Commercial & Consumer Right Litigation

Booth, Mitchel & Strange LLP has experience in all facets of commercial litigation, representing both individuals and business entities in the roles of both plaintiffs and defendants. We have represented businesses in actions based on bailment and transportation contracts and brought under various consumer protection statutes including the Unfair Competition Law, The Consumer Legal Remedies Act, Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, The Customer Records Law, and the Business and Professions Code. Our work includes the representation of retailers charged with criminal violations of the pricing and weights and measures provisions of the Business and Professions Code.
Examples of the commercial and consumer litigation we have handled are:
  • Assisting a national retailer in resolving an action for injunctive relief and damages brought on by the plaintiff as a private attorney general relating to the client’s warranty and return policies in a way that avoided the need for the client to amend language used nationally on its sales receipts;
  • Successfully representing a large insurance company sued for antitrust tying arrangements, obtaining summary judgment in the trial court which was upheld by the court of appeal with substantial sanctions awarded against the plaintiff;
  • Obtaining a preliminary injunction for an importer of high-quality dolls preventing a competitor from importing a competing product;
  • Recovering the face amount of a dishonored irrevocable letter of credit from a major financial institution;
  • Successfully defending a credit reporting company in a competitor’s suit for misappropriation of trade secret customer information and other trade secret and proprietary information;
  • Representing a large aftermarket truck parts retailer in litigation alleging “Lemon Law” violations;
  • Obtaining more than two million dollars for a homeowners association to remedy construction defects in the development;
  • Assisting a frozen out minority shareholder of a family-owned business obtain a fair price from the majority owners;
  • Collecting large advertising accounts for a major southern California media conglomerate.

Construction Law Counseling & Litigation

Booth, Mitchel & Strange LLP represents many general contractors, subcontractors, material suppliers, sureties, architects, and engineers in claims, arbitrations, and lawsuits arising out of the construction industry. Our representation includes matters arising out of commercial, residential, and industrial buildings, marine projects, utilities, streets and highways, canals, bridges, storm drains, and sewer and water treatment plants. We handle claims by end-users and among construction participants.

We also help our clients avoid claims and lawsuits by drafting, negotiating, and reviewing project documents, both before and during construction. We assist in resolving problems that may arise related to bids, performance, payments, perfection or defense of mechanics liens, stop notices, delay claims, and acceleration claims. We can draw from the knowledge, talent, and experience of our highly respected surety lawyers.
The firm also represents Architects and Engineers in professional liability litigation and arbitrations. We understand the role of the design professional and how his or her work impacts the construction process, and we have worked extensively with typical contracts and documentation defining and affecting the design professional’s work. Over the years we have developed relationships with highly qualified professionals with whom we consult to access the merits of the claims made and believe that early expert consultation is an important consideration in providing a comprehensive defense for our professional clients.

Employment Arbitration, Litigation & Counseling

State and Federal civil rights, disability, and employment statutes have spawned massive amounts of litigation in recent years. Booth, Mitchel & Strange LLP has been there to help our clients to reach the best results possible when faced with those problems. We do not limit our practice to the employer or employee “side” of the controversy. We recognize that in employment litigation, perhaps more than any other kind, there are two sides to the controversy and that both sides (or neither) may have a good reason for the position taken. We investigate promptly, approach the issues objectively, and advise our clients as early in the process as possible about what we believe to be the best course of action. Where settlement is possible and appropriate we press for it early, not only to save our clients the dollar cost of litigation but recognizing that emotions and business reputations are often at stake and that sometimes the best interest of both sides is to preserve a valuable business relationship. Where settlement is not in the cards, we aggressively litigated employment cases to a conclusion through trial or arbitration.
In addition, we offer our clients assistance and counseling in establishing appropriate employment practices and in the timely pre-litigation investigation and remediation of employment disputes Even where unsuccessful in avoiding litigation, these services may establish the factual or legal basis for a defense, be helpful in preparing a well-informed defense strategy or may mitigate a claim’s financial impact. We recognize that the very best defense to litigation is to identify and avoid or remedy the circumstances that will give rise to claims before the employees and their lawyers find them.

Environmental Contamination Litigation

Booth, Mitchel & Strange LLP has participated in litigation arising out of environmental contamination for many years, representing PRP owners, operators, and contributors in cases brought under federal CERCLA, SARA, and RCRA legislation and California’s environmental laws, including the Hazardous Waste Control Act, the Underground Storage Tank Law, and the Porter-Cologne Water Quality Act. We have the knowledge and resources to handle a broad range of environmental litigation. Our insurance expertise allows us to assist our clients to identify and secure insurance coverage so important to meet the costs of environmental remediation and the litigation that so commonly surrounds it.
We have represented, or are now representing, parties in Super Fund cases including the String fellow Acid Dump litigation, shooting range cases involving alleged lead contamination, contribution litigation alleging contamination of a shopping center site with dry-cleaning solvents, and numerous industrial site cleanup actions involving a wide variety of contaminants. We also represented landowners and occupiers in cases brought under common law claims of trespass, and public or private nuisance relating to alleges discharge of contaminants or pollutants causing damage to adjacent land and neighboring occupants.

Insurance Coverage & Litigation

From its earliest days, Booth, Mitchel & Strange LLP has been heavily engaged in insurance law. For 50 years the firm has counseled and represented insurers and insureds in matters involving coverage determination, coverage litigation, defense of “bad faith” claims, and in contribution and subrogation actions. The firm is well known for its representation of Accident and Health and Life and Disability insurers sued under ERISA or for “bad faith” claims handling, and General Liability carriers sued for their decisions to deny coverage. We have also assisted Insureds in securing the benefits of insurance they purchased.
In all cases that involve the extension of insurance benefits and protection, we recognize the need for prompt and objective advice after a timely, thorough and detailed review and investigation of all available facts and law. We have the resources to do so and have found that by providing those services, we are often able to avert litigation or effect reasonable settlements in cases that may otherwise pose a substantial risk of high exposure to the insurer at trial and significant litigation costs. As a litigation firm, we are prepared to try those cases that cannot be reasonably resolved short of trial.
We also serve the industry in disputes between brokers or agents and insurance companies, in cases brought before the Department of Insurance, and in cases alleging broker or agent malpractice. We have successfully prosecuted insurers’ claims against “out of trust” brokers and agents and have assisted brokers in obtaining renewal and retrospective commissions withheld by insurers. We have also defended insurers against unsubstantiated commission claims. As those seeking insurance rely more and more on their agents and brokers to provide necessary coverage through policies of escalating complexity, our breadth of knowledge and experience makes us uniquely equipped to assist insureds who find their coverage lacking.

Professional Liability

In addition to our representation of architects and engineers, discussed under Construction Counseling and Litigation, Booth, Mitchel & Strange LLP provides sophisticated and skillful representation in cases alleging the professional negligence of real estate brokers and agents, lawyers, accountants, insurance brokers and agents, medical doctors, dentists, pharmacists, and other healthcare professionals. The lawyers in the firm have litigated numerous professional liability claims in court and in private arbitration. We value a close but minimally obtrusive working relationship with our clients and strive for an early and prompt review of the facts and documents underlying the claim, establishment of the event chronology, and retention of appropriate expert consultants.
In the defense of real estate agents and brokers, our experience predates the pivotal 1984 case of Easton v. Strassburger, which greatly expanded the duties and potential liability of real estate professionals. We have kept abreast of the statutory and decisional developments in the law and are sensitive to the liability and damage issues unique to the real property arena. In cases arising out of the insurance broker and agent field, the firm’s long and broad-based insurance practice adds strength to our ability to accurately assess potential liability and the manner in which damages may be limited by the coverage available or unavailable in the market to address the particular calamity for which damages are sought.
Where the negligence of health care professionals is involved, we are well versed in the substantive and procedural requirements of MICRA. We have handled many cases involving a wide variety of medical specialties, including: orthopedics, radiology, neurology, urology, obstetrics, pediatrics, internal medicine, dentistry, and podiatry

Surety and Fidelity

Founded by George C. Mitchel, who remains Of Counsel to the firm, the Booth, Mitchel & Strange LLP surety, and fidelity group is one of the largest and most respected in California. We represent sureties in default and completion matters involving private and public performance bonds and in claims and litigation involving private and public payment, subdivision, financial guarantee, and license bonds, among others. Our attorneys are active in the Western States Surety Conference, The Surety Claims Association, the American Bar Association’s Torts and Insurance Practices Section, and other state and local surety trade associations. We practice extensively in the area of commercial and financial institution fidelity claims with expertise in the evaluation of coverage, litigation of complex claims, and prosecution of recovery actions.
Aggressive and innovative in our approach, we have tried many juries and bench trials in complex cases involving performance, exoneration, acceleration, interference, indemnity, and subrogation in State Courts, Federal District Courts, the Federal Court of Claims, Federal Bankruptcy Courts and before the Board of Contract Appeals. We have pioneered the implementation of surety financing of completing contractors in order to minimize loss. We helped a surety finance a large multi-faceted construction conglomerate in default on several large projects, disposing of hundreds of bond claims over 10 years, enabled the surety to recover 98% of its advances and avert almost $30 million in bond losses. In another matter, where a surety issued over $6 million in financial guarantee bonds to assure banks that investors would pay their deferred capital contributions, we successfully defended the surety when the investors sued syndicate participants for conspiracy to defraud, preserved the surety’s right to indemnity from the investors and recovered substantially all the sums paid by the surety.

Litigation (Casualty)

Our offices have extensive experience in handling tort claims, including claims involving:
  • Personal injury claims involving catastrophic injuries, construction accidents, claims of toxic exposures, products liability, automobile accidents, and premises liability
  • Fraud
  • Libel, slander, infliction of emotional distress
  • Malicious prosecution, abuse of process, intentional interference with contract
  • Trespass and nuisance
We are skilled at understanding the underlying case issues such as the cause and mechanism of injury and the nature of the resultant injuries or damages.  We distill this information and explain it to our clients in a manner allowing them to explain it to others. We also are experts at simplifying and presenting the information to judges and jurors.

Toxic Tort & Mass Toxic Tort Litigation

Booth, Mitchel & Strange LLP’s work in toxic tort and mass toxic tort litigation predates the demise of the asbestos industry. We represented a major asbestos producer and manufacturer in thousands of personal injury and property damage cases; and currently defend manufacturers of asbestos-containing products and commercial landowners sued for asbestos-related injuries and property damage in courts throughout California. In asbestos cases, a firm partner serves as Regional Counsel in charge of trials in the Western United States for major manufacturing. In addition, we have represented product manufacturers, suppliers, and others in mass and individual chemical and toxic exposure litigation, including the Film Lab Cases, the personal injury cases arising out of the Stringfellow Acid Dump, and numerous mold, formaldehyde, and “sick building” cases.
The firm has handled cases involving hundreds of chemicals and substances. Among those involved are:
  • Arsenic
  • Asbestos
  • Benzene
  • Cadmium
  • Carbon Monoxide
  • Carbon tetrachloride
  • Dichlorodiphenyltrichlorethane(DDT)
  • Ethylenediaminetrtraacitate(EDTA)
  • Hydrogen cyanide
  • Lead
  • Mold
  • Perchlorethylene(PERC)
  • Petroleum distillates
  • Polychlorinate biphenyls(PCB=s)
  • Selenium
  • Silica
  • Sulfuric Acid
  • Sulfur dioxide
  • Toluene
  • Trichloroethylene(TCE)
  • Urea formaldehyde foam insulation(UFFI)

Transactional Work & Regulatory Compliance

Members of Booth, Mitchel & Strange LLP are available to negotiate, draft, review, and consult regarding agreements and transactions relating to our clients’ business affairs, including secured and unsecured financing arrangements, employment agreements, real and personal property sales documents, development and construction contracts and related project documentation, real and personal property leases, and partnership and joint venture agreements. Many of our business clients also seek our advice to assist them in complying with state and federal laws and regulations that apply to their particular business activities.