A litigation partner in the Los Angeles office, Melissa Ingalls has a wide-ranging complex commercial litigation practice, including contract and business tort disputes, consumer fraud claims and other class action defense, employment-related matters and insurance coverage matters. She has been involved in numerous jury and bench trials in state and federal courts and has handled matters in arbitration.
In March 2005, Melissa was named one of the Top 20 Attorneys Under 40 by the Daily Journal Extra.
In 2005, 2006 and 2009, Melissa was named one of California's Top Women Litigators by the Daily Journal.
Melissa is a member of Kirkland's Firmwide Diversity and Recruiting Committees.
Acts as national counsel on several pending putative class actions filed against DIRECTV, Inc., which have been consolidated in an MDL proceeding in California federal district court, regarding fees assessed to customers who choose not to fulfill their agreements to purchase programming for a certain period of time, after receiving equipment and other services for free or at drastically reduced prices. Also representing DIRECTV, Inc. in putative nationwide class action cases in California federal court alleging violations of California consumer fraud statutes regarding the lease and use of DIRECTV receiving equipment.
Represent DIRECTV against a putative nationwide class action alleging that DIRECTV was falsely advertising its High Definition programming service. The plaintiff sought to represent a class of millions of DIRECTV subscribers to its HD programming service and asked for damages (allegedly in the hundreds of millions of dollars) and injunctive relief. Kirkland defeated the plaintiff's motion for class certification, and secured the Second District Court of Appeal's affirmance in one of the first appellate opinions regarding class certification after the California Supreme Court's decision in In re Tobacco II. See Cohen v. DIRECTV, Inc., (2009) 178 Cal. App. 4th 966. The California Supreme Court denied review.
Represent client before Federal Trade Commission on matters concerning consumer complaints related to telemarketing and credit scoring.
Represented General Motors in trade secret misappropriation case against Finmeccanica, an Italian conglomerate, regarding development of axial flux permanent magnet wheel motors. Matter settled favorably for client.
Represent DIRECTV, Inc. in putative nationwide consumer class action alleging violations of consumer fraud statutes with respect to late fees and other administrative fees. In Bess v. DIRECTV, Inc., 381 Ill. App. 3d 229 (2008), the Illinois Appellate Court, in a rare rehearing opinion, reversed itself and found that the arbitration provision in the 2001 DIRECTV Customer Agreement was enforceable under Illinois law. Once in arbitration, Kirkland convinced the AAA Arbitrator to dismiss the nationwide class claims that were alleged to exceed $300,000,000 in damages.
Represented Ad Hoc Committee of Non-Agent Secured Lenders (group of 430 lending institutions) in Adelphia Recovery Trust v. Bank of America et. al. Plaintiffs alleged that some of the lenders knew or consciously avoided knowing that the Rigas Family, who controlled Adelphia, misused funds from Adelphia's pre-petition credit facilities, and sought over $4.5 Billion in recovery. On June 17, 2008, the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York dismissed all claims against the Non-Agent lender group, including actions for fraudulent transfers, preferences, equitable subordination and equitable disallowance.
Represented Gary K. Michelson, M.D., and Karlin Technology, Inc. in lawsuit against Medtronic Sofamor Danek, Inc. and Medtronic, Inc. regarding breaches of various contracts, tortious interference and patent infringement related to spinal implant technology, methods and instruments. After a three-month jury trial, obtained a jury verdict of $560 million against Medtronic, and findings of breach of various licensing agreements and patent infringement on all six asserted patents related to spinal instrument systems. The case was featured in The American Lawyer's Big Suits column, and Corporate Counsel's Deal & Suits column.
Represented DIRECTV, Inc. in contract dispute against Pegasus Satellite Television in federal district court in Los Angeles. After a three-week jury trial, obtained over $62 million judgment for DIRECTV. The case was selected as one of the Top Ten Plaintiff's Verdicts of 2004 by the Daily Journal Extra and one of the Top 100 Verdicts of 2004 by the National Law Journal.
Represented GKM Trust in lawsuit against Medtronic Sofamor Danek, Inc. and Medtronic, Inc. to enforce conversion of promissory note into over $30 million of Medtronic, Inc. common stock and recovery of attorneys' fees. Obtained summary judgment in favor of client.
Represented client and its employee in lawsuit filed by employee's former employer (client's competitor), alleging violation of non-compete and confidentiality agreements. Successfully defeated motions for temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction and action ultimately dismissed without any recovery to client's competitor.
Represented DIRECTV, Inc. in class action case alleging DIRECTV violated antitrust laws and unfair business practices statute (§ 17200 et seq.) because of relationships DIRECTV had with retailers and programmers. Successfully moved to stay and compel arbitration. See Bischoff v. DIRECTV, Inc., 180 F. Supp. 2d 1097 (C.D. Cal. 2002). Matter settled favorably for client.
Represented staffing company before EEOC regarding race discrimination claim filed by at-will employee who was terminated for poor performance. Matter settled favorably for client.
Represented America Online in trade secret misappropriation case relating to marketing and billing long distance telephone service over the internet. Matter settled favorably for client.
Represented General Motors Acceptance Corporation in case brought by GM dealership, who alleged GMAC violated California Business & Professions Code § 17200 et seq. by calculating interest using 365/360 method. Obtained directed verdict on private attorney general claim, and on individual claim. Trial court verdicts upheld on appeal, in published opinion. See South Bay Chevrolet v. GMAC, 72 Cal. App. 4th 861 (1999).
Represented the owner of the Northridge, California shopping mall in a dispute over insurance coverage for damage and business interruption caused by the Northridge earthquake. Arbitration in Los Angeles before a retired judge. Recovered full amount of coverage sought. Related state court lawsuit against insurer to recover defense and settlement costs in cases brought by shopping mall commercial tenants favorably settled after obtaining summary judgment on insurer's duty to defend; all defense costs recovered.
Represented Hughes Aircraft Company in breach of contract and business tort lawsuit brought by Qualcomm, relating to MMIC chips and hybrid circuits for a mobile satellite communications system. Part of trial team that obtained directed verdict in Hughes' favor after Qualcomm's case-in-chief and won $3 million in attorneys' fees and costs. Case settled favorably for client pending appeal.
Memberships & Affiliations
Los Angeles County Bar Association (Litigation Section)
American Bar Association (Litigation Section)
Member, Board of Directors, Public Counsel
Authored "INDOPCO, Inc. v. Commissioner: Determining the Taxable Nature of a Target Corporation's Takeover Expenses," 43 DePaul Law Review 1165 (1994). Named "Worth Reading" by the National Law Journal, Vol. 17, No. 26 (February 27, 1995).
Prior ExperienceAssistant General Counsel, DIRECTV, Inc. (2001-2002)