Walter Whitman Moore

Litigation Attorney / Trial Lawyer

Choosing Your Lawyer

If you do business in the Los Angeles area, then sooner or later, you're going to need a good litigation attorney. Which lawyer should you choose? My name is Walter Whitman Moore, I'm an experienced trial lawyer, and I suggest that you base your decision on the following factors:

Intelligence

You want a smart lawyer. The law is full of loopholes, subtle distinctions and traps for the unwary. You want someone who can spot them. When hiring a lawyer, it's okay to be a snob. I graduated with honors from Princeton University and Georgetown University Law Center, where I was an Editor of The Georgetown Law Journal and taught legal research and writing to first-year students.

Results

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You want a lawyer with a long and successful track record. No lawyer wins every case, and past performance is no guarantee of future results, as they say. But can you think of any better way to distinguish one lawyer from another? For over 25 years, I have successfully represented clients in jury trials, bench trials, arbitration and appeals over business and real estate disputes. I have handled cases involving a wide variety of industries (e.g., real estate, aviation, entertainment, etc.) and legal issues (e.g., breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, misappropriation of trade secrets, copyright, etc.). For more details, look at the "Past Victories" slideshow, below.

People Skills

You want a lawyer with people skills. Don't make the mistake of hiring a lawyer who emphasizes how "aggressive" he is. "Aggressive" often just means "obnoxious," and it is not in your best interest to hire an obnoxious lawyer. You can wind up wasting money over unnecessary and unproductive "pissing contests" — pardon my French — merely because your lawyer cannot get along with other people. You want a lawyer who knows not only how to fight zealously, but when to do so, and when instead to give opponents a face-saving way to settle a dispute on terms favorable to you. How can you tell if a lawyer has people skills? You need to meet the lawyer in person to talk about your case before you hire anyone.

Your Situation

You want a lawyer who understands your particular situation. I've helped people with a wide variety of problems.
Business Owner or Manager
You might be in a dispute with your partner, your competitor, your former or current employees, your customers, your vendors, your landlord, your tenants — or some combination thereof. Chances are, I've helped someone in a similar predicament. I've helped business owners and managers in cases involving "freeze-outs," misappropriation of trade secrets, breach of contract, breach of lease, unlawful detainer, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, unfair competition, employment discrimination, and a wide variety of other issues. Let's see if I can help you, too.
In-House Counsel
You may just want a second opinion about a strategy or issue, or you may instead need outside counsel to represent the company in arbitration or litigation. Either way, you need to be able to show management that your decisions are sound, and that you've got costs under control. Contact me, and let's see if we can solve the unique problems that you, as in-house counsel, face.
Individual
You might be in a dispute over the sale of a house or condo. Or maybe you're in a dispute at work. Whatever the problem is, I've represented individuals in a wide variety of disputes, including disputes over real estate, "lemon law," employment discrimination, will contests, trust disputes, medical malpractice, securities broker malpractice, and more. Let's see if I can help you, or, if I cannot do it myself, let's see if I know someone else who can.
Fellow Attorney
You may need help with a particular project, or a particular case, or even several cases. But you don't want the nightmare of trying to hire one or more additional lawyers to help you, especially since your need for extra help could vanish overnight if one or two cases suddenly settle. Well, you've just found the solution. Let's talk about working together before your next crunch hits, so I can be "on call" to help you when you need reinforcements. Alternatively, if you believe that the best thing for your client would be a referral pursuant to Rule 2-200 of the California Rules of Professional Conduct, please contact me about entering into a written referral fee agreement per the rule.

Past Victories

Past performance, as they say, is no guarantee of future results, and no lawyer wins every case or guarantees favorable outcomes. But you want a lawyer who has actually won some cases, right? Of course you do. Here are summaries of some of the cases I've won:
  • Commercial Lease Dispute
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    The owner of a high-rise office building leased land next to it to a billboard company to erect a billboard. Years later, the billboard company made its sign bigger. The building owner, represented by a large law firm called Latham & Watkins, filed a lawsuit for hundreds of thousands of dollars, claiming the sign ruined the views from the office building.

    I won a jury verdict for the billboard company. Ask me how I quoted opposing counsel and used pictures in closing argument.
  • Computer Software Copyright Infringement
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    A computer hardware and software company, represented by a large law firm called Graham & James, sued a small computer repair company and its employees in federal court for breach of contract and software copyright infringement. The plaintiff corporation claimed that the individual defendants were former employees, and that they were inducing their customers to violate their maintenance agreements with the plaintiff.

    I won summary judgment for defendants, plus an attorney fees award.

    (Picture by Bilby)
  • Michael Jackson's Confidentiality Clause
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    The late singer Michael Jackson had a confidentiality clause in his contracts with his employees that could subject the employees to millions of dollars in liquidated damages for disclosing any facts about him to the public, even harmless facts.

    I won a bench trial decision invalidating that clause altogether in a lawsuit between Jackson, one of his companies, and a former employee. Ask me how I used broccoli in closing argument to show that the clause was unenforceable.
  • Trade Secret Customer List
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    A company spent a great deal of time and money finding customers to buy its product. Then several of its employees quit, started working for a competitor, and convinced the company's customers to take their business to their new employer.

    I won a jury verdict for the employer against the former employees and their new employer in an action for misappropriation of trade secrets. Ask me how I used a “Where’s Waldo” book in closing argument.
  • Breach of Warranty and Alter Ego
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    To reduce air pollution from its operations, a sign-making company paid a small fortune for a patented machine to "scrub" paint particles and other contaminants from its factory's exhaust.

    The manufacturer, however, neither licensed nor even used the patented design. Instead, the manufacturer’s president used his own design. He thought it would work just as well as the patented design. He was wrong. It did not work at all.

    I won a bench trial decision against the manufacturing company and against its shareholder -- the president -- for alter ego liability.

    (Picture by Jorge Royan)
  • Fraud: All Hat, No Cattle
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    A Texas oil man signed a contract to sell millions of dollars' worth of Canadian natural gas to a California company, which, in reliance on the contract, entered into contracts to re-sell the gas to its customers.

    There was just one problem: the Texan did not own any Canadian natural gas.

    Rather, he hoped to buy it after promising to sell it. He was unable to do so. As a result, the California company was unable to fulfill its contracts with its customers. I won a jury verdict for $6.6 million, half of which was punitive damages. Ask me how he made the jury laugh in closing argument.
  • Fast Food Restaurant Premises Liability
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    A retired college professor on a bicycle and a skate-boarder ran into each other on a ramp at a fast-food restaurant. The retired professor broke his hip and sued the restaurant, claiming the ramp was dangerous.

    I won a jury verdict for a defendant fast-food restaurant. Ask me about his cross-examination of the plaintiff’s daughter, and the key photograph taken after the accident.
  • The Nice Letter That Stopped a Class Action
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    A group of airplane owners sued an airport, claiming it had collected excessive property taxes from them.

    I convinced their lawyers to dismiss the lawsuit voluntarily by writing them a nice letter explaining a fatal flaw in their case.

    (Picture by Asylumkid)
  • Probate Litigation
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    When their landlord died, two tenants of a commercial building started claiming that he had signed a contract to sell them 50% of his building in exchange for a below-market price and an interest in their business.

    I won a bench trial decision for the deceased's estate in a probate trial.
  • Lemon Law
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    A woman paid over $45,000 for a brand-new, eight-cylinder Volkswagen Touareg luxury SUV. But the car was defective. There was a dangerous "lag" between the time you put your foot on the gas, and the time the car would actually start to move. The car also pulled to the right, and wore out front tires quickly.

    VW's settlement offer was a free oil change. I obtained an arbitration award requiring the manufacturer to give the consumer a full refund. Ask me how I used VW’s own technical bulletins against the company.

    (Picture by Zehner)
  • International Jurisdiction
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    A travel agency filed a lawsuit in L.A. against a travel agency in another country. The defendant had no offices or employees in California. The plaintiff and the defendant had dealt with one another only through the internet. I convinced the court to dismiss the action on the grounds that the court lacked jurisdiction over the defendant.

    Months later, the individual owner of the travel agency re-filed the same lawsuit against the same company, claiming that he personally, rather than his company, was the party to the contract with the defendant. I got his case dismissed on the grounds that he was bound by the prior ruling.

    (Picture by Tom-b)

Battle Plan

Everyone wants to win, but some lawyers fail to grasp that victory must be measured from the client's perspective, not the lawyer's perspective. Pyrrhic victories are not victories at all. For example, if you're the plaintiff, and you spend $300,000 in legal fees to obtain a $250,000 judgment, your lawyer might consider that a "victory," but you wouldn't.

My goal, in every case, whether you are the plaintiff or the defendant, is not just to win, but to win cost-efficiently. When you hire me, we will discuss the costs and benefits of pursuing various alternative strategies, and develop a "battle plan" to try to achieve the most best outcome for you, based on your objectives
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Avoiding Litigation

You know what's even better than winning a lawsuit? Avoiding litigation altogether. You can do that by having experienced lawyers draft written agreements that clearly spell out the parties' rights and obligations. I work with lawyers who do just that. An ounce of prevention, as they say, is worth a pound of cure. If you're entering into a significant transaction, or planning your estate, do yourself a favor and have an experienced transactional lawyer prepare or at least review your contracts.

Contact

Let's meet and talk about you and your situation, whether you're already in a dispute or not. Call me at 213.290.1709 or click here to email me. There is no charge for the initial consultation. Please note: you will not be a client unless and until we have a written agreement signed by both of us. My office is located at 9454 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 800, Beverly Hills, California 90212.