Cohan & Cohan Results

CASE 1: In Meri Nishiuchi v. Darwin Ting et al.,

Two recent successful prosecutions of (1) fraud/ breach of fiduciary duty by the Tings, resulting in a judgment for our client of $9.2 million, including attorneys fees of $2.7 million, now more than $10 million and $3 million with costs and interest, recently affirmed by the California Court of Appeals. (2) In a related matter we successfully prosecuted the transferees of $2.5 million from the Tings, winning a judgment now worth more than $ 3 million.

In Meri Nishiuchi v. Darwin Ting et al., William A. Cohan, Brad Nakase and Gabriel Cohan represented plaintiff Meri Nishiuchi, a limited partner acting on behalf of Atia Co., LP, a limited partnership, in a derivative action against the general partner, defendant Ting, for breach of fiduciary duty and an accounting.  Plaintiff challenged the general partner’s unpaid  loans to himself from the partnership’s funds, credit card charges on the partnership’s credit cards for personal expenses, an unauthorized bonus as well as unauthorized annual management fees in direct violation of the partnership agreement, and improper self-dealing of the general partner in connection with the partnership’s real estate assets, including a $3.6 million “kickback” on the sale of a shopping center owned by the partnership.  This case was successfully litigated before the Superior Court of Orange County, Judge Derek W. Hunt, who awarded disgorgement of $6,620,179 of misappropriated partnership funds, plus prejudgment interest of $2,399,845 and costs of $118,562, for a total award of $9,138,595 after a trial to the bench.  Judge Hunt was affirmed on appeal by the Court of Appeals of the State of California, Fourth Appellate District, Division Three.  On June 5, 2015, the Court of Appeals determined that the trial court’s factual findings were supported by “abundant substantial evidence” and that the trial court properly awarded $3.6 million in disgorgement for the “kickback” on the sale of the shopping center.  Noting that the purchaser of the shopping center originally offered $31.1 million in February of 2011, but paid only $27.5 million in August 2011, the trial court found “by weight and strong probability of logical inference that this price change is explained by [Defendant] having taken a kickback.”

On September 22, 2015, in the related case of Meri Nishiuchi v. Patricia Ting et al., the Superior Court of Orange County, Judge David Chaffee entered judgment against defendants awarding damages of $2,000,100 with prejudgment interest in the amount of $446,690, for a total of $2,446,790 for Ms. Ting’s (who is Darwin Ting’s daughter): (1) aiding and abetting breach of fiduciary duty; (2) fraudulent transfers; and, (3) constructive fraudulent transfers.  Judge Chaffee also awarded disgorgement of $446,555 from Ms. Ting’s husband, Michael Lee, and prejudgment interest in the amount of $127,640.30 for a total of $574,195.30.  The trial court found that Ms. Ting and Mr. Lee improperly secreted assets from plaintiff to frustrate her collection efforts to enforce and collect the $9 million judgment entered against Darwin Ting.

CASE 2

Cohan & Cohan defended our client Kirby Martensen against a $100 million lawsuit brought against him by his former employer Oxbow Corporation and filed a suit on Martensen’s behalf against one of the notorious Koch Brothers who made the groundless accusations. After we obtained an order–affirmed on appeal–invalidating Mr. Koch’s claims of attorney-client privilege by establishing that Koch utilized his attorneys (at one point the court noted Koch had 14 lawyers opposing the 3 of us) to plan and execute his scheme to falsely imprison Martensen, Koch and Oxbow agreed to dismiss all claims against Martensen and entered into a confidential settlement to avoid further embarrassment.