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Sergenian Ashby LLP recently obtained a dismissal of all claims against its clients SoCal Commercial Insurance Services, Inc.; Paul J. Smith; and Kenneth D. Smith, in a trade secrets case that was filed in federal court by one of the largest insurance brokerages in the U.S. The case was filed on December 7, 2018. Sergenian Ashby LLP became counsel of record on February 1, 2019. The firm filed a motion to dismiss four of the five causes of action alleged in the complaint on the grounds that the complaint failed to identify the alleged trade secrets with particularity; that the complaint failed to adequately plead that the alleged trade secrets derive independent economic value form not being generally known to the public; and that three causes of action were superseded by the California Uniform Trade Secrets Act. On March 27, 2019, the Court granted the motion to dismiss in its entirety. Although the Court gave the plaintiff leave to amend, on May 14, 2019, the plaintiff elected to dismiss the complaint with prejudice pursuant to a confidential settlement. Defendant Paul Smith, who is also the President of SoCal Commercial Insurance Services, said: “This was a very important case for us and for our company, and it was paramount that we reach a speedy resolution. David [Sergenian] and Joseph [Ashby] came up with a brilliant strategy to resolve this case and they executed the plan without a hitch. I could not recommend their law firm more highly. Now I can move forward with my business, and with my life.”

On January 12, 2018, Sergenian Ashby LLP obtained a complete victory for its client on an anti-SLAPP motion, including an order awarding its client $13,880 in attorney’s fees. In late November 2017, Sergenian Ashby LLP took over the representation of attorney and real estate investor Joubin Sedgh in the matter of Sedgh et al. v. Cienfuegos, et al., Los Angeles Superior Court Case No. BC 624167. Shortly after taking over the representation Sergenian Ashby LLP filed an anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) motion against defendant and cross-complainant P. David Cienfuegos’s cross-complaint that asserted causes of action for libel, trade libel/trade disparagement, slander, and intentional infliction of emotional distress against Sedgh. On the day that cross-complainant Cienfuegos was due to file an opposition to the anti-SLAPP motion, Cienfuegos voluntarily dismissed his cross-complaint and asked that the Court award no attorney’s fees or costs to Sedgh. The Court held a hearing on January 12, 2018, and determined that even if Cienfuegos had not voluntarily dismissed his cross-complaint, he was unlikely to prevail on his cross-complaint. Accordingly, the Court awarded Sedgh $13,880 in attorney’s fees and costs.

Sedgh said: “I am very pleased that David Cienfuegos’s cross-complaint seeking to intimidate me has been dismissed. I am looking forward to a jury hearing my case and assessing Cienfuegos’s conduct.”

Sedgh’s attorney David A. Sergenian said: “We are very pleased with this vindication of our client, and we are looking forward to continuing to pursue Sedgh’s claims against Cienfuegos.” Sergenian also said that: “Crafting compelling moving papers was key. Joseph [R. Ashby] and I have succeeded on multiple occasions in convincing the other side to withdraw or not oppose a motion. We accomplish this through crafting tight, well-thought-out opening papers that leave little room for the other side.”

Sergenian Ashby LLP is a Los Angeles-based litigation firm specializing in copyright, trademark, trade secrets, class action defense, startup and partnership disputes, appeals, and general commercial litigation.

Former Quinn Emanuel litigators David A. Sergenian and Joseph R. Ashby announce the launch of Sergenian Ashby LLP in Los Angeles, California. Sergenian and Ashby were previously partners at Pierce Sergenian LLP.

Sergenian Ashby LLP was founded on a recognition that there is no substitute for exceptional advocacy and that exceptional advocacy combined with reasonable, proportionate fees is not an unattainable illusion, but it requires a re-imagining of the traditional law firm business model. Changes in technology have significantly changed the tools attorneys use, and when those changes are combined with a re-engineering of how attorneys actual work when they are handling significant civil litigation, there is an opportunity to provide exceptional advocacy on a different business model. Sergenian said that “Thirty or even ten years ago, there were numerous barriers to entry to attorneys starting a top-tier firm from scratch. Due to a combination of advancements in technology and communications, the increasing enthusiasm for startups and upstarts, and a growing understanding that talent is not necessarily concentrated in the largest name brands out there, today we have been able to launch a high-level practice almost instantaneously.”

Sergenian Ashby LLP is able to accomplish this through a combination of novel organizational and workflow techniques, low overhead, greater utilization of time-saving technology, and a fresh approach to planning and execution of everything from interrogatories to closing arguments. All of this enables Sergenian Ashby LLP to offer clients the option of bring the force of exceptional advocacy to any significant business dispute. As Ashby explained “Clients should not have to be confronted with high 8-figure, or even a 9- or 10-figure dispute in order to make it cost effective to engage trial attorneys who provide exceptional advocacy.”

Because of these innovative workflow processes and low overhead, Sergenian Ashby LLP’s preferred form of engagement is a on a fixed-fee basis. Sergenian Ashby’s proprietary fixed-fee arrangements provide clients greater predictability with respect to costs of litigation, while aligning the interests of the firm and client in achieving victory.

Sergenian explained that “Even if the billable hour is not yet dead, the level of tolerance that clients have for that business model has clearly waned over the past decade. Clients are demanding value more than ever, and we believe our unique brand of fixed-fee arrangements delivers that value.”

Ashby said: “Our re-engineering of how trial attorneys work provides the opportunity for a client with a $10 million dispute to obtain the exceptional advocacy that makes sense from a business perspective when under a traditional trial attorney approach engaging trial attorneys who can provide exceptional advocacy would have only made business sense if it was a $50 or $100 million dispute.” Ashby also said: “We look forward to growing our firm over the coming year with attorneys who share our commitment to re-engineering how trial attorneys win complex civil cases.”

Sergenian Ashby LLP is a Los Angeles-based litigation firm specializing in copyright, trademark, trade secrets, class action defense, startup and partnership disputes, appeals, and general commercial litigation.