Severson News

Severson & Werson attorney David Berkley (OC) recently prevailed on a claimants’ suit for damages under the TCPA, the FDCPA and for violation of common law privacy rights in arbitration before AAA.  The arbitrator found that the calls at issue were not placed by an ATDS governed by the TCPA.  The arbitrator also found that FDCPA case and common law claims were meritless as the calls—although fairly numerous—were not placed with an intent to harass and were not unreasonable under the circumstances.  The AAA arbitrator also awarded Severson’s client—a major auto finance institution—an award for the balance owed on the Claimant’s vehicle and awarded Severson its reasonable attorneys’ fees incurred in pursuing the counterclaim. 

In February 2016, Severson & Werson attorneys Joseph W. Guzzetta (SF) and Evelina Manukyan (SF) represented a major financial institution in a jury trial in Contra Costa County Superior Court of claims brought by a mortgage borrower for breach of contract and breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing.  Plaintiff sought over $2 million in damages.  After a seven-day trial, the jury returned a verdict in favor of Severson’s client on all claims.  Subsequently, the Court awarded Severson’s client its costs and reasonable attorneys’ fees.

Severson & Werson attorneys Mark Wraight (SF) and Laszlo Ladi (SF) represented a major national servicer in a jury trial in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California on a borrower’s claims under California’s Homeowner Bill of Rights and for breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, both arising out of claims that the defendant mishandled the borrower’s loan modification application.  After a two-day jury trial, the jury returned a verdict in our client’s favor on all of the causes of action.  Verdicts on the Homeowner Bill of Rights causes of action were advisory and subject to confirmation by the judge, which the judge quickly granted after a short oral argument.

Severson & Werson attorneys Kristin Walker-Probst (OC) and Laszlo Ladi (SF) represented a major national servicer and bank in a jury trial in the Superior Court of the State of California of the County of Alameda on a former borrower’s claims that agents of the servicer trespassed and invaded his privacy while inspecting the property following a foreclosure.  The jury trial also involved a cross-complaint for damages stemming from the borrower’s hold-over possession of the property.  After the court granted favorable rulings on pre-trial motions in limine against the borrower, he dismissed his affirmative claims against the defendants.  After a three-day jury trial, the jury awarded a six-figure verdict in favor of Severson’s client.

Severson & Werson attorneys Joseph W. Guzzetta (SF) and Sara Quinto-Seibert (SF) represented two major national banks in a jury trial of claims for negligence, violation of three provisions of California’s Homeowners’ Bill of Rights, and slander of title brought by a borrower challenging the foreclosure of his home in the Superior Court of the State of California for the County of Sacramento in August 2016.  The trial lasted six days, after which the jury returned verdicts in favor of the defendants on all five causes of action asserted by the plaintiff. 

After three weeks of trial and more than three days of jury deliberation, Severson & Werson attorneys David Ericksen (SF) and Johanna Berta (SF) secured an 11-1 defense verdict on behalf of the Firm’s structural engineering client facing a $5.4 million claim in the Central Valley.  The claim was for alleged code and statutory violations with respect to 47 single family homes.  In one of the first cases to do so as to a design professional, the case went to the jury based solely on California’s “Right to Repair” statute (California Civil Code Section 895, et seq.).  The jury concluded that even the abbreviated standards under that statute had not been violated as to the structural design.

JAMS, the largest private provider of mediation and arbitration services worldwide, announced the addition of Severson & Werson attorney Jeane Struck (SF) to its panel.  With over 30 years of experience practicing law, Jeane has also served as a settlement conference judge and arbitrator for the Superior Court of the State of California for the County of Santa Cruz, as well as a settlement panelist for the Superior Court of the State of California for the County of San Francisco.  Jeane handles personal injury, professional liability, construction defect, product liability, premises liability, commercial liability, Errors & Omissions (E&O) claims, and habitability matters.

Severson & Werson attorney Andrew W. Noble (SF) will serve as the next Chair of the California Bar Association’s Consumer Financial Services Committee (CFSC).  The one-year term commenced at the bar association’s annual meeting on September 29, 2016.  Part of the bar association’s Business Law Section, the CFSC is a diverse group of attorneys at banks and other financial services companies, law firms and government agencies.  The mission of the CFSC is to provide excellent educational and networking opportunities for its members and other California consumer financial services attorneys.

Severson & Werson attorney Elizabeth Holt Andrews (SF) was recently invited to join the Financial Women of San Francisco.  Celebrating its 60th anniversary, the Financial Women of San Francisco seeks to advance the success of women in finance and financial services and to be a source of insight and inspiration to financial women executives and managers throughout the Bay Area.  The organization’s membership includes women in positions of influence within the financial services sector and women who hold senior level positions within non-finance companies, government agencies, and the non-profit sector.  Members include CEOs, CFOs, corporate treasurers, CPAs, attorneys, commercial and private bankers, investment advisors, fund managers, securities analysts, administrators, financial planners, consultants, recruiters and marketers.

In July 2016 Severson’s Construction Group Leader David Ericksen (SF) presented three webinars from his “In the Zone” series focused on the relationship between clients and prime consultants and the relationship between prime consultants and their design teams.  The combined sessions were attended by over 500 firms spanning more than forty states.

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