Los Angeles Business Journal

Follow the Bouncing Ball

Sandy Lechtick makes sure to exercise regularly when he’s not running Woodland Hills legal search firm Esquire Inc. But the 65-year-old is not much for golf or treadmills.

Misgivings on Mayor Money?

CONTRACTING: Ex-exec says MCS violated campaign laws.

Former employee accuses workforce development business of skirting campaign laws to support Eric Garcetti.

Ex Exec Says MCS Violated Campaign Laws

Last year, L.A. officials awarded four contracts worth $545,000 to Managed Career Solutions for workforce development services. Backing the company was then-Councilman Eric Garcetti, a longtime supporter.

Dispute Sinks Ocean Eco-Charity

NON-PROFIT: Co-founder sues Schwabs over Suharto land deal.

Co-founders of eco-conscious ocean charity accuse each other of dirty dealing.

Dispute Sinks Ocean Eco-Charity

For a moment in 2011, charity organization Seathos Foundation was Venice’s celebrity cause de jour. Its mission to spread awareness of the human impact on oceans drew such supporters as actors Julia Roberts and Jeff Bridges and surfer Kelly Slater. But while the goodwill poured in, its co-founders were allegedly discussing ways that Seathos could promote their own business activities – ambitious plans that ultimately resulted in a nasty partnership breakup.

Link to Website Windfall Splits Lawyers

LAW: Davis Shapiro feud shows risk of equity stakes in tech firms.

Firm’s equity stake in a booming consumer rewards site has led to friction over who should share in the windfall.

L.A.’s Biggest Firm Thinks Young With New Hires

EMPLOYMENT: Latham sees future in recruiting for next-generation partners.

The L.A. office of Latham & Watkins, the region’s biggest law firm by revenue, has made its first two partner hires of the year in John M. Pierce and Scott A. McPhee.

Faithful Fan Waits for Cleveland to Rock

On a Thursday in May, Hugh Hewitt was not at the Burbank studio where he records his nationally syndicated radio program or at the downtown Los Angeles law firm offices where he is a partner.

Floundering Fish Importer Reels In Crucial Catch

SEAFOOD: Contessa gets line on future with buyer Red Chamber.

Red Chamber makes a splash with the acquisition of sinking Contessa.

City Hall Vet Votes for Job at Downtown Firm

EXPANSION: Jane Usher says Musick Peeler’s local focus helped draw her in.

The addition of former Special Assistant City Attorney Jane Usher as a partner to Musick Peeler & Garrett is the latest boost for the downtown L.A. law firm, which has grown quickly in recent years.

Floundering Fish Importer Reels In Crucial Catch

When San Pedro seafood importer Contessa Premium Foods Inc. was put up for sale in April, the sharks were already circling. Potential buyers began touring its facilities the day the company announced its insolvency; within weeks, 32 parties expressed interest, from local competitors to celebrity chef Ina Garten, who had partnered with the company on a frozen-food line named after her “Barefoot Contessa” television program. Now a winning bidder has emerged.

Muscle Builder Flexes in Court

FOOD: Axiom accuses insider of undercutting protein sales.

Axiom accuses former executive of eating away at its muscle-building rice protein business.

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Java Franchisee Turns Up Heat

RETAIL: Coffee Bean accused of misleading on profitability.

Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf is in hot water with a franchisee who claims the chain misled him on profitability.

Sometimes Speaking Loudly Carries Day

Last month’s Walk to End Genocide at Pan Pacific Park drew more than 3,000 people, the largest iteration yet of what has become the biggest annual anti-genocide demonstration in the country.

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On the Line

Internet network rips royal rates at telecom hub

Network operator U.S. Colo fears rent hikes at an already extremely expensive telecommunications hub will pull the plug on its business.

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Property Owner May Pull Plug on Tech Mainstay

REAL ESTATE: Landlord says parties, late rent are grounds for eviction.

Landlord looks to break with workspace operator that has become synonymous with Silicon Beach.

Firm Heads to Westside to Link With Tech Scene

REAL ESTATE: Co-working space lets Sheppard Mullin cozy up to startups.

Established law firms have been opening up offices in Santa Monica as they attempt to cozy up to the Westside’s growing tech community.

Lender Tries to Button Up Clothier

APPAREL: Pockets about empty for ex-maker of baggy jeans.

Lender pursues J&Company as sales sag for the former maker of hit baggy jeans JNCO

They’ve Managed to Avoid an Identity Crisis

In his 34 years as an attorney in Los Angeles, Michael A. Sherman has made a name for himself as a bet-the-company litigator.

Policy Buyer Says Brokers Dead Wrong on Mortality

insurance: Investor claims firm misrepresented health of insured.

Investor in life insurance policies sues brokers over failing to provide healthy returns.

Assets Dispersed as Bankruptcy Boutique Shutters

CLOSURE: Lateral moves abound as slowdown causes Stutman Treister wind-down.

The upcoming closure of top bankruptcy litigation boutique Stutman Treister & Glatt has led to a flurry of lateral moves as the firm’s talent searches out landing spots.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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