William Delgado of Willenken Wilson Loh & Delgado ()
Willenken Wilson Loh & Delgado is no place for attorneys to cut their teeth. The Los Angeles-based litigation boutique, which opened its doors in 2002, comprises a dozen veteran lawyers who contributed to a string of wins last year for major companies, name partner William Delgado said.
Those lawyers – who have come from top firms that include Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher; Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher, & Flom; Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr; and others — don’t join the firm looking for their “first rodeo,” he said.
“Our lawyers are trained at the country’s best law firms, not ours,” said Delgado, who worked at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan before moving to Willenken in 2004.
In 2013, the small litigation shop picked up victories on behalf of some very big clients, including Microsoft Corp., Walgreen Co. and Southern California Gas Co.
Delgado and partner Eileen Ahern successfully represented Microsoft in Sokolowski v. Microsoft, a consumer class action brought in November 2012 over its Surface tablet, released for sale the previous month. The plaintiff alleged the device had less usable storage capacity than advertised.
U.S. District Judge Manuel Real of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in February 2013 dismissed the case in favor of arbitration, siding with Microsoft. The parties agreed to a settlement for an amount that Delgado declined to reveal, although he called it a “good result.” Given the then-recent release of the Surface, Delgado said, the case presented a “make-or-break” situation for his firm.
Delgado and Ahern followed with another win for Microsoft. This time, the lawyers convinced U.S. District Judge Stephen Wilson of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California to deny class certification in Gossoo v. Microsoft. The class action relied on the Song Beverly Credit Card Act, a 1971 law that prohibits retailers from using customer’s personal identifying information as a condition to accepting credit card payment. The judge found that the law was not intended to apply to Internet commerce. A trial for the individual plaintiff claims is scheduled for April.
For Walgreens in 2013, name partner Jason Wilson secured a dismissal of a commercial lease case that property company Nordhoff Way LLC brought in Los Angeles County Superior Court. Nordhoff claimed that Walgreens owed it more than $3.75 million after the pharmacy chain decided it didn’t want to open a store in a Nordhoff development in Northridge, Calif. For Southern California Gas, name partner Paul Loh last year reached a $145,000 settlement in a products liability case brought in the Los Angeles County Superior Court over a natural gas tank rupture. The settlement amount was the lowest among the case’s five defendants that settled, according to the firm.
Brian Panish, a Panish Shea & Boyle partner who helped represent the plaintiffs in the case, said he was impressed by Willenken. Loh, he said, “was on top of things.”
► Trial preparation starts the day the case comes in the door. Knowing who your witnesses might be, what documents you might use as exhibits, what evidence you need to present to satisfy the jury instructions—all of these things should be considered up-front.
► At trial, the jury is always watching. Every time they see you—whether it’s in the parking lot or yawning during your opponent’s cross-examination—they are making a judgment.
Based: Los Angeles
Total No. of Attorneys: 12