Paul D. Murphy
Paul is a founding member of the firm. Paul’s practice focuses primarily on complex business litigation. He was recently named one of the “Top 100 Attorneys in Southern California” by Los Angeles Magazine, has the highest AV rating in Martindale Hubbell, and is regularly listed in various publications as one of the top attorneys in his field.
Paul is licensed to practice law in the states of California and New York, and has litigated and tried cases in state and federal courts across the country on behalf of both plaintiffs and defendants. He has also represented clients in various congressional investigations and has defended witnesses in testimony before Congress.
Paul’s experience includes litigating matters involving: breach of contract; breach of fiduciary duty and other business torts; corporate and partnership disputes; real estate transactions; professional malpractice; theft of trade secrets; entertainment financing; and copyright and trademark infringement. Paul also represents foreign clients in litigation in the United States, including clients from Great Britain, the Netherlands, China and Taiwan.
Paul also has extensive experience in filing anti-SLAPP motions, a vehicle by which we get cases against our clients thrown out at the pleading stage, with our clients recovering their attorneys' fees. Over his career, Paul has filed and defended dozens of anti-SLAPP motions, losing just one. In part due to Paul’s work in this area, Murphy Rosen was recently honored as “Best for Anti-SLAPP Motions” by Legal Elite.
A representative sample of Paul’s current and recent cases include:
- Defending various medical service providers in a federal RICO case filed against our clients by State Compensation Insurance Fund alleging scheme to defraud it and seeking damages in excess of $110 million. After three years of active litigation, the judge granted our clients’ motion for summary judgment on all claims and awarded our client attorneys’ fees of $4.4 million. The matter is now on appeal.
- Prosecuting a claim for legal malpractice against a high profile lawyer and law firm concerning the drafting of trust documents involving fifty million dollars in trust assets. Paul is also assisting as trial counsel in the related probate litigation.
- Prosecuting and defending cross claims between shareholders of two companies that own nearly 100 fast and fast-casual food franchises in the Southwest United States. After a group of officers misappropriated company funds, their corporate positions were terminated and their shares purchased over their objection. The case involves intricate factual and legal issues relating to misappropriation, unclean hands, and breach of fiduciary duties.
- Successfully defended a $100 million claim filed by three lenders against the owners of a bankrupt real estate development company. This complex case involved overlapping state court and bankruptcy issues regarding successor liability and alter ego. By the time Paul and his team finished litigating the case, one lender dismissed its claims against our clients for a waiver of costs, and the other two lenders settled for well-below nuisance value.
- After a jury awarded $10 million against two lawyers for legal malpractice, Paul was hired to file post-trial motions. The motions were successful and the judge threw out the entire jury verdict against our client.
- Prosecuted a trade secrets case in federal court on behalf of the largest provider of language interpretation services against a competitor who solicited our client's employees and misappropriated extremely sensitive trade secret information. The court issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting the competitor from soliciting our client's customers or using the trade secret information. The court also granted our "anti-SLAPP" motion to strike the competitor's cross-complaint.
- Obtained a $5 million award for our client at an arbitration involving a dispute over the breach of an exclusive agency agreement in the garment industry between a U.S. sales agent and a Chinese manufacturing representative.
Other significant cases headed by Mr. Murphy include:
- Paul regularly defends two different Fortune 1000 companies in dozens of products liability lawsuits involving allegations that the companies manufactured or distributed products containing asbestos, silica and other allegedly harmful substances. Paul settled a few for nuisance value, but in the vast majority of the cases, Paul either won summary judgment or obtained an outright dismissal with prejudice with no payment of money.
- Paul regularly represents charities in litigation with both regulatory agencies and third parties. These cases often involve complicated issues of freedom of speech and the inherent tension between costs to fundraise versus ensuring donated funds are directed toward accomplishing the goals of the charity.
- In a case brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission against one of the firm's corporate clients based on misrepresentations regarding real estate transactions, after the first day of trial, the Securities and Exchange Commission dismissed the case with prejudice.
- Paul obtained a confidential settlement for Roy Olofson, the former vice President of Finance, in the Global Crossing bankruptcy scandal, in an action against other Global Crossing executives for defamation and wrongful termination. Paul also represented Mr. Olofson during his related testimony before Congress.
- Paul has represented several high profile college and NBA coaches in various disputes. For example, he represented former NBA basketball coach Bill Fitch in an action against the Los Angeles Clippers for wrongful termination and failure to pay guaranteed compensation. Paul negotiated a favorable settlement on the eve of trial.
- Paul obtained a nationwide injunction against Paychex, Inc. under California's Unfair Trade Practices Act that prohibited Paychex from terminating their licensing arrangement with dozens of small payroll companies.
- In a case involving theft of trade secrets where Paul represented a well-known dealer in Art Deco furniture and accessories, Paul obtained a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction prohibiting the defendants from soliciting the client's customers and forcing the defendants to return stolen documents.
- In a case that is representative of Paul’s many partnership and corporate dissolution cases, he represented the dissolved law firm of Dickson, Carlson & Campillo in a dispute against one of its former law partners and the now defunct law firm of Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison for allegedly stealing Dickson Carlson's largest client. The case involved cutting-edge issues of breach of fiduciary duty and resulted in a precedent-setting decision by the California Court of Appeal. Our client was ultimately awarded $4.1 million in damages.
- Paul represented the Motion Pictures Association of America and its constituent members for claims of copyright infringement against a former Sheriff's office who was caught manufacturing and distributing pirated DVDs.
Paul also has represented individuals charged with white collar crimes, including corporate embezzlement, espionage, securities fraud, campaign finance fraud, telemarketing fraud and counterfeiting of intellectual property. Paul was part of the team who represented James J. Smith, an FBI agent who was alleged to have allowed accused spy Katrina Leung to steal classified documents from the United States Government. He was also part of the team that represented Johnny Chung in criminal and civil proceedings arising out of a campaign finance scandal involving the Democratic National Committee. Paul and a colleague also defended Mr. Chung during his testimony before Congress.
Other Professional Activities
Paul is a member of numerous merit-based professional associations including the American Bar Foundation and Litigation Counsel of America. He has been quoted frequently in publications such as The Daily Journal, the National Law Journal, the Los Angeles Times, and the Wall Street Journal.
Prior Professional Experience
- Partner, O'Neill, Lysaght & Sun (1995-2003)
- Associate, Davis Polk & Wardwell (1992-1995)
- Law Clerk to the Honorable William J. Rea, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (1991-1992)