On the Saturday before trial in April 2013, Mark Molumphy struck a $105 million settlement with Wells Fargo Bank N.A. over its alleged role in a $1 billion Ponzi scheme. Molumphy, a principal at Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, had reached a $114 million deal previously with Bank of New York Mellon Corp. But this time was different, he said.
“There was a lot more circumstantial evidence we had to gather with Wells Fargo, and that’s why it settled much later,” he said. “And Wells Fargo knew that, too. They were much more confident in their defense than Bank of New York Mellon was.”
Then there was the receiver of Medical Capital Holdings Inc., the company at the center of the scheme, who had failed to get a $106 million agreement with both banks approved. In obtaining double what the receiver would have recovered for investors, co-counsel Jeff Westerman of Westerman Law Corp. said he and Molumphy played on their strengths. “He has an excellent ability to spot the issues and pay attention to the critical detail,” he said of Molumphy.
Frank Pitre, a principal in the Burlin­game, Calif., firm, obtained more than $250 million in settlements in a 2010 gas pipeline blast in San Bruno, Calif., that killed eight people, injured dozens and destroyed 38 homes. On November 8, 2012, the judge spurned Pacific Gas and Electric Co.’s motion to toss punitive damages. After that, “you saw PG&E make a major effort to settle those cases,” Pitre said.
Pitre also played a key role in the $1.6 billion settlement with Toyota last year. The deal resolved economic damages claims by consumers who alleged their vehicles lost value following the 2010 sudden-acceleration recalls. Pitre represented dealerships and car rental companies.