February 16, 2023

Munger, Tolles & Olson Receives Three 2022 Top Verdict Honors

The Daily Journal recognized Munger, Tolles & Olson with three 2022 Top Verdict honors for the firm’s litigation work in Strategic Partners Inc. v. FIGS Inc. et al., Fowles v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. and Bryant v. County of Los Angeles et al. Awarded annually, the Daily Journal’s Top Verdicts recognize the largest and most significant verdicts and appellate reversals in California.

Strategic Partners Inc. v. FIGS Inc. et al.

Following four years of aggressive federal court litigation in the Central District of California, a MTO team led by Jacob Kreilkamp and Adam Weiss obtained a full and complete defense jury verdict in favor of direct-to-consumer medical apparel company FIGS Inc. and its two co-founders, Catherine “Trina” Spear and Heather Hasson.

On Nov. 3, 2022, following a nearly three-week trial, a federal jury returned a verdict in favor of FIGS on all four Lanham Act false advertising claims; ruled in FIGS and its founders’ favor on state law claims of intentional interference with prospective economic relations; and returned a special interrogatory providing that FIGS had successfully established Strategic Partners’ unclean hands by virtue of the company having previously made marketing claims similar to those it challenged in the litigation. 

The MTO team included Sara McDermott, April Hu, James SalzmannWilliam Orr and Chris Cruz.

Read the Daily Journal’s profile. (Subscription may be required)

Fowles v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. 

A MTO team led by Co-Managing Partner Malcolm Heinicke secured a complete defense victory on behalf of Wells Fargo in a wrongful termination lawsuit brought by the bank’s former head of Foreign Exchange trading. The plaintiff alleged his termination was due to his protesting of the effects of a compensation plan. In a motion for summary judgement, the MTO team argued the plaintiff had not engaged in the alleged protected activity and provided evidence, including a recorded phone call, that demonstrated that his termination was in fact the result of his misconduct surrounding a multi-billion dollar transaction. The recording was admitted into evidence following a successful privacy ruling MTO secured in a similar case for Wells Fargo. 

The MTO team had to make its showing by clear and convincing evidence as the result of a California Supreme Court ruling in Lawson, which heightened the burden for defendants in wrongful termination actions alleging whistleblower retaliation.

The MTO team included Bryan Heckenlively, Dane Shikman and Caroline Litten.

Read the Daily Journal’s profile. (Subscription may be required)

Bryant v. County of Los Angeles et al.

MTO’s Craig Jennings Lavoie and Jennifer Bryant, alongside co-counsel at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, won a $15 million jury verdict on behalf of Vanessa Bryant in her trial regarding the inappropriate sharing of photos from the scene of the helicopter crash that tragically killed her husband and daughter, Kobe and Gianna Bryant. 

Following a two-week trial, the federal jury ruled in favor of Mrs. Bryant and co-plaintiff Christopher Chester, finding the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and Los Angeles County Fire Department liable for violating their constitutional right to control images of their deceased loved ones. 

Mr. Lavoie delivered the closing argument and cross examined numerous sheriff’s deputies, and Ms. Bryant cross examined numerous key witnesses for the Fire Department and Coroner’s Office.

Read the Daily Journal’s profile. (Subscription may be required)