Business

Steady Counsel Across Changeable Economies Nationwide

California’s diverse business community adapts to bigger booms, deeper downturns and a wider range of risks than other regions. Archer Norris has been aligned strategically with national, regional and local commercial, corporate and entrepreneurial clients for over 50 years.

Archer Norris’s unique position as a California law firm comes in handy when we are called upon to extend our focus beyond California. Quite a few of our lawyers have been admitted to practice in other states, supporting clients who do business throughout the United States. Our recent transactional experience includes providing general counsel services for a Hawaiian start-up.

Focused on Deals and Litigation Defining Commerce in California and Beyond

Archer Norris attorneys are skilled dealmakers and litigators. Our clients range from individuals and family-owned businesses to Fortune 500 companies conducting business in the state. Industries we are active in include major utilities, banking, insurance, healthcare, manufacturing, real estate and construction.  

Scope of Business Legal Services
  • Contracts and Agreements
  • Corporate Counsel
  • Employment
  • Environmental
  • Finance
  • Government Approvals
  • Insurance Coverage
  • Intellectual Property
  • Issue Advocacy
  • Municipal Bond Finance
  • Real Estate / Land Use
Innovating Opportunities for Business and Government

Among private enterprises and government leaders, Archer Norris is known as a builder of trust and purveyor of practical solutions in politically sensitive and risk-filled environments. As we seek to get the deal done, Archer Norris attorneys identify and help to create unexpected business opportunities and reduce uncertainty for clients. 

Name Title Phone Email V-card
Caughman, Noël Partner 925.930.6600 vcard
Coffey, Colin Partner 925.930.6600 vcard
Collier, Sharon Partner 925.930.6600 vcard
Ficenec, James Partner 925.930.6600 vcard
Hinton, Robert Partner 213.437.4000 vcard
Hoang, Richard Senior Associate 213.437.4000 vcard
Kortum, John Partner 925.930.6600 vcard
Meekay, Diana Senior Associate 213.437.4000 vcard
Molinelli, Jasun Partner 925.930.6600 vcard
Norris, Richard Of Counsel 925.952.5421 vcard
Peiser, J. Virginia Of Counsel 925.930.6600 vcard
Peterson, Michael Partner 925.930.6600 vcard
Pleau-Fuller, Alissa Senior Associate 916.678.5308 vcard
Riso, Jennifer Partner 415.653.1480 vcard
Schwartz, Seth Partner 925.930.6600 vcard
Tonsing, Jon Of Counsel 925.930.6600 vcard
Tuy, Eric Senior Associate 415.653.1480 vcard
Ward, Kenneth Partner 925.952.5425 vcard
Winegrad, Lawrence Senior Associate 925.930.6600 vcard
Young, Zachary Associate 925.930.6600 vcard

Acquisitions and Dispositions

  • Mortgage Bank Asset Sale - Coordinated asset sale of a large mortgage bank/brokerage to a public corporation for cash and securities that positioned the sellers for significant market growth. This transaction necessitated a thorough understanding of the mortgage and brokerage business and careful attention to the incentive structure of the agreement.
  • Residential Subdivision Transaction - Resolved multiple issues triggered when a publicly-traded residential developer was unable to complete the sale of a proposed 500-lot transaction. With the client's permission, we secured a new purchaser, another Archer Norris client, and the deal closed on time. There were no penalties and the business needs of both developers were met.

Business Fraud Litigation

  • Business Fraud - Obtained a defense verdict, on behalf of insurers, in an extensive, high-demand trial involving allegations of business fraud.
  • Business Torts Verdicts - Acted as plaintiff's counsel in a business torts case involving claims of misappropriation of quarry resources made by our client against his former business partner. We obtained a multimillion-dollar verdict on his behalf. In another case, we achieved a defense verdict for laboratory executives charged with allegations of misrepresentation brought by an investor.

Class and Mass Action Litigation

  • Agribusiness Litigation - In precedent-setting litigation arising out of efforts to control seawater intrusion in the Salinas Valley, we represented a coalition of growers in overturning the Monterey County Water Agency's attempt to regulate agricultural groundwater extraction. In the process, Archer Norris attorneys improved the public participation process that allowed the growers and the agency to work together toward a consensual solution.
  • Class Action Lawsuits - Achieve early dismissal and prevent class certification for numerous national corporations in multiparty, high-demand cases, including for a national moving company facing class allegations of violating federal transportation and state consumer protection laws.
  • National Litigation Coordinating Counsel - Serving as litigation coordinator for a national defendant, a five-billion dollar, Fortune 500 company which is an international distributor of electrical and communications products.
  • Premises and Products Liability - Extensive experience defending national retailers and corporations in their California claims in products liability and premises liability.

Construction Transactions and Litigation

  • Civil Engineering Counsel - Transactional and employment counsel, including on for an employment manual, for an Irvine, CA-based civil engineering firm. The rapidly expanding and award-winning firm's portfolio includes major infrastructure, commercial and sustainable-approach projects.
  • Construction Business Dispute - Represented Chevron in a $30 million claim for cost overruns, manufacturing delays, and breach of contract in the construction of several offshore oil platforms. The binding arbitration before a three-judge panel in Houston resulted in a confidential settlement. Among the issues were extreme time constraints due to a “fast track” schedule, analysis and exchange of almost 100,000 pages of complex documents, involvement of a bankruptcy court, and verification of Letters of Credit for the benefit of Chevron.

Employment Counsel and Litigation

  • Civil Engineering Counsel - Transactional and employment counsel, including on for an employment manual, for an Irvine, CA-based civil engineering firm. The rapidly expanding and award-winning firm's portfolio includes major infrastructure, commercial and sustainable-approach projects.
  • Employment Agreement Enforcement - Defended a global medical device manufacturer in litigation where its quality assurance manager claimed he was terminated after complaining about major patient safety issues. We persuaded the trial and appellate courts to enforce the arbitration provision in the employment agreement. We also successfully positioned the case so that the multimillion-dollar claim was resolved through mediation for a small fraction of the plaintiff's demand.
  • Discrimination, Harassment and Wrongful Termination - Favorably resolve and defend numerous sexual harassment, discrimination and wrongful termination claims for businesses throughout the state. In one case, we obtained a defense verdict for an employer against claims of wrongful termination, sexual discrimination and defamation by a pregnant and unwed employee.
  • EEOC Claim - Provided background advice, research, and investigation that enabled an employer to resolve successfully wrongful termination and race discrimination claims in an EEOC mediation program.
  • Wage and Hour Claims - Advise numerous employers on wage and hour disputes and successfully resolve these claims.

Environmental and Toxic Torts Litigation

  • Environmental Claims - Provide comprehensive environmental counsel to private companies. In one matter, we defended a national retailer of auto parts in a statewide action brought by the state attorney general and district attorneys arising from alleged spills and environmental compliance issues.

Family-Owned Business Counsel

  • Family-Owned Business Sale - Represented the owners of a family-held regional solid waste company in a transaction exceeding $100 million. The negotiations culminated in the sale of the company to a publicly-traded corporation. Counsel ranged from determining terms of sale and selecting an investment banker to structuring agreements with third parties including public agencies and employees.

General Business Counsel

  • Prevent Airport Closure - Represented regional business interests, including the largest owners of commercial and office space in the region, when county officials and competing developers attempted to close a local airport. We identified significant contractual, public policy and legal arguments against the closing of the airport. In a lobbying effort that reached to Washington D.C, we achieved our clients' goals when the county ultimately abandoned its efforts and the airport remains open today.
  • Intellectual Property - Achieved a favorable settlement for a software company allegedly in violation of intellectual property rights in a "look and feel" case contending copyright infringement.

Financial Services Litigation

  • Consumer Lending - Represent several banks and financial services companies in consumer claims involving the Truth in Lending Act (TILA), fraud, Fair Debt Collection Practice Acts (FDCPA), Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) and other regulatory issues for licensed and regulated lenders.

Healthcare Facility Counsel

  • Hospital Restructure - Reinvigorated a Contra Costa healthcare facility by restructuring its partnership with the county and positioning it as a newly viable institution.

Public Finance

  • $25,905,000 CPCFA Variable Rate Demand Solid Waste Disposal Revenue Bonds for California Waste Solutions, Inc. Project. Enhanced by an irrevocable direct pay Letter of Credit issued by East-West Bank, with the letter of credit enhanced by an irrevocable Confirming Letter of Credit issued by California State Teachers’ Retirement System. The proceeds of the sale of the Bonds were loaned by the CPCFA to California Waste Solutions, Inc., a California corporation, to be used to acquire, construct, renovate and equip certain solid waste disposal facilities located in the Cities of Oakland and San Jose, California.
  • $9,960,000 California Statewide Communities Development Authority Revenue Bonds -YMCA of the East Bay Project. A conduit financing. The Bonds were issued for the purpose of financing and refinancing the acquisition, design, construction and equipping of certain community facilities to be owned and operated by YMCA. Payable solely from and secured by a pledge of revenues, the Bonds were enhanced by a Letter of Credit.
  • $26,000,000 Certificates of Participation Evidencing the Direct, Undivided Fractional Interests of the Owners Thereof in Installment Payments to be Made by the West Contra Costa Healthcare District. For the purpose of providing the Healthcare District funds to finance working capital expenses. The COPs were secured by proceeds of the parcel tax passed in a special election by the District electorate.
  • $6,800,000 City of Martinez Multifamily Mortgage Revenue Refunding Bonds and $3,399,000 Variable Rate Demand Taxable Multifamily Housing Revenue. For affordable housing. The prior series of bonds (backed by a GNMA mortgage security) were defeased with the proceeds of these refunding bonds issued by the City of Martinez for Muirwood Square Investors, A Limited Partnership.
  • $22,450,000 County of Madera 2005 Certificates of Participation (Government Center Project). Issued to finance a portion of the cost of the construction of a new government center and related parking structure and to purchase a surety bond for deposit in a reserve fund for the lease payments. The COPs were guaranteed under a financial guaranty insurance policy issued by Ambac Assurance Corporation.

Public Private Partnerships

  • Waste Management PPP - Negotiated a comprehensive, multijurisdictional public-private agreement for the establishment and operation of a major solid waste facility, as well as bond financing to construct the facility.

Real Estate Development

  • Property Development - Assisted PG&E in marketing their vacant property in the Brickyard Cove area in the City of Richmond. Our tasks included determining the site's potential for residential development, clarifying questions regarding access to the property, assisting PG&E in drafting its Request for Proposal, and identifying candidates to receive the RFP.
  • Planned Community Development - Negotiated and developed the agreements for a 3,000-unit residential and one-million-square foot, commercial planned community that balanced the interests of the developer, the municipality, and the community.
  • Mobile Home Park Counsel - Provide comprehensive counsel to trailer park owners in litigation and business issues, including rezoning and relocation, throughout the state