Sutter Health in defense of 12 coordinated class actions against medical foundation and affiliates for alleged violation of medical information privacy statute. Obtained writ directing trial court to dismiss the case.

Jasso v. Money Mart Express

(ND Cal). Removed California wage and hour class action to federal court under CAFA and then successfully compelled individual arbitrations.

Martin v. Merrill Lynch

(ND Cal). Class action on behalf of financial advisors whose vested deferred compensation was forfeit under pension plans when the advisors left to work for competitors.

Juarez v. Jani‑King

(ND Cal, 9th Cir). Defeated class certification motion in connection with California class action by janitorial franchisees for alleged violation of wage and hour laws.

Pokorny v. Quixtar, et al.

(ND Cal). Represented major Quixtar/Amway distributors and principals in national RICO class action alleging illegality of Quixtar business model. Successful settlement and full release obtained for clients with no monetary contribution.

State of California (by and through the City of San Francisco) v. Check ‘N Go

(SF Sup Ct). Represented California affiliates of national finance company in defending representative B&P Code section 17200 action construing installment and pay‑day loans in California.

In re Mattel Toy Lead Paint Product Liability Litigation

(SD Cal). Represented world’s largest retailer in defense of national class action.

Lawrence v. Bay Alarm Co.

(Alameda Sup Ct).  Represented alarm company in consumer class action.

Blan v. Dollar Financial Group, et al.

(Alameda Sup Ct). Represented franchisor and parent companies in consumer class action brought under consumer protection statutes arising out of the operations of WeThePeople self‑help legal form centers. Successful settlement.

Hoffman v. American Express Travel Related Services

(Alameda Sup Ct). Represented American Express in a nationwide class action claiming that it improperly charged the class for travel insurance. The case involved difficult damage calculations in terms of ascertaining the fact of damage and amounts thereof through computer analyses and use of various computer codes.

Grafton Partners v. PricewaterhouseCoopers; Grafton Partners v. Union Bank of California; Peregrine v. Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton

(also known as the PinnFund litigation) (Alameda Sup Ct). Represented a class of investors victimized by a Ponzi scheme. The schemers were essentially judgment proof and, working with the SEC and its receiver, and a bankruptcy trustee, we crafted litigation and strategies to pursue third (deep pocket) parties that we claimed enabled the scheme to go forward. Recovered in excess of $100 million in settlements for the class from a major California bank, an international accounting firm, and several law firms after several years of hard‑fought litigation. The case was also the subject of several Court of Appeal opinions and a California Supreme Court opinion.

Walnut Producers of California v. Diamond Foods

(San Joaquin Sup Ct). Represented an unincorporated association of California walnut growers against a large walnut processor in a class action claiming that the growers had been underpaid for their crop. The defendant moved to strike the class allegations relying on a class action waiver in the operative agreement. The trial court granted the motion and the Court of Appeal affirmed in a published opinion, Walnut Producers of California v. Diamond Foods, Inc., 167 Cal.App.4th 634, 114 Cal.Rptr.3d 445 (2010), determining in essence that the growers did not have the types of claims to fit within Gentry or Discover Bank.

In re Daisy Systems Corporation

(ND Cal Bankruptcy Court). Professional negligence jury verdict and judgment of $108 million against investment banking firm Bear Stearns, reduced by the trial judge to $36 million. The opinion on the appeal before trial is a leading authority nationally on the existence of fiduciary duty between a corporation and its expert advisors. In Re Daisy Systems Corp., 97 F.3d 1171 (9th Cir. 1996). Case involved sophisticated damage calculations with the use of experts to come up with appropriate valuation of Daisy Systems, and what it would have been worth had a merger not taken place.

In re Tri Valley Growers

(ND Cal and Bankruptcy Court). Special Litigation Counsel for Creditors Committee of large agricultural cooperative. Investigated potential claims against directors, officers, and grower/member/shareholders, lending institutions, accountants. This resulted in litigation in the bankruptcy court against a certified defendant class of TVG’s former grower/members, which was successfully settled, and resolved a $70 million lien claim. BartkoZankel then prosecuted litigation against TVG’s former accounting firm (in the San Francisco Superior Court) and former directors and officers (in the United States District Court) that resulted in a settlement of approximately $34.5 million for the Estate. The lawsuit against the directors and officers resulted in a stipulated judgment which was then used against the D & O insurance company. In the course of this litigation, the firm had to create various damage models based on the value of TVG at certain key times, and worked extensively with experts to come up with workable damage calculations.

Forge v. National Semiconductor

(Santa Clara Sup Ct). Represented National, Cyrix and their directors in six‑week class action trial alleging breach of fiduciary duty and violations of Sections 11 and 12 of the Securities Act of 1933. Plaintiffs alleged that defendants made misstatements in a prospectus issued in connection with the merger of National and Cyrix concerning National’s abilities to manufacture Cyrix’s microprocessors; $240 million in damages asserted. Jury returned defense verdict after three hours of deliberation. Named by Daily Journal as top defense jury trial victory of the year.

American Honda Motor Dealership Relations Litigation

(D Maryland). Represented American Honda Motor Co. in nationwide consolidated class actions filed by Honda dealers under RICO, claiming that Honda was part of a bribery scheme to allocate Honda cars to favored dealers. The case involved novel class action issues due in large part to the RICO claims, and the court eventually certified a class with conditions. Case involved allegations of bribery of high Honda officials by other dealers to obtain hot‑selling Accords in the 1980’s. Extensive damage analyses were undertaken with regard to both class certification issues and individual damages allegedly suffered by dealers as a result of misallocations.

KK Motors, Amo Marine, Volvo Penta, and Couch v. Brunswick

(Districts of Minnesota, Northern Virginia and Tennessee). Representation of defendants in four related antitrust class action cases; plaintiffs sought damages in excess of $1 billion based on allegations of monopolization and restraint of trade in connection with the sale of marine stern drive and inboard engines. Global settlements achieved.

Moorman v. Southmark

(San Mateo Sup Ct). Represented limited partners in class action challenging “roll‑up” of various real estate limited partnerships based on claims for breach of fiduciary duty by general partners and officers. Case eventually settled favorably.

Franchise Dispute Cases II

(Alameda Sup Ct). Represented franchisor of 7‑Eleven convenience stores in class action brought by franchisees alleging breaches of contract in not paying amounts due for rebates, discounts and allowances from vendors and suppliers. Class was eventually certified and case was settled on a nationwide basis.

Central Bank Shareholders Litigation

(Alameda Sup Ct). Represented former president and chairman of bank in class action securities case and related Justice Dept. investigation. Also prosecuted cross‑complaint for professional negligence against bank’s accounting firm. Civil case settled as jury was being selected.

In re Meris Laboratories Litigation

(Santa Clara Sup Ct). Counsel in derivative suit as well as SEC and HUD investigations and consent decrees related to manipulation of share prices, internal investigation of executive conduct, alleged accounting irregularities, and validity/implementation of prior settlement/escrow.

In re Financial Corporation of America Securities Litigation

(ND Cal). Represented former President of American Savings & Loan Association, sued as a defendant in federal class action securities cases in addition to SEC investigation. The case was eventually settled.

Kirkpatrick v. FCA, American Savings

(Sacramento Sup Ct). Represented former chief executive officer of American Savings & Loan Association in a number of suits claiming that bank and borrowers were joint ventures. Issues also included liability of individual officers and coverage under D & O and CGL policies, the subject of separate declaratory relief actions. Client eventually settled shortly before trial after summary judgment was denied. Prevailed on D & O insurer to pay for settlement, and obtained defense costs from CGL carrier.

Sharper Image Consumer Class Action Litigation

(San Francisco Sup Ct, Orange County Sup Ct, and Los Angeles Sup Ct, Maryland Sup Ct, Southern District of Florida). Represented company in numerous nation-wide and state-wide class action lawsuits alleging false advertising and unfair business practices. Managed class action and merits defenses in multiple jurisdictions and managed multi-case settlement discussions and CAFA notice process.

In re: SRAM Antitrust Indirect Purchaser Class Action

(San Francisco Sup Ct, Orange County Sup Ct, Los Angeles Sup Ct, Maryland Sup Ct, Southern District of Florida). Liaison counsel for all defendants in nation-wide class lawsuit alleging price fixing conspiracy for SRAM products. Managed class certification opposition and oral argument for all defendants, supervising lawyers from multiple defense firms.

In re: Cisco Systems Inc. Securities Litigation

(ND Cal). Counsel for Cisco in securities class action litigation alleging company officials traded and profited on insider information.