Mr. Braun joined Rutan & Tucker, LLP in 1970 and is a Senior Partner in the Firm's Trial Section. His practice includes complex civil litigation in the trial and appellate courts, with an emphasis on unfair competition, business torts, commercial, corporate, partnership, real estate and title insurance litigation. His experience includes trials in both state and federal courts, mediations and arbitrations.
Mr. Braun received his law degree from the University of California at Berkeley (Boalt Hall) in 1970, where he was selected as the Outstanding Oral Advocate in the Moot Court Honors Competition. He represented Boalt Hall in the National Moot Court Honors Competition and was selected as the Outstanding Oral Advocate in the Regional Finals. Mr. Braun received his undergraduate degree from the University of Southern California in 1967, when he was selected as one of the five outstanding male graduates, graduated with honors, and was tapped for membership in Blue Key and Skull and Dagger.
Cases Litigated by Mr. Braun include:
· Defended a New York Stock Exchange company in an action filed by a national bank seeking $1.5 billion in damages for breach of contract and unfair and deceptive trade practices.
· Defended a New York Stock Exchange company and related entities in a class action filed by the Attorney General of the State of California and companion cases filed by private class action counsel asserting violations of California Business & Professions Code § 17200 and related business torts seeking over $500 million against the industry, and over $100 million against Mr. Braun's clients.
· Represented the owner in defending more than $50 million in claims advanced by a general contractor and subcontractors and asserting an additional $15 million in claims against the architect in connection with the construction of a performing arts center and concert hall.
· Represented a corporation and its owners in federal court litigation involving alleged anti-trust violations, misappropriation of trade secrets and violations of the copyright laws.
· Defended a federal court action prosecuted by plaintiffs seeking to enforce a $21 million lien against parcels owned by the FDIC, a savings and loan association, and private developers.
· Represented a corporation asserting a multimillion dollar professional malpractice claim against one of the big four accounting firms.
· Represented the plaintiff where the federal court found in Phase I of a bifurcated trial that the defendant was liable for misappropriating moneys and business opportunities. In a subsequent pre-judgment writ of attachment hearing the court found Mr. Braun had presented a prima facie case that the defendant engaged in a pattern of unlawful conduct that triggered liability under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act (RICO), justifying an attachment equal to three times the Phase I compensatory damage award.
· Defended the owner of a regional shopping center in actions filed by a general contractor and 24 subcontractors alleging over $11 million in acceleration and extra work claims and prosecuted cross-actions on theories including breach of contract, business torts and RICO violations.
· Represented a private lender in an action to collect the unpaid balance on loans defendants claimed were usurious.
· Defended a public corporation against claims of breach of contract, interference with contract, interference with prospective advantage and related business torts, in litigation claiming the defendant forced the plaintiff corporation out of business.
· Prosecuted claims on behalf of a publicly traded company for breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, and misappropriation of trade secrets.
· Defended the priority and enforceability of a $6.7 million deed of trust against allegations of fraudulent inducement and equitable subordination.
· Obtained a $5,000,000 settlement on behalf of the developer/owner of an apartment complex that incorporated defendant's substandard materials.
· Defended a corporation and its president against alleged acts of breach of contract and unfair competition.
· Represented departing members of a law firm in disputes with remaining partners.
· Represented an international software company against claims of unfair competition and misappropriation of trade secrets.
· Represented plaintiffs and defendants in actions involving corporate and partnership issues, including breach of fiduciary duty, misappropriation of assets and opportunities, mismanagement, and dissolution and accounting.
· Obtained a verdict on behalf of independent contractors suing a wholesale distributor and its president for unpaid commissions and defamation, including millions of dollars in compensatory damages and over $1 million in punitive damages.
· Represented the plaintiff in a dispute seeking approximately $23 million in damages against a corporation and its president for breach of contract, trespass, nuisance and alter ego.
· Advised insurers, including conducting in-house seminars, regarding their policy obligations and regarding insurance bad faith issues.
· Advised companies in disputes with competitors and former employees re unfair competition and misappropriation of trade secret issues.
Mr. Braun's Published Appellate Court Decisions Include:
· Saddleback Valley Community Church v. El Toro Materials Co.: Mr. Braun obtained a landmark ruling from the 9th Circuit holding that the damage limitations in Section 502(b)(6) of the Bankruptcy Code did not apply to his client's $20 million claim for damages to its leasehold premises under theories of breach of contract, nuisance, waste and trespass. This was the first circuit court opinion on this important issue and the United States Supreme Court denied defendant's Petition for a Writ of Certiorari.
· Coastal Abstract v. First American Title Insurance Co.: Mr. Braun was retained on appeal and successfully overturned a $5.9 million verdict against his client that was based on alleged violations of the Lanham Act, interference with contract, interference with prospective advantage and defamation. The case is the first reported decision in the 9th Circuit determining whether "advertising" under the Lanham Act can constitute a publication to one individual or entity.
· Lindemans v. IBEW: Mr. Braun successfully defended a judgment he obtained in the trial court that confirmed the IBEW's priority of a multimillion dollar deed of trust. The decision was the first reported California case addressing the enforceability of the standard ALTA Subordination Agreement, which is unconditional, in circumstances where the seller was induced to subordinate carry back financing to a new construction loan in reliance on the buyer's false promises that the loan proceeds would be used solely to benefit the subject property.
· Behan v. Lido Isle Community Assn.: Mr. Braun successfully represented the defendants in an action seeking damages against the Association and its board members. This decision is the first reported California case holding that the "business judgment rule" applies to decisions made by a board of directors of a community association.
· Golden Security v. First American: Mr. Braun successfully defended on appeal a motion for summary judgment he obtained in the trial court. The decision was the first reported California decision defining certain terms in a California Land Title Association (CLTA) title policy.
Mr. Braun has been active in civic affairs, was a member of the Laguna Beach Education Foundation Board of Directors, serving as its President, served on special committees for the Laguna Beach Unified School District analyzing surplus property, and served as a member of the Board of Directors of the South Laguna Civic Association and is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the Laguna Art Museum.
Mr. Braun is a member of the Federal Bar Association, Business Litigation Subsection; the Orange County Bar Association, Business Litigation Subsection, the American Business Trial Lawyers Association; and is a former member of the Orange County Bar Association Judiciary Committee. He has lectured in programs that included presentations to a Conference of California Judges, taught classes for practicing attorneys for the California Continuing Education of the Bar, and made presentations to conferences of in-house attorneys employed by his clients. Los Angeles Magazine designated Mr. Braun as one of the top business litigators in Southern California.
Memberships & Associations
· Federal Bar Association, Business Litigation Subsection
· Orange County Bar Association, Business Litigation Subsection
· American Business Trial Lawyers Association
· Orange County Bar Association Judiciary Committee (Former)
Awards & Honors
· Southern California "Super Lawyer"
· Southern California "Super Lawyer" Corporate Counsel Edition
· AV® Preemininent™ rating with LexisNexis/Martindale Hubbell