Jeff Valle Significant Cases
Mr. Valle has represented clients in numerous significant cases. Examples of cases Mr. Valle has handled include the following:
- Mr. Valle represented Nicole Nagel in a fraudulent transfer lawsuit alleging that defendants, by transferring property out of state and seeking to take advantage of Texas’s unlimited homestead exemption, engaged in fraudulent transfers. The Defendants claimed that since they did not transfer property to a third party there could not be a fraudulent transfer. In a unanimous opinion of the California Court of Appeal, certified for publication, Nagel v. Westen (1/7/2021), the Court ruled in favor of Valle Makoff’s client, holding that a conversion of assets from non-exempt to exempt, even without a third party transferee, constitutes a “transfer” under California’s fraudulent transfer law, and thus is subject to a fraudulent transfer claim. This ruling made new law in California and expanded the rights and protections of judgment creditors is pursing fraudulent transfer actions.
- Mr. Valle represented The Walt Disney Company for many years in the famous Winnie The Pooh royalty dispute, where hundreds of millions of dollars and rights to Disney’s popular character itself were at stake. Mr. Valle took the video-taped deposition of the plaintiff for seven days in this lawsuit which the New Yorkermagazine described as a “modern epic.” The case was the longest pending matter on the Los Angeles docket until it was eventually dismissed by the judge in Disney’s favor.
- Mr. Valle represented American Medical International Inc. in a class action lawsuit brought by AMI bondholders alleging that the company and its directors breached their fiduciary duty to them in connection with a contest for control of the company. Mr. Valle obtained summary judgment on behalf of both AMI and its directors, which was affirmed on appeal. The landmark appellate court decision, Pittelman v. Pearce, 6 Cal. App. 4th 1436 (1992), established that a company does not owe a fiduciary duty to bondholders in a corporate control context and remains today the leading case on the issue.
- Mr. Valle represented KCAL-TV in a copyright infringement claim arising out of its broadcast of the videotape of the Reginald Denny beating during the Los Angeles riots which resulted in a leading published Ninth Circuit opinion on the “fair use” doctrine under copyright law. Los Angeles News Service v. K-CAL-TV Channel 9, 108 F. 3d 1119 (1997).
- Mr. Valle represented television and motion picture writer James L. Brooks in a series of royalty disputes over various shows he created, including The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Lou Grant, and Taxi. He negotiated a highly favorable settlement of all outstanding royalty issues.
- Mr. Valle represented Lockheed Corporation and its directors in a lawsuit arising out of a proxy contest by takeover artist Harold Simmons for control of the company. After a two week jury trial, he obtained a partial defense verdict which led to a settlement of the entire case.
- Mr. Valle represented The Walt Disney Company, and obtained a summary judgment dismissing the lawsuit in its entirety, in a lawsuit alleging that Disney’s blockbuster motion picture Pretty Woman infringed plaintiff’s screenplay.
- Mr. Valle represented actor Kevin Costner, and obtained a stipulated injunction in his favor, in connection with a dispute over the misappropriation of Mr. Costner’s name and likeness in a motion picture advertisement.
- Mr. Valle represented Grey Advertising in an action by the music group ZZ Top claiming that a television commercial created by Grey Advertising infringed upon ZZ Top’s hit song La Grange. Utilizing his musical background, Mr. Valle successfully negotiated a settlement by creating, and playing for the judge, a compact disc illustrating a series of rock songs using a similar musical riff.
- Mr. Valle represented The Washington Group in litigation against Raytheon Corp. involving contract and related disputes flowing from The Washington Group’s purchase of a substantial portion of Raytheon’s business. After extensive litigation, the matter was ultimately settled on favorable terms.
- Obtained a $2 million jury verdict in a wrongful termination action on behalf of our client, the former President of Digital Domain, a leading Hollywood special effects firm, in a breach of contract and wrongful termination lawsuit. The jury found, among other things, that our client had been terminated in violation of public policy.
- Mr. Valle represented Cendant Corp., and its subsidiary Century 21 Real Estate Corp., in a series of false advertising cases with ReMax International, Inc. involving a dispute over, among other things, which company was the number one realtor in the nation. He obtained a successful global settlement of entire dispute shortly before trial of the first case.
- Mr. Valle represented Reeves Entertainment, producers of the television series Gimme a Break and Kate & Allie, in a lawsuit against Universal Pictures alleging unlawful tying, block booking, and various related claims in connection with Universal’s syndication of the two television shows. He obtained a highly favorable settlement shortly before trial.