Mark Cramer represents clients in complex litigation matters, ranging from arm's length contract disputes to nationwide class actions. He has litigated and arbitrated numerous cases alleging fraud, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, unfair competition, and false advertising. He has represented and advised corporations, private equity funds, and corporate officers and directors in a variety of disputes. He has also represented clients in a number of major bankruptcy and intellectual property cases. Mark's experience includes a wide range of products and technologies, including air traffic control systems, anti-tank missiles, Bluetooth headsets, cellphones, mp3 players, fast food, and satellite television.
Mark is actively involved in pro bono work and heads the Los Angeles office's pro bono program. He obtained a unanimous reversal in the Ninth Circuit in a case of first impression under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. In re B. Del C.S.B., 559 F.3d 999 (9th Cir. 2009). The ruling was widely reported by the Los Angeles Times, the Orange County Register, and the Associated Press. In addition, Mark served as amicus counsel to a number of crime victims and relatives of crime victims in a post-conviction DNA testing case in the United States Supreme Court. District Attorney's Office v. Osborne, 557 U.S. (2009). The amicus brief was featured by Nina Totenberg, the award winning legal correspondent on National Public Radio. Mark also served as amicus counsel to The Claremont Institute Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence in a redevelopment abuse case, Fontana Redevelopment Agency v. Torres, 153 Cal. App. 4th 902 (2007), in which he successfully advocated for the reversal of a trial court decision validating a redevelopment agency's misuse of property tax revenues.
Complex Commercial and Class Action Litigation:
Represents a manufacturer of wireless headsets in a putative nationwide class action based on alleged risk of hearing loss. The litigation began as a series of separate putative class action lawsuits filed across the country that were subsequently transferred and consolidated in the Central District of California as a Multi-District Litigation.
Represents an alarm system company in two coordinated putative class action lawsuits alleging fraud, breach of contract, unfair business practices, and violations of the California Consumers Legal Remedies Act based on early termination fees. The court sustained demurrers to all causes of action without leave to amend.
Secured a unanimous jury verdict in favor of Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc., finding that the studio was not to blame for career-ending injuries sustained by a water safety diver on the set of the film "Flags of Our Fathers." The plaintiff sought more than $10 million in compensatory and punitive damages under a number of theories, including claims under the Jones Act. The defendants won summary judgment on the punitive damages claim and went to trial on the remaining claims. After a four week trial, the jury found Warner Bros. followed appropriate safe practices and was not negligent. Clint Eastwood's company Malpaso Productions was dismissed at the end of plaintiff's case. The jury verdict was affirmed on appeal.
Represented IMG Worldwide, Inc., in a high-profile trade secret litigation against a former IMG sports agent for breach of confidentiality, non-solicitation and misappropriation of trade secrets. The matter was settled after the parties reached a confidential settlement. The case was profiled in The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, and the Sports Business Journal.
Represented The Home Depot in a putative class action alleging breach of contract, unfair business practices, and violations of the California Consumers Legal Remedies Act in connection with The Home Depot's cabinet refacing business. The case was dismissed with prejudice in a published opinion, which the Ninth Circuit affirmed on appeal. See Spiegler v. Home Depot, U.S.A., Inc., 552 F. Supp. 2d 1036 (C.D. Cal. 2008), aff'd 2009 WL 3358556, No. 08-55782 (9th Cir. October 20, 2009).
Represented The Home Depot in a putative class action brought under California's Unfair Competition Law and the Consumers Legal Remedies Act based on The Home Depot's sale of water heaters. The District Court dismissed the case without leave to amend and the Ninth Circuit affirmed.
Represented the leading provider of identity theft protection services in a dispute with one of the big three national credit reporting agencies involving allegations of fraud, unfair competition and false advertising. The case settled on favorable terms shortly before trial.
Represented the California Institute of Technology in a putative class action brought by a number of employees challenging the constitutionality of a NASA-ordered background check program implemented at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Caltech was dismissed from the case as a matter of law without leave to amend. See Nelson v. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, et al., 530 F.3d 865 (9th Cir. 2008); Nelson v. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, et al., 506 F.3d 713 (9th Cir. 2007).
Represented The DIRECTV Group in litigation brought by a minority shareholder seeking to block various transactions involving DIRECTV Latin America, LLC and seeking significant monetary damages. The DIRECTV Group obtained summary judgment in the United States District Court in New York, which resulted in the dismissal of more than $1 billion in damages claims. See The DIRECTV Group v. Darlene Investments, LLC, 2006 WL 2773024 (S.D.N.Y. 2006).
Represented DIRECTV, Inc. in a number of consolidated lawsuits seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in damages based on alleged unfair business practices, breach of contract, and other legal theories. Several pretrial victories resulted in published decisions. See NRTC v. DIRECTV, Inc., 221 F.R.D. 522 (C.D. Cal. 2004); NRTC v. DIRECTV, Inc., 319 F. Supp. 2d 1040 (C.D. Cal. 2003); NRTC v. DIRECTV, Inc., 319 F. Supp. 2d 1059 (C.D. Cal. 2003); NRTC v. DIRECTV, Inc., 319 F. Supp. 2d 1094 (C.D. Cal. 2003). The cases settled on the eve of trial without any monetary payment from DIRECTV.
Represented a privately-held corporation, its directors, and majority shareholders in a lawsuit brought by a minority shareholder alleging breach of fiduciary duties and seeking to impose a constructive trust based on alleged fraud, self-dealing and bad faith based on the corporate board's unanimous decision to approve the issuance and offering of stock to all shareholders at a specific price. The case settled on favorable terms before trial.
Represented a global consulting firm in a federal lawsuit alleging claims for breach of contract, fraud, and breach of fiduciary duty in connection with the client's calculation and reporting of financial projections. The case settled on favorable terms after the District Court dismissed a number of plaintiff's claims.
Represented a consumer technology company in a putative nationwide class action alleging violations of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act or "FACTA." The plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed the case without any monetary payment or other consideration.
Served as one of the lead attorneys representing the Trustee in a bankruptcy case and hundreds of related adversary proceedings arising out of one of the largest Ponzi schemes in United States history. Prevailed on summary judgment against numerous defendants and, in the process, established new law in the Ninth Circuit concerning litigation arising out of failed Ponzi schemes. Rosen v. Neilson (In re Slatkin), 310 B.R. 740 (C.D. Cal. 2004); Jenner v. Neilson (In re Slatkin), 222 Fed. Appx. 545 (9th Cir. 2007).
Represented DIRECTV in defense of litigation initiated by debtor alleging that DIRECTV caused debtor's bankruptcy and several hundred million dollars in damages. Successfully defeated multiple requests for injunctive relief in the Bankruptcy Court in Portland, Maine.
Represented the Trustee in a bankruptcy case involving one of the largest food wholesalers in the country. Successfully resolved hundreds of preference actions through mediation and arm's length settlement negotiations.
Intellectual Property Litigation:
Represented a leading computer, mobile device and media player company in a number of related patent infringement suits initiated by a competitor seeking to ban the sale of iPods in the United States. Mark was mentioned in the "Big Suits" column of the November 1, 2006 edition of The American Lawyer reporting the settlement of the dispute.
Represented El Pollo Loco USA in a contract and trademark dispute with El Pollo Loco Mexico. The case was governed by Mexican law and involved the ownership rights of the El Pollo Loco brand in Mexico. See El Pollo Loco, S.A. de C.V. v. El Pollo Loco, Inc., 344 F. Supp. 2d 986 (S.D. Tex. 2004).
Memberships & Affiliations
Western Center On Law & Poverty
- Board of Directors (2007-present)
- Advisory Board President (2004-2007)
Los Angeles County Bar Foundation Board of Directors
Los Angeles County Bar Association
Pepperdine University School of Law Board of Visitors
California State Bar, Committee on Federal Courts (2005-2007)
For the past four years, Mark has been named a "Rising Star" after a nomination and polling process conducted by Law and Politics and published by Los Angeles magazine and Southern California Super Lawyers.
"Conquering Legal Xenophobia: Tips for Presenting and Proving the Laws of Foreign Countries in Federal Courts," Bloomberg Law Reports—Litigation, Vol. 1, No. 1 (2011)
"Swindlers' List," Los Angeles Lawyer, June 2009 (co-author); cover story examining the legal issues facing victims of collapsed Ponzi schemes
"In the Wake of Collapse: Approaches to Ponzi Scheme Litigation," Kirkland Alert, February 2009 (co-author)
Note, Contracts Written in Stone: An Examination of United States v. Winstar Corp., 25 Pepp. L. Rev. 567 (1998)
Adjunct Professor of Law, Pepperdine University School of Law.
Civil Litigation and Discovery: A Cost-Benefit Analysis, presented at a symposium entitled Cross-border Dispute Resolution Between U.S. (California) and Japan: What Should Our Future Practice Be--- Learning From Each Other, co-sponsored by the Dai-Ichi Tokyo Bar Association and the International Law Section of the State Bar of California (Tokyo, Japan; May 2010).
Guest Lecturer, Commercial Speech and False Advertising Law, University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism (Spring 2010; Spring 2011).
United States Supreme Court
Supreme Court of California
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
U.S. District Court for the Central District of California
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of CaliforniaU.S. District Court for the Southern District of California